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  1. #1
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    feeding second mouse

    I have a ball python named noodle. Im not exactly sure how old he is as I bought him from someone who wasnt too sure, but he's around 1 and a half. Hes a very picky eater and ive had a lot of troubles with him in that way. he stopped eating his mice as he always seemed terrified of them. he hides from them so i thought maybe they were too big and i got him smaller ones. after like half an hour i finally got him to eat last night and he still seemed hungry, i didnt have a second mouse thawed for him but for the future does anyone know how long he will stay in feeding mode for? it takes me about half an hour to unthaw another mouse and i dont wanna waste one if he wont still be hungry by then. also if anyone has tips on getting a picky snake to eat or why he might be scared of them that would also be helpful

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    Registered User Hugsplox's Avatar
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    Re: feeding second mouse

    Can you tell us how you're thawing out your feeders? Half an hour seems kinda fast unless you're using hot water to do it, and I'm wondering if your process is the issue rather than the size of the feeders.

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  4. #3
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    Re: feeding second mouse

    Some of my thoughts: (BTW, how long have you had this snake?) Sorry for long post but there are many factors to consider.

    BPs are ambush-predators, meaning they prefer to hide in a secure location & grab clueless prey that happens to pass by; they are NOT active hunters. So with a pet BP, you want to duplicate that process as much as possible.

    Best results for most BPs- feed in evening/after dark; dim lights (at most) in the room; wait until he's peeking out of his hide (that's what a "hunting" BP looks like); understand that they feel way too exposed* to eat if you offer them food when they're openly cruising their cage- *snakes are predators, but while they're busy eating, other animals may find them to be a tasty meal too.

    Don't offer meals too close together- if he refuses a meal, wait at least a week before offering again. Offering too soon just stresses them into more refusals.

    A snake that "seems afraid" of their f/t (frozen-thawed) prey may also be going into a shed cycle; they can obviously feel this before we can actually see any indication, so that's another good reason to wait at least a week after your BP refuses food- by that time, if he's in shed, it will be obvious, & it's best not to bother offering a meal- wait until after he sheds. Most won't eat when in shed, but even if they do, it can mess up their shed, because both digestion and shedding requires good hydration from the snake's body- many can't do both easily at the same time. If he's not in shed, he might then be hungry.

    Another reason that snakes are picky eaters is when they're being handled too much. Might this be the case? Since you mention he has always been picky, I wonder how often you're handling him? And I'd recommend you do NO handling for a couple days before you plan to feed him- see if that helps? (along with following the other suggestions as to time, & methods)

    Another appetite-killer is if his cage temps aren't warm enough- what's the temperature range in his home, both the highest & lowest? Are you using an overhead light, by any chance? (ambient room light only is best- they don't like bright lights)

    No way to tell you how long a snake will stay in "feed mode" & accept a second prey item. They're all individuals- some will & some won't, & especially with a BP, many just won't. Better to plan to only feed one item of correct size per meal.

    Thawing correctly matters: thaw in 'fridge or in cold water (< fastest way!) until soft thru-out (check this by hand); then & only then warm it up rapidly (to avoid spoilage-remember BPs want fresh prey, not carrion) briefly using very warm water immersion, & many here have great success also using a blow dryer right before offering.

    Remember BPs rely on their heat-sensing pits- you need to duplicate life-like warmth for most BPs to want to eat f/t prey. Again, don't thaw in hot water the whole time, as it promotes spoilage that your snake can smell, even if you can't- thaw cold, then warm & offer quickly -at night in a dim room- before it cools.

    How you offer matters: some snakes prefer to be "drop fed" (leave prey just outside their hide & they'll eat later when lights are out & you're not watching them). Unfortunately BPs also like their prey to be warm & life-like, & f/t rodents cool off quickly & are often un-eaten when offered this way.

    Many others accept f/t from tongs IF offered when they're peeking out of their hide, at night, as long as you don't make the rodent appear too lively, & never approach the snake with it. The idea is to elicit the snake to chase after the prey just a little bit.

    Snakes rely on instincts to survive, & rodents that appear to approach them will SCARE them -as that's NOT what real life rodents do- they run the other way. So if you're using tongs to offer prey, you want to give a slight jiggle to the prey & make it look like it's just passing by, a little out of reach from where the snake is hiding. This way, a hungry BP will feel secure enough to grab the prey- then be sure to let go, lol.
    BTW,
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 04-28-2021 at 06:50 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
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    Reptile Dysfunction
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    Re: feeding second mouse

    It can be hard on the kidneys to feed your snake too much food. Post a picture of your snake and the prey item and we could better answer your question. It depends on how big the mouse is also the thing is when snakes go off food you don't want to overfeed them when they decide to go back to eating. It can overload the kidneys and I have heard from reputable breeders that if you try to feed them more than one prey item after a large length of time in between meals they can die.
    Checkout my YouTube channel! I post Ball Python Morph Combo videos daily: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXr...7cOR5pcCONzvtA

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    Quick afterthought: As far as offering a second prey item (still not recommended, but IF you do) it's safer to feed items one right after the other, with the second one no more than an hour after the first. This is because digestion has started on the first, & introducing another item later than an hour can cause a regurgitation of BOTH items, due to the interruption & insufficient digestive enzymes for the second item.

    This is the main reason to just avoid feeding 2 items- regurgitation has risks for snakes, they don't do this easily (they can aspirate material into their lungs that can actually kill them), & even in a best case scenario, regurgitation dehydrates them & means you won't be able to offer food again for at least 2-3 weeks while they replenish their digestive enzymes. If your snake is on the thin side already, this truly is a set-back they don't need.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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