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Thread: Changing Prey

  1. #1
    Registered User Nutriaitch's Avatar
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    Changing Prey

    I've mentioned here before that I was underfeeding my BP before realizing his meals were too small.

    He ate an adult mouse the first time I tried to feed him one with intent to switch him over to rats so he can work his way up in meal size as he gets older.

    by sheer luck of timing, this happened to coincide with him shedding.
    he didn't eat leading up to the shed (nothing unusual)
    he shed roughly a week or so ago (don't remember exact day). looked like a good shed, mostly all in one piece with a very small piece at the tail that came off later.

    over that week, I've made multiple attempts to feed him fuzzy rats.
    he acted very interested. came in close smelled it, got into strike position, then casually just slithered away.

    wasted 4 F/T fuzzy rats during this time.
    last attempt was day before yesterday.

    today, I still had a fuzzy mouse left over from previously, so figured I would see what he would do.
    Wow! he attacked that thing with extreme prejudice. and wasted no time in eating it.

    I know it could just be a timing coincidence and he may have eaten a rat today if I'd had one.
    but I've also read that they can be stubborn when switching them between types of prey.

    so my question is:
    Are there any tips or tricks on best way to switch him to rats so he can get the larger prey he needs?
    should I just buy more Frozen Rats (maybe try a pinkie) and try again on next feeding day?
    or maybe try to find a local breeder where I can score a fresh killed rat?
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 04-25-2024 at 07:31 PM. Reason: Repaired your TOS violation

  2. #2
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    One thing I can see that you goofed on was offering prey too soon (too often). You said (above) "...over that week, I've made multiple attempts to feed him fuzzy rats."

    Actually, when a snake refuses food, wait at least 5-7 days before offering again- it just stresses them into refusing if you keep offering every day or couple days. Give them time to realize they're hungry...they won't starve.
    It just works better & wastes a lot less food.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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    Re: Changing Prey

    Quote Originally Posted by Nutriaitch View Post
    Are there any tips or tricks on best way to switch him to rats so he can get the larger prey he needs?
    Reptilinks produced a series of videos demonstrating various techniques for switching feeders. The point was to help their customers switch to Reptilinks, but the techniques they teach are applicable for changing to any type of feeder. You can find the videos on their website (segments 3, 4 & 5).
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  5. #4
    Registered User Nutriaitch's Avatar
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    Re: Changing Prey

    update:
    was unable to find any frozen fuzzy rats locally, so I picked up some adult mice instead.
    found some better quality bags to thaw them in, so mouse was no longer "all wet" when it was ready.

    and ole boy smacked him good!
    didn't take nearly as long to eat this one as the original one from a few weeks back.

    I have 1 more mouse that I'll feed him on next feeding before offering him a rat finally.



    also I learned something about the sphagnum moss I have in his enclosure.
    if he moves some of it to a point that it hangs over and into his water container, the moss will suck the bowl dry.
    like overnight suck it dry.

    I thought my dish was leaking.
    Yesterday sometime was first time I ever noticed his dish being completely empty (I never even let it get close to empty before), so I topped it off.
    This morning I noticed it was completely empty again, so I topped it off again.
    Few hours later, bowl was below half full, and the moss and bark substrate in that corner was obviously very wet.

    when I moved the moss and cleaned out the bark from his bowl , I noticed that moss was soaked and the wet part was slowly traveling away from the dish.

    and now the dish is maintaining water like before.


    lesson learned.

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    Re: Changing Prey

    Quote Originally Posted by Nutriaitch View Post
    also I learned something about the sphagnum moss I have in his enclosure.
    if he moves some of it to a point that it hangs over and into his water container, the moss will suck the bowl dry.
    like overnight suck it dry.
    Funny, and interesting. I didn't know that.
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    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Re: Changing Prey

    Quote Originally Posted by Nutriaitch View Post
    ...also I learned something about the sphagnum moss I have in his enclosure.
    if he moves some of it to a point that it hangs over and into his water container, the moss will suck the bowl dry.
    like overnight suck it dry.

    I thought my dish was leaking.
    Yesterday sometime was first time I ever noticed his dish being completely empty (I never even let it get close to empty before), so I topped it off.
    This morning I noticed it was completely empty again, so I topped it off again.
    Few hours later, bowl was below half full, and the moss and bark substrate in that corner was obviously very wet.

    when I moved the moss and cleaned out the bark from his bowl , I noticed that moss was soaked and the wet part was slowly traveling away from the dish.

    and now the dish is maintaining water like before.


    lesson learned.
    Oh the things we learn from keeping snakes! TKS for sharing.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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    Re: Changing Prey

    It’s not the worse thing if your BP is a mouser. You’ll just have to feed him more food or more often. There are also other foods you can try. Some BPs really like ASFs. Hamsters are another good option. I’ve had one or two snakes that were resistant to accepting new prey items. I would usually just wait them out and they’d eventually eat what was offered. My Bredl’s python would smash jumbo mice but doesn’t like rats. He would only eat a rat every 2-3 months if I didn’t offer anything else. I finally decided to just give him what he prefers even though they were a pretty small meal for him. I would give him two jumbo mice every few weeks, which is roughly equivalent to a small rat, and he would eat those consistently. I recently tried him with large hamsters and he’s been crushing those. They’re about the same size as a medium rat. All of my other snakes eat multiple prey types. I feed them a diverse diet of mice, rats, hamsters, chicks, and rabbits.
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  11. #8
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    It's great when snakes will eat whatever's offered. Unfortunately, most BPs aren't that open-minded.

    @ Nutriaitch: I meant to mention that one way to switch a snake over is once they're big enough to take 2 smaller items that roughly equal the size meal they've been eating, you first offer what they prefer as an appetizer...& that should be the smaller item, literally just an appetizer. Once a snake downs something they like, they're often more forgiving about the second item, & also try imparting some of the scent from the preferred food to the new one before offering. Most snakes are pretty pumped up about eating, so if you can sneak in the new prey for a second item (without feeding too big a meal), they often learn to like the new thing offered after the next meal or so.

    That works for switching to f/t from live or fresh-killed (f/k) as well, not just different kinds of prey. There are some snakes that are very stubborn & won't accept it, but be patient, & most will.

    Also, with f/t prey, you can use feeding tongs to slightly "pinch-damage" the rodents nose to release a little more scent- often that helps a snake recognize their prey, as when going from live to f/t.
    Frozen rodents lose some of their aroma.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

  12. #9
    Registered User Nutriaitch's Avatar
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    my BP ate his first rat today.

    was an interesting thing to watch.
    he crept up to it more slowly than normal. Actually "nosed" it a little.
    then very slowly opened his mouth, grabbed it and slowly gave a very half hearted wrap (didn't even make a full loop around it).

    then after a couple moments, wrapped it up more aggressively and gave it a proper squeeze.
    ate it fairly quickly compared to last couple mice.


    I'm guessing that maybe he wasn't 100% of the smell for him to grab it so reluctantly. but after he got the taste in his mouth, he knew what he wanted?

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  14. #10
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Yup, I agree. The different scent threw him off a little, but now he's got it.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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