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  1. #1
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    BP wants more rats

    My ball python has been putting on weight steadily, and is getting close to 300 grams. She eats extremely well, and in the past has started consistently looking for food about 3 nights after eating. Tonight she was out acting all hungry just 1 day after eating, and even struck across the enclosure at empty space as I lifted the lid to reposition one of her hides. She's been getting a pup rat once per week for awhile now, and to me her body condition looks on the heavy side. I think this because of the thickness of her neck, width of body relative to head, and creases of fat visible when she curls up. However, her spine seems to stand out in the way it's supposed to. Temps/humidity in the enclosure are consistent with the care guide.

    What do you think of this snake's body condition? Should I adjust her feeding schedule in some way? She has always pooped rarely, maybe once a month at most. Is the high appetite + infrequent pooping potentially a symptom of worms?

    Also, so long as I'm posting this - I put her on paper towels a couple of weeks ago to verify that those black spots aren't mites. They really don't seem to be (and I've tested with a wet paper towel as well), so I assume they're just part of her coloration? Nothing on her belly scales, they just exist on her sides.




    (These images are hotlinked from an aws S3 bucket that I own, so don't blacklist it for hotlinking if that's how that works)

  2. #2
    BPnet Veteran Luvyna's Avatar
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    Beautiful BP! It's great that she's eating well and she looks healthy to me though I agree she's getting a bit round. You could maybe increase the time between feedings to 10-14 days.

    High appetite + infrequent poop for a BP her size is just a sign that she's growing Once per month is also very normal for BP poop.

    It's also normal for her to be acting hungry 1-3 days after eating. The smell of the rat lingers in the enclosure after a feeding which causes many BPs to stay in "food mode" for a few days - mine does too.

    As she grows from 300-600 grams and starts eating bigger rodents she'll only need to eat every 14 days, and once she's reached 1000+ grams, you can taper off to feeding every 2-3 weeks. Once she's fully grown and a few years old, she may only need to eat every 3-4 weeks or when she shows signs of hunger (waiting with her neck out in an "s" shape like in your last photo).

    Also, those speckles on her side look like normal markings to me. If you want to be sure, you can also look under her chin, around her eyes and heat pits, and at her vent for any black specks as that's where mites like to hide.

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  4. #3
    BPnet Veteran Homebody's Avatar
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    Re: BP wants more rats

    Quote Originally Posted by Luvyna View Post
    Beautiful BP!
    I've got nothing to add to Luvyna's post above except to second her beautiful BP comment.
    1.0 Normal Children's Python (2022 - present)
    1.0 Normal Ball Python (2019 - 2021)

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  6. #4
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    She's very pretty. As far as her body condition (& this applies to all snakes), when they're young, the young rodents they're eating have a higher fat content than more mature rodents (because they're not weaned- they're still nursing) , so a snake that's eating them can easily pack on a little more body fat for a while- that's why it's important to gradually increase the size (age) of the rodent as the snake itself grows larger, & also to gradually increase the length of time between meals.

    As already mentioned, it's quite common for snakes to stay in "feed mode" for hours or even a few days after a meal. But after that, if they're seriously looking for more food (& just like us, some have bigger appetites than others) it might be time to size up (age up) the rodents, because the younger rodents (all pinkies, & fuzzy mice or rat pups) are digested faster, because their fur isn't so thick yet (the greater amount of "fiber" slows digestion down) & they have smaller bones (less mineral content). That also means that their meals are digested with less waste they need to expel (ie. less frequent defecation). This is also why you don't want to continuously feed adult snakes on what is essentially snake "baby food" as they'll pack on too much baby-fat themselves. See?
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  8. #5
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    Re: BP wants more rats

    Thanks everyone for the responses. I'll start feeding a bit less frequently for now, and increase the rat sizes later. I'm glad to hear her poop frequency is not abnormal.

  9. #6
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Re: BP wants more rats

    Quote Originally Posted by Gobuchul View Post
    Thanks everyone for the responses. I'll start feeding a bit less frequently for now, and increase the rat sizes later. I'm glad to hear her poop frequency is not abnormal.
    The nice thing about snakes is that if you think they're getting a bit "chubby", you can either change up the prey, or offer at a slightly longer interval (even a day or 2 will make a difference). Bear in mind that for snakes, there's no such thing in the wild as eating on a schedule- that's totally a human convenience. Young hatchlings are normally fed once a week (on average), but by the time they're a year old, or even before, it's usually time to lengthen the intervals.

    You'd be surprised at how often we're asked about a snake that's not "going" enough & must be constipated... Many assume 1 meal in = 1 pile out, but that's not true, especially with young, easily-digested prey. Snakes keep more of the nutrition with less waste, but as previously noted, in time, the more mature prey is essential for minerals & more protein (greater muscle mass in mature prey).
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 07-03-2024 at 01:38 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
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  11. #7
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    Re: BP wants more rats

    Hard to reduce feeding frequency when she's out acting hungry every night. Tonight I dropped the rat and she climbed out of the enclosure to try eating my leg instead. She eventually got scared by my antics as I tried to pick up the rat, and went back into her hide. Came out again 2 minutes later and ate the rat when re-offered.

    She's definitely ready to move up in size from pup rats. I'm moving in 2 weeks though, so she's going to have to make it off pups until then.


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  13. #8
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Just off-hand, I'd say your leg would be a bit too much for her. Not saying she'll agree though.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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