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  1. #1
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    BP won't eat with humans present/not at all

    Hi there!

    I hope this isn't redundant, I'm still quite new at finding my way around the forum...
    Our Ballpython won't eat with humans present anymore and I'm wondering why and how to make him eat more consistently.

    We got him from a friend when he was already about 5. After we got him, we had some issues getting him to eat, most likely due to the stress of the move.
    After that, he ate normaly a few times. Then, he stopped eating again, so we tried leaving the rat (frozen-thawed) in the encolsure to get him hungry. He ate that rat while we were not watching him. The following times, when he still wouldn't strike while we were "wiggeling" the rat, we tried the same thing and he pretty consistently ate once we left.

    However, he hasn't been eating, even though he seems hungry to me. Last night, he was already roaming around his enclosoure while I was heating the rat but as soon as I held it into the enclousre, he retreated into one of his hides.... He came back out to "sniff" the rat once or twice but wouldn't strike, so I left it in there again, but he didn't eat it while we were gone either.

    We haven't been handling him much to reduce stress, I've been checking the temperature religiously and he has several hides.

    Did anyone have similar issues with BPs only eating alone? What are some things I can try to get him to eat more consistently?

    I'm grateful for any responses

  2. #2
    Registered User RebelCue's Avatar
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    Re: BP won't eat with humans present/not at all

    I have a female that ate FT flawlessly for the first two years of her life. Then she started doing exactly what you're describing. Would stop taking it, then eat it overnight. Then she completely stopped. I switched her to a live rat every week and she eats amazing. A medium rat is coiled almost immediately after being dropped in. Their feeding response may not be triggered the same way as they age with a FT. They are notoriously picky also. His wants just may be changing also. Best of luck!

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  3. #3
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    Hi, Rigatoni- How are you thawing the rats? And are you warming them just before offering them? What time of day are you feeding him?

    What are the temps. in the enclosure, & how are you taking them? (ie. are you sure the readings are accurate?)

    What kind of hides does he have? (& are they the same?) Pics of your set-up might help us see potential issues.

    Exactly how long have you had this snake now? (Did the friend you got him from also have trouble feeding him?)
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  5. #4
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    Re: BP won't eat with humans present/not at all

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    Hi, Rigatoni- How are you thawing the rats? And are you warming them just before offering them? What time of day are you feeding him?

    What are the temps. in the enclosure, & how are you taking them? (ie. are you sure the readings are accurate?)

    What kind of hides does he have? (& are they the same?) Pics of your set-up might help us see potential issues.

    Exactly how long have you had this snake now? (Did the friend you got him from also have trouble feeding him?)

    Thank you so much for your reply!

    - We're thawing the rats over night in the fridge and then heat them on a plate that we put over boiling water. We check the temperature of the rat the same way we check the enclosure, using a heatgun (Ketotek Infrared Thermometer). We warm them right before offering and usually feed in the evening, around 9 pm.

    - I just checked and on the warm side of the enclosure, the temperature is now around 33° C (91° F) and on the cold side it's abput 25° C (77°F). Maybe I should turn up the heat a bit? We're using a heatmat and I'm a bit worried about burning him, but maybe that's something I should look into?

    -He has two ExoTerra hides (images attached), which he both uses frequently, and he also likes to sit in the roots on the side/back of the enclosure.

    -We've had him for over half a year now and after the initial issues, he'd been eating frequently when we left the rat in.

    We've been feeding the same size and frequency as the previous owner and he hasn't mentioned any issues... I will ask him again now!

    [IMG][/IMG]

    [IMG][/IMG]

    [IMG][/IMG][IMG][/IMG]
    Last edited by Rigatoni; 05-19-2021 at 01:12 PM.

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    Re: BP won't eat with humans present/not at all

    Thank you RebelCue for your response as well!
    It's good to hear that we're not the only ones with that issue ^^
    Unfortunately, feeding live isn't really an option for us, both for practical reasons and because I'm not sure about the legality. We have quite strict animal welfare laws and feeding live mammals seems to be a bit of a legal grey zone...

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    Honestly, I'd leave the temps right where they are, your set-up is very nice, the time you feed is correct, & I can't see that you're doing anything wrong. Many BPs are quirky feeders, especially once they're adults, as yours is. And male BPs typically eat less than females, since they aren't under the body-stress of reproduction.

    One thing I forgot to ask is what size food (rats) you're feeding & at what frequency? Especially if you're sure this IS a male BP, you should be feeding small rats only- & personally I'd only offer every 2 weeks. It's likely that you'll have a much better food response from your snake if he is fed a bit less, especially as time goes on. It's easy to over-feed our captive snakes, especially since they aren't getting lots of exercise. Seasons can also influence their feeding habits- adult snakes may be thinking more about a mate than about a meal at times.

    There's nothing wrong with a snake that likes to be "drop-fed" anyway. Some snakes are just shyer than others, & may tend to prefer lights out. I have a very shy Korean rat snake that I've had for about 11 years now, & it took at least 8 years for him to be bold enough to grab food from my feeding tongs. Before that, it was "leave it in the dark, no peeking & just go away, lady!" Snakes will be snakes!
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  10. #7
    BPnet Senior Member AbsoluteApril's Avatar
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    some are just shy.
    I only feed f/t* and one of my girls will take it like all the others, then drop it and ignore. I have to re-heat and then offer again and finally she will eat on that second coil. EVERY TIME. it's so annoying lol
    You did mention this is an adult male, he may just not eat regularly. I have a few adult male BPs that will only eat every 3rd or 5th time offered, or go off food completely all winter for months.

    Boiling water seems like such a pain to heat up the feeder in my opinion but if it's working and you don't mind, go for it.
    I put my feeders in bags, then in a tub/tote which I fill with warm water. Dumping, replacing and flipping the feeders as needed until everything is thawed and warmed up. For those (mostly BP) that prefer the feeders very warm, I just do the last thaw soak in very warm water. Lots of people also use hair dryers to give a blast of heat to a thawed feeder. but again, if what you are doing works for you, no need to change

    *unless some other issue requires live or trying to get new addition to switch
    ****
    For the Horde!

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  12. #8
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    Re: BP won't eat with humans present/not at all

    Most of my Royals will only strike from within their hides ( they are ambush attackers apparently so that makes sense ) . I feed in dim/low light , makes sure they’re settled under a hide , then warm up the rat with a hairdryer then INSTANTLY dangle in front of the hide entrance - rarely fails even if it takes a few more blasts and retries .


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    Re: BP won't eat with humans present/not at all

    Thank you all so much! I feel much better and less worried now!

    We're currently feeding medium sized rats and he's been eating those just fine but I'll try small ones! We usually offer every two weeks.

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    Re: BP won't eat with humans present/not at all

    Quote Originally Posted by Zincubus View Post
    Most of my Royals will only strike from within their hides ( they are ambush attackers apparently so that makes sense ) . I feed in dim/low light , makes sure they’re settled under a hide , then warm up the rat with a hairdryer then INSTANTLY dangle in front of the hide entrance - rarely fails even if it takes a few more blasts and retries .
    How long does it usually take to warm it up with a hairdryer? I'll give this method a try, thanks

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