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  1. #1
    New Member Niveis Frigoro's Avatar
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    My ball python has not eaten since August, Any advice?

    hello!

    Unfortunately, My ball python has not eaten since August. The last time I fed her she took a small PK rat just fine, but after that she never took again.
    whenever I attempt to feed her, she seems interested for a few moments, before tucking her head back into her hide and avoiding the rat. As of late she has shown barley any interest.
    I took her to the vet back in November, she had a fecal done and a general physical and she had no problems or signs of parasites.

    Here's her husbandry:

    Tank size: 4 ft x 2 ft x 16 Inch PVC tank

    Hot side temp: 87-92 Degrees
    Cold side temp: 80-75, 75-70 on colder days.

    Humidity: often stays at around 65% goes up to 75% after being misted.

    Substrate: eco earth mixed with rainforest bedding, Substrate is humid but not wet.

    Tank decor: two hides, a cork tube, water dish big enough to soak in, fake plants, and one real Jade Plant. Also some rocks and vines.

    Lighting: LED, Its on a timer and is on for 12 hours a day.

    Here's what ive tried in terms of food:

    Frozen rats, dry
    Frozen rats, wet
    Frozen rats, hot
    Frozen rats, cold.
    Different colored rats.

    Pre-killed
    Pre-killed, bled
    Pre-killed lots of wiggling

    Live, Showed barley any interest. Certainly more than the other times but still minimal.

    I try to feed her about once every two weeks.
    Im super worried about her, she's still at an ok weight but she's getting thin and I want to try all that I can before we have to have a vet force feed her. I know that that is SUPER stressful for them so I want to try everything that I can.

  2. #2
    BPnet Veteran Luvyna's Avatar
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    70-75F on the cool end is too cold for a BP, the absolute minimum temperature for anywhere in the enclosure is 75F. How are you measuring temps? You should use both a temperature gun and a digital thermometer. Make sure both the air temperature and surface temperature are correct across the enclosure. You may need to add an extra heat source or increase the temp of the room to get the cool side temps up.

    Some tips to try for the next attempted feeding if you haven't done so already:
    • Feed at night with the light in the enclosure and the room off (you can leave a bit of light like a small lamp or light from the hallway or another room so you can still see)
    • If feeding F/T or pre-killed, blast the rat with a hair dryer on hot for about 30 seconds before attempting to feed. You can repeat this several times if needed.
    • Leave the rat in the enclosure overnight (but remove first thing the next day if it still isn't eaten)
    • Make her enclosure smaller by adding a divider and cover the front of the enclosure with a towel so she is blocked from view. Keep the enclosure small and covered until she is eating consistently again. Sometimes the extra security from a tighter and more private space helps with non-eaters.
    Last edited by Luvyna; 01-13-2021 at 06:51 PM.

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  4. #3
    BPnet Veteran jmcrook's Avatar
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    Definitely do not force feed an animal that knows how to eat. We have not heard the age and actual weight of this snake yet or the type of enclosure and heating elements being used or type of thermostat(s) regulating them, type of thermometers, hygrometers, etc. All will be helpful in offering any advice. I concur that 70 is too low on the cool side.

    The first time my male went on a food strike it was from October to June and he only lost a couple hundred grams at best. A couple years ago he ate all through the winter and then skipped all of summer. Now he's only missed two meals in over a year and a half. I gave up on figuring out his eccentricities and decided to get more snakes to eat what he wouldn't. Ironically he's become more and more ravenous with every new animal I've added. Go figure.

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  6. #4
    New Member Niveis Frigoro's Avatar
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    Re: My ball python has not eaten since August, Any advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by jmcrook View Post
    Definitely do not force feed an animal that knows how to eat. We have not heard the age and actual weight of this snake yet or the type of enclosure and heating elements being used or type of thermostat(s) regulating them, type of thermometers, hygrometers, etc. All will be helpful in offering any advice. I concur that 70 is too low on the cool side.

    The first time my male went on a food strike it was from October to June and he only lost a couple hundred grams at best. A couple years ago he ate all through the winter and then skipped all of summer. Now he's only missed two meals in over a year and a half. I gave up on figuring out his eccentricities and decided to get more snakes to eat what he wouldn't. Ironically he's become more and more ravenous with every new animal I've added. Go figure.
    Ah, sorry about that.

    Age: around 2 1/2

    Weight: im not sure of her exact weight, but she appears to be slim, her spine is visible but not sharp and her belly is flat.

    Heating elements: Under tank heater controlled with a Jumpstart thermostat, currently set at 90 Degrees F.

    Both Thermometers and Hydrometers are Zoomed and are digital.

  7. #5
    BPnet Veteran jmcrook's Avatar
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    My ball python has not eaten since August, Any advice?

    “Appears slim” is relatively subjective. Many of the Royal pythons I see online are fat little stuffed sausages. Here’s a picture to give some guidance on that. Also, pictures of your critter would be helpful.

