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Ball Python Questions

Discussion in 'Ball Pythons' started by katelynsnake, Dec 26, 2014.

  1. katelynsnake

    katelynsnake Member

    precious.jpg I just recently on the 23rd got my new baby girl ball python (still no name yet). I have never owned a snake and quite frankly was scared of them before I got her. She is the most docile little thing and climbs all over me already! The 24th I gave her a live pinkie and she did so good with it! only took about 15 minutes for her to finally notice it and strike. I am sincerely amazed by her. :)

    any my husband is gung ho about continuing to feed her live mice. I've read that the mouse can fight and hurt the snake (don't want my baby getting hurt)

    also she is 2 months old and I bought her from a breeder when to her house and hand picked her.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2014
  2. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Ball Pythons are like the teddy bears of the snake world. If well-kept, they are very docile, and very tame.

    If you need any info on them, here is an excellent care sheet:

    Ball Python (Python regius) Caresheet

    You are right, a live rodent can certainly injure (and sometimes kill) a snake. Here is a little story to help you decide that live food is a bad idea:

    I am currently rehabilitating a boa that was nearly killed by a live rat. At the moment, his veterinary bills have totaled over $500, and that does not include the $700 surgery that he still needs to close his wounds, or any of his future appointments ($70 each, plus whatever meds are given. He sees the vet every 2 weeks for a check-up, and refills on any of his medications - mostly antibiotics and anti-septics) That is the potential cost of feeding live animals. If that doesn't discourage you...

    Your ball python WILL get big enough to need to eat rats. At her age, she should be eating medium to large mice, or rat pinks or pups. Baby Ball Pythons come out of the egg big enough to eat mid-sized mice or rat pinkies.

    That said, Ball Pythons are very easy to convert to frozen/thawed rodents, and I have converted some stubborn ones. I'm sure you can convince her to take a frozen/thawed rodent. It may take a little effort, but once they are converted, you are good to go.

    Frozen rodents are much less likely to transmit diseases and parasites to your reptile (who can in turn transmit some of them to you). Pinworm is a common one, and people can get it, too. Some diseases and parasites can sicken, or kill your snake. Getting rid of them can be time consuming and costly.

    Another good reason to feed frozen: Price. Live rodents are usually more expensive than frozen, and if they don't get eaten, you now have to feed and care for a live rodent until you can get your snake to eat it. Some Ball Pythons can be finicky eaters, so that could be a live rodent for months. I don't know about you, but the smell of live rodents is enough to convince me. Frozen rodents don't need food, water, or cage changes - just space in your freezer. f you live in an area that has reptile shows from time to time, you can even buy them by the bag for a lot less than the pet store will charge. Or, if you have other reptile friends in your area, you could combine orders into a single order from a rodent supplier (and pay pennies per rodent, plus shipping.) Rodent pro sells XL mice for 80 cents, when they are not on sale. My adult Ball pythons take large rats, and rodent pro sells those for $2.00 each. Of course, you get the best deals when you buy in bulk, because shipping is $50/box whether you have one rat or a hundred in that box. But if you are able to get them from a show, you can expect to pay about $2-$3 per rat, where most pet stores sell them for $5 and up for frozen, more for live.

    Some pet stores will not sell rodents if they suspect you are going to feed them to a snake. Though it's really none of their business, some just won't do it.
     
  3. katelynsnake

    katelynsnake Member

    I have a reputable rat breeder that raises them for snakes and its pretty cheap too. (hes local no shipping)
     
