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  1. #1
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    How long after getting tank dialed in should my new bp want to eat?

    I've had my 1 year old (approx.) bp for 2 1/2 weeks and she refuses to eat. 2 failed attempts. After reading posts here I realised it could be her tank temps were off. She is in a 20 gallon tall glass tank with acrylic lid, uth and ceramic heater both on separate dimmers, coconut fiber substrate, and 2 hides with fake greenery and medium water dish. Temps read with a gun are 90 on the hot side ( under the substrate) cool side is 81, ambiemt 85 and humidity from 50-60%. I was told she was eating f/t medium mice so that's what I've tried. She was very active at night, acting like she was looking for a way out. Now that the temps are better she has calmed down a lot. Just wondering when I should try again. The last refusal was 3 days ago. If I wait 4 more days from today that will put her at about 3 weeks of not eating if she refuses again. I don't want to offer too many times or wait too long. I don't know what she weighs now or when I got her. I haven't been handling her and she is in a fairly low traffic area of my home. And she is healthy. When should I try again?

  2. #2
    BPnet Veteran tttaylorrr's Avatar
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    Re: How long after getting tank dialed in should my new bp want to eat?

    young ball pythons are notorious for stressing in a new environment.

    i think you attempted to feed way too soon, which further stressed the snake out and further pushed them off food.

    young beeps can go a lot longer than you'd think without food; 3 weeks is nothing to a semi-established bby. wait a complete 7 days from now before attempting to feed. be sure to scent the room for ~30 min and gauge your snake's body language to the smell before attempting to offer.

    good luck friend!
    Last edited by tttaylorrr; 04-13-2019 at 07:37 PM.
    4.4 ball python
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    1.0 corn snake
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    1.0 crested gecko
    0.1 ????

    0.1 cat
    0.1 Maine Coon mix

    0.1 human ✌︎

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  4. #3
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    3 weeks for a yearling BP is no big deal. It's best to not offer food too often as that adds to their stress. Try not to worry, be patient...& wait at least a week
    between feeding tries. Good that you aren't handling her, & good that her cage is in a low traffic area; you mention that the temperatures weren't correctly
    dialed in...were they too chilly? how chilly? That might have sent a signal to your snake not to eat, but you've only had her for 2.5 weeks? is that correct?

    So the cage temps. probably had nothing to do with it...when snakes are re-homed, it's frightening & confusing for them...it's very common for them to skip
    meals until they feel settled in & safe again...so really, just be patient. Snakes are "designed" to not eat all the time...I'd wait at least a week right now before
    offering food again. To be honest, when you first get a snake (of ANY kind), the best practice is to not offer any food for about 2 weeks. I know you care
    about the snake, trying so hard to give food, but you have to trust nature (& me, I guess) when I say to relax, & give her time to feel settled in.

    Her restlessness probably WAS looking for a way out of the cage...she was likely wondering what happened to the territory she knew as home. There's no way
    to explain things to our snakes, unfortunately. Restlessness can also mean hunger, but again, snakes are designed to fast between meals. From your description,
    you've got things dialed in pretty well.

    But just one thing occurs to me: how big are the hides*, compared to the snake? How tall inside? How big is the doorway? BPs are "ambush-hunters", meaning
    they mostly prefer to lie in wait where they feel safe (from their hide, peeking out) & grab prey that goes by. Most BPs will refuse food if offered when they are
    cruising their cage, so avoid doing that. Also, are you feeding EXACTLY what she was eating before? rats vs. mice? same size? live or f/t? fed from tongs or
    left in cage? And very important for BPs when feeding f/t: is the prey warmed up? Especially the head- many here use a blow-dryer immediately before offering,
    because BPs target prey by the life-like warmth using their heat-sensing pits (on their face). So if you haven't tried that technique, do try it in a week when you
    next offer food. And if anything doesn't make sense, just ask...ok?

    BTW

    *Snakes prefer hides with doorways that they can only just fit thru with a meal, & hides that they feel sort of squished into, so that
    nothing can sneak up on them. AKA "back pressure", some hides are too big or tall inside, but an easy fix while your snake is growing
    is to just crumple a paper towel or two & stuff them inside to tighten things up for them.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 04-13-2019 at 07:58 PM.

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  6. #4
    BPnet Veteran tttaylorrr's Avatar
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    Re: How long after getting tank dialed in should my new bp want to eat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    BTW
    @Bogie i hate your weird spacing that happens in your posts but damn if you don't have incredible insight.
    4.4 ball python
    1.0 Albino 0.1 Coral Glow 0.1 Super Cinnamon paradox 1.0 Piebald 0.1 Pastel Enchi Leopard het Piebald 1.0 Coral Glow het Piebald

    1.0 corn snake
    1.0 Hypo

    1.0 crested gecko
    0.1 ????

    0.1 cat
    0.1 Maine Coon mix

    0.1 human ✌︎

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    Re: How long after getting tank dialed in should my new bp want to eat?

