A weird situation?

I’m sort of stuck and don’t really know what to do. About a month ago I made a thread asking about a baby ball python hatchling not eating and well it still hasn’t. It hatched June 13 and currently weighs 44 grams. It has only lost 3 grams from going to the bathroom. I’ve offered live hopper mice, live fuzzy rats and mice, and live pinky rats. I’m sort of desprate but the baby acts normal and goes around it tub all the time.

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Have you tried putting a small hide in the tub, like really small, just big enough for baby? I have had some non eaters who responded well to that, its a security thing for them. For one that size, I would cut a cardboard tube from a toilet roll in half lengthwise and use that. Just replace it if it starts to get too wet. Or maybe just anything dark and small baby can go hide in. Also try cluttering the tub with fake plants, again hide spaces. Remember, baby is a prey item in the wild, it’s instincts say hunt for food but be stealthy and hidden or you will be food.


I second the recommendation to put a very small hide in there. Another variable to change is substrate. If you’re on paper, try some coco like reptichip. After providing a hide and substrate change I would leave it alone completely for a couple days to acclimate to the new changes. When you go to feed it will likely be in the hide. I’d open the tub very gently, slow movements, place the food item right outside the hide or partially in it, then slowly close. Leave it alone a while to eat. Hopefully that will do the trick. If nothing does you’ll eventually need to consider force feeding as a last effort. I’ve never had to do that personally so I can’t give you any advice on when or how to do that. Good luck!


I have it in a 6qt. on cypress mulch. I did have a hide in there in the beginning but it just layed on top if it and wouldn’t ever go in it.

That would lead me to believe you are keeping it to hot. Hatchlings don’t like it to hot try turning down your thermostat 5 degrees wait a couple of days and try to feed it.


Yeah, the force feed thing…
Ok, so sometimes it has to be done. If your youngster still has good body conformation, try everything else first. There are several good videos on yt about how to do this, but you may want to have someone with experience show you first. It’s kinda traumatic, and no one will mention this, but with a pinky, you will almost certainly “pop” one, which is messy and disgusting :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: .

In years past, and again recently, I’ve had to do this from time to time. All of them figured it out real quick. Usually after the first time, which leads me to believe some of these guys just don’t know they can eat “that”.

Save this for a last resort, usually they’ll come around if you just meet their needs for hiding spaces, quiet and comfort.

Second this, baby sitting on top of hide = too hot.


Temperature is quite possibly the factor here just in general, sometimes hatchlings eat better at lower temps, 80 - 82°F, and sometimes they eat better at around 85 - 87°F, but if it’s too hot for them to be comfortable, it’s the same reason putting a smaller hide in works, they don’t feel safe or secure, they need to calm down and feel safe to be hungry.


I have the temps at 88 but I’ll try that. There’s two other babies in the rack and the stay on the warm side most of the time so I thought it was fine.


To hot for hatchlings imo. Anytime any ball python is on top of the hide I immediately check the thermostat.


As a safety measure, I’d also spot check your tubs if you can, and make sure you don’t have a hot spot, just in case you haven’t already and maybe there’s some sort of equipment failure going on, if temps are set high, and the one is noticeably more uncomfortable, considering the other two seem just fine. But definitely consider the temperature adjustment.

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I’ll check when I get home with the temp gun.

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I agree, it might be too hot for the lil one. I know you said the others were okay but it could just be this snakes preference. They can usually go a few weeks without requiring food because they got enough from the yolk. But I totally agree, we had 1 snake out of 6 that didn’t eat, I lowered the temp ever so slightly and it eat… Might of been a coincidence but I’d say it’s worth a try.

I hope lil one is okay. Keep us updated.

They can go much longer than this. And a restless hatchling is usually also an indicator they are being kept to hot. I wouldn’t even be worried after a couple of weeks. And assist feeding should be an absolute last resort. In my experiences assist fed snakes are usually life long problem feeders.


Absolutely agree, last choice. Check everything else first.

OK so I changed the bedding to paper towels and set the temp to 84 so hopefully when i offer food next week it takes it.


Don’t disturb baby for several days, let them get used to the environment. You gave baby a tiny hide and lots of clutter, right? So you changed the environment, they have to get used to it again. Under these circumstances, I only open the enclosure like every other day, just a crack, slowly and quietly, in dim light, just enough to check (look at, not move) the water bowl, which is right at the front on the cool side. Then gently and quietly and slowly put things back. Pretend you are trying to sneak up on a supernaturally stealthy and wary little animal that has heat seeking vision, wait…

When you go to feed, remember they’re mostly ambush predators. Usually, a ready and confidant feeder will not be afraid to be out and about in what they consider “their territory”, especially if they can smell the prey items, but the frightened ones will be lying in wait for hapless prey to approach the safe place. They will wait until the prey approaches the hide and then lunge out to snatch it. Place the prey just at the entrance, slowly. Don’t just hammer it in there and definitely don’t invade the hide, that will just scare baby more and create more problems.

If baby feels secure, they will come out like a trapdoor spider, snatch the prey and drag it back (To it’s doom! Maha haha! …sorry).

Good luck! Just keep working the conditions, baby almost always comes around. Btw, the only baby ball pythons I’ve had to assist were, in one case one of mine born way too small and I’m still not sure she’ll make it, fingers crossed; and a couple that came to me from breeders already skinny and not feeding, I think neither of them ever ate, they just got shipped. Make sure yours are feeding before shipping in the future. Before ball pythons, I’ve had to assist other snakes, but that was decades ago at an exotic pet store, the owner was a friend and taught me how, and all the examples I can recall were wild caught/collected. It was different back then.


Yeah I gave it a small hide and turned the temp down a bit. It still hasn’t used the hide from what I can tell. It’s weird because its not really been shy the few times I’ve handled it, it’s really curious about everything.

I would keep handling to a minimum and I wouldn’t even open his tub unless i was feeding. Your goal is to make the hatchling feel as secure as possible to entice it to feed.


It might just be the temps then. That would be lucky.

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