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  1. #1
    Registered User Born2rage's Avatar
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    Banana ball being picky

    I got a banana ball python a little over a week ago. I've tried feeding several times now, and can only seen to get him to strike. He won't latch on or curl around it. I am feeding frozen. He seems interested but just won't take it. Any help is appreciated

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    Registered User gerguera's Avatar
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    Re: Banana ball being picky

    Congrats on the new python! Reading your post I have a few thoughts though in order to give better advice we would need to know more details about its enclosure, age/weight.
    1. You typically want to give a new snake some time to settle in before attempting to feed.
    2. After refusing a meal while stressful for the owner I believe it is best practice to wait until the next feeding day (7 -14 days later depending on age of ball python) before trying to feed again.
    3.Are you currently handling him? You will be adviced not to handle him except for cleaning his cage until he has had atleast 3 consecutive meals without refusing with the exception of being in shed.
    4. Is the meal you are offering him of the appropriate size? There is a feeding chart on here that can give you specifics based on your snakes weight.
    5. What is your method for defrosting the feeder? have you tried the hair dryer method?
    6. What time of day are you attempting to feed? Typically ball pythons will prefer to feed in the evening and night.

    More information on your situation will help us narrow down specific advice that can get your banana feeding like a champ.
    0.1 Enchi Bumblebee (Pixel)

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    Registered User Erie_herps's Avatar
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    All of the above advice is great, if you try all of that and it doesn't work you could try scenting the feeder, offering mice (if you're not already) and if neither of those work you can try feeding live and offer f/t every other time until the snake eats f/t.

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    Registered User Hugsplox's Avatar
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    Re: Banana ball being picky

    Some good advice already given but I'll drop my 2 cents in as well.

    You said that you just this snake a little over a week ago and you've tried feeding several times. Odds are the snake is stressed from moving into a new enclosure, getting mailed if you had it shipped, being in a new environment, etc etc. You have to give it time to settle in and your multiple feeding attempts in a short period aren't helping with that.

    As mentioned already, take a break, and give it a week to settle in, then try feeding again. Also as Gerguera said, more information about your snake and your enclosure can help us narrow down the issue and maybe offer some husbandry advice to get and keep your new BP eating.

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  8. #5
    Registered User Born2rage's Avatar
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    Re: Banana ball being picky

    Thank you!
    I purchased him on 4/30. He's about 18 inches long. I have a 40 gallon enclosure (I bought a ball python kit) so it has the heating mat, bulb, hides, etc. I realize it might be too big.

    He did poop the day I brought him home, so I tried to feed on the 5th day. I then waited until 4-5 more days had passed to try again.

    I tried to feed in a separate enclosure, he did not seem interested at all. When I tried to feed in his home, he would strike.


    I did handle him once this last weekend. I can hold off on that if it would help, I don't want to stress him out!!


    For size, he struck at a small mouse, did not strike at a fuzzy. I left in the fridge overnight and warmed up in a bag in water. I tried putting the head under the lamp. The blow dryer is a good idea!! Both times I tried to feed were at night (1030pm or later)

    Thank you

  9. #6
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Re: Banana ball being picky

    Quote Originally Posted by Born2rage View Post
    Thank you!
    I purchased him on 4/30. He's about 18 inches long. I have a 40 gallon enclosure (I bought a ball python kit) so it has the heating mat, bulb, hides, etc. I realize it might be too big.

    He did poop the day I brought him home, so I tried to feed on the 5th day. I then waited until 4-5 more days had passed to try again.

    I tried to feed in a separate enclosure, he did not seem interested at all. When I tried to feed in his home, he would strike.


    I did handle him once this last weekend. I can hold off on that if it would help, I don't want to stress him out!!


    For size, he struck at a small mouse, did not strike at a fuzzy. I left in the fridge overnight and warmed up in a bag in water. I tried putting the head under the lamp. The blow dryer is a good idea!! Both times I tried to feed were at night (1030pm or later)

    Thank you
    40 is most likely gigantic compared to what he lived in before. Remember BPs are ambush-predators that spend most of their time hiding & waiting for prey to pass cluelessly within reach.

    For best results, always start off by providing conditions as similar as possible to what the prior owner (or breeder or store) was doing- same goes for prey. Mice & rats smell vastly different & some snakes like one but not the other, so first off, ASK what he was being fed for best results, & stick with that for a while, until he's eating regularly. Only then make changes if you want or need to.

    NEVER feed outside a snake's home enclosure: that alone can stress them into not feeding, & especially for a shy snake like a BP. Remember that the only thing that picks up a snake in nature is a predator that's about to EAT it. Your snake, even if captive bred, relies on instincts to survive...therefore, when you handle him before feeding, he has stopped thinking about food & is most likely afraid. Fear is a real appetite-killer!

