Feeding problems

Hi I’m looking for advise for a 1year 6month old ball python that I purchased 6 months ago that hasn’t eaten in the 6 months that Iv had her .
Now I have tried smaller items and ASF’S but no joy , so am now thinking of going down the route of force feed or a live ASF but am worried that she won’t have the energy to hunt and strike .Previous owner said she always feed fine and maybe it is the stress of transport.
Temps are 90 on hot spot with an air temp of 82 hot side and 75 cool side . She is in a 21inch by 15 inch plastic tub which is inside a 4foot by 2 foot wooden viv with a ceramic heater keeping the Ambient temps up and a heat Matt under the rub humidity at 50-60


Try feeding live. When you feed live monitor very closely and take the feeder out if the snake isn’t interested after 10 minutes. Do you know the exact food item that the previous owner was feeding her? Don’t force feed unless absolutely necessary and after you’ve tried all other options. Try lowering the hot spot temperature a few degrees. If you have the space try adding another hide and some cover.


I would not recommend force feeding any animal that is a established eater. Maybe trying adding some substrate may help her feel more secure. I also agree with Riley try turning down the hotspot a bit. Also if there is a resident in the 4 foot cage that maybe making her feel less secure as well.


That snake’s body condition looks good, don’t worry. Their metabolism is heroically efficient, 6 months without food isn’t all that concerning with a snake that size.


That is what I thought when I saw the snake too. I would recommend personally waiting until you notice that there is decent weight loss.


She was 550 when I got her she is now 450 so 100gram loss .
Thanks for reply

Yes Surprisingly good she has shed twice
Thanks for reply

1 Like

I really don’t want to force feed it will be last Resort . I’ll try turn the temps down a bit . To be honest they were a couple of degrees lower the last Couple of months but have turned them up a bit lately as I thought it may turn on her metabolism? . There are no other residents in the forefoot tank
Thanks for the reply

Last owner feed her medium mice nothing special . Thanks for reply

The first thing you should try is live medium mice. Later you can try switching her to f/t of your preferred food.


Is roughly 20 percent of her total weight. Although her weight looks fine after 6 months and the 20 percent loss of weight I would be trying the less preferred live prey to get a meal or two in her.


Ok I will live feed as soon as possible would it be better to offer it to her in the larger 4 foot viv or in her smaller plastic tub ? Also I have a pal who breeds the African soft furs would you suggest a small on of those? Thanks for you help .

1 Like

I agree that it’s important to get the snake to eat but I would try what the previous owner was feeding first. That’s what’s going to have the best chance of working.
I would use the smaller tub since changing too many things will stress her out. ASF rats are a good all-around feeder. But, I would attempt live medium mice since that’s what the previous owner was feeding.


Ok yes make sense I was just worried what to do with the mouse if she didn’t eat it as I could of giving back the ASF back to my friend who breeds them but I suppose I could feed it to my other ball python . Do typically recommend taking out the hide when offering live prey ?

When feeding live you should monitor them. If she’s not interested in about 10 minutes take it out. I’ve never heard of taking the hide out but if the mouse goes in there you should probably take it out. If she doesn’t eat it you could either kill it (humanely, this takes a bit more work), keep it alive for a week, give it away, or feed it to your other snake (but there’s a small chance they won’t accept f/t the first time, but a small chance).

1 Like

Ok so if she don’t come out the hide after 10 mins then take the mouse out , shall I keep the mouse and try a second attempt a week later ? How many attempts shall I try ? Many thanks .

1 Like

What time have you tried feeding? You should be feeding when she starts to come out at night, you might have to watch for a few days to figure out when that is. Since it’s important to get her to eat I would try once and if she doesn’t eat force feed (@saleengrinch can give better information than me about this).

I wouldn’t force feed her as well. 100 grams in six months isn’t bad. I think my longest went a little over a year and 200 - 300 grams and I still didn’t force feed her. The animal will do what it wants, when it wants. However I will say your setup to me is a bit odd. Why do you have her in the tub inside a viv?

When I first started off and had my banana in a tank I was told/recommended to get black construction paper and put it around 3 our of the 4 sides. I would change up your method of housing the animal, and continuously keep updating weekly to see what happens. It could feel vulnerable. I would include substrate and clutter. Fake plants from Hobby Lobby. I got the vines and cut them up for my pied female who had the hunger strike. Took me cluttering the crap out of her tub for her to finally eat.

Good luck!


I don’t force feed established feeders ever personally. Six months isn’t all that long but it hasn’t ate once in there care. So we have to trust that the previous owner is being honest.


For most snakes 100g isn’t a big deal. But for a snake that only weighs 500g it’s a big deal. Covering the sides of the enclosure is a good idea and might help.

What’s your recommendation? Do you think it would be best just to experiment with variables? If you do what would you consider the point where it’s necessary to do whatever is necessary to get them to eat?