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  1. #1
    Registered User newowner's Avatar
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    BP on 9 week without taking food… cause for concern?

    I got my ball python in July 2021, he (never actually got him gendered though, so i dont know) was approx. 3/4 months old then. here’s some husbandry info…

    I have hides on either side of his tank and plenty of foliage. his cool side is around 77 and the warm side has a basking spot of 89, with a normal temp of 85, with a nighttime drop to 75ish. This is the temperatures I have used since I got him and he’s never shown any signs of stress.

    I have been feeding him frozen small rats every 10 days for probably the past 6 months… but he’s been going anywhere between 10-21 (3 weeks) between feedings.

    He just had a shed (no hiccups, all came off in one piece) on August 26th, and I find that he sheds every 6ish months.

    He last ate September 1st, and ever since then has shown absolutely no interest in food. I have tried everything. I went down a size, Ive been using a blow dryer, and I even poked little holes in the rats head to help the smell come out (i heard this from somewhere lol).

    Heres the weird part. Every single night, he sits with his head poking out of his hide as if he’s hungry (i found this to be his “tell” that he’s hungry). But no matter what I do, he will poke his head out from his hide, sniff it, and then either crawl right over it or go back into his hide.

    He has also been incredibly inactive, I usually see him come out to bask, but he rarely does now. The only time he comes out is when he switches from the cool hide to the warm hide.

    I have not been holding him or taking him out to help with stress. I am monitoring him though (just checked on him a few days ago), and he doesn’t seem skinnier than after his shed, no scale rot/mites/mouth rot/respiratory issues or anything of the sort.

    I have basically ruled out everything but brumation, but i thought that didn’t really occur in captive snakes. Also he didn’t show any of this behaviour last year. I’m just starting to get worried since I have hit the 2 month mark now, he has never gone this long without taking a rat.


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  3. #2
    BPnet Veteran Homebody's Avatar
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    Re: BP on 9 week without taking food… cause for concern?

    Quote Originally Posted by newowner View Post
    I got my ball python in July 2021, he (never actually got him gendered though, so i dont know) was approx. 3/4 months old then.
    ---------
    I have been feeding him frozen small rats every 10 days for probably the past 6 months… but he’s been going anywhere between 10-21 (3 weeks) between feedings.
    --------
    He last ate September 1st, and ever since then has shown absolutely no interest in food. I have tried everything. I went down a size, Ive been using a blow dryer, and I even poked little holes in the rats head to help the smell come out (i heard this from somewhere lol).

    Heres the weird part. Every single night, he sits with his head poking out of his hide as if he’s hungry (i found this to be his “tell” that he’s hungry). But no matter what I do, he will poke his head out from his hide, sniff it, and then either crawl right over it or go back into his hide.

    He has also been incredibly inactive, I usually see him come out to bask, but he rarely does now. The only time he comes out is when he switches from the cool hide to the warm hide.
    I wouldn't worry. This all sounds like very typical ball python behavior. You say it's not typical for your ball python and I hear you, but your ball's still growing, maturing. It's behavior will change. I'd continue to offer every 10 days until he takes it. I'd only become concerned if he started dropping weight.
    1.0 Normal Ball Python (2019 - 2021)
    1.0 Normal Children's Python (2022 - present)

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  5. #3
    BPnet Royalty Zincubus's Avatar
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    Re: BP on 9 week without taking food… cause for concern?

    Quote Originally Posted by newowner View Post
    I got my ball python in July 2021, he (never actually got him gendered though, so i dont know) was approx. 3/4 months old then. here’s some husbandry info…

    I have hides on either side of his tank and plenty of foliage. his cool side is around 77 and the warm side has a basking spot of 89, with a normal temp of 85, with a nighttime drop to 75ish. This is the temperatures I have used since I got him and he’s never shown any signs of stress.

    I have been feeding him frozen small rats every 10 days for probably the past 6 months… but he’s been going anywhere between 10-21 (3 weeks) between feedings.

    He just had a shed (no hiccups, all came off in one piece) on August 26th, and I find that he sheds every 6ish months.