    Also: you're more likely to get bit trying to handle a snake before & after feeding: first, when they're hungry, they may mistake your warm & wiggling hand for prey, & again AFTER they eat, IF they eat in a side container -please understand that snakes can stay in "feed mode" (ready to bite prey!) for hours or even days after eating, meaning you're likely to get bit when you try to return them. A BP bite certainly won't be the end of you, but it won't be pleasant, and handling a snake that's in feed mode can be a dangerous habit to make with larger snakes. Also, when a snake bites you, you're more likely to drop them & cause them injury, so there's many good reasons to avoid this whole mess.

    For BEST results: NO handling of your new pet until he's fed easily at least 3 times at normal intervals- to give him time to settle in. Eating is important for his growth & health- handling can wait.

    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  11. #7
    Registered User Born2rage's Avatar
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    Re: Banana ball being picky

    Would downsizing add more stress at this point, or should I do that right away? Am I better off waiting for a week and trying to feed again in his current?

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    Re: Banana ball being picky

    Quote Originally Posted by Born2rage View Post
    Would downsizing add more stress at this point, or should I do that right away? Am I better off waiting for a week and trying to feed again in his current?
    Changing to another enclosure (tub or whatever) would likely add more stress- better to make sure this one meets his needs. At least 2 equal hides (one cool side, one warm) and since you obviously have room, make a 3rd hide for humidity (with damp moss inside). Proper hides should be this style (see below). Other brands are fine, just showing you an example, since so many make the mistake of thinking those half-round tree bark tunnels sold in pet stores will work as "hides"- they don't. They're extra cage furniture, but are too open for a snake to feel safe in. You want to provide hides that aren't too much bigger than your snake is when curled up. You can buy one he'll "grow into", but then just pack some paper inside so it fits tighter. Many find that covering the back & sides of a glass tank with either scenery or dark paper taped on will help keep the snake from feeling too "exposed", as does other "clutter" (ie. vines, fake foliage). The enclosure is best located in a fairly quiet room.

    And yes, I'd wait a week to try feeding again in his home. Wait until evening also- and don't offer if/when he's roaming the tank. BPs usually do best when peeking out of their hide at night- they don't usually like to hunt openly, as in the wild, they run the risk that other predators may grab them too. Remember they're "ambush-predators"- that's their specialty.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  14. #9
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    Re: Banana ball being picky

    I know it can be stressful when your snake doesn't eat, I had some trouble with mine and have some tips to share. whoever you got it from, you want to make sure that the breeder had fed the snake, you'll want to figure out what he was feeding the snake as well. another problem could be that the rat isn't warm enough or the rat is spoiled. I know that my ball python will sometimes coil up in a position where half of his body is upside down and he would have trouble eating that way, so he drops the food for a moment to uncoil and then to grab it again, sometimes it takes him a while to grab it again but he usually does. if he isn't coiling he might be too weak, make sure he has water and that he is nice and strong, since you've only had him for a week you should make sure not to handle the snake at all until it's had 3 successful meals, once he has I suggest having "work-out sessions" with the snake, I do this by holding him by in front of his midsection and making a wide circle with my finger, doing this around the snake and making sure it's tight enough where it isn't squeezing him but he has to work to get through my fingers, my snake will then flex his muscles as he's slithering which exercises him, before I would do this his coils were weak and not very tight but now he squeezes that rat so hard that it takes him only around 30 seconds to kill it!

    I wish you good luck with your snake, I'm sure it's a beauty!
    I like cheese - a weird creature that is me

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  16. #10
    Registered User Born2rage's Avatar
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    Re: Banana ball being picky

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    Changing to another enclosure (tub or whatever) would likely add more stress- better to make sure this one meets his needs. At least 2 equal hides (one cool side, one warm) and since you obviously have room, make a 3rd hide for humidity (with damp moss inside). Proper hides should be this style (see below). Other brands are fine, just showing you an example, since so many make the mistake of thinking those half-round tree bark tunnels sold in pet stores will work as "hides"- they don't. They're extra cage furniture, but are too open for a snake to feel safe in. You want to provide hides that aren't too much bigger than your snake is when curled up. You can buy one he'll "grow into", but then just pack some paper inside so it fits tighter. Many find that covering the back & sides of a glass tank with either scenery or dark paper taped on will help keep the snake from feeling too "exposed", as does other "clutter" (ie. vines, fake foliage). The enclosure is best located in a fairly quiet room.

    And yes, I'd wait a week to try feeding again in his home. Wait until evening also- and don't offer if/when he's roaming the tank. BPs usually do best when peeking out of their hide at night- they don't usually like to hunt openly, as in the wild, they run the risk that other predators may grab them too. Remember they're "ambush-predators"- that's their specialty.

    Thank you so much for the advice. He's definitely spoiled with lots of places to hide and explore.

    A side note, he's been lethargic all week and has blue eyes today so a shed could have been a factor on him not eating too. With him being so new we will find a rhythm. Thank you again for the wonderful advice, hopefully he'll be hungry after he sheds

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