    As for you wide fluctuations in ambient temp, it’s likely due to your room temp and only having a UTH. That will do zero for ambient temps at all. If your room is too cool to provide adequate ambient temp then an RHP would be a wise investment to make.




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited by jmcrook; 01-14-2021 at 09:12 AM.

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    Bogertophis (01-14-2021),Niveis Frigoro (01-14-2021)

  9. #6
    BPnet Veteran CALM Pythons's Avatar
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    Re: My ball python has not eaten since August, Any advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Niveis Frigoro View Post
    hello!

    Unfortunately, My ball python has not eaten since August. The last time I fed her she took a small PK rat just fine, but after that she never took again.
    whenever I attempt to feed her, she seems interested for a few moments, before tucking her head back into her hide and avoiding the rat. As of late she has shown barley any interest.
    I took her to the vet back in November, she had a fecal done and a general physical and she had no problems or signs of parasites.

    Here's her husbandry:

    Tank size: 4 ft x 2 ft x 16 Inch PVC tank

    Hot side temp: 87-92 Degrees
    Cold side temp: 80-75, 75-70 on colder days.

    Humidity: often stays at around 65% goes up to 75% after being misted.

    Substrate: eco earth mixed with rainforest bedding, Substrate is humid but not wet.

    Tank decor: two hides, a cork tube, water dish big enough to soak in, fake plants, and one real Jade Plant. Also some rocks and vines.

    Lighting: LED, Its on a timer and is on for 12 hours a day.

    Here's what ive tried in terms of food:

    Frozen rats, dry
    Frozen rats, wet
    Frozen rats, hot
    Frozen rats, cold.
    Different colored rats.

    Pre-killed
    Pre-killed, bled
    Pre-killed lots of wiggling

    Live, Showed barley any interest. Certainly more than the other times but still minimal.

    I try to feed her about once every two weeks.
    Im super worried about her, she's still at an ok weight but she's getting thin and I want to try all that I can before we have to have a vet force feed her. I know that that is SUPER stressful for them so I want to try everything that I can.
    Hello, first let me tell you not to worry to much. This is 100% normal Ball Python behavior. A few things can contribute to this and some you cannot control.
    Not sure of the age but that plays a roll. Most Balls up to a year eat on a decent schedule, after that if they have been fed normally and not maintenance fed they can be all over the map unless you space out the feed schedule longer. Most of mine have always went to once a month after a year, year & half and the adults willing to eat every 2 weeks end up going off later for 4-6 months. This is why Im ok with once a month and rather they stay on all year. I have never had a Ball or any Python starve themselves. Of course all my snakes come from healthy parents and great breeders.
    Another problem can be breeding season once they’re adults. I have a female that did this for years like clockwork even though its more common for males.
    When they do go off, wait a good amount of time. Remember they do this in the wild. Don’t think like a person, that makes us worry. 6 months off food at proper weight/size ratio will be just fine. I had a 2 yr old female go off for 8 months when she was 2100 grams.. 8 months later she was 1780 grams and went back on like nothing changed hahahaha...
    As far as your lights and heat. I recommend never allowing your enclosure to get below 78 minimum at the coolest spot. My cool sides are 79-81 24/7. Balls will choose security over heat and that means in their peanut head they could choose a spot thats to cold if you do not regulate temps better...that can cause a respiratory issue fast or failure to digest food. Also I would not run a light all day if the room the snakes are kept in isnt pitch dark. They prefer not being light up like Broadway..if the room is dark without windows then id do a 1/2 day of light, 6-8 hrs. They will know Night from Day no matter what you do with the light cycles...
    If I were you (Ive been keeping 32 years) I would wait this out. Try offering once a month Max.. refusing can become very habit forming with Balls... Get a weight now and pay attention to body composition. Nobody can tell you what your snake should weigh with age, Its about general health and their appearance. If you need piece of mind post some pics. Id be happy fo help as would others.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Name: Christian
    0.1 Albino Ball (Sophie)
    0.1 Russo White Diamond (Grace)
    1.0 Hypo Burmese (Giacomo/AKA Jock)
    1.2 Razors Edge/Gotti & American Pit Bull
    ----------
    1.1 Albino/Normal Burmese (Mr & Mrs Snake)
    1.0 Albino Ball (Sully)

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    Bogertophis (01-14-2021),Niveis Frigoro (01-14-2021)

  11. #7
    BPnet Senior Member Mr. Misha's Avatar
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    Re: My ball python has not eaten since August, Any advice?

    I haven't taken to read all of the suggestions that were given but I would highly recommend purchasing a scale and keeping track of her weight.

    With that being said, as someone already mentioned, girls do go off feed. One of my girls goes off feed September to about April every year. I offer once a month to see if she takes it but I also monitor her weight on a monthly basis.

    Someone already mention the low temps so just make sure you address that.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
    0.1 Reg. BP Het. Albino (Faye),
    1.0 Albino BP (Henry),
    0.1 Pastave BP Het. Pied (Kira)
    1.0 Pied BP (Sam)
    1.0 Bumble Bee BP (Izzy)

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