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  1. #1
    Registered User LisaG's Avatar
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    Feeding live questions

    I acquired my 2nd ball a short time ago from someone wanting to rehome her. I say "her" because that's what I was told and thats what they were told from the person they got her from about 11 years ago. She has been fed live that entire time. Previous owner said they tried f/t but she wouldn't take it. She accepted f/t for me twice and then stopped eating. My other ball went off food at same time so I didn't think too much of it. That was almost 3 months ago. Now my other ball has eaten but when I offered f/t to her she literally turned tail and "ran" into hide, not even poking her head out. I need to weigh her again but she has lost very little weight as of 3 weeks ago. I'm tempted to try live just to get her to eat and that's what she is used to but really don't want to. And I'm not sure how. Do you have to kill it first or just make sure it doesn't hurt the snake? I was really hoping because she ate 2 f/t for her 1st 2 feedings that all was good. Nothing in her husbandry has changed. UTH on thermostat at 91 and a heat lamp on thermostats at 88 and cool side at 80. Humidity pretty steady at 55%. 80 gal tank with Plexiglas lids. She had a good shed not long ago. I'm at a loss.

  2. #2
    Moderator Bogertophis's Avatar
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    First of all, what kind of rodents is she used to eating? Rats & mice smell AND taste different, & some snakes will only eat one or the other. For best results, you want to offer what she is used to eating.

    I'm not a fan of feeding live, & it's so much safer feeding either f/k (fresh-killed) or f/t (frozen-thawed), but just so you know, young mice or rats with their eyes still closed will NOT bite back in self defense...it's only after their eyes open, so IF you can buy a young rodent with eyes closed, even though it's too small for being the whole meal, it might be enough to serve as an "appetizer" & get her eating a second -larger- rodent that's already dead (& safe!). If you were in sales, this is called "bait & switch" LOL!

    You say she has eaten f/t previously though, so there's no reason she should really need live food now. Maybe you need to post more details about your set-up, or methods of offering f/t prey, as you might need to tweak some things. Are you feeding at night, when she's peeking out of her hide (BPs are ambush predators, & they don't like to eat out in the open, nor in bright lights.) Are you using tongs to offer prey with a slight jiggle? Are you warming it first? Have you heard of using a blow-dryer to warm it just prior to offering? BPs rely on their heat-sensing pits for a life-like temperature to inspire them to eat. Snakes don't all have the same personality either, so you might need different adjustments for each one. Some are bold, others very shy, & btw, offering too often just make them less likely to eat at all...it stresses them. Don't offer more than once a week or two, especially now that your has been fasting.

    This time of year, you might try adding full-spectrum lights to lengthen the day your snake is exposed to: in winter, days get shorter & between that & the falling temperatures, they instinctively stop eating. Assuming your home (or room where the snake is) isn't cold (?) then consider that more daylight might help to convince your snake it's "not winter".
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

  3. #3
    Registered User LisaG's Avatar
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    Re: Feeding live questions

    Thanks for the advice. I've had my younger ball for almost 2 years feeding f/t and he makes me work for it! Zombie dances using tongs and warming either in hot water (after thawed) and/or with a blow dryer. She has only only eaten f/t twice in her whole life. I figured if I got her to eat them I'd be home free. I will keep trying every week or so.

    And yes I feed at night when she pokes her head out of her hide. Her tank is insulated on three sides and I have a very dim light in the room just so I can see what I'm doing. I'm going to cover the front of the tank before I feed to see if hiding as much of myself as possible might help.

  4. #4
    Moderator Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Yeah, with shy snakes you have to dim the lights & try to be "invisible". I've known snakes that you have to literally "freeze" for, because the motion of moving away will make them drop their meal & not eat. One wonders how some of these snakes survive, lol. Other snakes, like a corn snake I have, will drop the food she's in the process of swallowing just to chase the motion of me near her enclosure: hey, I guess "bigger is better"? silly snakes... Some lose focus, others lose their nerve. They tend to be "individuals" & helps to learn their quirks.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

  5. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Bogertophis For This Useful Post:

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