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Thread: When to try F/T

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    When to try F/T

    I searched around and couldn't find any examples, so here it goes:

    I'm getting a new ball python soon; ~6 months old, ~300 grams, currently eating live rats. My hope is to switch to frozen/thawed simply for convenience. Knowing BP's can get set in their ways, should I take advantage of the snake moving to a new enclosure/place/smells/etc and also attempt a F/T with the first feeding (probably waiting a week after arrival)?

    Or is the opposite true and I should just hope she eats anything at all considering the transition, and offer what she's known to eat?

    I've had a BP before and I switched to F/T after a while, so I'm not afraid of them missing a few meals, and I think I know most of the tips and tricks for switching, but I want to take the best approach with this new situation.

    FWIW, She'll be starting in a 15-quart tub, heat gradient 80-90į F, paper towel substrate, hides, water dish, 60-day proventamite treatment. Eventually she'll go in a naturalistic display after gaining some size.

    Thanks for any help!

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    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    You're better off with any new snake to make their new home seem as familiar as possible, so I'd suggest copying the previous methods until your snake has "settled in" & taken at least 3 meals for you at normal intervals (ie. without too much begging on your part, lol). Only then is it wise to make changes, & if you choose to do so right away, the snake is more likely to refuse just because it's already freaked out enough by the move itself. New homes are very frightening & disorienting to snakes- in nature, their safety depends on learning their way around- where to hide from predators & weather.

    I do totally advocate feeding f/t or at least freshly pre-killed, not only for convenience but also for humane treatment & especially for safety- sooner or later, snakes do get bit or chewed on by rodents they're trying to kill, & even if the snake wins the battle, those injuries can later be the "rodent's revenge"-not to mention the cause of expensive vet bills.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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    Thanks for the response- it's exactly what I was looking for.

    The reason I switched my first snake to F/T was because of a bite injury. I was just a kid and thought live feeding was "cool", but not cool enough to justify injuries to the snake.

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    BPnet Senior Member dakski's Avatar
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    Re: When to try F/T

    I agree with Bogertophis in letting your snake feel at home, etc. However, if you defrost and offer the F/T rat properly and have left the snake alone to settle in for 7-10 days, you might get lucky. I did with my BP girl Shayna (she was 200G and 5 months when I got her). She had been eating live, although her breeder offered F/T and she took it immediately. It took 2 tries a week apart, but she got eating F/T without having to offer a live rodent and she never looked back.

    If I were you, and you want her on F/T, and she is indeed 300G and healthy, I would let her settle in for a week (no handling, etc.) and then offer F/T. If she doesn't take it, I would offer again 5-7 days later and if that doesn't work then offer live a 5-7 days later and for a few meals. Get her established.

    Younger snakes are easier to switch, but most switch eventually anyway. Younger snakes tend to be more focused on FEED ME I NEED TO EAT and seem to ask fewer questions.

    I would be sure to follow the defrosting instructions below (if you know all this, pardon me, and no offense, but I'd rather post than not) and make sure you are feeding the same prey type and size she was eating at the breeder. In other words, if she's been eating rat pups, offer a rat pup, etc.





    This is my step by step list on defrosting F/T rodents.

    Others may do it differently and that's fine. This how I do it and it works for me.


    STEPS FOR DEFROSTING F/T RODENTS/PREY

    1. Put prey item(s) into appropriate size plastic bag. I use Quart size ziplock bags up to a medium rat. NOTE: Bags are optional. Some people just throw the prey in the water. I like the bags, but you have to squeeze the air out of them.

    2. Fill the container/storage box 3/4 of the way with room temp to slightly warm water. If you have a temp gun (which you should, so if you don't, get one), make sure the water is not hotter than 85-90F, or there about.

    3. Put F/T prey item(s) in water. Cover (optional) and leave for an hour +/-.

    4. After an hour, rotate/flip prey. If in plastic bags, they often will stay on whatever side you put them in on. So if mouse is on left side, turn to right side, etc.

    5. Leave for another hour +/- for a TOTAL of about 2 hours (up to medium sized rat - longer if bigger prey).

    6. Check that prey is defrosted totally through. Squeeze at different sections of the preys body. Should be cool/room temp to touch, but be soft with no cold spots. If hard (except for bone), in abdomen, for example, or cold, put back in water until room temp and soft.

    7. Take prey out of the container/storage box and put aside. THEN FOLLOW STEPS 8-11 OR STEP 12

    8. Fill container with hot water from tap. If using temp gun, water temp should be 110-130F, not more.

    9. Drop prey item into water for 30 seconds +/-. If multiple prey items, do one at a time. You want each item hot when you offer.

    10. Remove (if hot water, with tongs).

    11. Dry as best as you can, and is quickly as you can, with paper towels. I dry with paper towels while I am walking from the bathroom where I defrost to the snake tanks. I kind of wrap the prey item up in them. It's ten feet, so by the time I get to the tanks, the prey is drier, but still warm.

