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Help... My Ball Python Wants To Eat Me

Discussion in 'Ball Pythons' started by Puff_in_the_herp, Oct 26, 2017.

  1. So I have a sexed male ball python that I have had for about 5 years now, and he and I used to have a good relationship. He used to be so calm and seemed to enjoy being handled and ate very well for me. Recently however, everything has changed about his behavior towards me. I currently feed him 3 rat pups about once a week. and he has no issues gulping them down; however, getting him into his feeding box is a nightmare as I have to come up with new ways to get him out, as he will strike at me when I try to get him out, which he never used to do before. He has even bitten me and latched on to my hand as if it were food, instead of releasing my hand once he "realized" that my hand was obviously too big of prey for him. I am at a loss for what occurred to make this behavior change, as I thought my feeding him bigger prey would make him more calm, and act like a regular, chill Ball. If anyone has any suggestions as to what I should be doing differently, I would greatly appreciate it, as I now am nervous to take him out to even handle him outside of feeding times, and miss being able to hold him without fear of being made a meal out of. Thank you.
  2. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Why are you feeding such small prey? He may be striking because he is hungry. Rat pups are for small, young snakes. The prey size increases as the snake does. All of my BP's over 2 years old are on large/jumbo rats (FT). I personally think the snake is being underfed.
  3. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I agree. Your description sounds like a hungry snake.
  4. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    Just repeating what was already said really, but you have a very hungry snake that is not being fed large enough prey. If you can't see a noticeable lump when the snake is finished eating, then you need go up in prey size. Do you know the weight of the snake? If not, putting up a picture so we can get an idea of the size will help us recommend what size to use. And like Rich, my adults get large, or even jumbo rats, heck I start babies with fuzzy rats unless they are really small.
  5. AmityReptiles

    AmityReptiles Well Established Member

    Diddo what they said, but can you provide recent pics of the snake, as well as a description of enclosure conditions?
  6. Here are pictures of my ball in his 20g terrarium. As you can see, he is not a very large snake, so I was told that rat pups were big enough for him; especially with three of them. The rats I feed are frozen, but are as thick around as the snake is, and I do see lumps in his belly after he has eaten.

    Attached Files:

  7. AmityReptiles

    AmityReptiles Well Established Member

    This snake is 5 years old?? What length is he?
    And what size rat are you calling a rat pup?
    In any event, if you are feeding 3 of something you need to go up in size. I would try a small rat
  8. Yes, I've had him for 5 years from a hatchling.... and I would say barely 2 feet, if that. Must be what Petsmart breeds, because I have seen much larger Ball Pythons at reptile shows around the same age- even males. And the rat pup size is what you would normally buy, maybe 4-5 inches long, and with full fur on them. I will try to feed a small rat next time, but most of the small rats I've seen look like they might be too big for my snake.
  9. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    I agree that if the snake is taking 3 of anything at one feeding, you can definitely go up in size. And i wouldnt worry about the next size up being too large, snakes in general can take a lot larger prey item than you might think, especially balls with their seemingly tiny heads.
  10. TamJam

    TamJam Elite Member

    Hi there. Your python is very beautiful. I think that he should be fed larger rats, but not more often than twice per month. He needs to "feel" a large prey item and be able to get that "squeeze" going in a satisfying way when he wraps around something more substantial than a rat "pup".
    But apart from the feeding, I would like to ask what that substrate is in the enclosure? And how are your temperatures and humidity levels? Also, has he been checked for possible mites? That can make them very snappy and miserable, if he has got mites.
  11. I am going to try larger rats for this next feeding for sure, to see if that helps. The substrate in his enclosure is ReptiBark made by Zoo Med, I believe, and the tank stays between 75-85 during the day and 70-73 during the night, and he has an under tank heater on the warm side. Humidity in our house is on the higher side as we are in Texas, so probably in the 50-70% range.
  12. Oh, and no mites. I've checked for that before, and he's never had them or an RI.
    TamJam likes this.

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