Help, feeding issues

My young girl was on live mice when I got her. I then one week decided to try switching her to FT small rats because I don’t want to feed live rats(I tried once and it was super aggressive, I had to kill it myself and she didn’t end up eating it but thankfully my dog did so no waste). I offered FT small rat and she at those fine for 3 feedings, then she just stopped those. Again my dog ate the unwanted rat so no waste. I offered 2 more times and she still refused. I didn’t change my method of thawing or feeding enviroment at all. So I brought her a live mouse because she hadn’t eaten for 3 weeks. Being a young snake I want her to eat regularly so she grows up to be a healthy adult. Is this normal for them to go back and forth between FT and live? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! I want to get another BP but this feeding issues is stressful. She slams live ones by the way, before I can even get the door closed. And even the FT rats would be gone when i would check back after an hour(I wanted to give her privacy to swallow it).

Ball pythons are not always the greatest eater. Every rose has a thorn! I wouldn’t stress to much, how often are you feeding her? Maybe go longer in between meals. Your going to have to be patient if she’s not losing a bunch of weight and she’s healthy there’s really not much to worry about. These guys go long periods without meals in the wild.


what is your thawing/feeding method?

Far from expert, but I followed the advice to the letter in this thread (corroborated by some additional youtube videos) and it was very successful with my youngster:

He had never eaten frozen thawed, only live. Though this is my first ball python, I’m pretty experienced with a variety of other animals and typically, it’s really helpful if you truly set up an animal for success with no excuses in a way that follows their natural instincts right from the beginning whether it’s a dog, cat, horse, or snake :slight_smile: I only feed after dark, like 9pm+. I thaw out the rodent near his tub so he can smell it in a small container. Once it’s thawed (up to room temp), I then heat up some water in another slightly larger container and put the smaller container inside (so the rat doesn’t get wet). I lightly dip the rodent’s head in the hot water so he keys in on eating it headfirst and use my temp gun to determine when it’s up to normal body temp. I have one small lamp on so I can see in the tub to offer it, but it’s mostly dark which helps as well. I also do not handle him the day of or for two days after so as not to stress him out and to not associate handling + eating/accidentally tagging me :wink:

I think in general it seems to be advisable to not handle them much at all if they’re not eating consistently and to have them in a smaller, darker tub than you’d initially think is necessary so they feel secure and comfortable.


Thanks I heard that they are not. She is still a baby so I would like to see her eat at least once a week. I feed once a week, but once she went back off FT small rats, she went about 3 weeks without eating. She did not appear unhealthy or skinny, but I need her to grow at this point. She was still active and didn’t act sick or anything off. She is not neurotic or the nervous type at all thankfully. Do some BP’s never fully go on FT? I’m just afraid that a live rat will potentially hurt her.

Have you tried f/t mice? Ball pythons that readily accept mice, sometimes prefer the scent a mouse provides, over that of a rat. Try f/t mice, then try scenting a f/t rat with a f/t mouse. It helps to have multiple snakes in this scenario (is your dog a rat terrier? Lol)

I have two babies I hatched this year that have this preference, and I am currently scenting rat pups with a f/t mouse, it has worked perfectly. The donor mouse gets fed to a corn snake (one of my garbage disposals) and everyone is happy in the end.

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Ball pythons don’t ever do things when we need them to lol.

Some will never take f/t I feed nothing but live to everything I own. Some will only eat mice or only eat rats. Ball pythons can be very picky I wouldn’t worry about feeding live just observe what’s going on and don’t leave it in there a long time. If she’s small it’s more likely mice will injure her than a rat. Rats for a young ball python aren’t very mobile and there eyes are closed. Even a young ball python will eat a adult mouse and they are more likely to bite a snake. The feeding guide is an excellent reference.

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She is too big for a fuzzy rat, a large adult mouse is small for her right now(at least the ones they sell locally). I guess I could try a hopper rat. She ate the FT rats just fine 3 or 4 times, then just quit.

what is your thawing method, though? there are a lot of places where this could go wrong in the thawing alone…plus, the fact she successfully went f/t and then refused is a bit weird.

my thawing method didn’t change

I understand but you never said what it was in the first place…

This is a excellent suggestion!!! Tubs that let in literally zero light have helped me get stubborn feeders established!! Also limiting handling is other good suggestion!