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Feeding Habits of Ball Pythons - Picky Eaters

Updated on September 17, 2010
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Whitney has raised and bred different species of geckos, snakes, lizards, tortoises and other exotics since 2003

Ball Pythons

Ball pythons are one of the best beginner snakes in the pet trade today. They have earned this title because they are calm and docile with easy husbandry needs, not because of their feeding habits.

Ball pythons are VERY picky eaters. It is very hard to successfully get a ball python to eat F/T mice or F/T rats. But, not impossible. Many petstores feed live mice and rats to their ball pythons, so when you get them home, it become quite a challenge getting them on frozen foods.

I've tried. I've tried many methods. I haven't gotten one to work. I've attempted leaving the frozen mouse in the cage overnight, leaving it in his hide over night, covering the cage with towels, and dipping the mouse in tuna juice. The only thing I have not tried is putting the snake and thawed mouse in a pillow case-type bag.

For the past year my ball python has eaten live rats, except the 1 thawed pinkie and 1 thawed mouse that he has recently taken.

Feeding Ball Pythons

Not just looking at feeding ball pythons from a live or frozen standpoint, in general they are proven finicky feeders. It is not uncommon for a ball python to go without food for over a year. Not because he's not hungry, but it could be due to various reasons.

My ball python decided to go without food for five months this past winter. I had trouble keeping the tank temperatures up high enough for him, so he chose not to eat, which is not uncommon for ball pythons.

The slightest change in temperatures, too hot or too cold, upgrading enclosures, changing habitat d├ęcor, or even the placement of the tank, could all upset a ball python into not eating.

Sometimes you have to force feed them to get them started eating again. I have heard of times where a ball python will begin to loose substantial weight, even after just six months of not eating. And, a veterinarian told the customer to begin force feeding. In some cases, force feeding is the only option to getting a ball python to eat, but should NOT be attempted unless you know what you're doing. Force feeding a snake is not the best option, but if the snake starts to lose weight, and still refuses to eat, it may be something that you want to consider. It's best that you use smaller F/T than the snake could actually eat; it'll be easier for you to get it down the snake.

You can, also, look at what you're feeding him. If he's used to eating frozen and stops eating, you could try feeding him fresh killed. This way, the rat or mouse is still naturally hot, but it's dead or at least stunned so that it won't hurt the snake. This is a much better option than going straight to live when the snake starts to give you trouble eating, as in most cases the rat will still twitch and appear live to some extent.

I would wait several months before attempting live, and not do so until you've tried every option possible. Remember that it is VERY hard to get a ball python, much less any snake, to go back to frozen feeders after they have had a live feeder, so if your goal is to feed F/T, then I wouldn't suggest even trying live.

Before trying fresh killed or live, you can try dipping the F/T in tuna juice or even chicken broth (tuna juice works better), patting the F/T so that doesn't drip juice, and then offering it to the snake. In many cases, this is a good way to get the snake to start eating. Once the snake is eating regularly, you can start thawing out the frozen feeder regularly without the juice.

You can also bust the head of the F/T open after thawing so that it has the brainy smell. This may not be the most pleasant method, but it works in most cases.

Sometimes, ball pythons can get even more picky than frozen versus live. Sometimes, they will only take one color mouse or rat, if that's what they're used to. I've even heard it so bad, that a particular ball python would only eat white, female rats. It would NOT eat a male rat.

The biggest thing that you, or any ball python owner, must figure out, is your pet snake's tastes. I know it sounds funny, but some times that's the case.

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      Chris 4 years ago

      For whom it concers, It is okay for ball pythons to go off feeding for months. My ball python hasn't eaten in 2 months and he's the same weight he was from last feeding. It's also not bad to feed them live or frozen food because al the nutrients are still their. Think bout all the frozen food we eat.

    • profile image

      shay 5 years ago

      for the question about leaving the live mouse in the cage with your snake.. you shouldn't do it, the mouse could bite the snake. we have 2 ball pythons and if they dont eat the mice we put them in a little cage until we get our snakes to eat them.

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      Dora 5 years ago

      I have a ball python just about the size of my arms. It's been 3 weeks that she hasn't feed. Is this normal or is it not?

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      flickagirl 5 years ago

      i bought a ball python on September 2, 2011 and they told me to feed him on that following Wednesday but nothing is exactly what happened and it has not eat since a while before i bought it i can not figure out why. I called the pet shop where i bought it at and they said they were feeding him/her live white feeder mice which that is exactly what i have been trying to feed him. I need some answers because he/she is starting to worry me a lot i do not want my snake to die because of starving to death and i could have prevented it.

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      Marci & HARLEY 5 years ago

      all needa think its mistreating your ball python TO GIVE it killed or frozen mice think how do they eat in the wild there hunters they like to kill them their self y do u think there pythons they choke them their selves go to petco and get mice tell them your snakes size how many feet and they'll giv u the ryte size of rat think people it will increase your pythons health FACT its not creul its the way of nature

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      john 6 years ago

      i tried feeding my ball python a hopper he wouldn't eat it so i tied a fuzzy he killed and burried it so i waited he didn't eat he died shortly after and it makes me mad because when i bought him the guy said he wa a great eater

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      kk143 6 years ago

      i have been looking for an albino ball python i really want one anyone know of one for sale in the bakersfield area of cali?????

