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Ball Python Shedding Questions

Discussion in 'Ball Pythons' started by QueenGuineveresMom, Dec 19, 2017.

  1. QueenGuineveresMom

    QueenGuineveresMom New Member

    I've taken care of snakes for the past 7 years (primarily rattlesnakes, bull snakes, rat snakes, and king snakes), in a previous job. We had a couple of ball pythons, but they were both 6-8 years old, so this is my first go with a juvenile. My husband got me a juvenile ball python for Christmas because he knows how much I've always wanted my own snake at home. However, I have a few questions regarding shedding, humidity levels, and eating.

    I will have had the snake for 2 weeks tomorrow. We were told she was fed on Wednesday, December 6th, 2017, and that she eats one pinkie mouse regularly every Wednesday. So, that said, last Wednesday, I attempted to feed her (one week after having her and not handling to let her adjust to her new home) and she showed absolutely no interest in the pinkie mouse. In my opinion, I think it is too small and perhaps unappealing to her, but that is what they said she had ate previously so we tried it. Using feeding tongs, I dangled the pinkie mouse in front of her and she flicked her tongue a bit, but went the other direction, so I left it at the entry to her hide overnight. She did not touch it. I did warm it in hot water prior to attempting to feed. I know that snakes can go long periods of time without eating, but how long can a juvenile ball python go between meals?

    The next day, she had blue eyes and dull skin, so I thought-- ah ha! This is why she didn't want to eat because she is about to shed. Her eyes were blue for about 3 days (Thursday-Saturday). It is now Tuesday and she has not moved since Sunday, nor has she shed, but her eyes are now clear. I have a digital thermometer at both ends of the cage-- the cool side is 77-80 degrees Fahrenheit, while the hot side is 86-90 degrees. I was keeping the humidity at 50-60%, but since she is shedding, it has been increased to 70-90%. I am increasing it by laying a wet towel on top of the enclosure and when the towel dries out, the humidity falls a bit. Is this too high of humidity for the shedding process? I don't want her to develop an RI or scale rot.

    Info about the enclosure: 20 gallon tank with a screen top, 60 watt blue day light and 60 watt night light; aspen substrate; one hide rock; one branch for climbing; two artificial vines for extra coverage; one water bowl large enough that she could sit it in, but I have not seen her do this.
  2. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Your first impression is correct. A pinkie mouse isn't worth their bother and most of them will ignore them.hatchlings are fed hoppers and in some cases even small adult mice. Most will not feed during shed cycle. And they do clear up a day or so before the actual shed.
    The towel is an issue. It will be a source of bacteria and mold. Closing the screen lid off with a price of plywood or plastic would be preferable.
    Darkbird likes this.
  3. AmityReptiles

    AmityReptiles Well Established Member

    Any chance by pinkie they were referring to pinkie rats?
  4. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    They specifically said pinkie mouse.
  5. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    I think Amity may have been asking if the previous owner had meant rats instead of mice. Either way I agree, pinky mice will be all but useless for ball pythons. I breed, and I start my hatchlings on either pinky rats or what might be referred to as peach fuzzies. Do you happen to know the weight of the snake? Mich easier to give a size recommendation if we know that.
    As for the shedding, I would expect it to happen in the next few days. The hi idity levels you quoted sound good, I actually keep my ball python room at around 65% all the time. Haven't had any issues and I get much better sheds now without trying to keep track of when each individual goes blue. (Keep in mind, I have over 30 bps alone)
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2017
    AmityReptiles likes this.
  6. AmityReptiles

    AmityReptiles Well Established Member

    Yes sorry for not being clear. I was asking about the previous owner. Sometimes people say "pinkie" and we automatically think mouse, but a regular feeding of pinkie rats would make more sense.

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