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  1. #1
    Registered User Smaug's Avatar
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    Scenting w/ gerbil bedding?

    My 3.5 year old female ball python hasn't eaten since the end of December. She looks alert and has barely lost any weight. After losing the rosy boa, I'm getting more concerned about her. She eats live mice. I am considering getting a pet gerbil or two (more research required) and scenting the mice with the bedding. What do you think? Does anyone else do this? Do think I could eventually get her switched to frozen rats with this method?
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  2. #2
    Telling it like it is! Deborah's Avatar
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    Not a good idea gerbils and their scent is like crack for BP so if you want to switch to rats stick to that and use tough love.

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  4. #3
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    BPs do like gerbils* (& hamsters*), but neither one smells the same as rats, so it won't help your conversion plan, sorry. Between the two, Russian dwarf hamsters
    are easier to raise than gerbils (IMO), but awfully cute, especially if you have fancy-coated ones like I used to raise. The advantage though, is if you're successful
    you can probably sell the extras to local pet stores. I had a nice little rodent business at one rodents both fed & "paid for" my house-full of snakes.

    The other problem is that hamsters bite defensively even as babies, even with eyes closed! (Not sure about gerbils, didn't breed them.) Whereas live rat or mouse
    fuzzies don't bite back, as long as their eyes are still closed. And even when they first open their eyes, they're a pretty easy take-down. If your BP won't take f/t,
    you sure don't want her on adult hamsters or gerbils.

    Anyway, if you use gerbil/hamster bedding to scent the mice to inspire your BP to eat, the most you'll do is switch her to gerbils or hamsters, not rats. None of them
    smell the same, and long term, rats are a better diet for BPs...hamsters are higher in fat.

    *Do remember that BPs can still be "opinionated" & seasonal about eating/fasting, so no guarantees whatsoever. Royal pythons can be royal pains about eating.
    And if you want to get her on rats, get some used litter from a pet store...if you ask nice, they might just give it to you if you call ahead to pick it up after they clean
    the cages.

  5. #4
    Registered User pretends2bnormal's Avatar
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    Re: Scenting w/ gerbil bedding?

    Not to contradict any of the stuff said here, but I haven't had an issue scenting with gerbil bedding once or twice.

    My first BP I got as an adult mid-fast and took only the occasional small live mouse for months. He had supposedly taken F/T before but months of work led to nothing until I scented one slightly with gerbil bedding. He took that one and then immediately took unscented f/t the following week and has eaten frozen thaw ever since.

    But I used it to get his interest in a rat that was not moving "right" rather than to inspire appetite since he ate live (mice or rats) just fine.

    For a snake that is fasting, your mileage may vary and probably won't get quite the results you're looking for. And scenting a rat with mice, if that's what they're liking, works better than a 3rd scent for switching prey types.
    (I happen to have gerbils as pets, so it was not something I went and got because of the snake)
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    Last edited by pretends2bnormal; 05-15-2019 at 05:35 PM.

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  7. #5
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Re: Scenting w/ gerbil bedding?

    Quote Originally Posted by pretends2bnormal View Post
    Not to contradict any of the stuff said here, but I haven't had an issue scenting with gerbil bedding once or twice...
    I don't mind a bit, some of this comes down to why the BP is fasting, & hey, whatever works!
    Psychologists are fortunate that they don't have to figure out BPs, only humans...

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