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Ball Python Not Eating and Losing Weight

Discussion in 'Ball Pythons' started by Junoc, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. Junoc

    Junoc Elite Member

    Sorry for making another post about my ball python not eating ever since I bought him but I have a huge concern now. As told earlier from my other post, the last time this male got fed was 9/5 with the previous owner. He was 122 grams when I bought him, now he is 100 grams. People told me that ball pythons off their feed isn't a big deal unless they are losing weight. I seriously don't know what the deal is here...all my temps + humidity is set right, I have 3 hides (2 of them are cooler hides) and blocked the glass aquarium with cardboard for the perfect secure feeling for a snake. What am I doing wrong? I feel terrible
  2. Majora

    Majora Elite Member

    I think we're going to need a bit more info so here are some questions/things to consider:

    What exactly are your temps/humidity and what size/kind of cage is he in? How open or cluttered is it? Pics would help immensely.

    Are you feeding frozen or live? If you're feeding frozen, are you making sure it's warmed up first (above room temp, not just thawed)

    Are you feeding him in his cage or in a separate container?

    What size/type of food are you feeding, and how does it compare to the size of your snake at it's widest point?

    How often are you trying to feed?

    How often are you handling him and did you allow him time to acclimate to his new surroundings before feeding? If so how long did you give him?

    Others will probably chime in with more questions but these are what come to mind when I hear a snake isn't eating.
  3. Junoc

    Junoc Elite Member

    The cool side temps are at 80f-83f. The basking spot is 87f-92f. I use a UTH with a thermostat. The temps fluctuate from the high 80s to the low 90s but I want a basking spot that is right at 90f but I don't know how to do that. Humidity is 50%-65% (mostly on 50% though)

    I'm trying to feed it f/t mice. I let it soak in hot water and then after, I attempt to feed the snake. Just how warm should the mice be? I have a temp gun to ensure the exact temperature. It's previous owner fed it live mice actually.

    I've tried feeding him in the cage and outside of it in a box.

    I've been trying to feed it every 3 or 4 days or so.

    As for handling, I handled him the first 3 days of owning him then I stopped cause I know what I was doing was wrong. The only time I really handle him is to when he messes up the substrate and move around the hides, I just re-position him to the other side of the cage so I can fix up the mess.
  4. CryHavoc17

    CryHavoc17 Elite Member

    I believe mice have a natural body temp in the 105 range, so that's usually what I warm my f/t rodents to. Works well for me.

    You may want to look into "braining" mice (making an incesion into the top of the skull exposing brain matter). I've never done it myself cuz mine have never really been picky eaters, so I can't comment on how to do it, but it seems like a viable option for you. You may also want to try leaving the mouse in the cage over night, perhaps placing both mouse and snake in a small tub or paper bag so that the snake has to be in close proximity to the mouse. Also I'd try to cut tge frequency of offerings down, I think every 5-7 days would be better then every 3.

    And again: keep calm, stay the course! It'll work out.
  5. Majora

    Majora Elite Member

    Okay. When you're soaking the F/T in hot water, do they get all wet and soggy? I feed a lot of young BPs at work and they all have their own quirks, one being that some will not eat an F/T mouse if it's wet. You could try letting the mouse thaw overnight in the fridge or for a few hours on the counter or something, and then warming it up with a hairdryer or under a lamp right before feeding. Another trick I use for reluctant eaters is rubbing the F/T mouse on something that smells like a live mouse or rat (bedding, animal itself, etc).

    You didn't say what size mouse you're feeding and how it compares to the size of your snake. I've also fed BPs that preferred their meals a bit smaller than what they probably could handle, so you could also try offering a smaller size.

    I would continue not handling him until he eats. I agree with CryHavoc17 - offer his food in the cage and try leaving it overnight, and don't try and feed too often. You still have tons of options to try so don't get stressed yet.
  6. TJOHNSON722

    TJOHNSON722 Elite Member

    Thaw at room temp then take a hair blow dryer to the mouse. It'll warm it up without cooking it. Try moving the mouse a little also.

