Feeding Ball Python?

aspieguy

Arachnopeon
Joined
Feb 18, 2010
Messages
31
Hey folks,

This is my Ball -> http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=5501993&l=4664163b8a&id=510547503

Lately, within the past 2-3 weeks, I haven't been able to get her to eat. I feed her small, pre-killed mice that are thawed out for her, usually once a week on Mondays.

I did some reading on the Internet, and evidently Balls can be really fussy eaters, no? Some of my friends who keep a snake or two, not necessarily Balls, tell me their snakes may only accept live mice? My Ball hasn't had too much of an issue accepting pre-killed mice. Can that change?

Most importantly, how long can my Ball go without being fed? Is she in a dangerous spot now having not eaten for a few weeks?

As for the care, if it makes a difference, I keep her in a rubbermaid container with a heat pad beneath the container on one side, with a few hides and a water dish. I don't measure the humidity/temperature in the container, but my room's thermometer says it is usually about 25˚C - 30˚C all day everyday.

I tried a new attempt at feeding my Ball today. I thought that if I heated up the thawed out mouse, maybe she would accept it. I've seen on TV and on snake documentaries that some snakes see heat or can sense heat, right? So I put the thawed out mouse into the microwave for about 10 seconds. You can imagine how that went. Oh well, I won't be doing that again lol. :wall:
 

txgsxr

Arachnopeon
Joined
Dec 18, 2010
Messages
23
First thing, NEVER PUT MICE IN THE MICROWAVE. YOU WILL BURN YOUR SNAKES MOUTH AND THEN YOU HAVE A WORLD OF PROBLEMS.

How old is your bp?
What is your temp and humidity in the container?
ALWAYS get your temps from inside the container. If not your temps could be to high or humidity can be way off.

I have temp and humidity controled room for my snakes and the tanks can be off as much as 10 to 15%.

When was the last shed.

And BPs some times go off feeding for up to two months, most of the ones iv worked with have not gone much more then that. Dont stress it much.

Make sure you get your set up correct before you worry about it missing one meal.

---------- Post added at 02:41 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:40 PM ----------

Oh By the way, I have worked with reptiles for over 25 years. Everything from grass snakes to vipers.

---------- Post added at 02:42 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:41 PM ----------

Oh how old is that photo of your bp?

---------- Post added at 02:57 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:42 PM ----------



This is the setup I have for my RT. As you can see I have temp/humidity inside and out, also on basking side and cooler side.

---------- Post added at 03:13 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:57 PM ----------

I hope I didnt come off as a jurk, but I just want to make sure you understand that what you were doing with feeding something from a microwave will kill your BP.

Its like putting a hot dog in the microwave and then stuffing it into your mouth.

If you want shoot me a Pm with your email and I will give you some sites to get great info about your BP. And if there is anything you want to ask feel free to contact me, I have no problem sharing everything I know, and if I dont know it (because even after 25 years + I still am far from knowing it all) but I do know alot of places to find the info that I need.
 

Kaimetsu

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Jan 28, 2009
Messages
135
Pythons do have infrared sensors they look like a bunch of holes between the nose and the mouth, but yeah as said microwaving mice is a terrible idea. Maybe leaving them directly under a heatlamp or heat emitter for a while might help.
 

Lorgakor

Arachnomom
Staff member
Joined
Sep 9, 2004
Messages
2,368
I warm mice with hot water from the tap.

You definitely need to get a proper digital thermometer with a probe, or a temp gun to measure the temps over the hot spot in the bin. An unregulated heat mat can get VERY hot. Over 120 degrees hot. This is hot enough to kill your snake. You need to use a thermostat with any heat pad/heat tape. Or at least a lamp dimmer or a rheostat. Checking the temps is the first step to figuring out why it won't eat.

They are rather sensitive to conditions, if they aren't right, they tend to not eat.
 

Sleazoid

Arachnoknight
Joined
Jul 18, 2010
Messages
241
I warm mice with hot water from the tap.

You definitely need to get a proper digital thermometer with a probe, or a temp gun to measure the temps over the hot spot in the bin. An unregulated heat mat can get VERY hot. Over 120 degrees hot. This is hot enough to kill your snake. You need to use a thermostat with any heat pad/heat tape. Or at least a lamp dimmer or a rheostat. Checking the temps is the first step to figuring out why it won't eat.

They are rather sensitive to conditions, if they aren't right, they tend to not eat.
I disagree with this, I keep my Ball Pythons very simply. In a tuppaware sweater box, no heat pad no light. It stays between 70-85 degrees in my room. Sometimes dropping to 65 degrees at night. I have never had a problem feeding any of my snakes. I believe quality of the animals could have something to do with this, but then again Ball Pythons are known for being picky, I have never had a problem with it myself but I definitely know about it. Everything else you said is right on the money.

To OP: Where did you get the snake? From a LPS or a breeder, and is it wild caught or captive bred?
 

Bigboy

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Nov 18, 2004
Messages
1,234
I disagree with this, I keep my Ball Pythons very simply. In a tuppaware sweater box, no heat pad no light. It stays between 70-85 degrees in my room. Sometimes dropping to 65 degrees at night. I have never had a problem feeding any of my snakes. I believe quality of the animals could have something to do with this, but then again Ball Pythons are known for being picky, I have never had a problem with it myself but I definitely know about it. Everything else you said is right on the money.