    He last ate September 1st, and ever since then has shown absolutely no interest in food. I have tried everything. I went down a size, Ive been using a blow dryer, and I even poked little holes in the rats head to help the smell come out (i heard this from somewhere lol).

    Heres the weird part. Every single night, he sits with his head poking out of his hide as if he’s hungry (i found this to be his “tell” that he’s hungry). But no matter what I do, he will poke his head out from his hide, sniff it, and then either crawl right over it or go back into his hide.

    He has also been incredibly inactive, I usually see him come out to bask, but he rarely does now. The only time he comes out is when he switches from the cool hide to the warm hide.

    I have not been holding him or taking him out to help with stress. I am monitoring him though (just checked on him a few days ago), and he doesn’t seem skinnier than after his shed, no scale rot/mites/mouth rot/respiratory issues or anything of the sort.

    I have basically ruled out everything but brumation, but i thought that didn’t really occur in captive snakes. Also he didn’t show any of this behaviour last year. I’m just starting to get worried since I have hit the 2 month mark now, he has never gone this long without taking a rat.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Hi
    My current best eater and biggest Royal at around 6lbs went 15 MONTHS without eating a morsel from the day I first bought him !!

    Fear not


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro




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  7. #4
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    If your snake is a male this is his first winter as a mature male. Some of my adult males won't eat again until next March because they have other things on their minds.

    Once he does start eating again he can eat every 2-3 weeks instead of every ten days.

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  9. #5
    BPnet Senior Member Albert Clark's Avatar
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    Re: BP on 9 week without taking food… cause for concern?

    Curious as to how you’re regulating the heat in the enclosure? Is the heating coming from above the enclosure or below or both ? Also, are you measuring the humidity? Is he the only ball python you have?
    Last edited by Albert Clark; 11-03-2022 at 08:11 AM.
    Stay in peace and not pieces.

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  11. #6
    Registered User Malum Argenteum's Avatar
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    My male (that's his 'sex', BTW; snakes don't have genders as far as we know) BP took an eight month break from eating back in his younger days, and sometimes still fasts a couple months each year.

    It can be hard to tell whether a fast is normal or a sign of husbandry issues, though, so it is a good idea to make sure all the environmental parameters, enclosure size, etc are good.
    Last edited by Malum Argenteum; 11-03-2022 at 08:33 AM.

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  13. #7
    Registered User newowner's Avatar
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    Re: BP on 9 week without taking food… cause for concern?

    Quote Originally Posted by Albert Clark View Post
    Curious as to how you’re regulating the heat in the enclosure? Is the heating coming from above the enclosure or below or both ? Also, are you measuring the humidity? Is he the only ball python you have?
    its coming from above, i’ve always been scared of heat mats and the potential for burning… I have a day bulb and a violet night bulb that switch every 12 hours. I have hygrometers and thermometers on either side of his tank. His humidity sits around 55-60%. my house is pretty dry but I mist him at least once a day!

    And yes hes my only BP! I worked at a pet store for years and dealt with lots of sick ball pythons (this guy I have came to my store with mites and scale rot initially, before i helped him and then couldn’t resist taking him home). but thus is my first time owning so Ive never seen the long-term behaviour of a bp before

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  15. #8
    BPnet Senior Member Albert Clark's Avatar
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    Re: BP on 9 week without taking food… cause for concern?

    I would consider ditching the day bulb for a CHE as these reptiles are basically underground dwellers and do better in very subdued lighting or near darkness. Maybe cover the glass sides as well so there is only the front of the enclosure that you can observe through.
    Last edited by Albert Clark; 11-10-2022 at 08:48 AM.
    Stay in peace and not pieces.

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  17. #9
    BPnet Royalty Zincubus's Avatar
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    Re: BP on 9 week without taking food… cause for concern?

    Don’t know where you’re up to but I’ve sent you details of the tried and trusted hairdryer method of feeding !!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro




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  19. #10
    Registered User newowner's Avatar
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    Re: BP on 9 week without taking food… cause for concern?

    Hi Everyone!!

    Thank you for all your advice and help earlier. Just wanted to let everyone know that my snake officially ate today and I could not be happier

    Thanks again!!!


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