The topic says it all.
But, I have a reason for asking. This is our first year breeding, out of nearly 30 years keeping. I am used to buying animals near 100 grams and doing whatever I wish to establish them as reliable feeders on F/T rats.
We just hatched our first two clutches, an albino het pied to a pied het albino, and a black pastel pied het albino to a black pastel pied poss het Albino. Both were smaller clutches, 3 and 4 eggs, respectively. First clutch is digesting its’ second meal, second clutch has just had its’ first shed.
Yes, we hit a Panda Pied.
Being the first totally fresh babies we ever had, I had asked a respected local breeder about what to offer as a first meal. I had expected a certain size rodent to be my answer, but I was surprised to hear “live- they never eat anything frozen-thawed for the first meal”.
Okay, so, factor in the likelihood that anyone producing larger amounts of baby ball pythons will maybe be less inclined to deal with trying F/T off the bat. Totally understandable.
I breed ASF for backup and for the ability to get new animals acclimated faster, if need be.
I personally am stubborn and went ahead and bought some frozen rat pinks just to be able to offer a smaller, less intimidating prey item to the babies, because I normally stick with rat pups for animals I buy near 100+ grams.
My initial effort reflected what I was told. No strikes, but I noted a sure curiosity from each of the 3 from the first clutch. So I left the rat pinks in the tubs and closed them.
Returned a nebby half hour later, all 3 ate!
I know the prey size is less than ideal, but the less intimidating approach is what I wanted just to help establish the frozen offering I plan to stick with.
All 3 babies ate their second meal as well in the same fashion, and all 3 ate two rat pinks, each. (The first feeding, 2 of the babies ate two rat pinks, and one had only eaten one).
I’m stubborn enough to make frozen thawed a mandatory offering, but I was very surprised at how little effort this took.
What are your experiences with fresh hatchlings?
FWIW, I am keeping the babies in a Reptile Basics VE-6 rack, the size 11 tubs (if memory serves. It’s the medium tub of 3 sizes this rack can accommodate). Hot spot is 89, cold side is 83 or so. Rodents offered are thawed in hot water and patted dry, and come from one of the national suppliers online.