Feeding query, advise please


We brought my girl home on the 9th of May (two weeks ago), since then she’s been very happy to come out and be handled, has used almost all of the 6 hides in her tank (4ft, 30.5°c on hot end, 25°c on cool end, large water pool) and seems generally healthy and happy.
She came from an absolutely excellent breeder who kept records of her feeds as she was a very good eater, never missed one.

A week ago she succesfully and very enthusiastically snapped up a 30g rat but this week she seems very keen and hungry but comes up to the rat checks it out and then sits back again, no strike.
The rat was fully defrosted, warmed and head popped in hot water to encourage.

Would anyone like to suggest why she may be looking hungry but turning down her food?
Open to any suggestions and constructive criticism.

Picture for tax :snake::two_hearts:


Congrats on the new noodle!
Probably the most important advice is to not handle your new ball pythons until they’re eating regularly. I know it sucks… but it will help you learn her habits, cues and such better as well.

If she’s out roaming a lot or hanging out in the open, she may be a bit too stressed to eat. They’re normally ambush hunters, so a hungry ball python is usually one tucked away in a hide with their head peeking out, not out and about. Also the time of day that you’re feeding might be wrong. Some will only take a meal if it’s early morning or in the evening.

-Was she eating f/t rats with the breeder? If the breeder was feeding mice, you’ll want to try that for sure. I wouldn’t recommend trying to feed her immediately though. It could stress her out more. Give her a week and try again. She looks great, so a week won’t hurt at all.
-With great records on feeding… did they make note of sheds? Sometimes babies get a little weird about a new place and feeding when they’re getting close to a shed cycle as well.
-6 hides is great. Is there some extra clutter like foliage there too? That could help make her more comfortable.


as @armiyana says totally.
I would only add, from the picture, she looks like there is still a bulge in her from the last meal.


Thankyou so much for spending the time to reply.

She spends most of her time on one or another hide, i never see her out in the open but when i get her out for short periods of handling (as per the breeder) she seems very happy, doesn’t spend the whole time scrunched in a ball, just relaxed wandering around the sofa.

Theres tonnes of clutter, branches, foliage galore.

She was indeed eating frozen thawed, we have tried to keep things as close to what he did in terms of feeding.

I’ll check if i have the info on her shedding from her breeder :snake:


Our lovely breeder says she is indeed due a shed soon :snake:


That could be some of the issue then.
Some will just be little eating machines and still eat while in shed. Some will absolutely refuse to eat. I had a boy who would skip his meals 2-3 weeks sometimes for a shed. it was frustrating, lol.

But honestly, it’s not bad to skip the meal if they show the signs. Especially if her eyes look a bit hazy or cloudy right now, or if her tummy looks a bit pink.
It gives her a better chance to digest and poop out what she may have already (bps are notorious for waiting to shed and then having BIG poops) and reduces the risk of the old skin feeling too tight and making her regurge a meal (bad). Plus the metabolism is so slow… I try not to feed when I see the signs because I don’t want to risk the regurge or slow down the process and possibly lead to upset tummies or bad sheds.


Very pretty banana! Do you by chance have a light over her as well? If so, you might do away with it because more than likely she came from a small breeder tub and in the wild ball pythons live for the most part underground……

Just a thought…. :blush:


You’ve had some great advice already!

If she continues to give you feeding trouble after you’ve left her alone for a bit, you can try braining the f/t rodent. You can either use something like a pin or needle to poke a couple holes in the skull, or use a sharp blade to slice open part of the skull. Something about the smell of that delicious brain matter is irresistible to some snakes. If that doesn’t entice her, some people have better luck with making a small incision in the abdominal wall of the rodent. I know it seems a little gruesome, but…whatever works, right?

Another thing to keep in mind is that snakes have crazy metabolisms and they can go quite some time without eating, so a snake going a few weeks or even months without eating isn’t necessarily a huge cause for concern so long as the snake is maintaining good body condition. Prior to getting my first snake, most of my pet-keeping experience was with lizards and mammals, where refusing a meal can be legitimately concerning. It took some time for me to adjust my mindset to not automatically go into crisis mode and panic when a snake refused a meal. My point is, try not to stress too much! Her current body condition looks great, so she’ll be fine if it takes a while yet to get her eating reliably.


Also, these people are all way more experienced than me, but

That’s exactly how Finnley my juvenile BP reacts if the rat isn’t hot enough. If you check all the husbandry and it’s on point, and the snake has had time and heat to digest, and isn’t in blue (getting ready to shed) check and see if the rat isn’t hot enough.

Use your temp gun to make sure it’s about 85-89 F which is around 31C. Finnley will slam his food IF it’s the perfect temperature.
(I mean I wouldn’t eat a lukewarm rat either, so I guess I don’t blame him!)


When we were having troubles getting our new baby to eat, what we found out worked was playing bagging the f/t mouse and warming it in water until it was 31/32 degrees C. That, and she was learning to eat in her new enclosure and it took her a few tries. If she strikes but drops the mouse/rat, you might try reheating it once or twice and trying again.


Weirdly, my snakes will eat lukewarm prey. But neither is a ball python or any other finicky species, so I often forget how important getting the rodent to mammalian body temp can be with some snakes.


That’s gross! :joy::rofl::laughing::face_with_hand_over_mouth:


The equivalent of a roomie finding a half eaten box of pizza two days later on the couch and chowing down, lol


I will say I would much rather have a rat instead of a mouse lol :joy:


Picky picky picky are you Mr. Riley! :joy::upside_down_face::rofl:


How is it going?
any update?


All going well so far, she ate last sunday as our wonderful breeder popped over and made a couple of noteworthy adjustments (slightly too cool and the rat wasnt hot enough) she ate straight away with him.

We will be trying her again on friday to see if shes keen :grin:


Nothing more upsetting than a snake that wont eat. :disappointed: :broken_heart:
Nothing more satisfying as when they start eating well again :joy: :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: