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  1. #1
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    How should I switch my ball python to rats

    My ball python has been eating jumbo mice for a while now and I believe he is too big for them now and needs something bigger. He weighs 676 grams. I've tried switching him to rats in the past and he always ends up losing a bit of weight from refusing to eat. I've tried scenting the rats and I've gotten him to strike at rats before but once he grabs it he immediately lets go and looks as if he had been hurt. Like he twists around as he pulls back? last time I tried to switch him to rats I gave up and tried to feed him a mouse but it took a few weeks to get him to eat a mouse after that. Both times I've tried to switch him to rats in the past he never showed any interest except for the first time I showed him a rat and he thought it's a mouse but then freaked out when he realized it wasn't.
    I'd like to switch him to rats but i'm not really sure how. I know people say to just keep trying even if it takes months but I'm worried he will lose too much weight. He seems to lose weight kind of fast? Is there a way I can switch him to rats without having to worry about him starving himself?
    Also is there a way I can help him put on a little weight? I think he might be a little underweight and I'm not sure if I should try feeding him mice more often or if I should try feeding him two mice instead of one.

    Thank you for your time
    I really appreciate you helping me out with my dumb questions

  2. #2
    Telling it like it is! Stewart_Reptiles's Avatar
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    When you switch you want to switch with a rat identical in size to the mouse you were feeding, you do that for 2 to 3 meals and upgrade in size if necessary.

    It's about tough love and know when to resume to normal feeding and what works, at his size there is no concern and yes it could take months without causing any issues.

    If you have access to dirty mice bedding use that as well.

    Also is there a way I can help him put on a little weight?
    Feed what work weekly and worry less about switching.

    A jumbo mouse for a snake that size considering it is a male is more than enough.
    Last edited by Stewart_Reptiles; 07-20-2020 at 06:20 PM.
    Deborah Stewart

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  4. #3
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    Re: How should I switch my ball python to rats

    I usually ask the pet store to scent the rat of the same size its used to with mouse droppings. It's always worked for me. Usually the pet stores I've worked with are wiling to give mouse droppings for free as long as you buy something from them.

    When one of my ball pythons went on a longer than usual hunger strike, I had the store scent a rat with gerbil droppings, and that worked too.

  5. #4
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    Like I said before, I tried feeding him scented rats before and he struck at one but then freaked out and let go. If I keep trying to feed him scented rats will he eventually eat one or did I just not scent it enough?

    Also is feeding him jumbo mice ok for now? The last mouse I fed him was 40 grams but I've heard that he should be eating food that weighs 50-89 grams.

  6. #5
    BPnet Senior Member dakski's Avatar
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    Re: How should I switch my ball python to rats

    I don't like jumbo anything, rats, mice, etc. They are very fatty relative to a younger mouse, rat, etc. Of course, I have more boas than anything, and they are sensitive to fatty meals, much more so than a BP.

    I would offer 2 or 3 adult mice in a sitting IF he doesn't switch to rats, which he should over time. However, if Stewart Reptiles says jumbos are okay, then she knows much more about BP's than I do and I would defer to her.

    How often are you offering the rats? At that weight he should be able to go a little while and get good and hungry, but you don't want to overly stress him out either by offering frequently.

    Also, as stated, offer a similar sized rat, like a weaned rat, but nothing bigger right now.

    Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
    Last edited by dakski; 07-21-2020 at 12:05 AM.

  7. #6
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    Re: How should I switch my ball python to rats

    I would offer a rat maybe every few days or once a week. the rats I tried to feed him were a litle smaller than the mice he was eating at the time. It's been a little while since I've tried to switch him to rats. I'll probbably try again next time I need to buy more mice?

  8. #7
    BPnet Senior Member dakski's Avatar
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    Re: How should I switch my ball python to rats

    Quote Originally Posted by Idon'tknow View Post
    I would offer a rat maybe every few days or once a week. the rats I tried to feed him were a litle smaller than the mice he was eating at the time. It's been a little while since I've tried to switch him to rats. I'll probbably try again next time I need to buy more mice?
    Way too often. Offer every other week and leave him alone for the most part otherwise. Let him feel really comfortable and then offer.

    The more often you offer and he refuses, the more likely it is that he won't take the rat. You are just stressing him out offering every few days or even every week at this point.

    Also, how are you defrosting the rats and are you offering at night with dim lights, etc?
    Last edited by dakski; 07-21-2020 at 07:03 AM.

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  10. #8
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    Re: How should I switch my ball python to rats

    Ahh thank you that makes sense

    I thaw them by putting them in a zip lock bag and then letting it sit in a cup of water until it thaws which usually takes about one hour. I then warm it up by replacing the cool water in the cup with warm water and I let the rat sit in there for a few minutes. I offer at night with dim lights. I offer them to him at around midnight-2am.
    Last edited by Idon'tknow; 07-21-2020 at 04:44 PM.

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