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      Rose 6 years ago

      We just fed our Ball Python for the first time since we have had him. He has been moving non stop since we fed him over 10 hours ago. Is this common?

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 6 years ago from Georgia

      I don't recommend feeding in the cage, not because of myths about them striking bc they think you're going to feed but just because I'd rather not have a rat walking throughout my snake's tank.

      The tank may not be warm enough. You may not have given the snake time to adjust.

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      Jennifer 6 years ago

      My husband and I just purchased a ball python from a local pet shop and with him came a feeding record and I noticed that our snake hasn't eating since November, and its now Feb. 9th, I noticed on here that its not uncommon for him to not eat in such a long time but it somewhat worries me, and he too has always fed on live rats, my husband brought one home to him today, and he will not eat it, so now im unsure of what to do with this rat until he does decide that he wants it, any ideas? A question, his tank is large, is it a good idea to just leave the rat roaming inside of it until the snake decides he is hungry and wants him?

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 6 years ago from Georgia

      It's not so much a myth, but truth. Thanks for the comment though. It's good that you've not had any problems, but I know many who have with proper care of their snake, myself included.

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      TBP 6 years ago

      There seems to be a myth out there that ball pythons are extremely finicky and it is normal for them to go off feed for months at a time. The truth is Ball Pythons if cared for properly, should feed fairly regularly with little resistance. It can be challenging switching from live to frozen thawed, however it is by no means impossible. There are just certain tricks to use when switching over... 1st you want to make sure that the prey item is fully thawed and nice and warm, you do not want to cook the item, just make sure that the snake is able to sense the prey is there. A lot of times I see people trying to feed prey items half frozen still. This is a big NO NO! 2nd you want to move the prey around, just throwing it in almost never works. 3rd you want to make sure that the humidity in the enclosure is nice and high prior to feeding, try misting a little extra the day before and day of feeding. 4th you want to make sure that you never force feed a snake, it will eat on it's own if you give it time. Force feeding a snake is absolutely one of the most stressful things you can do to a snake. Even if you get it force fed successfully, the next time you go to offer food the snake will be terrified. I have heard stories of snakes going over a year without food then all of a sudden starting to eat again and start packing back on the weight like you would not believe. One of the most common causes for snakes going off feed is power feeding... this is when you try to ram a rat down the snakes throat 2 times a week or more. Eventually the snake just can't do it anymore and needs time off food for a while to self regulate it's own weight. To put it simply, you should not have a 6 month old snake that weighs 700+ grams.

      I hope this helps.

      Thanks,

      TBP

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      Night 6 years ago

      The only reason why a ball python or any pet snake would strike at its owner is if you feed it in its tank or over feed them, so they are always use to eating when their tank is open or think its time to eat when their tank is open, what i do with mine is i have a cardboard box with breathing holes around it and when i put her in there she knows automatically that its feeding time, another thing is the snake would not matter of a fact refuses to eat the mouse (frozen) if it knows that's its dead, the illusion of it being alive is more of a successful strike at a frozen mouse so leaving a thawed mouse in its tank would be a bad idea, a way to do this is when you thaw out the mouse let it sit in warm water before patting it dry then with a thongs wave it around in the box and the snake is sure to bite, ive dropped it by accidents and she gets turned off and might not be interested in eating for the day...this method for me has been successful 95 percent of the time, and ive had mine for 8mnths now and has never strike at me once.

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 6 years ago from Georgia

      You could have just caught him on a bad day. You could definitely bump him to small F/T rats instead of the F/T mice. You can feed prey as large as the widest girth of the snake. It could be that it was hungry, but it definitely wasn't the natural instinct, as he would have had that natural instinct to strike all along. It wouldn't have just started like that

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      Rick29 6 years ago

      Temperatures are 90 hot side, 80 cool side. Ambient temp of whole tank is 82. He is eating like a champ, I fed him 2 mice 3 days ago, then he just ate another 3 mice last night. These are the small mice F/T. He seems a little at ease now. I will see how he acts later tonight when he comes out of his hide. Its just weird how now he is attacking us, but he never done it before. Im gonna go with him being "hungry" or as you said maybe stress related for some reason. Let me add he is about 2 feet long, 1-2 inches thick.

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 6 years ago from Georgia

      He's not acting on instinct. Keep feeding F/T You can probably feed small rats once a week, instead of the two mice. He is probably stressed. Check your temperatures.

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      Rick 6 years ago

      I have had a Ball Python for about a year now. I have been feeding him frozen mice 2 a week and upgraded to bigger sizes as he got bigger. I had gone away on vacation for a month or 2 recently. I come back and go back to his normal feeding habits, but now he is starting to snap at me and my girlfriend. He even tries to wrap tight amongst your fingers and snap at them to a point. He never has acted this way before. Is it because he is hungry or stressed to not being handled or the mixture of both? Is there something I can do to get him back to how he acted prior? My brother who is pretty good with snakes with snakes says, he is acting on instinct and is ready to be giving live mice now. Is this the case anyone can help me please? Thanks for any advice, appreciate it.

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 6 years ago from Georgia

      Look in warm, dark places. Other than that, it's hard to say, as he could be anywhere. Check the under the fridge, as there's warmth down there.

