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  1. #1
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    Advice on Not Eating and Setup

    On 19 September I picked up a female BP, born on 25 July. The breeder gave me some documentation showing the feeding he had done to that point. After a couple of tries that week, she ate another thawed mouse on 25 September. As per today, 11 October, she has not eaten since, about 15 days. I am starting to get a bit worried. Her weight on 19 September was 137 grams. Her weight today is 153 grams. Below was her feeding schedule. As far as I can tell she has not pooped since I have had her. Not sure if it's because she is so small and the substrate I use absorbed it, or because she does not seem to eat often, so she just has not had one?

    Feedings
    13.08 - First feeding since birth on 25 July
    16.08 - 3 day gap since previous feeding
    22.08 - 6 day gap since previous feeding
    05.09 - 14 day gap since previous feeding
    25.09 - 20 day gap since previous feeding

    When I first brought her home, all I had were the three hides. I have added the plants over the last 10 days. Temps are 32C/90F on the hot side, 27C/81F on the cold side. My humidifier keeps it around 60%, although it can dip down to below 50%, and go up to above 70% when it goes off and comes one, respectively.

    Can anyone confirm whether it is normal not to find poop, or whether it is possible that she has not pooped since 19 September? Seems unlikely to me. Also would appreciate feedback on whether I should be worried about the gap between feedings. My understanding is that hatchlings/young snakes should eat every 7-10 days at most, so not sure if this is normal for a 2.5 month old snake.

    Thanks in advance for any feedback/suggestions.

    Don't know how to insert a pic.
    Last edited by robithinker; 10-11-2021 at 07:28 AM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Advice on Not Eating and Setup

    Here is the setup.


  3. #3
    Registered User Erie_herps's Avatar
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    I think your enclosure could use some improvements. If you decrease the stress from the enclosure she should eat better. When you first get a snake you should wait 2 weeks before handling, feeding, changing anything in the enclosure, or disturbing at all. There's nothing you can do about it now but hopefully you know for the future. Additionally I think some more cover would help in the enclosure. A snake, especially a shy one like a ball python, should be able to cross the entire enclosure without being seen. If there isn't enough cover they will become stressed. I would also recommend covering the back and sides. A younger, active snake won't poop as much since their body is using up most of the calories and nutrients in the food to grow and there isn't much left over. So she might not have pooped at all and if she did it would be very small and hard to see.
    Last edited by Erie_herps; 10-11-2021 at 09:43 AM.

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  5. #4
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    I agree with Erie_herps ^ ^ ^ and also, I'm not seeing the "3 hides" you mentioned? He needs at least one of the right size & type on the cool (unheated) side & one on the warmer side- the lack of "security" will make a snake too nervous to eat.

    Also, the young prey (baby mice or rats) that young snakes typically consume are mostly digestible- there isn't much waste leftover that the snake needs to expel, since they have much smaller bones & far less hair.

    Besides that, we need to know more about what prey you're offering & HOW you're offering it. BPs are ambush-predators that prefer to feed at night, in low light.

    What prey you're offering (size & type, live or f/t, etc) & how you're offering (from tongs, drop feeding, etc) are likely part of the reason your snake isn't eating often enough.

    Offering prey the right way will embolden the snake to grab & consume the prey, but if it's offered incorrectly, you can scare the snake into refusing to eat. A little wiggle is helpful, but too much, or making it seem like the prey is approaching the snake, is a big turn-off.

    Do you feed the snake IN his home? (that's a "must") If the prey is f/t, do you warm it before offering, so it seems life-like? (BPs use their heat-sensing pits to identify & strike their prey.)
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 10-11-2021 at 10:44 AM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
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  7. #5
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    Re: Advice on Not Eating and Setup

    Regarding the hides, there is the tree bark on the right, where she spends most of her time, because she can wedge herself in it seems to be the best size for her. There is also a hollow of tube of wood just to the left of the fern, which she has been in a few times, but prefers less because it has holes in it. The last hide is nearly impossible to see in my pic (apologies), but it's behind the leftmost plant and is a plastic hide with two entrances and is under the heat lamp. She has used this one some as well.

