HELP My snakes aren’t eating

Hey guys, I’m new to the snake world. Me and my boyfriend have 2 pythons. We’ve had them for about 2 months. When we got them we followed instructions about waiting a week to feed. Their diet was and is frozen /thawed. At first they both ate a fuzzy. Which is what the breeder told us. They had threw up or spit up the fur. Then the second feeding, neither would eat a fuzzy. So we went to pinkies. Again at first they ate it. He preferred his warmed. We started warming them and noticed they were hard in places. He used to strike at the pinkies and wrap them and then eat. The last couple times he hasn’t.

She would eat hers cold up until here recently. She doesn’t strike. We could lay hers near her and she would eat it. Picture is Banana the female

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Some clarifying questions.

You mentioned it was hard in places, are you giving them plenty of time to fully thaw before you feed them? You don’t want to feed them something that is still frozen.

You mentioned they spit up the fur, this is likely a regurgitation; it isn’t just the fur it’s the entire meal. It’s best to give them a longer break after something like that happens. That leads me to ask questions about the set up/enclosure. What’s their temps, humidity, bedding, enclosure size, etc. pics would be helpful.

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they were not spitting up the fur. they were regurgitating the whole meal. did both regurgitate their food or only one? did it happen more than once? it sounds like it is a husbandry issue. What is the set up like? How are they being cared for? does the female wrap the mouse after grabbing it? when was the last time the male ate?

how are you warming the food for them and for how long? it sounds like the mice aren’t being thawed fully.

I am not the best when it comes to this kind of stuff but this is what I know.
@t_h_wyman @lumpy @caryl @caron will probably be able to help more than me.

Welcome to the community!

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Size wise those should be eating hoppers or rat pups.

How are you heating the cage? 9/10 times a baby regurgitates it’s cold.

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Yeah, I would agree with @ballornothing. Check if it’s actually getting hot enough.

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As others have noted, this is most likely a husbandry issue

@allyshane, Can you please provide all the details on your set up for these animals? Enclosure type, media, temps, humidity, hides, etc.? It is a lot easier to help when we know the details rather than guessing things blindly one by one

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Welcome to the community, @logar . One more question which can help us help you, please share specifically how you’re thawing their meals. Hopefully soon your snakes will be slamming meals and digesting wonderfully.

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I can’t add anything else to what everyone has already said but I am curious. Are they in separate enclosures? Be sure and provide the information requested asap so the people here can help you. Regurgitation is very hard on snakes……

Best of luck to you! :pray::blush:

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Regurgitation usually means husbandry issue as others have said.Meals should be defrosted in a fridge,and should be fed warm.If you answer the questions askes by previous posters you will get more answers,regards Tony and good luck

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Back in the day (2001-ish), when I was super active in ball pythons, I would read over and over about how picky ball pythons were, and how they’d often go off feed. I fed frozen-thawed meals exclusively, even to the animals that were sold to me as “live only” feeders, and I had never had one that was a problem eater. I came to realize that as silly as it sounds, ball pythons, and probably most animals, are a lot like us humans. They need to feel safe. Otherwise, they’ll experience and show signs of stress, such as not eating.

To illustrate, I had a Kingsnake.com forum friend named Michael who was new to ball pythons. He sank a ton of money into a few animals. (Remember when an Orange Ghost male was $3000? LOL He had one as well as a few equally expensive hets.) The male Orange Ghost was a hatchling that he’d purchased a couple months prior, and he simply could not get the thing to eat a single meal. Ever. I explained to Michael how snakes need to feel 100% safe (not 80% or 90%) or they become stressed. I told him to send me his animal, and I’d get it eating. On it’s 3rd day with me, it ate a full meal. Then 2x a week for the next 2 weeks. Like clockwork. Michael came to visit (from NJ to SC) to see how I was doing it.

I employ a very simple formula.

Appropriate size enclosure (length + width = length of snake).

Ten degree heat gradient (82° cool end / front to 92° warm end / back).

Appropriate humidity level of ~65%. (PRO TIP: Adjusting the humidity level up and down is simple. Just use different sized water bowls. Larger water bowls have a greater surface area which aids in more evaporation, which, in turn, increases the humidity level. Smaller bowls will lower the humidity level. For even more fine-tuning, you can place water bowls closer or farther from the heat source. Simple solution that you can use to make each drawer in your rack an individual perfect humidity for whatever snake may be in there.)

Multiple hides, where possible. One hide as a minimum. (PRO TIP: Ball pythons like snug burrows with a single entrance. They should feel the sides and top against their scales. Terra cotta flower pot bases flipped upside-down and hit sharply on the edge with a hammer to create a broken entrance hole always work wonderfully, even with the small top hole. These hides cost about $1 each, and they help to hold and maintain humidity too. Another great but cheap hide is a large flat piece of cardboard with one edge bent down slightly to show the animal that there is a small space under the cardboard. The snake will “burrow” under the cardboard and make it his hide. I tried this once with a ball python that was always burrowing under his newspaper. It dawned on me that he preferred to feel the hide on his back, pressing downward. So I tried a flat piece of cardboard as an experiment, and he never burrowed under the newspaper again. Feeling the hide weigh down upon it’s back is the key.

Frozen-thawed is my preferred feeding method. Mostly for the sake of the snakes. (I always feel sad when I’m browsing the classifieds and I see an otherwise beautiful snake with rodent bite marks on his neck and back.) As everyone else has said, make sure those rodents are fully thawed before warming. There shouldn’t be any hard spots. Oh, and don’t worry about them not striking off tongs. Many of my ball pythons were shy eaters. Just lay it in the tub, slide the tub back in the rack, and check back a few hours later. The rodent is often vanished, and the snake is a bit chubbier than it was a short while ago. :slight_smile:

Please forgive my ramble.

Regards,
Chris

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@cjbianco I do so agree with ALL you have said. I just added my 5th baby BP and I have had no problems getting the new babies to eat because they are all in small cozy enclosures with small dark cozy hides, lots of heat and movable water bowls, and nice warm f/t rodents. Banana Mac eats his privately. All the rest eat from tongs. (Singer just came today so she will probably eat that way). Wardley, one of my boys, actually comes looking for his meal sometimes. He was very skinny when I got him so he is making up for lost time and occasionally gets fed twice a week.

As you said, it’s very simple to get a BP to eat. Security and warmth and nice warm food. Sounds familiar doesn’t it! Lol!

Here is Wardley looking for a meal:

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