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      Baraa 6 years ago

      I lost my last friday, it's almost abeen a full week now, and i still havn't found him, his last feeding day was supposed to be last friday but he was lost before i feed him so the last time he ate was almost 2 weeks ago. I'm getting more and more worried by the gay and none of the usual hiding places; dark, tight and warm seem to have intrested him yet. My schedule has me sleeping during the night so i can't be awake when he's active. I was wondering if you could give me some advice about catching him or at least getting a general idea if he's upstairs or down stairs or even a likely room he's in. Also, he was lost downstairs, but his cage is upstairs. He wouldn't have gotten lost if it wasn't for myy carelessness and now that it's starting to get kind of chilly in the night, i'm really scurrying to find him. It's all i've been doing in my spare time lately. Thanks

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 6 years ago from Georgia

      You'll just have to keep at it. These guys can be quite stubborn. As long as the snake isn't losing weight, it should be fine.

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      Nathan 6 years ago

      Thanks for the info i did put him in a smaller container with a live mouse he did strike and constrict but that's all he did he didn't eat he just lied there looking at the mouse. I really don't know what to do i had snakes before but i never had a problem like this please help.

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 6 years ago from Georgia

      I've never really heard any complaints about tree boas being picky eaters. I would just give it some time. Make sure that the mice are really hot. Try wiggling with tongs or put the snake in a smaller tank with the F/T.

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      Nathan 6 years ago

      I just got an Emerald Tree Boa 2 years old from my pet store 2 month ago and hasn't had anything to eat since i got him home. The guy at the pet store told me that he had eaten a week before i took him but i'd like to feed him myself so i can have a log of the feeding times. I've tried nearly everything for him to eat but all he does is strike at the prey. Lately i went back to the store and the guy told me he was being fed live mice. Now i only offered him frozen ones without success and i really don't want to end up feeding him live mice coz they are notoriously picky eaters and the added problem that by the time he gets old i'll end up giving him live rats. Now i need to see how to make him switch to frozen mice since it's safer for the snake any help please :)

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      vanstryj 7 years ago

      i just recently bought a baby ball py. roughly 8-10 inches. seems hes grown to a lil over a foot now. i have a 40 gal breeder tank. and the coconut fiber bedding, i have a nice sized dish for him to soak in and i have a digi temp reader. most the time its between 85-94. has been a bit humid. i had 3 F/P's and according to the rep expert from the store they had just gotten him the week prior. now as soon as i took the snake out the cage he nudged and kinda carressed my hand with the side of his face. any idea of the notion of that? perhaps showing affection. and as well i have tried feeding him twice. so im down to 1 frozen pinkie. he does seem to like nudgeing the top of the lid cover but im not afraid that he will escape. i have means of support to keep him in. he likes being held to an extent i suppose and just recently he has let me rub the top of his head slightly. i guess wut im looking for from the info i have given is any advice to help keep him low key stress. he seems to like wrapping around his rock house and then falling off it for no reason. kinda cute. but ya any help much apprecieated. thanx :D

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      I figured 3 inches around all the way around making a circle, not just one side. That's what my estimates were on, in regards to my own snake.

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      Shawn 7 years ago

      Sorry Whitney, i meant that it was 3.5 inches all round, it's a little bit smaller than an 1.5 inch's in width.

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Ball pythons will grow to their full potential whether you feed them more or less. They can be unhealthy by feeding too much or too less though. The same goes for the myth that they will be smaller if you house them in small tanks; they'll grow no matter what, and will stop growing when their genes tell them to, so to speak.

      You can probably feed a small rat once a week.

      You can't tell the age by size. All snakes grow at different rates. The only difference is females grow faster because they get larger. At 22 inches long, I'd estimate over a year, especially because it's 3.5 inches wide, which is rather wide in diameter.

      My 5 year old male is over 3-4 feet and probably 4 inches in diameter, feeding in medium-large sized rats every other week, but he will eat weekly if I let him. He's been this size since he was about 2 years old. So there's no way to tell how old a snake is based on size.

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      Shawn  7 years ago

      I give my 22 inch long, 3.5 inch wide male ball python 2 adult mice a week. My vet said that that's a bit much, is that true? I should probably listen to my vet but i'm quite skeptical of the claims i've read (that ball pythons get longer when you feed them more) Also, i was wondering if you could tell how old a snake is by any specific detail. I think it's less than a year but it could've just stayed that size because of the way it was feed before (2 pinkies whenever) it hadn't eaten for 3 weeks when i got it.

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      A redbull can is rather thick, which is odd that at 10 months he's that thick... Hmm... I would just keep an eye on it. Do lukewarm soaks. He may just be absorbing more nutrients since he wasn't fed properly.

      You are feeding one adult mouse once a week? You may be able to up to two adult mice a week, or every other week, and on the off week one adult.

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      calin 7 years ago

      I got a male ball python nearly 3 months ago. According to his previous owner he's supposed to be about 10 month old now, but i wouldn't know for sure. He shed twice(once very easy, in one go, second time with the help of a luke warm bath) but what concerns me is that he only pooped twice. I do realize now that for the first 3-4 weeks he had smaller prey (always f/t) as i was following the instructions of his previous owner. Gradually i encreased the size of the prey and he's getting one adult mouse every week for 4 weeks now without hesitation, again, always f/t :) He's about 2.5 feet long(aprox.) and his thickest part of the body would be in around the same size as a regular redbull can. Should i be worried about the lack of poop or is that because he's catching up following the few weeks that he was underfed with smaller prey? He seems always eager to eat when the time comes and i'm wondering if i'm feeding him enough. I'd hate to keep him hungry as i know myself it sucks when i'm hungry :). Thank you.