    The hides are the right size I think, as you described. On her 1st day here I had a large tree shaped hide which had smaller holes in it as well. Come to find out it was an aquarium decor not a hide. She got stuck in one of the small narrow holes, no room for her to double up in order to turn around. Had to cut her out. No doubt that stressed her out. I immediately put black paper around 3 of the walls (outside) to try and make her more secure. I turned the openings to the hides so they weren't facing the front of the tank to further her security hopefully. I will wait to feed as you suggested and will try when she is still in her hide. Before she was always out before dark and back in after it was already light outside so she was already cruising the tank sides when offered the mice. I am trying mice like what she is used to and did warm with a blow dryer and used tongs. I just wanted to be sure I wasn't waiting too long before needing to see a vet to assist feed. I feel a little better now after your advice. Thanks so much!!

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  10. #6
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Re: How long after getting tank dialed in should my new bp want to eat?

    Quote Originally Posted by LisaG View Post
    The hides are the right size I think, as you described. On her 1st day here I had a large tree shaped hide which had smaller holes in it as well. Come to find out it was an aquarium decor not a hide. She got stuck in one of the small narrow holes, no room for her to double up in order to turn around. Had to cut her out. No doubt that stressed her out. I immediately put black paper around 3 of the walls (outside) to try and make her more secure. I turned the openings to the hides so they weren't facing the front of the tank to further her security hopefully. I will wait to feed as you suggested and will try when she is still in her hide. Before she was always out before dark and back in after it was already light outside so she was already cruising the tank sides when offered the mice. I am trying mice like what she is used to and did warm with a blow dryer and used tongs. I just wanted to be sure I wasn't waiting too long before needing to see a vet to assist feed. I feel a little better now after your advice. Thanks so much!!
    You're welcome...& you're lucky she didn't get cut up or injured by the aquarium decor...some of them have very sharp un-sanded projections inside that apparently
    don't bother fish. You learned the hard way, not to allow any decor that a snake can get stuck in: wild snakes get stuck in bird/garden netting & even some fences-
    they cannot back out of because scales are directional- they can die, over-heated by sun, grabbed by predators. (I'm a former So. Californian that rescued wild snakes
    for many years, besides keeping many non-native snakes, including BPs in the past.) Feeding in the evening by dim light should also help. Some snakes you just
    cannot move when they grab food...you have to stay very still or they get distracted & drop the prey...let's hope yours isn't like that, lol.

    Assist feeding by a vet is about the worst thing to try, speaking of stress. Often a waste of time, a snake riding in a car will likely regurge from the motion before you
    even get home. There's lots better ways- if & when you get "that desperate" ask again...but for now, you haven't even begun the battle.

    Using tongs: there's right & wrong ways. Remember that prey doesn't volunteer (run right up to a snake) in the real world...so likewise, don't make it look like the prey
    is approaching the snake...it's unsettling & can scare some timid snakes like BPs into refusing. You want to prey to wiggle slightly, not too much, & appear to be clue-
    lessly passing by the snake, just out of reach. Pay close attention to the snake's reaction (tongue flicking) to gauge interest**. Keep the rest of you as still as possible,
    don't be a distraction if you can help it. It gets easier with practice...is this your first snake? BPs are some of the harder snakes to feed, incidentally. They're pretty &
    docile & stay a nice size...but feeding can be tricky (some easier than others), & when they're adults, they may do fasts anyway. Just saying... **Some snakes may
    show a lot of interest but just be too timid...some may take the prey if it's left in cage near their hide (in dark, overnight). If you'll have to toss the prey anyway, it's
    can be worth a try, & sometimes a snake will eat that way, when you least expect it. They teach us patience...for sure.

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    Re: How long after getting tank dialed in should my new bp want to eat?

    Thank you again. I will definitely keep you updated on how it goes and ask more advice if needed before seeing a vet. And yea this is my first snake. My son was keeping his girlfriend's recently and I really liked him but he recently succumbed to thermal burns he received. He didn't know how to properly care for it and neither did she apparently and I didn't become aware of the situation til later so the much needed vet didn't happen right away. We thought he was doing better but we were wrong. That may be another reason I'm anxious about mine not eating. Really don't want to lose another one.

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  14. #8
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Snakes are very stoic, so they're difficult "patients"; other pets at least make sounds of discomfort, but not snakes...it takes practice to read their body language
    to pick up subtle cues of how they're really doing. It's easier to keep snakes healthy than to help them once they're injured or sick- not saying it's futile, but it
    can be a challenge to find a good experienced herp vet. Since snakes are cold-blooded, they don't process medications the same as most other pets, and many
    drugs/medicines are toxic to them, or have side effects that aren't seen with other pets. I'm glad you found this forum...we'll help you all we can. Just remember
    that the only "dumb" question is the one you don't ask.

    One more thing that comes up pretty often here: you didn't mention doing this (hooray!) but in case someone suggests it to you, please never feed your snake
    in a separate container/cage. It's likely to make timid snakes like BPs stressed & they'll refuse food, but also, you're more likely to get bit by trying to handle a
    hungry snake before it's fed, or trying to handle one that's still in "feed mode"* afterwards. *Snakes can stay pumped up (ready to bite whatever's warm & wiggling
    -like a hand) for anywhere from hours or a day+ after eating. So always feed them where they feel safe...in their own cage, & without prior handling.

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