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Q: Ball python won't eat?
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I bought my ball from a petstore about three, almost four, weeks ago. She's about 18 inches long (don't know how much she weighs). She has one hide box on the warm side, but plenty of vegetation on the cooler side for her to hide in. The temperature on the cooler side is 75 degrees and the humidity is 65. I make sure that the cage that I try to feed her in is very warm, and I attempt to feed her at night time, because I know they are nocturnal animals (she does seem more lively in the morning, however, and usually moves around from 7am till about 1pm) I've tried feeding her an adult mouse in a separate cage and she moves away from it quickly when it gets near her. She becomes very curious of it and follows it around, but once the mouse turns around or makes a sudden movement, she moves away from it. I tried feeding her a rat pup last night, but she didn't care for it. I even put it in her habitat with her, and still, nothing. She did move it around with her head, away from her, but she didn't try to strike at it or anything. She has not eaten since I bought her, and I'm starting to get worried. I also left her alone in her habitat for about a week before I tried feeding the adult mouse to her for a second time.

Also, last night, before I attempted to feed her, she was coiled around the temperature and humidity gauges. I noticed that there was some dried fluid on the gauges and on the side of the tank, I believe it was urine, but I'm not 100% sure.

The mouse and the rat pup were both white too, I read that sometimes snakes prefer a certain colored mouse/rat... and I'm wondering if changing the color of the mouse I attempt to feed her will make a difference?

Anyway, any helpful tips are welcome. =D Thanks!

Points: 150
Topics: General Health , Feeding , Finding A Vet
Tags: Ballpythons, Feeding
Species: Pythons > Pythons > Python regius
Administrative: Show/Hide

Assisted Answer 6/9/2009 5:22:03 PM

First, what was she being fed at the pet store where you got her? Maybe she is already accustomed to frozen/thawed food and not sure how to tackle a live prey item. Try every possible method before you start to worry to much, ball pythons are notorious for being difficult feeders. Even if they have eaten like clockwork since the day they hatched they can randomly go off feed for months at a time with no real reasoning. Young ones are even worse and sometimes takes for ever to get to eat something. Keep trying an appropriate sized food item every few days, try frozen/thawed; i have seen snakes that refuse to eat something unless it's wet and other that wont touch it till it's dry. Just exhaust every possible method until there is really nothing else you can do and even then there still may not be anything really wrong with your snake. A few weeks is nothing for a ball python so don't start to worry to much just yet...
Assisted Answer 6/9/2009 5:35:28 PM

You never said what the temp is on the hot side? Also, id bump the cool side temp a few degrees. Other people may not agree with me, but its what i would do.

Ive found that the easiest way to get a baby BP to eat is to put it in a small box with a mouse, a live mouse. If the snake is going to eat, it will do it in the first 20 minutes. Were mice its prey of choice when it was in the pet store?

Leave it be for another week and try again. If it doesnt eat next week, wait another week. Trying every couple days can be stressful. Even baby snakes can go months without food. You would do well to buy a scale though, to monitor his progress.
Assisted Answer 6/9/2009 5:59:10 PM

I agree with Fyrefocks, definitely raise your low end temp to about 78.  Your humidity is fine and the hot spot temp should definitely be noted.  You should be fine at 86-89. 

Definitely find out what it WAS eating, if it ever even did eat at the petstore you got it from.  They SHOULD have an answer for you.  Also, if you're going to put a LIVE mouse in a box with the snake MAKE SURE TO KEEP AN EYE ON IT!  Never leave your snake alone for any period of time with live food, it is not safe.  I've heard many horror stories from rats and mice alike. 

Here are a couple tips I have for ya that worked for me in the past:
-Try a F/T rat pup and leave it in the enclosure over night if the snake shows no signs of interest in eating it (make sure the rat pup is very warm!  Any royal I've tried feeding will not eat cold very often, especially not the first time...mimic the heat signatures of a live mammal.  Nothing scolding hot though!)  Hopefully by morning you will have no rat pup!  If you do, take it out.
-Try a live rat pup in the tank overnight.  Young enough where it has no teeth (or real biting strength) where it can injure the snake in the slightest. 

Hopefully something works for you!  But royals are super finicky eaters.  My bumblebee royal was a very horrible eater when I first got him but now he takes in food every week without hesitation or problems.  He was a little guy and went a good month and a half without food.  My big girl is pushing 8 months now with no food.  She does 6-8 months out of the year without eating, normally.  So the best of luck to you!  You will learn your snake's eating habits over time.
Author Comment 6/9/2009 6:05:41 PM

She was fed live adult mice at the petstore. The temperature on the hot side is close to 90 degrees. I left the adult mouse in the cage with her for about 15 minutes, and yes I closely monitored it and made sure that it didn't try to bite my snake. I left the baby in there for close to three hours. At one point it seemed like the baby was trying to get near the snake and the snake kept pushing it away from her. The only light I left on during these attempted feeding times was the ultraviolet light that heats the tank. -_- Should I be worried about the urine..stuff that was on the gauges? Especially with it's color? It was orange.
Member Comment 6/9/2009 6:09:09 PM

Hmm, that's strange with the orange colour. possible urine stain.  I don't quite know what to tell you on that one...Are you definitely sure it was from the snake?

And don't worry to much about the feeding, the snake should come around.  It behaves normal too right?
Member Comment 6/9/2009 6:11:17 PM

I dont know what to say about the urine.

If your temps and humidity are ok, which they seem to be, the snake will eat when its ready.

The reason i put the babies in a very small box with a live mouse is because it gives the snake nowhere to go. At the very least, they normally killed the babies just to get them to sit still. Then, if i was lucky, they would decide to eat since they went through the trouble anyway.

Just go away for a week and try again.
Author Comment 6/9/2009 6:21:37 PM

Yeah, she behaves normal. Like I said before, she moves around a lot. Right now she's sitting on top of her hideout soaking in the heat. I did try feeding both the mouse and the baby (on separate occassion of course) in a bucket. Midna just crawled up the side of the bucket to try to get away. But okay, I'll leave her alone and try again. Thanks for all the answers!
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