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Sometimes BPs may prefer one type of prey over another. Try reducing the size back to what you were offering.

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      anya 7 years ago

      So I've had my BP for about a year now, and I was told that I need to start feeding him larger prey. I tried frozen, and I tried thawing, heating, and the tuna trick, but he didn't eat it. I then tried a small live rat, and it didn't work. He wouldn't kill it, but he attacked it, and long story short, I am now afraid to feed him.

      Should I wait a bit and then try to get him to eat a frozen mouse?

      I just get sick to my stomach when I think about the rat fiasco...

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      How big of a feeder did you offer? She may still be digesting if it was a large feeder?

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      phongster 7 years ago

      first off, i like your site....ok ok, i love your site

      FINALLY got my young python "V" to eat, i gave her a live one, but i intend to try to switch her to fresh killed

      but now, (day 3) she's all finky and clumbsie, acting very stand offish, is she just in a "food coma", will she be normal after she digests her dinner?

      after thanksgiving dinner im usually pretty zoned out myself..

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      I wouldn't worry about the shedding spray. Just keep the humidity appropriate, and you can do a lukewarm soak when you notice the snake going into shed. Because the snake has the layers of dead skin, you may want to do the soaks daily for a while. I wouldn't worry about it not balling up. Mine only curls up like that when in his hide. They don't all curl into a ball; typically just when nervous.

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      Baraa 7 years ago

      I got a baby ball python yesterday and it hadn't eaten in three weeks, i feed it 2 live fuzzies and got the humidity and temperture of the cage up. The previous owner didn't know how to care for it so it was in low humidity and since it's still not 1.5 feet it's shedding at a rate of once every 3-4 weeks except that it still has 2 layers of unshed skin. i bought some shedding spray to help it, but when i sprayed him/her, the snake got hostile and bit me, what should i do? also it still has never balled up, is that normal?

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Snakes are best kept in individual enclosures to prevent cannabalism. Although, it's rare for BPs to eat each other, it has happened and is possible. It's best to keep them housed individually at all times, not just after feeding. Some people can house them together fine without problems, but I've seen pictures, to which I can find and post a link here, of a BP who ate its cagemate.

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      mommyoftwins06 7 years ago

      Yeah, we have a Rubbermaid container that we put them in when we are trying to feed them. Should they just be in individual tanks after eating? Why the individual tanks?

      Thank you!

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      I really wouldn't recommend feeding them in the tank. Although, not for the myths that you commonly hear. I prefer to feed them outside the tank because I've found that snakes, in general, tend to be a little snappy when feeding inside the tank. Feed them outside, and when they're done, gently put them back in their individual tanks. (Yes, they should be kept in individual tanks.) I've never seen them bite when too hungry; but all animals can and will bite at some point in time. My BP has bitten me on accident while feeding; where he accidentally got me instead of the mouse I was holding.He got over anxious and grabbed my hand instead.

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      mommyoftwins06 7 years ago

      We just purchased 2 one month old Ball Pythons. They won't eat frozen (thawed) Pinky or Fuzzy mice. They were previously fed live mice. My concern isn't their lack of eating but I am worried that if they don't eat they might bite. I am terrified of snakes but my husband wanted them really bad so I agreed. I've gotten to where I like these two and am often the one to take care of them when he works. I just tried feeding them again but they wouldn't eat. So, basically my questions are. 1)Do they bite if they get too hungry? 2)Is it safe to pick them up to put them back in their tank after trying to feed them. 3)If we ever do get them to eat (lol) how long do we wait til we put them back in their tank? Please don't laugh at me people...I really am trying to be a "cool" wife about all this snake business. Thank you!

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      lauren 7 years ago

      Thank you...he just finished shedding so I'm going to give feeding (rat)another try today!

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      I wouldn't go back to gerbils, they're not really healthy feeders. You want to make sure that the temperature is high enough, and the the snake sheds. I would wait it out. In just a month or so, the snake shouldn't have lost too much weight unless it is sick.

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      lauren 7 years ago

      Hi, we have a 9 year old bp that went pretty much most of the winter with out eating like he usually does. On Apr 3rd he ate a live rat, but has refused everything since then (so it's been 8 weeks), and I think he looks thinner/wrinkled. He just shed, but still has an eye cap and some skin on him. He pooped since his last feed. Usually in the warmer months he'll eat a med rat or two gerbils every other week.

      He used to only eat gerbils but we got him on rats the past year so I don't want to go back to a gerbil, but I'm worried about him losing weight. He otherwise looks fine and is pretty active in there, especially at night.

      Do I give him more time to shed? Do I try a gerbil? Maybe he's still coming out of his winter slumber? I put another bowl of water in there and increased the temp a little as I don't think it was warm enough. My husband usually does this but he's in Afghanistan so I'm kind of lost! He keeps saying not to worry.

      Thanks for your help!

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      dj Fulhage 7 years ago

      thanks whitney! I have been feeding him about once a week now and he seems very content.

