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  1. #1
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    Ball Python not feeding after the Shed

    Dear friends,
    I got a piebald with low whites a month ago and he was eating like a champ every Friday. I am liking him so much and now he shed last weekend and is not eating at all its been almost 10 days since his last meal.

    The mice in his feeding tank are growing fat eating cheese and carrots while the poor guy is hiding in his enclosure.

    I read few online posts and been googling like crazy from last 4 days, but I am still confused why all of a sudden he stopped eating after the shed, while everyone's snake eat soon after the shedding.


    Below is his complete report card that I have been maintaining, please take some time and advice me, I couldn't even sleep properly.
    I will try to feed him the coming Friday if he doesn't eat should I take a vet appointment ?


    Name : Buddha
    Morph: Piebald with low white
    DOB: 08-06-2010
    Parents: pied x 100% het Pied


    https://www.facebook.com/BuddhaPiebaldBallPython

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axFwvWG0NOg

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lpuugw-HImE

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-38WofyKMU

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yKbEeD6cgs

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoWw709p3mo



    03-04-2012 - Got him home and into a new Glass enclosure



    Enclosure Settings:
    -------------------

    Tank - 40 Gallon tank covered on two sides with decoration sheets, and mesh opening on top always covered with white towel

    Bedding - Cypress mulch, forest floor

    Heating - Under tank heating side 1/4th of the tank & IR bulb hanging 4 inches above the tank from a lamp stand on the heating side
    (IR bulb is used in day time only). Both controlled by a thermostat (set @ 95 F)

    Hides - One heat side hide , two cold side hides (one with wet moss in it)

    Water - Big ceramic bowl, replaced twice a week and add three drops of reptisafe every time water is changed

    Meters - 2 Digital (heat & humidity display) one on heat side other on cold side. 1 analog thermometer and 1 analog hygrometer in middle, and one mercury stick thermometer on front side of cage

    Misc - one Log , one small hide used as decoration (hide filled with substrate since its too small and I am worried it would hurt him),
    few artifical tree branches, one buddha head decoration item (small), one cave man head decoration item (small),
    5 dice (decoration) , 4 glowing rocks randomly placed (they glow only for 15 minutes after the lights go off).
    He also has a separate plastic tub with holes which I planned to use for soaking in warm water in case if he has a bad shed.


    Temp Gradient - warm side -> 77 F - 92 F
    cold side -> 72 F - 85 F

    Humidity - warm side -> 50 % - 70 %
    cold side -> 60 % - 80 %
    (Mist the cage using a plastic spray bottle with warm water 2-3 times a week & when shedding mist twice a day)

    (I am trying my best to be consistent on humidity & temparature, but not sure how to achieve)

    Handling:
    ----------

    - Handled almost daily for not more than 15-30 minutes
    - Will not be handled atleast 24 hours after feeding and during the shedding
    (I kinda did handled twice during shedding though)
    - Wash hands and use santizer everytime before and afer handling
    - Very few times, when my consious says I use a Plastic glove for picking him up from the tank
    - He kinds hiss sometimes when touched during day time


    Eating Schedule:
    ----------------

    He has a separte feeding 10 gallon glass tank for feeding and paper is used as the floor in feeding tank

    03-13-2012 6:00 PM CST - Offered frozen thawed, did not take

    03-16-2012 6:00 PM CST - 1 live mice (medium sized)

    03-23-2012 6:00 PM CST - 1 live mice (medium sized)

    03-30-2012 6:00 PM CST - 2 live mice (medium sized)

    04-06-2012 6:00 PM CST - Offered live mice, did not take
    04-08-2012 10:00 PM CST - Offered live mice, did not take
    04-09-2012 11:00 PM CST - Offered live mice, did not take


    Shedding Schedule:
    ------------------

    Shed1 - 04-01-2012 - Eyes turned milky blue, stopped handling
    04-06-2012 - Shed came of in multiple pieces, the tail had some but came off next day after keeing in warm damp cloth for 15 minutes and increasing the humidity to 80


    Pee-Pee:
    --------

    03-18-2012 - Urates (cleaned immediately)

    03-22-2012 - Urates (cleaned immediately)

    03-28-2012 - Urates (cleaned immediately)



    Potty:
    ------

    04-06-2012 - Soon after shedding, lil Bugger pooped like crazy in the hotter side hide (cleaned immediately)



    Thanks,
    Phani
    Last edited by swashbuckler_19; 04-10-2012 at 02:36 AM.

