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  1. #1
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    I've tried all feeding "tricks" but BP still not eating F/T

    Hello everyone. This is my first posting on this site because i'm feeling very defeated right now.

    Background & Husbandry
    I have a year old, 550g, 1 foot 6 inches long normal ball python. I received her when she was 3 months old. Apparently she was on frozen thawed mice from where I got her. Now prior to getting her, I researched everything ball python related. From care, to potential problems, to husbandry and illnesses. I wanted to be prepared for my first snake. I setup her tank a week prior to getting her just to monitor the heating levels and humidity. She's currently in a 40 gallon breeder with a screen top. I have two digital thermometers reading the inside of her cold hide (82f during the day - 74f night) and her hot side (90f during the day - 85f night) I'm not suing a UTH, i'm using CHE. When i used a UTH, i used it with a Century Digital Heat Mat Thermostat Controller (amazon) and had the temperature set to 91F (just because that's what it would take to keep it near the 88f to 90f range). I also had a second thermometer next to the thermostat prob to make sure the temperatures where accurate. My snake did not seem to like this and would always stay in her cool side. When i switch to the CHE, the temperature was a lot more stable at 90f. Humidity in the room is a constant 60%. On hot days, it drops 10% to 15% so i lightly mist the enclosure maybe 2 times during those days. I do have a digital hygrometer that reads temperature as well. That's stuck inside the tank on the back wall right in the middle of both hides slightly above them and is what i typically use to read the ambient temperatures as well. Both hides are the same and are a snug fit for her. They do have a opening on both sides but i keep one opening against the enclosures walls. She's covered on two sides by walls and two sides are open. Now, i don't think this is much of a problem as the room she's in is very very small and no one enters it except for myself once a day for the most part. I do keep my Turtle in the opposite side of the room, in a 40 breeder as well. Their lights are setup on digital timers so they're sync perfectly. I have 3 rats as well in the room that i got about 4 months ago for breeding (more on them in a bit). I keep their cages clean enough that no real smell is detected when you enter the room. The lights are on during the day (7am to 7pm) and off during the night. Her bedding is ZooMed Cypress Mulch, about 2.5 inches deep. Right in the middle i have a large Exo Terra reptile water dish. It's rinsed and refilled every Wednesday and Sunday - deep cleaned once a month. Now i'm not sure if it's exactly the large model or the medium. It's big enough for her to submerse most of her body without fear of drowning.

    The Problem - She just wont eat no matter what I try
    As for as i'm aware, everything i can find on husbandry for ball pythons supports my thoughts that my husbandry should be just fine for her. When she arrived, i'll admit i was a bit timid with her, she was my first snake and when i opened the bag, she did strike. Instead of grabbing her, I placed the bag in the enclosure and lightly pushed her out. After about an hour, i decided to hold her just to get over the initial timidness of her trying to strike me. I held her for a few minutes, inspected her for mites, checked her scales for any issues, and weighed her. From there, i placed her back and left her alone for a week. After that week i tried feeding her early i the morning, it was still dark out since i was getting ready for work, and nothing. I left the mouse in the enclosure until i got home and it was still there. I tried again 3 days later and no bite. From there i tried once more before allowing a week to pass before trying to feed again. After a few weeks, i switched to every two weeks. At t his point it was a about 2 and a half months of no eating. I really did not watch to try live feeding as i didn't feel so good about it and finding any mice was nearly impossible aside from a hour and a half drive. She was losing weight and i was worrying. I contacted the breeders, the gave me tips and nothing seemed to work. I tried thawing the mouse in the same room under a heat lamp for a few hours, i try water defrosting then heating with a blow dryer, i tried dipping the mouse in chicken broth, and even when to the pet stores near me to locate some used gerbil bedding and defrosting the mouse in that. The only thing i did not want to try was braining as i faint at the sight of blood... I also tried those tricks on rats but nothing. I assist fed her a couple times and that seems to be fine but by the third time she made it impossible to do so without using a lot of force and I did not feel comfortable enough to do so as i did not want to hurt her by mistake. I had no option but to live feed her. She took mice with no problem. She gained her weight quickly. after a few months, i moved her live fuzzy rats. She took the first two just fine. They were a bit bigger than needed so i fed them a week and a half apart. Then the pet store i bout the rats from closed. I only had 3 rats left so i decided to keep them and breed them for more food. Thankfully when the grew up, they turned out to be 2 girls 1 boy. They had their first litter two months and a half ago and it was more than expected, 31 total baby rats from two litters.. They were growing way to quickly so i had to put them down to keep them a eatable size. They've been kept frozen. My ball python however still does not want to take the frozen thawed. It's been a 3 weeks since she's not fed and nothings seems to work. Yesterday i got so anxious and stressed that i was able to brain one of the frozen thawed rats.. I placed it in her enclosure and left it all night. This morning it was still there and is still there. I have tried everything i can find but i can't get her to feed frozen thawed.