    12. If not using hot water, use a hairdryer to heat rat so it entices snake

    13. Open tank and offer ASAP.
    Last edited by dakski; 03-21-2021 at 08:06 PM.

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    Thanks for different perspective, @dakski.

    It's always hard to tell what a newcomer knows and doesn't know. Better safe than sorry for sure!

    Snake should be arriving Wednesday, with the last feeding the prior Saturday. I'll wait 2 Saturdays to make 10 days untouched in my home, and 14 days without food before trying the F/T. If she doesn't take it, I'll try once more the next week, and then offer live prey after that (if unsuccessful).

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    Re: When to try F/T

    Quote Originally Posted by MrMoyb View Post
    ...

    Snake should be arriving Wednesday, with the last feeding the prior Saturday. I'll wait 2 Saturdays to make 10 days untouched in my home, and 14 days without food before trying the F/T. If she doesn't take it, I'll try once more the next week, and then offer live prey after that (if unsuccessful).
    Sounds like a good plan, fingers crossed for your success to switch her to f/t. It's a gamble that depends on your experience level ("if at first you don't succeed"). My "advice" to stay the course was the safer way to keep a snake eating, but by no means the only option, & totally your call. As you implied, advice is not "one size fits all" anyway.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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    I hate it when people ask a question on a forum and never follow up with their results...

    SUCCESS!

    I received the snake on Wednesday, and she actually hadn't eaten in 10 days due to shed. She seemed to settled in to the new home quickly- exploring at night and sometimes basking in the hot spot. Since she seemed to be settled, and it had been 16 days since last feed (though only 5 days in a new home after shipping), I offered a thawed rat this morning on tongs.

    No strikes, but she'd follow it around. If I kept it still she'd start nose-pushing (is there an official term for that?), so I left it in the tub and gave her a few hours of privacy. So unless there's a reanimated zombie rat roaming the herp room, she ate it!

    It's been years since I've had a snake, so this was a welcome bit of luck. Thanks for the help!

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    WOO-HOO! So happy for your success, I'd have tried the same under the circumstances, knowing she's hungry & all.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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    Re: When to try F/T

    Quote Originally Posted by MrMoyb View Post
    I hate it when people ask a question on a forum and never follow up with their results...

    SUCCESS!

    I received the snake on Wednesday, and she actually hadn't eaten in 10 days due to shed. She seemed to settled in to the new home quickly- exploring at night and sometimes basking in the hot spot. Since she seemed to be settled, and it had been 16 days since last feed (though only 5 days in a new home after shipping), I offered a thawed rat this morning on tongs.

    No strikes, but she'd follow it around. If I kept it still she'd start nose-pushing (is there an official term for that?), so I left it in the tub and gave her a few hours of privacy. So unless there's a reanimated zombie rat roaming the herp room, she ate it!

    It's been years since I've had a snake, so this was a welcome bit of luck. Thanks for the help!
    Awesome.

    I would let her digest for at least 24 hours and then check and make sure she didn't pull it into a hide and lose interest. It can happen, but not likely.

    Shayna, my BP, is shy sometimes, and unless crazy hungry, doesn't strike, she just grabs and pulls in her hide to eat. My corns do that a lot too.

    Having said that, she's still settling in, so be aware she might strike the next time, or soon after .

    I would also recommend feeding at night after the lights go out. BP's tend to hunt after the sun goes down. They prefer not to have a lot of light when they eat. If it was light in the room, that might be partially why she was a little shy.

    Having said all that, if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

    Way to go and thank you for posting your success! We appreciate it.

    Any other questions, just let us know, we are here to help!

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    Re: When to try F/T

    Quote Originally Posted by MrMoyb View Post
    I hate it when people ask a question on a forum and never follow up with their results...

    SUCCESS!

    I received the snake on Wednesday, and she actually hadn't eaten in 10 days due to shed. She seemed to settled in to the new home quickly- exploring at night and sometimes basking in the hot spot. Since she seemed to be settled, and it had been 16 days since last feed (though only 5 days in a new home after shipping), I offered a thawed rat this morning on tongs.

    No strikes, but she'd follow it around. If I kept it still she'd start nose-pushing (is there an official term for that?), so I left it in the tub and gave her a few hours of privacy. So unless there's a reanimated zombie rat roaming the herp room, she ate it!

    It's been years since I've had a snake, so this was a welcome bit of luck. Thanks for the help!
    Excellent !!!

    Sometime in the future when youíve got to the stage of offering ... have a hairdryer plugged in next to the viv .. give the mouse /rat a good hot blast with a hairdryer ... then donít blink when you dangle it in

    Works best at night , in dim light .


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro




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