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  1. #1
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    Eating behavior changed

    My ball python, Angel, is about 6.5 years old and is now around 4.5 ft long. For the past couple of years, I've been feeding him in a separate box that's 16" x 12" x 9". Of the past 4 or 5 times he's fed, 3 of them he's *not* eaten his typical medium sized rat in the box, but about an hour later I propped the box up in his tank so he could crawl back in, and he dragged the rat into the tank to finish feeding. Could it be he's practically outgrown his feeding box to maneuver enough to manage his meal? Should I get a bigger box, or should I try feeding him directly in his tank? I've always read (and my experience has supported it) that having a routine for feeding is a good thing to set expectations, that putting him in his feeding box sets a sort of anticipation for what is about to come. That's generally been successful, but lately I think it's time to change... something. Advice appreciated.
    Last edited by Pilch; 06-03-2024 at 11:23 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Eating behavior changed

    More info: he's been eating regularly, every 2 weeks, one medium sized rat, give or take winter months when he slows down. At this point he's been eating regularly, every other week, since March.

  3. #3
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    Re: Eating behavior changed

    Quote Originally Posted by Pilch View Post
    Should I get a bigger box, or should I try feeding him directly in his tank?
    Feed him in his tank. I think he's telling you as clearly as he's able that he wants to eat in his tank. If you've been feeding him in a separate box to avoid "cage aggression", you needn't. That's a myth. Sometimes, I feed my snake outside of his enclosure as a less stressful way to get him to relocate for enclosure cleanings or weighing. So, if you have a sound reason for feeding him outside his enclosure, trying a bigger box seems like a reasonable thing to do. Either way, don't be surprised if it takes him a little while to adjust. Even small changes can throw them off their game. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
    1.0 Normal Children's Python (2022 - present)
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    Re: Eating behavior changed

    Quote Originally Posted by Pilch View Post
    I've always read (and my experience has supported it) that having a routine for feeding is a good thing to set expectations,
    That's a reasonable idea, and can have some practical benefit. Another approach, though, is to read the snake's cues so to know when and how the snake is ready to eat, and feed him then and in that manner. This is roughly exactly the opposite approach -- instead of training the snake, it involves training the keeper -- but I personally think it is the better approach, or at any rate is worth considering.

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    Re: Eating behavior changed

    Yeah, cage aggression is exactly why Iíve fed him externally. Good to know thatís a myth. Next feeding, weíll try in the cage. And understood about adjustments, seen that plenty of times before. Thanks for the advice! I guess he just got too big for his box, heís always seemed comfortable eating there. Then again, Iím still learning to read the signs.

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  9. #6
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    Re: Eating behavior changed

    Yep, Iíve noticed that about feeding time, he gets more active at night, like heís out hunting or looking for something. Training the human is apropos here. Thanks for the input.

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    Re: Eating behavior changed

    UPDATE: Fed Angel in the tank for the first time tonight, and it went perfect! What was taking him over an hour to complete the last few feedings in an external box, he did in about 25 min in the tank. And it was less stressful since I didn't haul him outta there into another location. Really appreciate the guidance! Chalk this up to an old human learning new tricks. In the past, I kept his external feeding box wrapped in a towel for privacy, but this time I was able to watch (from a remote corner where he couldn't see me from behind) him eat the last half of the rat... what a fascinating process! Nature is amazing!
    Last edited by Pilch; 06-16-2024 at 10:17 PM.

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    So now you know, ball pythons do not like to go "out to dinner"- they much prefer to "eat in". It really does stress them out. They like to eat where they feel safe, & that's "at home".
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
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  15. #9
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    Re: Eating behavior changed

    YepÖ prefer to eat inÖ funny . The last couple of days heís been a little skittish and tense when I open the door to his tank. Iím chalking that up to ďsomethingís changed in my lifeĒ and giving him a few days to settle down before reaching in to get him (itís about time to clean his tank).

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