Adult BP won't eat

Ok, so I know there’s several threads about bps not feeding, but my situation is a bit different. I picked up a spider het pied female, knowing she had a RI, I got her back in June of 2021. She’s completely better now and has been for 2 months but I just can’t get her to eat! When she I got her in the beginning our vet told us to syringe feed her chicken baby food and Carnivore Care which we did for about 2 weeks which maintained her weight. I’ve tried live and frozen rats and mice, I only offer once a week. She’s in a 40 gal, on paper towels, she has a hide, a water bowl, her humidity is 50% unless shedding, she has a ceramic heat lamp and a light, temps are 88-89 on the hot spot and 76 or so on the cool side. She is fully grown between 5-10 yrs. old and weighs around 2000g but I haven’t weighed her in a few weeks. I clean her tank, change paper towels, water etc. once a week. I thought about trying an ASF? What methods are good for getting adults to eat?

Adult ball pythons are notorious for going off food, and you know what - there isn’t much we can do about it. Sometimes they just do it to do it. How long has your snake not eaten exactly? An ASF is a solid option, but I’d give more information once I know the whole hunger strike has been going on. Also 2000 grams? There isn’t really much you need to worry about.


Iv’e had her for 8 months. She weighed close to 3000g when I got her, she was kinda chunky then.

1 Like

I would switch her to normal substrate if she is completely healthy at this point. The humidity is low and should be maintained around 75% constantly. This alone may solve your issue.


Consider adding a hide on the cool side. Also, are the back and sides blacked out? Could be she doesn’t feel secure or is stressed.

1 Like

OK I’ll try switching to cocohusk. One side is blacked out and the back of the tank is against a wall. I think I may put her into a rack because she seemed more comfortable in their.

Do this and give her two weeks to adjust before trying a life meal

1 Like

This was what I was thinking too. The snake should be able to move from one side of the tank to the other without being seen. The more cover the better. Adding a few more hides would help.


It is hypothesized in the wild ball pythons will find a burrow or termite mound and “set up camp” there, waiting for prey (African Soft Fur rats usually). Over time their “camp” becomes compromised with feces, sheds, etc which discourages prey from entering. The ball python is then motivated to move to a new burrow.

It seems this natural cycle in the wild could be built into ball pythons to some degree. With that in mind many keepers report that implementing a habitat change can encourage ball pythons to feed again.

In my opinion, the optimal way to keep a ball python in captivity for maximum likelihood of staying on feed is on a loose substrate (coco preferred) with a hide on both the cool end and the warm end in a blacked out tub that is not too large. But, (partially) because of the principle of changing their habitat to spur them to get back on food when required, I don’t personally keep them this way. I keep mine on paper. I like it because I keep my animals environments perfectly clean. When they defecate it is cleaned that day. I can do this because I currently have a relatively small collection. When the numbers get very high most find loose substrate is the way to go because of the ability to spot clean and odor control. Keeping them on paper gives me the ability to change their environment to a more optimal condition to get them back on food, and utilizes the “changing of camps” principle that is likely ingrained into them from their behavior in the wild. I’ve found it works very well. Paper also alleviates any concern of substrate ingestion and going into males hemipenes during the breeding season (Brian Barczyk has reported that he used to lose males on a regular basis due to this and keeps his collection on paper primarily because of it). I try to keep changing their food type as a last resort. Mice are generally eaten with more consistency and African Soft Fur even more so. There are down sides to both of those so I prefer to keep mine on standard rats whenever possible but changing the food source is another useful tactic.

The TL:DR summary is great idea to change over to a tub, changing substrate, and adding hides. I’d also add that you should minimize handling and stress.

Justin discusses some of these principles in this video if you’re interested:


OK so I decided to keep her in the tank, I put another hide on the cool side and put her on cocohusk. Her humidity is now at 65%, I’ll keep it at that level for now.


All the above advice of course,
But, I would suggest different pray item smells. As others have said.
Also dry and wet heated and in dimmed light or dark.
But just anecdotally, what worked for me for that refused for two six month fasts + was all types of rodents and eventually what worked was a complacently different scent, – chicks.
After the first feed, I then scented the rats with check or quickly swoped the chick with a rat before strike to get them on rats.
Just another option/option.