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Feeding Help

Discussion in 'Ball Pythons' started by janie, Jun 23, 2015.

  1. janie

    janie Member

    I'm in desperate need of some help!! I got a pinstripe ball python from Petsmart about 2 months ago, at the store they force fed her for the entire time they had her which was about 6 months and because of that I cannot get her to eat anything! I've tried heating them up more than usual so they may register as alive, wiggling them in front of her face, I've taken some bedding from a friends Gerbil cage and shaken the mice in it to scent it, I've even left her in a critter keeper over night with 2 mice cuz I read sometimes they may just take them if you leave it for a few hours but nothing is working. She's starting to get very skinny so if anyone has any advice on what to do to get her eating on her own I'd greatly appreciate it. Other wise I'll just have to keep force feeding which cannot be good for her.
     
  2. ExoJoe

    ExoJoe Established Member

    It seems like you've tried most of the tricks for ball pythons. They should have never continued that practice at the pet store for so long. I know I usually suggest the gerbil scenting and trying to feed at night as opposed to day time. I might even say that letting them wait for a while until they are really hungry would work but if she is losing weight like you say that would be a bad idea. Hopefully some of the ball python specific collectors could point you in a good direction. You may have to see veterinary expertise. I have read good reviews on a product by Zilla that is a caloric supplement and appetite stimulant. Reviews showed good results with boas.
     
  3. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi, I think you`re absolutely right, all the previous force feeding has caused this problem. You continuing is not helping (I understand your concerns).
    Have you tried raising the temps slightly, both ambient and basking by around 5f (day and night)? In that regard what are they (plus the humidity range) and how are you measuring them just for the sake of asking?
     
  4. janie

    janie Member

    I currently have it around 90 on one side and 78 on the other with hiding spots on both sides, I was hoping she'd eat when she got hungry enough but she went about a month without eating anything and looked horribly skinny so i had to force a few so she didn't just shrivel up and die basically. I took her to the closest reptile vet near me which is still about an hour away and they weren't helpful at all basically just said to keep forcing her till she puts weight back on but I feel like I'm just worsening the problem further.
     
  5. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Force feeding is HUGELY stressful, I would stop immediately.
    You haven`t said how you measure the temps and humidity (digitally or analogue)? Try raising them by 5f as I suggested (both day and night).
    Is the snake drinking at all?
     
  6. janie

    janie Member

    Yes she's drinking just fine, I have digital
     
  7. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    That`s good, apart from raising the temps you could always try rubbing the mouse with some raw chicken/other lean meat but do not attempt to force feed again and don`t disturb the snake at all.
     
  8. janie

    janie Member

    Okay I'll try that thanks
     
  9. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    Sounds to me like it's past time to switch to trying live. And definitely no more force feeding, no handling of any sort in fact until it's eating on its own regularly, other than the minimum needed for basic maintenance. How often are you attempting to feed, and what size and type of prey? A good picture of her would also help us get an idea of her body condition. I would give her at least a week with no feeding attempts, and no other interaction except things like cleaning or changing water. A cheap digital kitchen scale might be a good idea too so you can track her weight as well.
    Last thing I'll say until I get more info from you, bear in mind some ball pythons can be incredibly stubborn when it come to what they will eat, and a few will never take anything other than live. Out of close to 40 that I have, I have several that either won't touch frozen at all, or are very inconsistent feeders on it. I even have 2 that will not only refuse frozen, they will not accept anything except African soft furred rats, despite many attempts to get them to switch.
     
  10. janie

    janie Member

    I have considered switching to live because I had 2 in the past that wouldn't touch frozen but A) she is very very small so I don't think I could get a small enough live mouse for her to eat and B) I'm scared that because she's so reluctant to eat it may just attack her. Each time I attempt to feed (once a week) I try both pinkies and fuzzies to see what she may be more willing to eat. This was her a few weeks ago but she's gotten even skinnier since then.
     

