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  1. #1
    Registered User B.P.'s 4me's Avatar
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    New adult ball python not eating - losing weight.

    I'm at a loss here. Purchased a new ball python at the end of March.
    I kept him in a quarantine situation until last month and then moved him to a rack. High temps. are 88 - 91 F. Cool end is 75 - 78 F. Humidity is aprox. 60 %.
    Previous owner said he fed on live only and sent him home with a small live rat. She said he was due to eat on day of purchase but she didn't want to feed him just before he traveled. I agreed and offered it to him about a week after purchase, he never did eat it. He's actually never eaten since purchase.
    I've offered live, both regular rats and a.s.f. rats. I've offered f/t. I've offered fresh killed,, I've offered everything from weanlings to small med. rats, all to no avail. There have been a couple of times in which he seems slightly interested, but he's never even gone so far as striking at them and actually seems afraid of them.
    I was told he was about 2 years old and he came to me at a weight of 1140 grms. He now weighs 1022 grams. There is nothing visually wrong with him, but I thought he was a bit thin when I got him and am starting to get concerned.. He does spend most of his time in his hide, but is active, and alert when I take him out. Is time to force feed, and if not, when? I have numerous other Ball pythons and have never had to force feed. I've had a few that have gone longer without food than this boy, but they were in better body condition when they started. Any suggestions would be welcome. :-)

  2. #2
    Registered User Igotsmallballs's Avatar
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    Re: New adult ball python not eating - losing weight.

    How big is your enclosure? Also clutter helps a lot. It did for me anyways.

  3. #3
    Telling it like it is! Stewart_Reptiles's Avatar
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    It's an adult male over a 1000 grams it's not unusual and really nothing to worry about. As for the weight loss if the animal cam in on full and you got the second weight on empty it does not really reflect weight loss accurately.

    All you can do is make sure your husbandry is optimum and weight it out.

    And remember you NEVER assist or force feed an animal that knows how to eat and obviously if he is over 1000 grams he is.

    Here are some of the things that you can try also.

    Smaller tubs 15 quarts, I know it is very cramped but it is temporary and it tend to work with sexually mature males that generally only have one thing in mind.

    Car ride. (not a joke it really works it's about movement change of environment, basically work like a reset).

    Changing everything washing the male it's tub and changing to a different substrate.

    Alternative prey (mice) ONLY if you are willing to feed that from now on.
    Deborah Stewart

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  5. #4
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    Re: New adult ball python not eating - losing weight.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stewart_Reptiles View Post

    Car ride. (not a joke it really works it's about movement change of environment, basically work like a reset).
    I'd like to hear more about this

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    Telling it like it is! Stewart_Reptiles's Avatar
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    Re: New adult ball python not eating - losing weight.

    Quote Originally Posted by Toad37 View Post
    I'd like to hear more about this
    I get that a lot, just an old timer breeder trick which work for this but also breeding.

    In essence like I said it works as a reset sometime the animal just need a complete change of environment to get triggered back into either feeding or breeding habits (now ironically with an animal that has not issue that change can produce the opposite effect), now not everyone can ship an animal to a friend (which is not unusual for some breeders to do when they run into animal that will either cease to feed for them or breed for them) so the other alternative is to take them on a ride in a snake bag.

    When I have used this method over the year I took a simple trip to my Fedex hub to deliver animals (it's 30 min each way) and took the problematic individual along for the ride, cam home set it back up waited a week and got the animal going again.
    Deborah Stewart

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  8. #6
    Registered User B.P.'s 4me's Avatar
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    Re: New adult ball python not eating - losing weight.

    Thank you Debra. He was "empty" when he arrived as previous owner said he was due for a feeding the day I purchased him. She was feeding every week she said. I'm somewhat relieved to hear you say "just wait it out" and that it's not a good idea to force/assist feed a snake that is capable of eating on it's own. I'll try to worry less and just be more patient. Thank you.

  9. #7
    Registered User B.P.'s 4me's Avatar
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    Re: New adult ball python not eating - losing weight.

    He's in a 28 qrt bin (rack) but it sounds like it might be worth downsizing for a bit to see if that helps. It's about the only thing (aside from the car ride) that I haven't tried.

  10. #8
    Registered User B.P.'s 4me's Avatar
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    Re: New adult ball python not eating - losing weight.

    Thank you for that, but he's in a rack. His bin is a 28 qrt. He does have a hide and spends most of his time in it. I seldom see him out of it.

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    Telling it like it is! Stewart_Reptiles's Avatar
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    I will add something I forgot, adults tend to take a lot longer to adjust to their environment, I will say that 50% of animals I have received as adult took anywhere from 3 months to a year to adjust.
    Deborah Stewart

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  13. #10
    Registered User B.P.'s 4me's Avatar
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    Re: New adult ball python not eating - losing weight.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stewart_Reptiles View Post
    I will add something I forgot, adults tend to take a lot longer to adjust to their environment, I will say that 50% of animals I have received as adult took anywhere from 3 months to a year to adjust.
    Thank you for that, good to know. :-) Also, a quick question regarding the "car ride" treatment. Aprox. how long after the car ride might I try feeding him again - or could I expect that he might be out of his hide and "hunting" rather than spending most of this time hiding as he is now. Thank you for your help, I really appreciate it.

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