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  1. #1
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    Unhappy Female BP Not Eating :(

    Hey guys,

    My 2.5(ish) year old female butter ball python, named Koshi, has decided to go on a hunger strike. I don't have the exact date of her last meal recorded, but it was sometime in January. When I got her (very young), the breeder told me she was eating F/T, which I later found out that she was NOT and despite months of attempting to switch to F/T, she would not adjust besides the one time she reluctantly took a F/T mouse. From then on, I've been feeding live or fresh kill, which is not EVER my first preference, but it's the only thing she'll accept and I can't let her starve. I have noticed in the months before she went on strike that she was definitely spooked by the mice/rats I'd give her. It's been taking longer and longer for her to strike. In the times I've tried to feed her during this hunger strike, she's seemed very interested but backed off at the last second and returned to her hide. There was a week or two when I was wondering if she was maybe ovulating, and that's why she was refusing food, but to be honest, I'm relatively unfamiliar with the hormonal/breeding behaviors of snakes, so I'm not sure if that's remotely accurate.

    I finally just bought some frozen rats to keep on hand to continue attempting to feed her without having to deal with a (live) uneaten rat every couple weeks. Before this, she ate pretty much every 2 weeks. The only change she has experienced is a move across country, but that was nearly 6 months ago. I've upgraded one of her hides and her water bowl in the last month, but they were both to something she was actually more familiar with. Heating pad/humidity/cool side has all been very regular, basically from the moment I had her. I used to have a small UV light to turn on during the day to help simulate day light (not for basking) but I don't have that anymore - maybe it could be a messed up circadian rhythm? She was always particular to eating in the evening.

    Wondering if anyone has any suggestions for encouraging a stubborn girl to eat F/T, or just... eat. Not as familiar with F/T as it's been literally years since I've attempted thawing, and Koshi definitely broke my confidence on the thawing process with the amount of rats that she turned down.

    Feel free to reply or PM. Just need advice <3
    Last edited by partlybella; 03-26-2024 at 07:07 PM.

  2. #2
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    Sadly, I have seen some refuse to eat f/t after sale. Either ones I have purchased or even with one of the ones I have sold. Stress makes them act a bit silly sometimes. I changed one of my males to an open front terrarium once and he refused f/t for a long time. =_=
    But if the breeder DID lie.... Then that's an entirely different situation entirely. That sounds like they just wanted a sale.

    If she's been eating fresh kill it should be relatively easy to switch her to f/t. It could be the method you're using to thaw.
    I have to leave mine in a baggie to stay as stinky as possible. If they get wet I have a couple of picky ones that won't eat. Hairdryer method to heat them up is best after they warm up to at least room temps.

    It could very well be a hormonal cycle. I have a couple of girls who have been off food since January. Hopefully she'll snap out of it soon and pick up of feeding again for you. But if she's been spending a lot of time on the cooler side, she may have been developing follicles.

    Has her enclosure size changed any when she stopped eating? You mentioned a hide change, maybe she doesn't feel as comfortably snug in there as she was? If she's been roaming or hiding in corners or hanging out somewhere tall in her enclosure that could all be signs of stress with her hide options.

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  4. #3
    BPnet Royalty Zincubus's Avatar
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    Re: Female BP Not Eating :(

    The best thing to try is the hairdryer method !!

    Tried and trusted .. especially given itís taken a frozen thawed once already ..

    I havenít read through the original post but one mistake many make is to put them in a big /huge vivarium where thereís too much open space and not enough clutter and hiding places .

    ::::::


    Hairdryer method

    My method is to thaw the mouse near the snake viv during the day , then in the evening ( wait until itís dark or feed in dim light )

    Then wait until the snake is well settled under a hide , open the glass door , using tongs give the mouse a good blast with a hairdryer ( plugged in near the viv ) then immediately dangle the mouse in front of the hide entrance .

    If thereís no strike simply reheat with the hairdryer and again dangle it instantly whilst itís still warm ... in the odd case you may have to repeat the process 5 or 6 times but in my experience it rarely fails .. . Follow the method closely and it works 90%+ of the time Iíd say - the other 10% of the time Iíd put down to the snakes being in shed mode and simply not interested in food .


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  6. #4
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    Re: Female BP Not Eating :(

    I wouldn't change a feeding routine that has been working for 2.5 yrs because of a 2-3 month hunger strike. BPs are famous for their hunger strikes. They are so common I might be more concerned about a BP that never goes on them. To allay your worry, you could start weighing her. Not more than every couple weeks. If she starts dropping weight, then, you can start thinking about taking action.
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  8. #5
    BPnet Lifer EL-Ziggy's Avatar
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    Re: Female BP Not Eating :(

    Sounds like a standard winter or breeding season fast. Lots of snakes go through it. Make sure your animal has fresh water and offer food every 3-4 weeks until she decides to eat again. I donít keep them anymore but Iíve had BPs go off food for much longer periods of time and they were always just fine after their fast.
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  10. #6
    BPnet Royalty Zincubus's Avatar
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    Re: Female BP Not Eating :(

    Quote Originally Posted by EL-Ziggy View Post
    Sounds like a standard winter or breeding season fast. Lots of snakes go through it. Make sure your animal has fresh water and offer food every 3-4 weeks until she decides to eat again. I donít keep them anymore but Iíve had BPs go off food for much longer periods of time and they were always just fine after their fast.
    Exactly !!


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