    Does anyone have any idea if i'm missing something? I'll most likely breed the rats again soon, one at a time this time but i'd really rather get her on frozen thawed.

    **I'm sorry for the wall of text, i just really need some help here. I can't keep breeding rats as they're a lot of work to take care of and with starting a new job, collage, and taking care of the family, one less thing to deal is something i need**

  2. #2
    Registered User Aedryan Methyus's Avatar
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    It sounds like you're trying just about everything there is to try. When you heat the rat with a blow dryer, does she show any interest in it at all? If so, have you tried to keep heating it back up and offering multiple times? Have you tried waiting 2 weeks before offering again? I have Ball Pythons and Blood Pythons both, who used to eat F/T just fine then suddenly started refusing no matter what. I simply gave in and and started feeding them live and they haven't refused a meal since... If you only have one snake, you would really only need one male and two female breeder rats and a couple simple cages to breed your own, so you could have live rats on hand. That would be a piece of cake...
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  3. #3
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    She shows no interest in any rat or mouse that's been f/t even heating it up in the same room. I'll probably wait another week before switching over to offering every 2 weeks. I've got the cages for the rats and have bred them once now. The only problem being that if it's anything like last time (one had a litter of 14 and one of 17) it's a lot of extra work to keep the cages clean, monitor the babies, and they grow far too quickly to have more than 3 or 4 since by the time I've fed the third, the fourth would be too big for her to eat. Even just breeding one of em at a time takes another month to have the babies be born and be the right size.

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    Registered User SDA's Avatar
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    Did you buy it knowing it ate live of frozen? You might one day switch to frozen but you also might never get that to happen.

    Most likely the location that sold you this, if they did not disclose the feeding history, are just flippers and sold you a snake without regard to your feeding preference.

    No amount of husbandry can change a snake to frozen thawed. They either do it or they don't. If they do not it is nothing you did aside from buying it without getting the feed history.

    Feed it what it will take. You can try every few feedings to switch but be prepared to toss the prey as you experiment. Don't refreeze warmed frozen prey.
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    Re: I've tried all feeding "tricks" but BP still not eating F/T

    I received it from BHB reptiles. Prior to them sending a snake they call you and let you know what they're feeding them and how many times they've eaten prior. They told me she was on f/t large mice and had eaten for 2 months just fine. I guess it might just be a unlucky change. She's a sweet snake, only ever stricken once when I first got her and opened the bag. Ever since then, never again. She not skittish at all unless i place a f/t rat/mouse in front of her. But I'll try switching her every few weeks of proper feeding on live. Tha k you.

  6. #6
    Registered User Aedryan Methyus's Avatar
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    Re: I've tried all feeding "tricks" but BP still not eating F/T

