4 y/o bp having feeding issues

Hi! So lets do a backstory.

Rigatoni is a 4 year old normal from a petco. I got her when she was a hatchling, and she didnt eat for a month, then suddenly slammed mice every week. Around 2 years old I switched to rats (yes, should have been sooner). She ate every two weeks. Normal strike response, always ate within 5 minutes of presenting the rat. She has always been fed dead rats. If not f/t then my own breeders. She once got a live pup rat that my other bp didnt eat but that was a year ago.

She was at a pet shop for around 2-3 months (due to me being homeless), where she was exposed to a male. The owner could not confirm how many times they locked or if they even locked. She came back to me with mites, which have been treated thoroughly. She is probably around 1000g right now, and took a rat reluctantly 2 weeks after I got her back. Since then, (mid dec) she has not taken anything until today. No interest, nothing. She has pooped regularly and shed once since getting her back in nov. She does not present to be gravid. No bowl wrapping or laying funny.

The rat she took today was literally almost against her will. She had tons of intrest but after 15 minutes had still done nothing but smell and look at it. After that I gently nudged her nose with it, and she weakly struck. This was about 5 minutes ago, so im not even sure shell fully eat it.

I follow all good feeding measures, not handling before or after feeding. Humidity is 75%. Tank is 70°f and she has a heat pad set to 98°f.

Am I just being too worried? Is she just maturing and only eating once a month or every 5 weeks now? The feeding response is more worrisome as when she strikes its not immediately or strong anymore.

I checked and it looks like she is eating it at the moment. Shes in a 40 long, used to be a 20 but I upgraded her when I got her back. She was literally in a 10gal with a dang reptile carpet at the petshop. Was not happy.

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I would definitely consider changing the temps on this. I would advise to not have a hot spot anywhere over 90-91 at the most, getting up close to 100 degrees is dangerous.

Also 70 is definitely too low. You would want to have a temp gradient of 78 or so on the cool side to 86 or so on the hot side. Otherwise if you want to run ambient temps I’d say anywhere from 82-84 for the entire enclosure would be ideal.


Ok! Ty! I was almost positive I had it lower but it read 98. Turning it down now


She did end up eating it. Is che the only way to regulate heat besides the heat pad? I have one but I have cats and I fear them burning themselves


First of all I am so sorry for your misfortune. Having to leave your pet snake for someone else to take care of is unnerving I am sure. As @nswilkerson1 said, 98 temp is way too high. But you are already correcting that. So this is just my humble opinion, but considering all that Rigatoni (and you too) has been through in the last few months, she probably just needs a little time to readjust to being well cared for again, especially since ball pythons can be very sensitive to even the slightest changes in their husbandry/routine. You and/or others may disagree but I wonder if her being upgraded to a 40 gallon tank so soon after you got her back could be affecting her feeding response? And of course depending upon where you are located, cold temperatures have an impact on feeding in general.

Hopefully after a period of time, Rigatoni will return to her normal self. Also, I wish you both the very best in your future! God bless you and your sweet girl! :heart::heart::heart::blush:



Cool side too cold and hot side is too hot.


It definitely could! I may switch back to a 20 depending on these next few months.


Got it! Thank you

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There’s also deep heat projectors and radient heat panels, but which ones you can use depends on your enclosure setup


Glass 40 gallon, would either of those work?

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I feel like maybe Rigatoni needs time to readjust as mentioned before, and I second the idea of the enclosure change being a bit much for her. My pied boy was uncomfortable in a bigger tank. I really tried everything, chalked it up to breeding season, etc., until I moved him back into his smaller, original enclosure when I started to worry about his weight. He started eating every single time once he was back in his smaller enclosure. Just my experience. Congratulations on getting back on your feet and reuniting with her.


Well, must be my frozen feeders.

Because she just absolutely slammed this live small