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  11. TamJam

    TamJam Elite Member

    I can understand your anxiety and am sorry for both you and the little python. She has been through too much stress. As a kindness to her I would leave her in absolutely optimum conditions of heating and humidity and security, fresh clean water and a bunch (say 3) of LIVE fuzzy or pink mice with eyes not yet open. Believe me, they are the right size or smaller than what she needs! Leave them in all night with her, they cannot attack her and do any harm. They may however provoke her into attack, and the rest will be history, hopefully!
    That pet shop should be held up as an example of the poorest possible husbandry. Ugh.
     
  12. janie

    janie Member

    Where do you get live pinky mice?? The only place I've ever found live food is full grown mice from petco. There isn't much of a reptile scene near me so not many options. And I know I'm so angry at the petsmart, that's the only reason I took her in the first place I already have a corn snake and too many other pets but it made me so sad to just watch her decline in that tiny cage.
     
  13. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    Actually too small can be a problem too as they may not see them as worth the effort. And as for the prey attacking, as long as its properly fed and hydrated, and you are monitoring the feeding, the chances of a bite are remote.
    Now as for a prey size recommendation, pinky mice are almost useless for balls, in fact I start hatchlings on fuzzy rats. Try googling rat or mouse breeders in your area, check Facebook, and so on. You might get lucky. It's a bit hard to judge from the pictures, but I'm thinking fuzzy or hopper rat or a small adult mouse, live either way.
    And this isn't meant as a criticism, just remember that buying an animal to save it from improper care at a store just frees up a slot for another animal to be in the same boat. Of course if you negotiated a deal to get it from them free that doesn't apply, since stores are reluctant to replace things that didn't make them money.
     
  14. janie

    janie Member

    I definitely think she can handle a fuzzy and would probably seem like more of a threat to her to want to attack but yet again I'm so worried about her getting attacked, I'll just have to watch very closely. I could be being stupid do fuzzies even have teeth yet? But yes I did get her for free because they agreed she looked near death and they also already had snakes piled up in the back waiting to move out onto the floor cages which believe it or not are much better still, they basically just sit in Tupperware containers in the back In a warm room until there's room on the floor for them and they get new ones every week regardless :(
     
  15. ExoJoe

    ExoJoe Established Member

    I've seen sites that delivered live or frozen rodents. I've also had lots of luck with googling pet stores in my area that are not chain stores that only carry frozen. I also live in a very rural area so I was shocked in what I found in my driving radius.
     
  16. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    Fuzzies are harmless under any circumstances and can be left for extended periods safely. Hoppers are pretty safe as well, but I usually don't leave live prey of any type with a snake longer than 30 minutes, if even that long. Another thing you can search for is African soft furred rats. I actually call these the "magic bullet" for ball pythons, as I can usually entice them to take one when they are refusing absolutely everything else. They are harder to find though, at least in my area. And if it makes you feel any better, I feed live almost exclusively to nearly 50 snakes a week, and in my 20 or so years of reptile keeping I've never had a serious bite. Now I am NOT trying to promote live feeding, I would go with frozen if all mine would take it, but I breed my own rodents and have quite a few live feed only snakes, so freezing just doesn't make sense in my situation.
    Glad to hear you didn't pay for it, but that one shouldn't have been on the show floor anyway. I won't go into the whole issues with pet stores thing, that could be a long rant and thread on its own. Don't want to derail this one, just want to get your girl eating.
     
  17. janie

    janie Member

    Thank you so much for all your help I'll start searching for somewhere to get live fuzzies or hoppers and I'll let you know when that (hopefully) works!
     
  18. janie

    janie Member

    I found a place!!! A store about an hour from me sells live fuzzies and pinkies, unfortunately they're out of fuzzies right now but I'm gonna go grab a few pinkies and just hope she'll go after them since its been at least 2 weeks since she's eaten and her temps have been higher for about 3 or 4 days now. Wish me luck!
     
    Darkbird likes this.

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