  4. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    Hi there. I would definitely get that snake on to rats as soon as possible. While it's not as big an issue right now, it can be a real pain in a few months when it would require several full grown mice to satisfy her. There is also the issue that they can get so used to taking the same kind of prey all the time, that it can be difficult to get them to take something different. I have 2 that will not reliably take rats despite my best efforts to get them to switch. And I would actually go with at least a rat fuzzy, pinks are not necessary unless you have an exceptionally small hatchling.
    Now as for the whole live vs f/t thing, let me say a couple things. First, there is no nutritional benefit to feeding live. I have occasionally heard this a an excuse for feeding live. There is also no need for your snake to hunt it's prey. It really doesn't get anything from it, and this is also something I've heard as an excuse. So really, unless you have very specific reasons for feeding live, frozen is better, at least in my opinion. Now here's where I contradict myself, and where my opinion differs from Dragoness's a bit. I do believe that live prey can be fed safely and with little risk to the snake. But you should have a darned good reason to do it too. In my case (yes I feed mostly live prey) I have a few. I breed my own rats. This means if I have a refusal, the rat goes back in the holding cage. I aslo have a large collection of snakes, and if I were to thaw too many rodents, they might go to waste. I also have some that will just not touch f/t. Tried and tried to switch them, but there are some that just won't. Now if I could switch to frozen, I would, because breeding rats is a pain, and frozen would be soooo much easier. I would also add that most if not all the injuries I have ever seen on snakes came from rodents that were left for extended periods unattended with the snake. I never, and I mean NEVER leave live feeders unattended with a snake, and they are always well fed and hydrated before they are offered. I also breed for the calmest rats I can, and although I don't work with them to tame them, I can reach into any of my racks and get what I need without fear of being bitten.
    Now for most people, this is all a waste of time and effort. If you only have one snake, or even a few, you'd be a lot better off with frozen. Usually cheaper, safer, and easier for the keeper. And this is also one of those subjects that can be debated endlessly, and has been. We all want what's best for our animals.
     
  5. katelynsnake

    katelynsnake Member

    Im sorry I didn't mean to say mice. She had a pinkie rat not mouse lol
     
  6. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    Ahh, ok. Ignore what I said about switching then. You should definitely go up in size a bit though. Do you have a scale that can weigh in grams? We can give you a better idea on prey size if we know the weight.
     
  7. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Having a good supplier is half the battle! Especially if you have someone local that you don't need to buy 200 rats at a time to get the best deal. It's a little much for one snake, though you never know, you might get hooked and end up with more than one.

    As darkbird said, there are a few reasons in which live is sometimes the best or only option, but every attempt should be made to get that snake on F/T.
     
    Darkbird likes this.
  8. katelynsnake

    katelynsnake Member

    Yes he is local! He supplies to most python breeders where I live, but the woman I got her from gave me his number! pet supplies plus sells both frozen and live at same price for $1.63 each no matter what size.
     
  9. katelynsnake

    katelynsnake Member

    also the reason why I gave her a pinky is bc she hadn't eaten in two weeks when I got her and the woman I bought her from only had adults and pinkies, no fuzzies. So she gave me a pinky to feed her with to hold her over.
     
  10. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    That's fine, I understand. Nothing wrong with offering 2 smaller prey items when a larger one isn't available either, at least if your snake will take 2. No big deal either way. And to try and get back to what the main point of this thread was, does your husband have any specific reasons for wanting to feed live over frozen?
     
  11. katelynsnake

    katelynsnake Member

    No, he just wants her to be able to "hunt" her own
     
  12. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    There is no need for the snake to "Hunt" on her own. That is a common excuse often used just to justify risking the snake's safety for one's own entertainment. The snake has no need to "hunt". Do a search for "rodent bites to snakes" images. You would be amazed at what a rodent that is fighting for its very life can do to a snake. It just is not worth it.
    And to be realistic, a snake and a rodent confined together in a box is in no way, shape, or form, "Hunting"
    Now maybe if you release the rodent into your home for a couple of days and then release the snake to find it? And no I am not suggesting that you do this!;)
     
    TamJam, mshrmheadcharge and Darkbird like this.
  13. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    Well as I stated in an earlier post, that just isn't necessary, and as been said, can lead to your snake getting injured. If it matters that much to him, he can hold the rodent with some tongs and do what I like to call "the zombie dance" for the snake, where you wiggle it around to get them to strike. Actually, some snakes will require you do this anyway.
     
  14. TamJam

    TamJam Elite Member

    I don't think I would like to be so very hungry for chocolate cake, only to get locked in a small box to "hunt" a huge, live, scared, angry, sharp- toothed piece of chocolate cake.
     

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