ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Pets and Animals»
  • Reptiles & Amphibians

Ball Python Feeding Tips

Updated on January 25, 2011

Food! Few things can excite your snake more than the scent of its next meal, and few things can frustrate a keeper more than the ball python that does not get excited or even remotely interested in its food. Many factors can affect a ball python's feeding response; we explore some of those factors.

Keepers have offered a variety of different prey to their ball pythons, including rats, mice, hamsters, gerbils, African soft-furred rats, and hatchling chicks. With the exception of mice and rats, the other listed food items have mainly been used to entice reluctantly feeding, wild-caught ball pythons to feed. Once these snakes have begun to feed regular­ly, keepers generally do not have much diffi­culty switching them over to more readily available food sources, such as mice and rats. Breeders usually offer for sale hatchling ball pythons that are already established feeders on either mice or rats.

Many ball pythons will imprint on a single food item. For example, they will recognize a mouse as a food item, but not a rat. Many ball pythons will only eat mice their entire lives. Others will only eat rats. Then there are those that will eat anything that is placed into their cage. Still others will switch between mice and rats. Because ball pythons will often refuse one type of food in favor of another, it is best to feed your ball python what it is accustomed to eating. Be sure to clarify with the person you are buying the ball python from exactly what they have been feeding the snake and how often it has been eating. If you need your snake to feed on frozen thawed rodents, make sure you clarify that with the breeder, so that there will be no surprises when the snake arrives and you find it will only eat live prey (possibly a big problem if you live in an area where obtaining live rodents reg­ularly is difficult). A word of caution: Do not, in an attempt to save money, feed your ball python wild-caught rats, mice, or any other small animals. Such wild-caught animals may be more aggressive in defending themselves from a predator, and they may also carry para­sites that could be harmful or potentially fatal to your ball python—not to mention that this is a good way to bring fleas and ticks into your home.

Food Size

It is important to feed your ball python appropriately sized food items. Hatchling ball pythons eat large fuzzy mice (young mice that have just grown their fur) or hopper mice slightly older and larger mice that are beginning to actively move about).They do not eat pinky mice (newborn mice that lack fur), unless they are unusu­ally small hatchlings, such as may occur with twin snakes. If the food item offered is too small for the ball python, it may fail to elicit the appropriate feed­ing response. Often, when a meal is too large for a ball python, the snake will not eat it; if they are able to swallow a large food item, it may be regurgitated a day or so later. Regurgitation can lead to refusal to feed and other health issues. Avoid this problem by feeding appropriately sized prey.

An appropriate-sized food item is one that will leave a slight bulge in your snake. Adult ball pythons that eat mice will need to be offered an appropriate number of mice at their weekly feeding. The number of mice offered will vary depending upon the size of the ball python. Ball pythons 2 to 3 feet (61 to 91.4 cm) in length can be fed two mice at a feeding. Ball pythons that are 3 to 4 feet (91.4 to 121.9 cm) in length can be fed three or four mice at a feeding. These should be offered one at a time and after the previous mouse has been completely eaten. If you are feeding rats or rat pups, one should be plenty for your snake.

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • profile image

    Carla 6 years ago

    Thank you for this excellent subject. My snake seems to really prefer mice over rats. Now I understand why. Some snakes just do. I try rats but he doesn't seem to enjoy them. Will go back to mice.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)