Ball python won't eat…?

aspieguy

Arachnopeon
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My baby ball python has gone weeks without eating. I tried feeding her weeks ago. She missed the dead mouse and ended up biting, wrapping her body around one of my fingers (fortunately, I was wearing gloves). Since then she has had no interest in eating. What should I do?
 

Shell

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How long have you had her? What is her set up like? Temps, humidity etc. How does she look weight wise? or do you by any chance keep record of her weight? Had she been eating prior to that? Is she due for a shed?

Many, many factors come into play here and Ball Pythons can be notoriously picky eaters. My 09 female just finished up a 7 week fast. As much info as you have would be great.

Also when you say "baby" just how old is she?
 

Jaymz Bedell

Arachnoknight
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I'd also like to know what size prey you're offering in addition to what Shell has asked.
 

Shell

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I'd also like to know what size prey you're offering in addition to what Shell has asked.
Ah yes, that would be very helpful as well. :)

Also are you feeding p/k or f/t and whichever method you are using, is that what the snake is used to?
 

blacktara

Arachnobaron
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I had a mature ball python for a while and in my experience, if it wasnt eating

1) It was due to shed. or

2) It was winter - when the days get short they eat much less frequantly (like once every 4-6 weeks), or

3) It was too cold in the set-up, or

I've never had much luck getting any snake to take non-live food, but on the other hand, with live food, when they're hungry they will eat. With the mature king snake I have now, I drop in an appropriate size live feeder and give it 48-72 hours. Sometimes he goes right after it, more often than that he waits until nighttime and then the next morning mousey is gone. If he hasnt eaten in three days, I liberate the mouse and try again in a week.

Snakes will surprise you in how long they can go without eating. Chances are nothing is wrong with the snake itself
 

Dyn

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I had a mature ball python for a while and in my experience, if it wasnt eating

1) It was due to shed. or

2) It was winter - when the days get short they eat much less frequantly (like once every 4-6 weeks), or

3) It was too cold in the set-up, or

I've never had much luck getting any snake to take non-live food, but on the other hand, with live food, when they're hungry they will eat. With the mature king snake I have now, I drop in an appropriate size live feeder and give it 48-72 hours. Sometimes he goes right after it, more often than that he waits until nighttime and then the next morning mousey is gone. If he hasnt eaten in three days, I liberate the mouse and try again in a week.

Snakes will surprise you in how long they can go without eating. Chances are nothing is wrong with the snake itself
that is a terrible practice with live feeders. You should never leave your snake with a live prey item unsupervised. A panicked mouse can kill a snake. Most of the time the snake will take the mouse no problem but all it takes is one bad strike and you have a permanently scarred snake or worse a dead snake all from a 2 dollar feeder.

I never feed live to my snakes. You say baby ball is it a 2010 baby or a 2009 i have a make retic that is producing sperm now so i wouldnt be suprised if he ended up off feed but retics are trash cans so he probably wont
 

Shell

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all it takes is one bad strike and you have a permanently scarred snake
This is exactly what happened with my 09 female BP. The person I had got her from, was feeding live, and the mouse hopper managed to bite her well enough that an abscess formed. It cost me a small fortune at my vet, and a month of injections and treatments to get her cleared up (thankfully I was a vet tech and could treat her at home, or it would have cost even more.) She has quite the scar to this day.

She was tough one to switch to f/t but I was determined and now she takes it no problem. All of the snakes we have owned before, and the other snake we currently have (a Colombian Boa) have all taken f/t with no issues.
 

blacktara

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that is a terrible practice with live feeders. You should never leave your snake with a live prey item unsupervised. A panicked mouse can kill a snake. Most of the time the snake will take the mouse no problem but all it takes is one bad strike and you have a permanently scarred snake or worse a dead snake all from a 2 dollar feeder.

I never feed live to my snakes. You say baby ball is it a 2010 baby or a 2009 i have a make retic that is producing sperm now so i wouldnt be suprised if he ended up off feed but retics are trash cans so he probably wont
My king snake wont take anything dead.

So how should I feed it live and supervised in a way where I could intervene in time if that scenario you describe unfolds?

For what it's worth I've seen the snake strike and miss many times - the mouse squeals and leaps up and away and then either perches up on the rock or skittle to the far corner of the enclosure - sometimes the snake goes after it again sometimes it skulks away to try later I suppose

Another question - why is it that every so often he will kill the mouse and then leave it uneaten?
 

Dyn

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He will take frozen or prekilled food if you wait him out. I've done it with a few snakes after a couple weeks they start eating prekilled. You could also leave it in there like you are doing now.

Supervising you might not be able to stop the snake from getting bit but you can possibly stop it from being killed.

*very graphic picture* http://www.deviantconstrictors.com/dont feed live1.jpg

Thats from leaving a mouse in with a ball over night.
 

dtknow

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Agreed-a king should be very simple to switch to frozen thawed with their feeding response.

