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  1. #1
    Registered User honeymoon's Avatar
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    ball python not eating

    I know this is a very VERY normal among ball pythons, but it's out of the normal for my snake personally. He is about 2.5 years old and he has never ever had a problem eating (except for during sheds). He refused to eat for 2 weeks, ate on the third week, and on the fourth week he struck but missed, and he didn't attempt to strike again. He is not in shed or pre-shed (vibrant colors and eyes, no "blue eyes", pale scales, or pink underside). He does not seem to be losing weight, I haven't noticed any behavioral changes. I have a hydrometer and 2 thermometers (regular and battery-operated) and check multiple times daily.

    It looks like he's interested in the food, he gets into strike position and just states at it and licks/smells it. When I move the mouse closer to him he zooms away like he's scared instead of biting it like he usually does. The first week he struck at it and had it in his mouth for a few minutes, and then he spit it out and was laying on top of it.

    - hot side: 88-93 degrees F
    - cool side: upper 70s to low 80s
    - humidity: upper 50s to mid 60s
    - food: small frozen/thawed rats (fed in a dim environment, in the evening/night)
    - substrate: coconut fiber mixed with eco-earth cypress bedding
    (when feeding I put a paper bag down so he is sure to not get any substrate in his mouth)
    - activity: he seems like he's "happy", not stressed or anything. Hides during the day and is active
    in the evening/night (exploring around his plants and stuff), he's always done this.

    When should I be concerned and seek a vet? I've seen many snakes go way longer than this without eating but this is out of the normal for my little guy. Hope he's ok
    - Olivia Olenzuk
    oliviaolenzuk.weebly.com

  2. #2
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    I can only guess but this seems like the "terrible twos" of ball pythons, lol. They typically eat very well when younger, then as adults they start doing what yours
    is doing...being flaky about meals. I assume you've been feeding weekly? Quit doing that...don't offer more than every other week. What are you feeding? (size
    & type of prey?) You might be over-doing it...just like when we were kids or teens, we were growing rapidly & ate non-stop, snakes also grow rapidly in the first
    year or 2, then slow down and need less food, & they may start to think about other things also (like mating).

    So unless you see clear signs that he's ill, I'd say this is just the "new normal" & you've been offering too much food. Of course, I'm not seeing him to know if he
    has good body weight- I'm assuming he does? Good idea to keep a regular check on his weight, at least once a month, & if he loses much, then you can worry.
    In all likelihood, he is just being a normal healthy young adult BP. They are not designed to eat constantly like we do...fasts are normal.
    Many friends in low places...

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  4. #3
    Telling it like it is! Stewart_Reptiles's Avatar
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    What is the weight of your BP and when feeding how big of a prey do you offer.

    Also 2 weeks is NOTHING a 2 year old animal of the right size could fast for 6 months to a year and seeking a vet usually is not the answer as they are lacking the expertise.

    Now there are things that can be done to limit food refusal and extended fast however the key is often patience.
    Deborah Stewart

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  6. #4
    BPnet Veteran Craiga 01453's Avatar
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    No need to stress at all. That's just part of the joy of keeping BPs.

    If the animal isn't losing significant weight and has traditionally been a good eater you have nothing to worry about. Mine go a few months without eating every year.

    Don't offer more than every two weeks, especially if you don't have another snake to eat the refusal.

    I've actually gotten to the point that once they're on a "strike" I basically let them dictate when I offer again. If I see the classic "head out of the hide" at night looking for prey to wander past I will be sure to check the following evening as well. On night three I offer, haven't had a refusal yet using this method.

    ...and P. S. Your hot side temps are a bit high. 90 should be the max, but many experienced keepers, myself included go 88-89 tops.
    Last edited by Craiga 01453; 08-27-2019 at 10:57 AM.
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  8. #5
    BPnet Lifer Zincubus's Avatar
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    Re: ball python not eating

    Itís already been mentioned but two of mine eat every time but every two weeks ..


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  9. #6
    Registered User honeymoon's Avatar
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    Re: ball python not eating

    Thank you so much for the reply <3 very good jnfo

    hes about 1360 grams
    - Olivia Olenzuk
    oliviaolenzuk.weebly.com

  10. #7
    Telling it like it is! Stewart_Reptiles's Avatar
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    Re: ball python not eating

    Quote Originally Posted by honeymoon View Post
    Thank you so much for the reply <3 very good jnfo

    hes about 1360 grams
    For a 2 5 years old male that is actually pretty big nothing I would worry about, I would also recommend to offer nothing bigger than a 75 grams rat every 7 to 10 days when it eats, because again it is a male.
    Deborah Stewart

  11. #8
    Registered User honeymoon's Avatar
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    Re: ball python not eating

    UPDATE

    I tried feeding him again 2 days ago. He missed the rat so I went to get it and he struck at my hand and wrapped himself around my hand. He was stuck on me for a couple minutes until he realized it wasnít a rat he was biting. Ever since then heís become very stressed and wont come out of a ball. I tried feeding him today and he just hid away when I put the food in there and he wonít eat again.
    - Olivia Olenzuk
    oliviaolenzuk.weebly.com

  12. #9
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Re: ball python not eating

    Quote Originally Posted by honeymoon View Post
    UPDATE

    I tried feeding him again 2 days ago. He missed the rat so I went to get it and he struck at my hand and wrapped himself around my hand. He was stuck on me for a couple minutes until he realized it wasn’t a rat he was biting. Ever since then he’s become very stressed and wont come out of a ball. I tried feeding him today and he just hid away when I put the food in there and he won’t eat again.
    Well obviously he WANTED to eat the other day...but you blew it by getting in the way (use feeding tongs, or longer ones if you already were) & now his confidence is a bit shaken. You are stressing him MORE by offering too soon...when something like this happens (or any time a snake refuses a meal), wait at least a week before offering again. They need time to get back on track...at BPs do. It's not always true of all snakes, btw, but BPs "wrote the book" on how to frustrate their keepers.

    And next time make sure all conditions are favorable before you offer...such as evening hours, dim lighting, BP in hide & peeking out, properly thawed prey- warmed to entice. And use tongs! Keep your hands out of his range: BPs use their heat sensing pits to find prey, & your hand was probably warmer than his prey, so that's what he went for. This was your mistake more than his.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 09-08-2019 at 04:59 PM.
    Many friends in low places...

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