  2. #2
    BPnet Veteran Inarikins's Avatar
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    Ball pythons go off feed all the time. It's breeding season, he might want a girl. Or he might just be going on a fast. They do it sometimes. Keep offering once a week, he'll eat again when he wants to. You don't have to feed in a separate enclosure, cage aggression is a myth. The only reason you might want to put him in a different place to feed is if his tank has paper towels on the bottom because that can cause problems.

    But he's a '10 and he's only eating one medium mouse once a week? He should probably still be eating 10-15% of his body weight by grams once a week. My 100 gram baby is eating small adult mice (will be one every 5 days) without a problem and they're almost too small. It should really be on mediums.

    Your warm side should be between 88 and 92 degrees. 77 is too cold for even a cool side. Cool side should be between 78 and 85 degrees. How are you regulating the UTH? Are you using a thermostat? And you have both a digital thermometer/hygrometer and analog ones? Why?

    If everything was okay husbandry-wise it's probably just a fast. But it's possible he's stressed out suddenly and that's why he's not eating. Get your husbandry corrected and don't offer every 2 days, you're only freaking him out more. Offer once a week like you would if he was still eating.

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  4. #3
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    Good record keeping! In doing your research you should have come across the fact that balls can be picky sometimes. Do you have a scale? That seems to be the only thing missing from your records. Pick one up from walmart in the kitchen section and weigh him before he eats to keep track of his growth. Also in this case you can see if he looses weight during his little fast.

    From what it sounds like, his house seems dry. There's no reason other than mites thast he should have shed in pieces. What's the lid of his tank? Screen? If so cover up most of it with a damp towel or cloth. This will add to the humidity and keep it from escaping.

    You can also ditch the lamp. BPs don't need a heat lamp or light for that matter. I understand that u want to see him but the light in the room he's in should be sufficient. Also heat lamps kill humidity.

    As for the feeding issue, I would say bump the humidity up, take the light away, and keep offering. Get a scale and if you notice him loosing a lot of weight then I'd start worrying. A ball python won't kill themselves by not eating. You can try a few tricks to help him eat as well. Use a hair dryer to heat the rat up first, also just leave it in there all night. He might just be nervous about you watching him. Those tips are for frozen thawed and pre killed. I'm not sure what to do with live, I've never fed one of my snakes live. Hope these tips help. If others disagree with what I've said let me know so I can stop giving bad info. Lol

    And here's a snake just for kicks.


    Sent from my BlackBerry 9800 using Tapatalk

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  6. #4
    BPnet Veteran Inarikins's Avatar
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    The humidity's actually too high. it should only get past 70% while the snake's in shed (never past 80%) and otherwise it should be 50-60%. Too humid and you risk a respiratory infection.

  7. #5
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    Sorry. I must have missed the humidity part. It sounds good but it doesn't sound like it would be very consistent with the setup he has. I would cover some of the top up and keep misting. And get rid of the Infrared lamp too. Completely useless for a BP. And I agree with Inarikins, just keep offering. He will take when he wants too. I have a male spider who has been off feed since the middle of december. No biggie.

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  8. #6
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    The only thing that stands out to me right away is offering too often.

    It is not at all unusual for a ball python of any age to not eat for a week or two or ten.

    While there are a few minor tweaks to his setup, for the most part you get the feeling you really researched before you got your snake.

    Tanks are notoriously hard to maintain, but it can be done. To help you stabilize things, I'd like to ask a few questions and offer a few suggestions.

    First is what is the ambient temperature of the room he's in? If the room itself stays around 75, that will go a long way towards tweaking his enclosure. If it is much cooler than that, then you will need that IR lamp to keep him from getting too cool. Otherwise, you really don't need it.