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      I don't think that they recognize the difference. The only thing they may sense is the difference in heat that one person puts out versus another.

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      dejota 7 years ago from manhattan

      Do you think ball pythons know who their owners are? because when i give him to people he sometimes tenses up unlike he does with me? anyone on here experience any of this?

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      I've not seeen any variation on feeding schedule for younger snakes. Once every 5-7 days is average feeding and average recommended schedule. One mouse once a week. When the snake gets bigger and older, you can go one rat once every other week. Generally, people don't just feed once a month, except for larger snakes.

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      dj fulhage 7 years ago

      ok thanks. I read up on it and all the answers seem to vary. i will definently try feeding him more.. i usually double feed him though, i guess i forgot to mention that. do you think i should feed him once a week still or is feeding him two snakes twice a month ok? i really appriciate your answer. just lemme kno! how old and big is your snake?

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      You are greatly underfeeding the snake. The snake should be eating once a week. Try one mouse once a week.

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      dj Fulhage 7 years ago

      i feed my ball 2 mice a month .. he is 5 months old .. should i be feeding him more? i take hime out an he loves to roam around an let me pet his head .. he seems just fine .. im just wondering if i should feed more or wut? hes nearly 2.5 feet long and the love of my life ... lol .. let me know

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      bobby, I'm surprised she's losing visible weight with only 3 months of not eating. Are the temperatures stable and high enough? Has anything changed in the environment in or around the enclosure? Have you tried F/T, live, or something smaller than she's used to.

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      bobby 7 years ago

      my 5ft female BP hasnt ate in 3 months and shes a picky eatter shes starting to lose some weight any advice?

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Younger snakes will generally eat once a week. Older BP's can feed every other week, but many people still stick with once a week.

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      Erik  7 years ago

      I was just wondering how often do you feed a ball python? i own one and im not sure how old it is but its over a foot maybe almost two feet and can eat a full size mouse. Do all pythons only eat once a week?

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      It could be from shedding, as when they're going into shed, snakes typically don't eat.

      Be patient. If the only reason you got the snake was to watch it eat, then return it. By the way, you got a snake that is prone to feeding problems; so for someone who just really wants to watch a snake it you'll find times in which the snake will go for months without eating.

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      Derik 7 years ago

      i recently bought a ball python its been 2 weeks iv had him..i tryed giving it a rat but it looked scared so i let that go and a waited for 4 days and tryed giving it a mice and all it does is looks at it and senses but doesnt strike..maybe cause its shedding from its neck up to the head or ...i got the right temp for it but i wanna see it eat already..what should be done??

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      every two weeks is a long distance between feedings. depending on the how old the snake is, you can feed younger snakes once every 3-4 days, and adults once a week, sometimes every other week.

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      april 7 years ago

      I bought my BP on monday march 1st the pet store told me he eats once every 2 weeks and said that he was fed a few days ago and that he probably wont eat till this weekend so try to feed him saturday or sunday, when I was holding him on wednesday I would be touching him and he would move towards my hand and acted "different" I guess you could say when I reached in to get him out so I decided to go and get him a fuzzy, I put him in a different box and then dropped the mouse in and it took him just a few seconds to strike now it is friday just a few days after I fed him and he is acting the same way as he did when I fed him last should I go ahead and offer him a mouse or should I start feeding him bigger mice when it is time.

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Gel?

      The urate is a solid white clump. I'm not sure what a clear gel would be.

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      Staci79 7 years ago

      got a new BP a few days ago, tonight he was very active abd tehn we saw some clear, yellow/white thick gel like substance in the cage is this his feces?

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      He just wasn't getting appropriate heating before. There's no reason to force feed unless you notice the snake isn't eating. Don't rush him. He could still be warming up. There are other methods of getting them to eat besides forcing. Force feeding should always be a last resort.

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      Cori 7 years ago

      I think the heating is better now.i moved the heat lamp a little closer and i put a heater in the basement so its warmer down there now. I think he likes the heating pad alot because now he goes under the log that the heating pad is under, which he never did. I still notice him finding new places to hide considering he moved from very small enclosure to a 40 gallon. he chooses a different hiding spot about every 3 days it seems. i tried feeding him again and was even less interested this time. up above i mentioned the first time i fed him he would strike the frozen but would not take it. basically he was just using self defense. im comfortable with force feeding, and i think it will jumpstart his appetite. i havent really tried anything except dangling it in front of his face. but i know that he wont eat for a while cuz he is in a new enclosure and the winter storms we have gotten in ohio. so im being patient and he does still look very healthy.

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      You need to get the temperatures up a good bit if above thye UTH the temps are about 70-75. The UTH should be sized appropriate for a 40 gallon tank. you can find 40+50 gallon UTHs by Zoomed which would be ideal for you. I wouldn't recommend sticking the UTH to the glass, as it'll make cleaning a pain with the cord dangling around. What are the overall temps? What are you using to measure the temperatures?