Killing the mouse and not eating it could possibly be related to defensive striking and feeding response but then no appetite to back it up(such as what is provoked by tease feeding...where they annoy the snake enough that it eventually strikes at the thing to get rid of it-then ends up eating it). Even my eggeater will "strike" and engulf an egg when in an agitated state.
 

codykrr

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man you all make it sound easy to switch snakes to frozen thawed. I have had my bp for a while now and it took almost a year of trying to get her to eat her first and so far only F/t ever. some just prefer LIVE! especially wild caught snakes.

Blacktara. I suggest when you feed you take the snake out of its enclosure, place it into a sterilite tub, place the live mouse in and if it doesnt eat it within 5 min take the mouse out and try in a few hours.

I have seen the damages of live feeders and it does worry me, but I have had snakes that just WONT take FT period. It happens.

While I prefer frozen thawed(just like many do) it isnt always feasible.

TO the OP- as long as it isnt loosing weight, and is kept at optimal temps I would worry to much. just keep trying What I did to get mine to finally take a FT was I thawed the mouse, and placed it infront of my females hide. left it over night and next day it was gone.

They say some need a towel or blanket draped over the enclosure, or will only eat in a very confined space. remember in nature BP's are used to eating its prey in the confined space of a mouse tunnel or den.

Good luck though. I have to feed mine tomorrow!
 

Dyn

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I've never had any problem with getting snakes to take prekilled or frozen. Yes some balls are alittle harder than some other snakes but then again just getting them to eat is hard sometimes. A king snake it shouldnt be very hard to get them switched over at all. It usually just takes a couple weeks of them not eating and then they usually hit it pretty easy after moving it around with tongs.
 

Shell

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It can be difficult to switch them over, but typically not impossible.

I'm 99% sure also, that my girl was w/c, as the person I rescued her from had bought her from a very shady pet store, that dealers around here refuse to deal with. She went hungry for a few weeks longer then normal (her choice, we kept trying) until finally she decided to take the f/t mouse. We had to blow dry the mouse after thawing it, to make sure it was not only totally dry, but warm as well. Now as I said, she has no issues, every once in a while we have to leave it with her overnight, as she isn't as excited to grab it as usual, but it's always gone by morning.

Once or twice, she has grabbed the mouse, wrapped it and then left it. I just always assumed it was the same idea as a tarantula killing its crickets and leaving them, they had the prey drive to get rid of the annoyance, but they just weren't hungry, plain and simple. Even though she was "killing" a f/t mouse (she is on f/t rats now) and it wasn't really "annoying" perse, she still didn't want it hanging around, I guess.

She has actually gotten so used to eating f/t now, that typcically now when we feed, she strikes the rat, and doesn't even bother to wrap it. She's a quirky little girl.

Anyway, to the OP, as already said, if your setup is ideal for a BP and she isn't losing weight, I wouldn't be too concerned. It's not an uncommon thing for a BP to fast. I still would like to know what your set up is like, and the other questions though. :)
 

aspieguy

Arachnopeon
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How long have you had her? What is her set up like? Temps, humidity etc. How does she look weight wise? or do you by any chance keep record of her weight? Had she been eating prior to that? Is she due for a shed?

Many, many factors come into play here and Ball Pythons can be notoriously picky eaters. My 09 female just finished up a 7 week fast. As much info as you have would be great.

Also when you say "baby" just how old is she?
I got her maybe 2 months ago? I am not very good at estimating time. I have her setup in a 2 foot-long aquarium. The substrate I have I don't know the name of. I bought it because it had pictures of reptiles on it. I guess it is like mulch. Her aquarium is humid, because of all the moisture that was in the substrate. I have any under-tank heater for her that is the size of the aquarium. I don't have a thermometer or humidity gage in her aquarium. She was eating just fine when I got her. Now she won't eat at all. She shed not too long ago. I don't know how old she is, however she isn't more than 1.5 feet and, when in a ball, she can easily fit in your hand. I feed her pre-killed mice because I can store them in a freezer. The mice I have for her might be too big, but she did try to take one before this fasting.
 

Shell

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I got her maybe 2 months ago? I am not very good at estimating time. I have her setup in a 2 foot-long aquarium. The substrate I have I don't know the name of. I bought it because it had pictures of reptiles on it. I guess it is like mulch. Her aquarium is humid, because of all the moisture that was in the substrate. I have any under-tank heater for her that is the size of the aquarium. I don't have a thermometer or humidity gage in her aquarium. She was eating just fine when I got her. Now she won't eat at all. She shed not too long ago. I don't know how old she is, however she isn't more than 1.5 feet and, when in a ball, she can easily fit in your hand. I feed her pre-killed mice because I can store them in a freezer. The mice I have for her might be too big, but she did try to take one before this fasting.
Ok, first off, you want to get humidity and temperature gauges set up in her enclosure, so that you can monitor them. Low humidity can cause them to have trouble shedding (especially the eye caps.) Temps that are too low (around 90 is ideal for the "hot" end) can cause respiratory infections, among other things. Also, you don't want your substrate to be moist, it can lead to scale rot. I would recommend making these changes so that you have a better idea of how she is being kept, and can change things if needed. It may be a good idea to try a smaller prey item as well. Ball Pythons are prone to fasting for periods of time, and as long as she is healthy and not losing weight, I wouldn't worry too much. I do STRONGLY recommend making the suggested changes to her enclosure though.
 
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