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  1. #1
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    Need some advice

    Hello everyone,
    I bought a ball python less then thirty days ago. I made a big mistake by buying from a chain pet store and found this out during my research. Since owning this animal he or she hasnít eaten for me. I donít know if itís lost weight but it looks the same as when I got it. It was under fed before I bought it which isnít a good thing. It started out in a 10 gallon tank because itís still small. I was having a hard time with the humidity in a tank so I temporarily put it into a 15 liter tub till I can get it on a regular eating schedule. I did this based on a video I seen to help the snake to feel more secure and have a better chance of it feeding. It will be going into a 32 qt tub once it starts eating on a regular basis. My humidity is at 60 percent, hot side at 90 degrees, and cold side at 80. The temps and humidity have been right on point for at least two weeks now and still the snake isnít feeding. It shows no signs of respiratory infection and is in good health other then looking under fed. I have tried frozen mice that was thawed and offered it every 7 days. It shows no interest in eating. During the day itís in the hide and comes out on occasion and I am assuming to regulate its temperature. Itís most active at night. I have also covered the top of the tub to help the snake to feel more secure. I rarely handle it but when I do it doesnít get tensed up but seems to be curious. I have done a lot of research to see what I am doing wrong but, I am doing everything I have found on line. I am going to try to feed on Friday when I can get a live fuzzy mouse to see if it will eat that. Someone recommended live mice for the first 7 feedings. Since I know the pet stores policy after asking many questions I know this snake was only feed once with a frozen thawed mouse. How they did it is beyond me because itís refusing to eat a frozen thawed for me. Any advice on how to get this snake to eat a frozen thawed? I donít want to get it use to eating live because of the risk. If I canít get this snake to eat soon then Iíll have to take it back to the vet.

  2. #2
    BPnet Veteran Toad37's Avatar
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    Re: Need some advice

    You said you've rarely handled it? Untill it feeds for you 3 consecutive meals don't handle it AT ALL. Skip the move and go straight to rats since it won't eat the mice. Try a f/t rat pup. You can get a cheap digital scale to track it's weight to make sure it hasn't lost any but I wouldn't stress too much about it not eating. You said you've done all the research you can online. Did you read anything about how these animals regularly fast during the winter for months at a time? As long as it's body condition looks good I wouldn't stress too much. And I definitely wouldn't let this warrant a vet visit

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  4. #3
    BPnet Veteran jmcrook's Avatar
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    Re: Need some advice

    https://ball-pythons.net/forums/show...-hatchling-101


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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  6. #4
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    Feed at night...BPs are ambush predators that feed at night, optimally when some clueless prey passes near their hiding place- so try to duplicate this- offer food at night, dim the lights & don't be obvious about being present- offer f/t or f/k prey from tongs with slight jiggle only when you see them peeking out of their hide as if looking for prey.

    New snakes should never be handled until they're feeding easily at normal intervals for at least 2-3 meals*- they NEED time to settle in, re-homing is stressful & frightening for snakes. I know this* was mentioned above (post #2) but it bears repeating as it's the mistake most often made by new snake owners, & it can result in the snake taking MUCH longer to settle in & eat for you.

    Also, don't jiggle the prey excessively & never towards the snake, always go "past" the snake so as to elicit a slight "chase". BPs are shy & lose their nerve when rodents appear to fight back more than they expect.

    Best results are achieved when you ASK exactly what a snake was fed previously & you duplicate that. (mice or rats? size/age category? live, f/k or f/t?) Same goes for similar living quarters.

    Also, it's best to NOT offer food too quickly: wait a week or two before you offer food to a new snake- they won't take it anyway (or most likely won't) & the more you offer, the more stressed they feel while they're still trying to "settle in". If they refuse a meal, don't offer for AT LEAST another week or more. Prepare to be patient...BPs aren't always cooperative for beginners.

    You didn't mention how big (or old) this snake is? Don't stress it now by weighing it, even if you have an accurate scale, but if you have a hatch date, that's something else you needed to get when you bought this snake. That & a feeding record is usually provided by reputable breeders & sellers- those who CARE about the future lives of the animals they raised.

    HOW (not just when) you offer dead prey (f/k or f/t) matters greatly to BPs: thaw in cool water to reduce spoilage, & once it's soft throughout (feel by hand to make sure it's fully thawed), then warm it to lifelike warmth by briefly immersing in very warm water (NOT hot or boiling!), & many also like to use a blow-dryer
    briefly right before offering. BPs USE their heat-sensing pits- most accept dead prey ONLY if it seems warm enough to be alive. And don't over-do the motion.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 01-06-2021 at 06:50 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  8. #5
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    Re: Need some advice

    To Toad37
    Thanks for your reply. I understand that a snake shouldn’t be held during the settling and waiting for a few good feeds. I moved it from a 10 gal tank to a tub and had to move it out a few times due to the substrate getting wet from the water bowl. I also moved the hide a few times to see if it was alive because I haven’t seen it move in a few days within the first two weeks. Other then that it’s been left alone. I also have read about them not eating during winter months and how they can survive months without eating. However do to it’s size I am concerned that it may not survive months of not eating. Maybe I am just a worry wart lol.
    Last edited by allenburker; 01-07-2021 at 06:08 AM.

  9. #6
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    Re: Need some advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    You didn't mention how big (or old) this snake is? Don't stress it now by weighing it, even if you have an accurate scale, but if you have a hatch date, that's something else you needed to get when you bought this snake. That & a feeding record is usually provided by reputable breeders & sellers- those who CARE about the future lives of the animals they raised.

    HOW (not just when) you offer dead prey (f/k or f/t) matters greatly to BPs: thaw in cool water to reduce spoilage, & once it's soft throughout (feel by hand to make sure it's fully thawed), then warm it to lifelike warmth by briefly immersing in very warm water (NOT hot or boiling!), & many also like to use a blow-dryer
    briefly right before offering. BPs USE their heat-sensing pits- most accept dead prey ONLY if it seems warm enough to be alive. And don't over-do the motion.

    I don't know how old it is or exactly how long it is. I was not given that information and they don't keep track of the information. I mentioned in my post it was from a large chain pet store. Which I will most likely buy from a breeder next time. With thawing I thaw in the refrigerator and heat up with a lamp, just long enough to get warm. Thanks for your reply I appreciate it.

  10. #7
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    Re: Need some advice

    ****UPDATE**

    So my ball python ate Friday night, I fed it a live fuzzy. I didnít get to see it because I had to go to work but when I came home it was gone. So I will feed it live prey for a few more weeks before trying f/t again. I might have a snake that prefers live but I hope not. My question is now when can I try to feed it a rat so I wonít have to fight it to eat a rat at a later time.


  11. #8
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    You offered a mouse fuzzy? That's too small a meal even for a hatchling BP. Go ahead and offer a rat fuzzy next time. He should be good and hungry so he'll grab it quickly.

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  13. #9
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    Re: Need some advice

    Quote Originally Posted by bcr229 View Post
    You offered a mouse fuzzy? That's too small a meal even for a hatchling BP. Go ahead and offer a rat fuzzy next time. He should be good and hungry so he'll grab it quickly.
    I gave him that size just in case he refused and then I could feed the fuzzy to my corn snake. I also didnít want to start off too big for his first meal for me either. The next feeding I will give it a rat fuzzy and see what happens. Thanks for the advice.

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