    Quote Originally Posted by Aedryan Methyus View Post
    It sounds like you're trying just about everything there is to try. When you heat the rat with a blow dryer, does she show any interest in it at all? If so, have you tried to keep heating it back up and offering multiple times? Have you tried waiting 2 weeks before offering again? I have Ball Pythons and Blood Pythons both, who used to eat F/T just fine then suddenly started refusing no matter what. I simply gave in and and started feeding them live and they haven't refused a meal since... If you only have one snake, you would really only need one male and two female breeder rats and a couple simple cages to breed your own, so you could have live rats on hand. That would be a piece of cake...
    Yeah, being that rats grow so quickly that is definitely a problem. That's why I suggested 2 females, so you could try to offset litters... Maybe try breeding mice or ASF instead until she gets bigger since they're smaller?
    1.0 Lavender Albino Motley 25% Kalatoa SD Reticulated Python - "Sixx"
    0.1 Purple Albino Golden Child 25% Kalatoa SD Reticulated Python - "Xanthess"
    1.1 Sumatran Short Tail Pythons (Chrome Heads) - "Jasper" & "Samantha"
    1.1 Matrix/Het T+ Albino Blood Pythons - "Dexter" & "Sophie"
    1.1 Marble Borneo Pythons - "Bam-Bam" & "Pebbles"
    0.1 Ghost Het Moonglow/Possible Super Boa Constrictor (BI) - "Priscilla"
    1.0 Normal Boa Constrictor Aberrant (BI) - "Simon"
    1.1 Woma Pythons - "Steve-O" & "Sheila"
    1.0 Mojave Ball Python - "Edger"
    0.1 Lesser Platinum Ball Python - "Cindy Lou"
    0.1 Mystic Ball Python - "Misty"


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  7. #7
    Registered User SDA's Avatar
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    Re: I've tried all feeding "tricks" but BP still not eating F/T

    Quote Originally Posted by Soulparagon View Post
    They told me she was on f/t large mice.

    Have you tried F/T mice then? It is not uncommon for BPs to be picky switching from mice to rats. Try feeding what it was feeding on down to the size and species.
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    0.0.1 2017 Aru GTP 'Ganja'
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    1.0 ♂ 2018 Basset Hound 'Cooper'

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    Re: I've tried all feeding "tricks" but BP still not eating F/T

    I saw that you left a F/T during the day, have you ever tried leaving one in the enclosure overnight when they're more likely to eat? Are you trying to feed at night in general?

  10. #9
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    Re: I've tried all feeding "tricks" but BP still not eating F/T

    Do you know how warm you are heating the food?

    I thaw mine in the fridge overnight then put in hottest tap water (around 100f) for around 20 mins then take them out of the water and nuke the water 2 minutes which gets it up to around 120f. Put them back in the water for about 5 mins and then feed right away straight off tongs. It works for both snakes, haven't had a refusal in months from either snake except once each when their eyes were cloudy and they obviously couldn't see going into shed. Successfully switched both from mice to rats.

    Now my girl will take either/or/both at the same time if I'm supplementing smaller rats. It sounds like maybe I just got lucky from all the stories but best of luck. Have you tried the zombie dance? Moving the warmed prey around with tongs as if it's living? Just one more suggestion...

    Sent from my LG-H910 using Tapatalk

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    in evinco persecutus dr del's Avatar
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    Re: I've tried all feeding "tricks" but BP still not eating F/T

    First off I know this is going to sound somewhat picky / retrogade. Sorry.

    You need to know the temps inside the hides where the snake actually spends its time. Discountinue the night time drop - it's doing you no favours.
    If she happily eats live mice then stick with mice - they smell more. Though I do realise they are a lot harder to get hold of

    They can be tricky to move from live to f/t there is no doubt about it ( and it sounds like you have tried most of the advised tips ) - the only one I think you missed in fact was a fake mouse nest in a dark tub .

    I know it is the last resort but smetimes skipping a weeks feeding is worth trying just to put a little edge on their hunger. But obviously this requires weight, conditioning and sensible thought. I would email Brian and ask for specific adice on what to try - at 550g it obviously ate for them so any hints they could give might help.
    Last edited by dr del; 04-16-2018 at 01:14 AM. Reason: I canut speel
    Derek

    7 adult Royals (2.5), 1.0 COS Pastel, 1.0 Enchi, 1.1 Lesser platty Royal python, 1.1 Black pastel Royal python, 0.1 Blue eyed leucistic ( Super lesser), 0.1 Piebald Royal python, 1.0 Sinaloan milk snake 1.0 crested gecko and 1 bad case of ETS. no wife, no surprise.

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