    You mention a temperature gradient of 77-92 on his warm side. Does that mean it goes from one to the other each day ? Ideally you'd like his hot side hide to stay steady at around 90. His cool side hide should be around 82, give or take a degree or so. If the UTH is not keeping his hot side steady, you probably need a bigger one. They can be a pain sometimes.

    Misting his enclosure that often should not be necessary. If the lid to his tank is screen, by covering most of it with a damp towel ( be careful of mildew!) or plexiglass, you can eliminate the need to mist so much.

    Your handling seems to be okay. As long as you keep it brief, and don't do the 15 minutes every hour.

    Can I ask why you feed him in a separate tank ? Is it because you are worried about him swallowing substrate or because you are afraid he'll get nasty if you feed in his home tank? I've rarely heard of a ball getting nasty from feeding in the home enclosure. I feed all of mine in their tubs, and have for years with no trouble. Of course, you don't want to reach for him if you recently handled a mouse or rat. If it's the substrate thing, I can understand your concern. It is a bit un-nerving to see them with a mouth full of mulch or aspen. I avoid this by placing a small piece of construction paper in the tub and offering the food on that. This also works for live, just hold it in the tongs on the paper until he strikes and you're good.

    Quite often, a ball will stop eating from being moved to a feeding tank, however some are fine with it, so you will just have to try it and see with him. I do recommend you give him a full 7 days without being disturbed. Only check and change his water if needed, other than that just let him chill. At the end of that week, try offering him food in his home tank. if he takes it great, if he doesn't just leave him be and try again in a week. Offering food too often only seems to perpetuate the problem. It is nerve wracking I know, but try your best to just wait him out.

    By the way, what is Reptisafe ? I've never heard of it.

    I hope this helps you out some, if you have any other questions, feel free to ask and we'll try to help you out.

    Gale
    Last edited by angllady2; 04-10-2012 at 10:02 PM.
    1.0 Low-white Pied - Yakul | 1.0 Granite het Pied - Nago
    1.0 Mojave - Okoto | 1.0 Vanilla - Kodama
    1.0 Pastel - Koroku | 1.0 Fire - Osa
    0.1 het Pied - Toki | 0.1 het Pied - Mauro
    0.1 Mojave - Kina | 0.1 Blushback Cinnamon - Kuri
    0.1 Fire - Mori | 0.1 Reduced Pinstripe - Sumi
    0.1 Pastel - Yuki | 0.1 Dinker Normal - Akashi
    0.1 Ghana Giant Normal - Tatari | 0.1 Dinker Normal - Kaiya

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  10. #7
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    Re: Ball Python not feeding after the Shed

    Dear Angllady2, Interloc & Inarikins,

    Thanks for your patience and giving a brief advise.


    @ Interloc & Inarikins


    I checked for mites thoroughly almost every time I handle him and every time I change water. I am pretty sure he doesn't have mites on him. Just to be double sure I will cross check again on coming Friday when I offer him food. I am pretty strict on cleanliness

    Yeah, I am planning to buy a weigh machine, auto humidifier and a laser gun thermometer when I get my next paycheck. And planning to keep humidity 55 - 60 % ( as he already shed). I only feed him live and don't want to shift to frozen/thawed at least for next couple of months until I am confident that i know all his stuff.

    Going forward I will make sure I offer him on his regular schedule of every Friday not frequently.

    I am not even switching on my AC as it will lower the temperatures & I stay in Dallas

    The main purpose of that IR lamp is to keep the temp high enough when I switch on the AC in my apartment.


    My immediate next step is to get the aluminum tape and cover the under tank heat pad so the heat wont escape, and use the auto humidifier & IR lamp in conjunction to keep the temp and humidity balanced, while having my AC ON !

    As I have a mesh top, I am using a white towel over it. I will check plexiglass too, but even the appearance of the cage is also important to me. I will shop around on internet & walmart the coming weekend.