To OP: Where did you get the snake? From a LPS or a breeder, and is it wild caught or captive bred?
Are you able to breed them like that? How long have you been practicing this negligent husbandry as well?
 
Last edited:

Sleazoid

Arachnoknight
Joined
Jul 18, 2010
Messages
241
Are you able to breed them like that? How long have you been practicing this negligent husbandry as well?
I have been doing it like this for five or six years with Ball Pythons? Different species, different care. None of my Ball Pythons have had any sort of health issues so far. I have only owned six ball pythons though. Mostly I have owned other snakes, currently though. I only own two Ball Pythons. How is this negligence if they are well hydrated, have plenty of space, healthy, and eating and digesting well?
 
Last edited:

Bigboy

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Nov 18, 2004
Messages
1,234
I have been doing it like this for five or six years with Ball Pythons? Different species, different care. None of my Ball Pythons have had any sort of health issues so far. I have only owned six ball pythons though. Mostly I have owned other snakes, currently though. I only own two Ball Pythons. How is this negligence if they are well hydrated, have plenty of space, healthy, and eating and digesting well?
I'm sorry but you seem to be under the false assumption that if nothing has gone wrong then everything is going fine.

Different reptiles have different optimal body temperatures. For example here if you crack open Reptile Medicine and Surgery (D.R. Mader), the herpetological veterinary medicine bible, you'll find that the preferred temperature range for a ball python is ~30/mid-80s (°C/°F) during the day and 21-27/70-80 (°C/°F) at night.

Even if you "know" the general temps in your room, unless you are keeping them in a controlled temperature room you cannot guarantee the correct temperatures. Nor can you guarantee that the temperatures your animals need for optimal physiological and behavioral performance are being provided to them. You yourself described using a temperature regime that is inappropriate for the species in question given the above values.

This is the entire point of using thermostats, heat tape, rheostats etc. By actively making the choice to refuse to use them you are being negligent to the needs of your animals. Proper temperature control is one of the basics of herpetoculture. As a person who has "kept multiple species over 5-6 years" I would have hoped you'd have taken the time to equip yourself with such basic information.
 
Last edited:

aspieguy

Arachnopeon
Joined
Feb 18, 2010
Messages
31
First thing, NEVER PUT MICE IN THE MICROWAVE. YOU WILL BURN YOUR SNAKES MOUTH AND THEN YOU HAVE A WORLD OF PROBLEMS.

How old is your bp?
What is your temp and humidity in the container?
ALWAYS get your temps from inside the container. If not your temps could be to high or humidity can be way off.

I have temp and humidity controled room for my snakes and the tanks can be off as much as 10 to 15%.

When was the last shed.

And BPs some times go off feeding for up to two months, most of the ones iv worked with have not gone much more then that. Dont stress it much.

Make sure you get your set up correct before you worry about it missing one meal.

---------- Post added at 02:41 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:40 PM ----------

Oh By the way, I have worked with reptiles for over 25 years. Everything from grass snakes to vipers.

---------- Post added at 02:42 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:41 PM ----------

Oh how old is that photo of your bp?

---------- Post added at 02:57 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:42 PM ----------



This is the setup I have for my RT. As you can see I have temp/humidity inside and out, also on basking side and cooler side.

---------- Post added at 03:13 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:57 PM ----------

I hope I didnt come off as a jurk, but I just want to make sure you understand that what you were doing with feeding something from a microwave will kill your BP.

Its like putting a hot dog in the microwave and then stuffing it into your mouth.

If you want shoot me a Pm with your email and I will give you some sites to get great info about your BP. And if there is anything you want to ask feel free to contact me, I have no problem sharing everything I know, and if I dont know it (because even after 25 years + I still am far from knowing it all) but I do know alot of places to find the info that I need.
Hello,

Yes, I will admit that putting the mouse in the microwave was just stupid. Not only that, it was messy and disgusting. :wall:

My Ball's enclosure is at 30˚C and at 80% humidity.

I do not know the age of my snake. I would assume its young, because it is the smallest ball I have ever seen.

I think she has shed very recently, since there is some skin in her take I noticed today. Does shedding interfere with eating?

You said a ball can go 2 months without eating?

I must say, in the few months I have had her, she hasn't pooped at all? Is this significant? :?

Please help me! :(
 

Crawly

Arachnopeon
Joined
Dec 21, 2009
Messages
36
I would have the snake checked out by a vet. If it hasn't defecated in that long of a period, something is going on internally (possibly parasites) that will be detrimental to the snakes health. I've been keeping ball pythons for about fifteen years and have never had one go that long without defecating. Even during periods when they refuse to eat, from two or three weeks to even a couple of months, they will still evacuate once in a while. There should be a vet that deals with exotics somewhere nearby and from my experience it's not terribly expensive to have a snake checked out or for medication if needed. I also recommend sticking with pre-killed/thawed food. It's just less to worry about. I learned the hard way when I got my first ball python. The snake wasn't hungry and the mouse tore into him pretty badly, scarring him permanently. With pre-killed, that's not an issue.
 
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