Adult ball python refusing food for long periods

Hey everyone,
One of my adult male 2 year old BP isn’t eating. He went 6 weeks, then only ate when given an African soft fur, now it’s been another 6 weeks and he’s refusing and I can’t find ASF rats anywhere. I don’t have his temps brumating and I’m in south Florida where it’s even warm outside year round. I know it’s breeding season but he is dropping a decent amount of weight and it’s scaring me. No sign of parasites.
Any advice?
Thanks in advance,
My big guy, Phantom :black_heart:


That snake looks healthy. I honestly wouldn’t worry too much, 6 weeks isnt that long. My male banana will go 4 months off feed then eats when hes ready. Its been a pretty typical experience with royals over the years.


At 2 years old I would consider him an adult. And maybe breeding age I am assuming. Plus he is a male……. Maybe he is thinking about the natural thing he would be doing in the wild. Which would be looking for a female, with food being the last thing he wants.

However since he’s only eaten once in 3 months and the fact that you say he’s losing a lot of weight maybe a trip to a reptile vet would be in order, just to set your mind at ease. He does look pretty healthy in the picture but only you know for sure.

If you are unable to make a trip to a vet you might try a small sized prey or maybe switch to a mouse. Also in situations like this sometimes a live small rodent offered under SUPERVISION will kick start a feeding response. I DO NOT advocate feeding live prey as a means of feeding except in situations like this.

I hope whatever you decide to do, he will start eating again……

All the best to you and your beautiful boy! :heart::snake::frog::lizard::blush:


Completely normal. Until an otherwise healthy established ball python has refused food for 12 consecutive months there is really nothing to be concerned about.


Thank you. Yeah I have 9 snakes and I never ever feed live but this is the only circumstance where I’ve tried. He ate the first ASF but not the next live rat so I took it back. He looks healthy to me but the weight scared me but you’re right I’m sure my vet would be fine checking him out for my peace of mind!
Thank you!


Thank you for that reassurance! He always looks like a healthy happy guy but I had a friend yesterday who’s snake refused to eat for two weeks and passed this AM. While im sure there was an underlying issue it scares the snake momma in me! I love this guy so much :joy:so thank you it means a lot even just to ease my mind.


Thank you so much for the reassurance and thanks for telling me he looks healthy. I’ve been extra worried due to a friend losing her snake suddenly so sometimes just getting that reassurance from more experienced snake people is so helpful!
Thank you!


Yes the weight loss is a little concerning because usually snakes don’t drop weight that fast? But I know what it feels like to be concerned about a non eater.

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Yeah and it was a decent amount of weight so i think you’re right I should check just to make sure. But I swear all my snakes are great eaters so I’m SO horrible to deal with when I have a non-eater :joy: full panic. So even just having help on here means so much!


Yes maybe a check is good for another reason and that is for the safety of your other snakes.

The people in this forum/family are a wonderful support group who really care!


Just a heads up, your friend’s snake likely had a severe underlying health issue if it died after a mere two weeks of not feeding. As for your boy, he looks very healthy and a good weight. Some weight loss is to be expected if an animal is active yet not eating. I’d only really worry if body condition was lost and behaviour changed. I don’t keep BPs, but I’ve had animals in my collection go months without eating with no issue whatsoever.

A suggestion that sometimes works on problem feeders: try downsizing your prey item a little.


I am not, I admit, one of these amazingly experienced veterans- Aren’t they lovely? This community is awesome!
But I do have a snake of another species who is a VERY picky boy, and what’s been working lately is brushing raw egg yolk over his food. Previously I have fed him in a dark bin, fed him at different times of day, scented his pinkies with adult mouse scents, tuna juice, tilapia juice, (I know some people try frog gecko or salmon to scent) I also had to move him to an enclosure that is “too small” for him, the size of a shoebox for a pair of flats, because sometimes feeling more secure like that helps and he seems to like it.

My own ball python will not eat rats- he will ONLY take mice. So if yours has been on one, try the other of a slightly smaller size and maybe that will tempt his tastebuds?
He will also ONLY eat if it is over 85 F. A few degrees too cool and nothing can induce him to eat. So you could check your offerings with a temp gun and try different (safe) heats.

The other things I’ve heard the experts tell us to try with picky sneks is to try to figure out how they want it wiggle if at all, to feed at their hunting hour (dusk or dawn for BPs) and be sure they’re not getting too much noise or stress around their enclosure lately.


It’s so true. I feel so relieved every time I come here with such genuine and active responses! Super grateful :black_heart::black_heart::black_heart: