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  1. #1
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    Advice for switching to F/T

    I have read a lot of guides and have been told by various people about the process of switching from Live to F/T. My baby ball python successfully ate 5 times every Sunday and they were Mouse Hoppers. I tried to feed him F/T today and he seemed a bit interested at first, never struck but hissed a little (first time I heard him hiss lol). I had it warmed to just around 98 or 99 degrees and only warmed it after it thawed for about 30+ mins. My BP weighs around 100 grams and was advised to feed him Rat Pup, which I got from a local pet store. So, I am not upset he didn't feed and know it can take some patience. My main question is whether the rat pup was too big, I forgot to weigh it but it was likely around 20 - 25 grams. And, now that this was unsuccessful, do I try again tomorrow or just wait until next Sunday ad that is his normal feeding day? Or, do I go back to live again and try F/T later? Thanks for any advice.

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    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    When a snake refuses a meal, it only causes more stress (& this it becomes LESS likely they'll eat) the more you keep offering "too soon". Best to wait a week before trying again- he'll also be more hungry & hopefully less picky by then.

    Changing 2 things at once is also not a good idea- rats & mice smell & taste different, & snakes have preferences. So it wasn't the best idea to go from live mouse hoppers to a f/t rat pup- not saying it never works, just that it reduced your odds of success. At the very least, you should have scented the f/t rat pup with "dirty" (well-used) mouse litter. But you'd have been better off going from live hopper mice to f/t hopper mice to start with.

    Snakes have their own personalities & preferences- & I have no "crystal ball" to tell you what absolutely will work- only suggestions for what tends to work.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  4. #3
    Registered User Malum Argenteum's Avatar
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    I don't breed pythons, but with boas and colubrids I'll often go from live to prekilled, and then to FT. That's another 'not two things at once' issue -- going from live to dead is one thing, but going from live to dead and also "tastes like the freezer" is more than one change. But if the snake will eat a FT mouse hopper, that's progress too.

    I agree that a hungry snake is more likely to eat a prey item that it isn't so sure about.

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  6. #4
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    This is my only and first snake, so I don't have access to getting something mouse scented. I could go to frozen mice first then to rats, but maybe this extra week will make him extra hungry so might not be as picky too. At first he seemed to be in strike posture but gradually went to almost a more fearful posture. I didn't want to create extra stress so I didn't keep putting it in front of him once he hissed a little. Is it possible he saw the rat as too big? I mean he has fed well and has steadily gained weight every week, so maybe the rat pup wasn't the right size choice.

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    Re: Advice for switching to F/T

    Quote Originally Posted by TallJRock View Post
    This is my only and first snake, so I don't have access to getting something mouse scented. I could go to frozen mice first then to rats, but maybe this extra week will make him extra hungry so might not be as picky too. At first he seemed to be in strike posture but gradually went to almost a more fearful posture. I didn't want to create extra stress so I didn't keep putting it in front of him once he hissed a little. Is it possible he saw the rat as too big? I mean he has fed well and has steadily gained weight every week, so maybe the rat pup wasn't the right size choice.
    Just guessing but rats (the unfamiliar scent of) has been known to "scare" snakes unfamiliar with eating them. That would explain the hiss & refusal, much more than the size. Snakes actually don't assess the size of prey very well at all- that's why I'd say it was the rat scent, most likely. As for used mouse litter, try asking a pet store if they'd save you some- & tell them why so they don't think you're totally , lol.

    When offering "dead" prey, it may take a little practice to get just the right "presentation"- both warmth, & slight wiggle (using tongs) but not so much that it seems threatening. Remember that in the wild, rodents do not approach snakes & offer themselves as dinner, so try to entice the snake to the prey, rather than approaching the snake with it- which would be quite "forward" & something a rodent would never do. This may seem trivial, but with prey that smells unfamiliar, it matters.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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    Thanks, that makes sense. I will give it another try next week. I did try to make sure the rat looked like it was just walking and didn't dangle it by the tail. I appreciate all the advice, I will have to learn just as much as the snake 🐍

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    Re: Advice for switching to F/T

    Quote Originally Posted by TallJRock View Post
    Thanks, that makes sense. I will give it another try next week. I did try to make sure the rat looked like it was just walking and didn't dangle it by the tail. I appreciate all the advice, I will have to learn just as much as the snake 🐍
    Yes, it all gets much easier with practice. We all had to learn to "think like a snake", lol. Now I have to remember not to swallow my food whole or flick my tongue in public...
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

  10. #8
    BPnet Lifer dakski's Avatar
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    Re: Advice for switching to F/T

    How are you defrosting and offering the prey?

    Properly defrosting the prey and heating it properly before offering to a BP is important to have them recognize the prey as food.

    Any questions on defrosting and heating prior to offering, just ask.

    I agree that you should be offering F/T mice first and then attempt to switch to F/T rats down the road. Too much all at once for most BP's to switch to F/T and rats.

    It sounds like you are doing it correctly, but thought I'd ask. I'd defrost in room temp water for a while - making sure it's thawed all the way through, and then quickly warm up without cooking it at all. That means a quick hit with a hair dryer or warm water for 30 seconds +/-.
    Last edited by dakski; 09-19-2022 at 03:54 PM.

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  12. #9
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    Re: Advice for switching to F/T

    Quote Originally Posted by TallJRock View Post
    I have read a lot of guides and have been told by various people about the process of switching from Live to F/T. My baby ball python successfully ate 5 times every Sunday and they were Mouse Hoppers. I tried to feed him F/T today and he seemed a bit interested at first, never struck but hissed a little (first time I heard him hiss lol). I had it warmed to just around 98 or 99 degrees and only warmed it after it thawed for about 30+ mins. My BP weighs around 100 grams and was advised to feed him Rat Pup, which I got from a local pet store. So, I am not upset he didn't feed and know it can take some patience. My main question is whether the rat pup was too big, I forgot to weigh it but it was likely around 20 - 25 grams. And, now that this was unsuccessful, do I try again tomorrow or just wait until next Sunday ad that is his normal feeding day? Or, do I go back to live again and try F/T later? Thanks for any advice.
    I have sent you something to try

    Itís the hairdryer method and is proven beyond doubt .


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro




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  14. #10
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    Re: Advice for switching to F/T

    Go to rats not mice. Thaw out one of each. Then blow the mice scent into the tank through a vent. Your snake with light up and get into feeding mode. You will see itís pretty cool.

    Then open tank, present rat and the rest is history. Works every time like a charm.

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