African Soft Furred Rats- experience?

So I have a few poor eaters in my collection and have tried multiple things, live, f/t different colors different thawing methods, change of environment, you name it I’ve tried it. Except African Soft Furred Rats… I have always heard that they are addictive to ball pythons and once you go ASF you can never go back. So I want to hear from the community because I have recently found two things making me wonder about trying it. The first is a ASF supplier with frozen thaw! So I wouldn’t be limited to live! The other is retilinks has an ASF scent oil type thing for transitioning. So what do you guys think? What has your experience with African soft furred rats been?

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We had a breeder female who only ate ASF for several months, but after some coaxing and tricks we switched her back to rats. We would place the rats in the ASF bedding for a few hours to absorb the scent before offering the rat to her. She eventually took and continued to eat rats regularly without the ASF scent on them. Never had a problem since from her. ASF or mice are good back-ups just in case though. If the tricks don’t work, then hunger will eventually take over and they’ll eat what gets put in front of them.

And sometimes offering much smaller meals will help them start eating again too.

Do chicks have a lot of nutrients?

This is not entirely accurate. Yes, pink mice and rats are basically tiny water balloons with a bit of fat and protein but that is because they are nursing and filled up with milk. Chicks, on the other hand, hatch out ambulatory and have a well developed skeleton so they are much less bags of fat and protein

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ASF rats are easy to breed and don’t smell as bad as regular mice. My snakes will happily take any live appropriate sized meal, mice, rat, or ASF. Eating a live ASF hasn’t stopped the snakes from accepting frozen thawed rats.

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So I guess my follow up question to you guys would be this: do I get the f/t ASF or the ASF juice oil thing to try first?

I was actually looking at that ASF “juice” the other day too… where did you find it and has anyone ever tried it?

I found it on reptilinks

I have this (as well as the gecko, anole, and frog). I used the ASF-scent to help convert my rubber boas over to F/T and it worked alright. It also helps when my male goes stubborn (the female is a garbage disposal now.)

That said, before you commit to scenting technique I would like to ask about your setup. Can you please give me an exact, detailed break down of temps (high and low), bedding, hides, rack/cage/tank, lighting, how you feed (day, night, in cage, in feeding tub, in paper bag), etc.?

Sometimes it is easier to make a small tweak to the way you are keeping and see results

I keep my animals in racks in 32 quart bins. I use paper towels and sphagnum miss as substrate. My hot spot is between 90-92 degrees and my cool side is around 75. They have water bowls big enough for soaking which I change daily. To feed I thaw in ziplock bags in hot water until they are about 100 degrees then I rub them down with some of my rats bedding. I feed in bin with tongs. I have also tried live in bin and out of bin. And different thawing technique and different colors.

Alright, now we have a good start point :+1:t4:

Do you have hides? If not, I would give that a try. Something small enough that they can really cram themselves into it and feel secure by having the walls pressing into them from all sides.

Your hot spot is a little higher than I would say is necessary (I think most of the hobby keep their animals too hot though).

Have you tried feeding the feeders wet?

Have you tried significantly smaller food items, like a live hopper mouse?

Have you tried switching the location of their bin (e.g., if it is at the top of the rack, switch it to the bottom of the rack)?

Have you tried feeding while the bin is dirty? Or while the bin is clean?

I’ve tried dirty and clean bins, and the hot spot is maybe a little high but I have some sick animals so I bumped the temps for that. I have hides. I’ll try moving the bins around.