    Ball pythons are Very hard to switch to frozen thawed. Since its only 100 grams I would try fresh killed (still moving it around) first then move to frozen thawed.

    Temps are fine as long as your not using a dial thermometer hygrometer. It should be digital.

    Good luck.
  7. TJOHNSON722

    TJOHNSON722 Elite Member

    If he's lost 22 grams already I'd be concerned a tad. Its not really normal unless when he was weighed he had a full belly and now obviously he doesn't.

    Try fresh killed. Worst case scenario he doesn't eat it, you freeze it for later.

    Don't dethaw more than two-three times max bc of bacteria (or so I've heard).
  8. Junoc

    Junoc Elite Member

    photo (4).JPG

    Everyone, I switched him to this plastic tub enclosure. I gave the previous owner a call and he suggested a smaller enclosure for him to feel secure. The top is covered by plexiglass, I know it's weird but the original top cover let my snake find a way to get out of it so I had to use plexiglass. The temperature right now is much less fluctuating (near 90f) and humidity is 55%-65%. After two days, I will try the f/t hopper with the methods told above.

    QUESTION: What do you think of this? Is this okay for him?
  9. TJOHNSON722

    TJOHNSON722 Elite Member

    I'm just a little worried about that weight loss. Let us know in a few days how it goes.
  10. Junoc

    Junoc Elite Member

    I will let you know, is it that much of a problem? People said I should be okay
  11. TJOHNSON722

    TJOHNSON722 Elite Member

    If he eats soon yes. Don't let him loose too much more trying to convert from live to frozen thawed. I would try maybe twice more.
  12. Nathan

    Nathan Member

    Try live food
  13. Junoc

    Junoc Elite Member

    I keep taking him out and back in just to keep drilling more ventilation holes. I had the humidity go past 70% twice, and that is because the lack of airflow. I'm stressing him out too much..
  14. TJOHNSON722

    TJOHNSON722 Elite Member

    Yep. If you know your doing it, stop. Don't bother him anymore. I wouldn't eat either. He's a baby! He needs to eat.

    Just since I've read it, he ate on 5th. In 17 days, he's switched houses, attempted to feed every 2-3 days something he's not used to. You admitted you even move him around his cage. I know getting a new pet is fun, but they HAVE to have the acclimation period.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2013
  15. Junoc

    Junoc Elite Member

    What if the humidity goes to 70% again? I have to do something about it...again
  16. TJOHNSON722

    TJOHNSON722 Elite Member

    Drill enough holes, then leave it. Don't even reach in there except to change water. Leave him for a few days and then try live in a tub so you can monitor him.
  17. JSqueezer

    JSqueezer Elite Member

    Thing is though he is so small to begin with. We're not talking about a 500 gram snake who can afford to miss a meal or two. We're talking about a little snake who at this time in his life should be gaining.

    I'm no expert. I've only had Julius since the last week of May. She was about 18 months old at that time and she was really small!! I got her from a guy who gave her just a small live mouse once a week. She was in an enclosure that was much too small. I switched her diet to small f/t rats, which she took to in an instant! I gave her a much bigger enclosure. I weighed her last night night and she is a whopping 884 grams. She has gained well over 500 grams since the last week of May! Julius has only refused food one time and that's because she was going into a shed. When she was underweight she'd want food even if she was shedding.

    I too am concerned with your little one's weight loss. I have a nearly 4 month old Ball who is still on rat pups, but she eats every five days. She only has one pup left and then she moves on to hoppers and a once a week feeding. She does not refuse food. All my pythons are on f/t rats and like I said Julius switched to f/t instantly.
  18. TJOHNSON722

    TJOHNSON722 Elite Member

    I've had babies die from no food. Its imperative she eats soon.
  19. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    For the time being, go ahead and feed the live hoppers. They are too young to hurt the snake. Get a few feedings in and then convert to FT.
  20. CryHavoc17

    CryHavoc17 Elite Member

    A little extra humidity for a while will not hurt him

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