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      Cori 7 years ago

      Hey Whitney!

      i've been following along with alot of ur blogs while ive been sitting here at work. I got a bp about a week ago and he obviesly wont eat for a while. i got him from petsmart and i used to work there. i fed the pythons we had there and they would just snatch it from the tongs. i tried that with mine and i dangled it in front of his nose. he bit it but did not wrap around it, basically he would just strike it and kept doing it. so i thought that was pretty wierd? i was thinking he was just stressed and was basically telling me he didnt want it. i handled him immediately when i brought him home. i've stopped the last couple of days i havent touched him and now hes very active at night. which leads me to a question. i live in the basement and its colder down there so i put a 150 watt bulb during the day about 5 inches above the tank. the thermometer says about 70-75 on the bottom of the cage. im worried about temperature. if i put it to close his basking branch is way hot and his tank is a forty gallon tank. the only reason for that was cuz it was free. can you tell me what i should do,or maybe its fine? i dont feel comfortable with my heating. i have a heating pad that sticks on the bottom as well and at night i leave that on and use two blue lights at night two 75 watt bulbs to keep it warm enough at night. im just really worried about the heating in his cage. advice?

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      You just got the snake. Give it time to adjust before trying to feed. Try to bump up the temperature. Something was already causing him not to eat, so the stress of moving probably set him back some more. Just give the snake a week or two to adjust before trying to feed. As mentioned above, it's not uncommon for them to stop eating for months on end, and as long as the snake isn't losing weight it's not a problem. When the snake starts to lose weight take him to your reptile vet, as you should already have one picked out before ever getting a reptile.

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      dustin 7 years ago

      I got a 2 1/2 maybe 3 yr old ball python 2 days ago, and the previous owner said that he hadn't eaten for about 3 weeks. He said he would usually eat medium size live mice during the day, so I tried that, and he would only stay in the shadow box that is like a hollowed out rock, and I keep trying to put mice in it, but he just will not eat... what should I do? His dark side of the tank stays in between 75 and 80, his basking point stays at 90, but I only keep that on during the day, and the humidation stays in between 55% and 65%.

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      wendy09 7 years ago

      We tried tuna juice and he wouldn't even go near it....thank you, will try that. :)

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      April, a lot of the time pet store employees do not know what they're talking about. Make sure that the temperatures are accurate, as well as the humidity. Give it some time, and as long as the snake doesn't start to loose weight, it should be fine. Because the weather is getting cooler, keep an eye on the enclosure temperatures,

      Wendy, when it came to the frozen, did you try soaking in tuna juice or anything like that? As for live, don't bump it up if you feel that the next size is too big. You can try feeding an adult mouse twice a week or every 4 to 5 days.

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      Wendy 7 years ago

      I have a bp that is roughly around 16 or 18 inches when he stretches out. i've had him for 8 months now.. the first 2 he absolutely refused frozen(he was definitely hungry), and we tried absolutely everything. once we started with live we havn't had any problems. we feed him one every 8 to 10 days..and that fill him up.. the other day i fed him, and he was still acting hungry so i went and got him another.. he ate it no problem, but has been acting hungry ever since. he's not wide enough to handle a small rat.. what should i do?

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      April 7 years ago

      I bought a bp @ june. It wouldn't eat, no suprise there, we tried everything! using different mice, making sure the temp was ok. but when we were gone for 5 days we came home to a dead snake. he belonged to my daughter and she was very upset!! we took it to the store where we got it and the lady was mad at me because it went 6 WEEKS without eating. She said that i starved the poor thing. after doing more research i found out that they are picky eaters and can go alot longer than that before starvation. We bought a new one and it ate well for the first few months but it isn't shedding, and now isn't eating. Should i be worried? The humidity is ok according to the gage but i'm still worried.

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      You are right when changing to a new tank to keep things as similar to the old one as possible, but there are still chances of causing stress. I've seen it, as that is what I did with mine.

      As for bad shedding, it's generally caused by low humidity or other health problems. Since the snake wasn't in the best health when you got it, there's possibility that the shedding issue now could be attributed to that. Have you had the snake health checked by a reptile vet since you got it back to health?

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      Jennifer 7 years ago

      Wow i notice so many having feeding problems and stress problems with their BP's. Well with mine, I have one that when i got her, she was so dehydrated and starved that her growth was temp. stunnted she was over a year old and only 14 inches long, she would not eat nor would she drink water, so i thawed her F/T fuzzies in very warm water, above room temperature, the hotter they were the better her strike response was, but i made sure not to make them too hot as to avoid burning her mouth. I left the mouse wet (not dripping) this seemed to help along with warm soaks daily to help with dehydration, she quickly moved to adult mice. Its been 6 months and she is now 22 inches long and eating adult mice, I am about to switch her to rats in two weeks. My other BP she has always had a very strong strike response as soon as u take the lid off her feed box she is already striking. so I was lucky with her. I see people say hatchlings should be on pinkies? I've been told Pinkies have little to no nutritional value when they are mice and even a hatchling BP can handle a hopper mouse especially if it already has a good strike response. They should be on weanling rats or pups by the time they are 16-18 inches long, the quicker you transition to RATs the easier it will be. Is This wrong?

      As far as changing tanks and things of that sort I have found that no matter how much bigger the enclosure is then the previous I avoid stress by setting the enclosure up exactly how it was in the smaller one, only there is more space. My snakes seem to have less stress when i follow the same rule for all of them. They have a strong feeding drive, they actually less time in their hide boxes now i use a temp gun and temps are all perfect so I guess they are out in the open because they are comfortable. They never bask or really spend very much time on the heating pads, and they are never curled up in tight balls they are usually stretched partially out and just lying there. Is this normal? does it mean they are comfortable?