    I just checked him he is sitting/sleeping on top of his hides and chilling (lights off!)

    I check the picture of both of your snakes... they are sweeeettttt




    @ Gale



    I am using the tank as I keep it in the living room and it also acts a decoration item in my apartment, as I stay alone and only friends visiting on weekends there isn't much traffic. And all his hides are facing towards the sides covered with opaque sheets and he wont be able to see anything

    The temperature of room is around 75 now, but I cant stay like this all the time it might get down to 65-70 when I get the humidifier and use it along with the IR lamp to keep temp & humidity correctly in his tank.

    I can manage 90 on hot side with UTH & IR lamp (will use it 24/7, along with a thermostat). I think I should be able to keep 80 on cool side too with that settings, provided my Ac is running too .For next one-two weeks I will keep a record of temperature and humidity every 8 hours and update you guys.

    I only handle 15 - 30 minutes (MAX) and don't stress him much.

    I am feeding in separate tank as I use forest floor cypress mulch in his enclosure and he was eating with kinda aggression and might hurt himself, hence the separate tank.
    I am all prepared for the first bite and just waiting it to happen as I am waiting for the first dent on my new Camaro and this is definitely not the reason for feeding in separate tank.

    I will again offer him in the separate tank this Friday and if he doesn't eat and then I will offer him in his own tank the next next Friday.


    Reptisafe is something used in drinking water for reptiles as it get rid of chlorine and other stuff, and was suggested by the guy @ petco, this guy seemed little knowledgeable

  11. #8
    BPnet Veteran Inarikins's Avatar
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    Your adjustments sound good! Keep us informed! You don't really need to buy special water for him, though. If you get milk by the gallon or anything in a gallon (or even half-gallon) jug, just fill it with water and leave the top open. After a few days, it'll be totally safe for your snake to drink. It'll save you a little money, too! But he should also be okay drinking tap water, so long as there isn't something really nasty like alkali metals in your water which not even people should drink (can be a problem where I'm from if you don't live near a town). If that's the case, distilled water from the grocery story is pretty dang cheap. Probably much cheaper than anything Petco has to offer. I'm guessing the Reptisafe is just distilled water or even municipal tap water marked up to make the store more money.

  12. #9
    BPnet Senior Member angllady2's Avatar
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    I want to advise you NOT to cover the entire heat pad with aluminum tape, because it will cause the pad to get much too hot and possibly short out.

    The reptisafe sounds to me like mostly a waste of money. Unless you have really nasty stuff in your water, it isn't dangerous. The most common thing in tap water is chlorine, and you can remove that by just letting your water sit out in a jug or bottle for a day or two.

    Other than that, it sounds like you are on the right track.

    Gale
    1.0 Low-white Pied - Yakul | 1.0 Granite het Pied - Nago
    1.0 Mojave - Okoto | 1.0 Vanilla - Kodama
    1.0 Pastel - Koroku | 1.0 Fire - Osa
    0.1 het Pied - Toki | 0.1 het Pied - Mauro
    0.1 Mojave - Kina | 0.1 Blushback Cinnamon - Kuri
    0.1 Fire - Mori | 0.1 Reduced Pinstripe - Sumi
    0.1 Pastel - Yuki | 0.1 Dinker Normal - Akashi
    0.1 Ghana Giant Normal - Tatari | 0.1 Dinker Normal - Kaiya

  13. #10
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    Re: Ball Python not feeding after the Shed

    Finallyyyyyyyy ate !!! \m/

    after two and half weeks of fasting.... my Buddha , finaly ate yesterday ....

    I kept the record of the temperatures (min - max) all these days and 75-79 are on the cool side and 80-84 on the warm side (the area right above UTH - basking spot, might be a little more warmer, as my digital thermometer only reds temp outside the hides)....


    I am really happy... I got the weigh machine and he weighs 515 grams ( 20 months)... Is this Ok ? or should I feed him more/less ??

    I would really appreciate if any of you guys can suggest me a auto humidifier, to keep the humidity range at perfect level all the time, price is not a problem

    Thanks for all your advise

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