    I agree regarding lack of cover. I will add more wood for her to climb if she wants, as well as more plants. I have been googling other options as well. I will also cover the back and sides, although not sure what substance is best.

    Regarding feeding, she has been raised on f/t mice. The last mouse I gave her was between 20-30 grams, and not larger than her body at the thickest spot. I thaw in a bowl of warm, hot water, then try to feed her in the tank, using tongs. The last time she ate, she would not take from the tongs, so I left it on top of a hide and it was gone in the morning. I generally try to feed at night when she would be active, but since her last feeding she has been hiding more than moving. I check at night and she rarely comes out of her hide, which is why I assumed she is stressed.
    Last edited by robithinker; 10-11-2021 at 11:08 AM.

  8. #6
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    Your enclosure is nice to look at but it's not meeting the needs of the snake. I prioritize the needs of my snakes first, way before what their home looks like to me.

    What I mean by "hides" are like these- many of us use these exact ones, & snakes like them (eat & thrive):

    From what you describe, this is one of your big problems- your snake doesn't feel secure. That tube thing doesn't cut it, nor the hide with 2 doorways- you want something like what is shown above, with only ONE doorway. You need at least 2, as I already said. You can partly bury them if you don't like the "look", or put leaves over top of them, but they need to be there for the snake to use, to feel SAFE.

    You can also take some black construction paper (or scenery made for tanks) or cardboard...whatever...to cover the back & one or both sides of the tank. If you aren't keen on the look, it can be temporary*, but at least try it- young snakes need to be eating regularly, & to do that, they need a sense of security. (*though removing it later, once the snake is used to privacy, could backfire.) BTW, if you live in a cold climate & have trouble keeping the temps. up in this tank, you can also "insulate" behind the scenery you install. (Corrugated cardboard or poster-board with a foam core makes helpful insulation, but many things work, depending on what you need in a cold room.)

    By the way, you don't need to remove those "hides" she now has- as long as you add the real hides that do the job. You'll probably need to re-arrange them though. Open ended cork bark or tree bark tunnels make for nice "furniture" for a snake, but they just don't qualify as "hides" needed for security. OK?
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 10-11-2021 at 11:49 AM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
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    Re: Advice on Not Eating and Setup

    Ok, understood. Iíll replace the hides immediately. Iím looking for containers around the house that I can convert to hides that for her size.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  11. #8
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    Re: Advice on Not Eating and Setup

    Quote Originally Posted by robithinker View Post
    Ok, understood. I’ll replace the hides immediately. I’m looking for containers around the house that I can convert to hides that for her size.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Clean cardboard boxes can work just fine (though disposable when they get soiled or damp)- cereal & cracker boxes are often the right size/shape. The advantage of the hides sold by Reptile Basics is that they have more weight to them- when snakes go under a lightweight cardboard box, it can easily lift up & feel less safe to them. The plastic RB hides are washable & last "forever"- and they're not very pricey at all. Other sources sell similar ones too- the Bean Farm has great herp supplies too, but depending what country you're in-?-might not be available to you either. Some ppl have converted plastic flower pot "saucers" to snake hides by cutting in a doorway, & clean plastic food containers are often used for snakes too (again, cut a doorway- I use a sharp box-cutter knife, or an Exacto-knife to cut.) Food containers -if used- are best if not see-thru though- it's harder to find opaque ones. But yes, many things can work- be made into hides for snakes.

    I assume you also know not to handle a snake that isn't a strong feeder? Handling makes a small creature like a snake feel powerless*- they're predators & they need all the bravery they can muster to go after their prey- especially while they're learning-practicing-& feeling stronger. *Keep in mind that the only thing that picks up a snake in the wild is a predator about to eat THEM. So whatever you do, never handle a snake before you feed them- not if you expect them to eat.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 10-11-2021 at 12:26 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

  12. #9
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    Re: Advice on Not Eating and Setup

    I made this one and will make two more like it (or close off one of the holes in the other hide that has two entrances). Should a hide be opaque?


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  13. #10
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    Re: Advice on Not Eating and Setup

    Ideally it should be but the hide is still good temporarily. You could cover it with tape or leaves so light can't get through.

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