      Now my question is, I know my snakes are healthy and i keep my humidity levels and temp levels just as suggested yet they shed terrible only on the face, the body comes off all as one but the head just wont! And I also notice that after every feeding they rub their nose and head on everything...what is this about? they only seem to do this after feeding.

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Yes, more than likely the wrinkled skin is from dehydration. Try soaking the snake in warm water once or twice a week. Also make sure that the water bowl in the tank is big enough for the snake to soak in. Pinkies are very small for an 8 month old snake, and yes F/T needs to be hot. Put water in a bowl in the microwave, and then put the F/T in it to soak and heat up.

      There are other methods for feeding snakes above- tuna juice, bust the F/T skull open, etc.

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      Liz 7 years ago

      Hi there.

      I've been reading through alot of your comments and I think most have answered my questions, but i thought i'd ask anyway.

      I got my ball python about a month ago from a local breeder at a reptile show where he was selling them. He said that she was about 8 months old and has been eating live adult mice but has been fed frozen pinkies and fuzzies a few times. However she hasn't eaten at all since I brought her home. Reading through the comments though I found out that they are stressed when moved into a new home and 1 month is really no big deal. Plus to top it off she's going through shedding right now. What worries me is she doesn't feel like she's lost any weight, but there are parts on her body when she curls up that look.. well wrinkled. I think it MAY be from dehydration, but I make sure there is always water in her tank.

      I've been trying about every week to get her to eat some thawed pinkies, but just recently found out that they had to be pretty hot for them to eat it. SO if you could give me some advice, that would be awesome.

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      That is good. The snake will definitely benefit from having them removed.

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      matt 7 years ago

      i got the caps off!! it was sort of stressfull, but i got it done. the snake did well, and didnt seem to be bothered by it! its almost like he knew that i was trying to help him out, and in return worked with me to get them off! thank you so much for all your advice! it is very helpful!

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      Neva  7 years ago

      :) In the 8 years that I've had my BP I've never had an issue getting him to eat~ of course I breed all my own mice and stun them before feeding them to him! He is SUCH as sweetie! The only problem I've had was when I first got him he had snake mites! >_< I spent so much time cleaning him and the cage lol

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      You need to get the eye caps off. Warm water soaks and try a q-tip to rub it off.

      If the snake repeatedly has shedding problems, you need to re-evaluate the enclosure. Sounds like the humidity is not right and the temps probably aren't that accurate either.

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      matt 7 years ago

      hi! so my snake shed last week, and it was horrible! he got his underside, and a chunk off his mid-section. i had to get the rest. :( my concern is his head and caps are still there. i rubbed his head in the same manner i did to get the rest of his skin off, warm water on the finger and rub lightly until it seperates, but it didnt wanna budge, and i had been doin this for 2 hours and he seemed annoyed. ive been told its a sensitive area for them, and i didnt wanna push my luck.. last time this happened it was only one cap, and he ended up getting it off himself 4-5 days later. i feel bad and am afraid he will not eat, because he can not see. any ideas to get it off that will be easy on him and myself? thanks for all your helpful advice!

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      You should have quarantined the new snake before putting it with another snake. If she is small, and the male is large, there could be bullying. It's not really breeding season, since the temps are getting cooler, breeding season isn't until the end of the winter beginning of spring, typically.

      You need to separate them.

      Plus, since you've owned the species before, you know they can be picky eaters and the slightest bit of stress can cause them not to eat.

      The other snake is likely the cause, in addition to being put in a new home and not quarantined properly.

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      Ben 7 years ago

      i have owned a few ball pythons and recently got a new one. at first she ate well (gained about 5oz) then stopped for no real good reason. she currently shares a wooden terrarium (3'x3'x2') with a fairly large male. whenever i fed my female and not the male he would seem frisky because of the mouse smell. i never had reason to believe he struck at her and if that might have been it or if its just breeding season. any ideas?

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Depending on the size of the snake, the number should be fine, but you should try to switch to F/T.

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      cody 7 years ago

      I was told by the previous owner to feed my python 3 live, 3-4 in. mice every two weeks. She gets them down no problem every time. Is this a good idea.

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      You want a slight lump. Nothing extreme. It could be because she's hungry, but it's hard to tell. Try using the mediums, and see how things go.

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      Kallie 7 years ago

      Ok thank you. I was going to do that anyways but I didn't know if it was to soon to get that size of a rat. Currently the small rats don't seem to leave a lump in the snakes stomach after she eats them so I thought it'd work better to try something larger.

      Do you think the jumpiness (not sure if thats a word!) of the snake is because it's hungry? A lot of signs she shows when I handle her leads me to think she is still hungry... Hopefully once I bump up the size of the next rat, she'll settle down again!

      Thanks again!

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      It's actually a myth that feeding in the main enclosure will cause the snake to associate your hand with feeding. The only reason to feed in a separate enclosure is if you're using loose substrate, like aspen, in the main enclosure.

      Frozen can be expensive, but you can purchase bags of three, which is a little cheaper than buying one every other week. The small frozen rats are actually smaller than if you were to buy live (but since the snake is feeding on F/T stick with that!). With the size of the snake (from my understanding), you may be able to bump up to a medium F/T every other week.

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      Kallie 7 years ago

      Hey there again!

      I'm completely stumped on what I should do with my BP. I've written here quite a few times and you've always had great advice so I'm coming back to ask you for some more!

      My BP is a little over a year old and is approx. 3ft long and 1LB. I've been feeding her small rats, 1 everyother week. She digests it and it 'passes through' her a couple days before I feed her again. So here's my problem;

      The last few times I've fed my BP, she only stays 'quiet' for about a day, then she's out searching her cage again and acting like she's hungry. Also, when I go to handle her, she gets into a strike position before I take her out of her cage (I feed in a separate cage so she shouldn't associate her current cage with food)and once I hold her, she is very jerky and even spooks me now and then with her rather quick movements. (normally she is very slow moving and relaxed when I handle her.) All of her health signs look good, though her skin doesn't shed in one piece but she completes the shed without needing assistance anymore.

      Do you have any advice for me? Should I be feeding her every week? (It gets really expensive around here for frozen rats, so that's why I've been trying to stick with everyother week feedings) Also, is there anything I should do to help calm her down while I handle her? I normally sit in one place and don't walk around a lot...

      Thank you for any advice you have!

      (Oh, I call it a her because of how dang big she is getting so fast! I thought it'd be approx. 1ft a year growth, but she's grown over 2ft in the last year!)

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Sounds good.

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      Bamaman_2106 7 years ago

      I've soaked her in luke warm water several times the last couple of days but still no luck, but she has had dry urinates so shes drinking well and she isn't dehydrated so i'll just wait an see what happens.....Thanks

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Just give her a little time and make sure that she has water. If it continues, you'll want to soak her in lukewarm water with a few drops of mineral oil to see if that will help loosen up any stool that may be stuck in the intestines.

      Without proper tools or experience, you may not have done it right, but it's possible to be a female. Not saying it wasn't done right, just a heads up.

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      Bamaman_2106 7 years ago

      And talking about having it probed i popped her and no hemipenes popped out so i think its a female.

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      Bamaman_2106  7 years ago

      And tomorrow is feeding day an i was wondering if i should feed her or not or wait till she defacates

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      Bamaman_2106 7 years ago

      I feed her once a week so she has eaten twice since the last time she defacated and i don't feel a hard lump nowhere.

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Unless you probe the snake you won't know for sure. Sounds like the snake is just retaining more nutrients from her last feed. Has she eaten since her last meal? When was her last meal? Does the snake have a hard lump in the body?

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      Bamaman_2106 7 years ago

      I got a pet Ball Python an its about 7 months old and 28 inches long so it would probably be a female wouldnt you think, and i feed it one adult mouse once a week but it seems to be having a problem pooping, use to it would poop 3 or 4 days after i fed it but now its been almost 3 weeks since defacating now it pees or dry urinates on a regulary basis i was wondering if this is a problem and if i should keep feeding it or stop feeding it until it poops. And the Temps in its cage are about 90 degrees on the warm side and 80 on the cool side and the amibent temp is around 85 and i keep all my heating sources on a thermostat so they stay stable all the time and i keep the humidity around 70% and give it fresh water daily. So im doing everthing good but im wondering if not pooping in 3 weeks is a concern..........thank you

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Sounds good. And yes please don't try the chicken.

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      Matt 7 years ago

      yea i plan to feed him tonight, so if he does it i will grab a picture. and as far as the chicken goes, i thought it was pretty bogus, and probably impossible to get him to eat. i had read that they get all the minerals from the mice, but the girlfriend insisted we tried, but didnt believe me when i said it was probably unnecessary, so now i have a better suggestion for her to now know we do not need to do either.

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      If you can get a picture, that would be better and easier for me to see what you mean. I wouldn't suggest raw chicken or putting minerals in the water. They get all the nutrients they need from the rat. I've never heard of putting minerals in the water. It would be mighty hard to get the snake to eat cold chicken, and if you heat it, it's no longer raw; I've never heard of that one either.

      I really wouldn't recommend feeding the chicken. I'll have to do more research on minerals in the water, but I've never heard of needing to do that or it being necessary.

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      matt 7 years ago

      as the bones go, i was just trying to give an idea of what he looked like. he is normal all the time except when he is swallowing food. before and after his body looks fine, but just while swallowing, id say it starts 4 in from his nose and goes 2 in from his tail, he looks deformed. like he is making his back bone look all weird. maybe its just the way he is sitting, idk. next time i notice ill snap a picture and make it accessible to you. also, someone told me to put minerals in his water and feed him raw chicken to help with his shedding.. whats your take on this?

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      You may want to get the body checked out, if it's the body getting kinked. When not eating, is the body normal? Or the mouth? (I'm all confused as to what is kinked)

      You can try fuzzies instead of hoppers. But, the size of the feeder I don't think would cause the body to become kinked, or the mouth. There's no reason to feed a pinkie after feeding the main meal, unless the main meal is not big enough. You say that the hopper is the widest girth of the snake, so there's no reason to add more to the meal. By feeding too much you can cause the snake to grow faster, but that is not going to be beneficial to the snake in the long run; you'll find that it can cause other health concerns by feeding extra food.

      Oh and I wasn't asking if there were broken bones, I was asking if that was what you were asking?