Feeding live every now and then

I live in Indiana where we have distinct seasonal changes.
I feed f/t.

I have 5 female BPs, none mature yet all 2018-2019 hatchlings. No one missed a single meal all summer, and a lot of weeks would pound and extra rat if offered. Here the last month or so as things have drastically cooled off I have had much more finicky eating, most weeks 1 or 2 of them have refused to eat.

I wondered about giving them each 1 or 2 live meals a month. In your guys’ experience once they are solidly on f/t will an occasional live meal make them unwilling to go back to f/t or could this be helpful?

Just trying to hypothesize ways to keep them as regular as possible. Most people seem to just accept that over the winter months they are a bit more finicky even at younger ages but one friend recommended I try mixing in a live meal every now and again.

I’ll offer a live mouse every so often, maybe one every 3-4 months to keep them interested. Most of mine don’t lose interest. They don’t seem to respond as much to live rats which is a bit funny as their diet is mostly f/t rats. I did use gerbils to get my one baby back on food. Maybe it’s just how strongly they smell in comparison?

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I used to feed f/t, but switched to live after I started breeding my own rodents.
Almost all of my snakes are voracious eaters, and would happily go after anything that smelled like a rodent (sometimes this is me, because they smell rodent and see a giant warm thing in front of them)
I only have two adult females that are iffy with feeding, but they’re both more timid in general so I might have to try leaving them dead prey and see if they eat it while I’m not looking

Honestly, live rodents are a lot of work to care for and house. If the snake doesn’t eat it, you’re stuck with it. Then what?

I have one female who only accepts live. I keep rodents just for her, but I got some show type mice that are a lot of fun to breed and interact with in their own right. Otherwise the effort of caring for them wouldn’t be worth it. They smell, they eat a lot compared to snakes, they drink a lot of water, and they’re probably four or five times more time intensive to care for than the animal they’re meant to feed!

I think if your guys eat F/T, it’s waaaaay easier to stick with it. Try a live meal if you’re worried about a picky one not eating but be prepared for that feeder to stick around longer than you expected.

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The idea I had was the once a month I travel to see my family I pick up 5 live on the way back. Offer that night, so I never have to keep them in my apartment.

If someone refuses then someone else will likely eat 2. But seems like no one thinks this is likely to be much of a solution so I might not try it. If it’s more trouble than it’s worth there’s no point.

I wouldn’t give it a shot. These are all females that are refusing, right? It’s been discussed that when cooler months come that (it seems like a lot) of females will refuse for a week or two. There is nothing wrong with them refusing for a week or two. I wouldn’t really be worried or bothered by it.


Temperature may or may not cause the change. Sexual maturity may or may not cause the change. Ball pythons in general can be picky feeders. I’ve had years of feeding f/t and now I breed my own rodents so they eat live…mostly. Some still want pre-killed. Each of my ball pythons have there own way of feeding. They eat when they want to. I offer food to my adults weekly and my babies twice weekly. As I have learned babies will feed consistently until about 800-1000 grams then they shut off on me. IT DRIVES ME CRAZY but I can’t really boss them around. I had two females go from last November until this June without feeding. Then they ate 2-3 meals over the summer and now have finally turned back on. I have another girl who laid her eggs back in July and just starting eating again this week. VERY PICKY!

My caramel female who spent most of this year not eating finally turned on when I gave live mice, then went back to live rats and she’s fine.

Olympus Reptiles has a YouTube video about trouble feeding that is rumored to be called the 1000g wall that the snakes hit. So far I agree with that rumor.

All you can do is keep offering and have patience.

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Chances are the snake wouldn’t eat the live rat either. Sometimes I’ll thaw 1 rat short just in case one doesn’t eat so that I don’t waste a rat. Ball pythons will sometimes go months without eating.

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I LOVE Olympus reptiles. Just joined their Patreon the other day they have helped me so much from afar as I watched through their videos all summer :slight_smile:

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Thanks for the input guys for now decided against any live feedings as I’ve had mostly success with f/t and it seems very normal for them to miss a meal or 2 when the seasons change. Tweaked my offerings a little and so far so good I’m gonna just keep trucking along this way and wait patiently for them to grow at their own pace :stuck_out_tongue: