Ball python with weird new feeding habbit

My super mojave girl has a very weird feeding habit since about two months since I tried to feed her rats of a bigger size. She only tries to eat the rat backwards. Not once but really every time. she should move up to a bigger size rats ( she is around 1000 gram) but because she eats them backwards she can’t and leaves them. One time she even got the tail in her throat but then got stranded at the legs. She was really behaving like she was suffocating (which I know can not happen considering snake atonomy) but she was really stressed so I had to pull the tail out. Often I have to re-heat the rat three times before she manages to get it away, backwards…but also regularly she just gives up.

Did anyone experience this before? Or does anyone know what might be the reason she doesn’t want to eat them from the head anymore? I tried already to position the rat in the right way, making the head warmer, smaller and bigger rats but everytime it’s the same, she strikes, curls and start at the tail side which often results in a faillure. She now already mist two meals because of this.

I’ve seen it happen several times, most commonly when feeding f/t or prekilled and younger snakes, over the years. Eventually they figure it out on their own. A few missed meals is not the end of the world as long as they have good body condition.

One thing I would suggest, since it almost sounds like you are just dropping it in, is use a pair of feeding tongs and dangle it upside down by the tail forcing it to orientate it’s strike at the head.

1 Like

Don’t do this. Dangle it by a foot/leg area. The tail can break off.

1 Like

A tail is every bit as sturdy as a foot how hard are you tugging on these lol :joy::rofl: either is fine
I really doubt it makes a huge difference, because no matter where they strike typically after squeezing many put the prey item down and take some time “smelling” around looking for the head. I think she just needs to figure it out for herself one of mine was swallowing them rear first for her first few meals after being off food for most of the winter.

I say it all the time they’re not that smart but they are very instinctive she will figure it out. Don’t interfere with feeding leave them alone to figure it out. Maybe give a couple smaller meals until she seems to have gotten it down again.


She is from early august 2018 and I got her when she was only about 8 weeks old. Always tong fed her dangling from the tail, and indeed @annakirby, I did have tails ripped of several times. Feeding was never a problem till about two months ago. I gave her a bigger rat because I thought she could handle it. Not a huge one, just around 70 to 80 gram. I found her later on with the rat next to her and constantly yawning like she was trying to get her jaw in shape, which is of course nonsence since they have flexible jaws, but it did looked like that. She ate a smaller leftover from an other snake without problem. From that time on she only tries to eat them backwards. She even looks for the buttocks to start, but then often gets stranded because the legs of the rat don’t co-operate.

I know it’s not a big problem for her not to eat a few times but I really feel sorry for her because I can see she does want to eat them. And when it didn’t work out she lies her head next to the rat and whenever she sees me she lifts her head up and follows me with her eyes. When I don’t bring her new she drops her head next to the rat again. I know it’s a snake but she really looks like a sad puppy at those moments. Most of the time I warm the rat again or if I have a smaller leftover give her that one. She always starts again, from the butt, sometimes it works out the second time but regularly get’s again stranded at the legs and finally gives up.

Crazy but oh so sweet snake. I hope she figures out very soon how to eat them well.