Help with ball python pooping!

Hello,

My ball python (3-4 months old) is having trouble pooping. I fed him on Sunday, and by today (Thursday) he still hadn’t pooped. So I ran him a warm bath and helped him work it all out. This is not the first time this has happened. It looked like there was some blood in there too, but not a lot. Please help, I’m really worried about him.

First off you should stop. If there’s blood in there it’s probably because you’re forcing it out of him they can go weeks without a bowel movement. They’re designed to be able to store a large amount of waste. Now I don’t know if you could have caused serious damage already but you need to let nature take its course and read up on BPs! A simple google search will tell you they can go a long time without needing to poop.
I hope he is ok but I’ll let someone else weigh in. Why did you go to assist bowel movements before even reading about how often they poop? Did someone tell you they need to poop right after eating or something?

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There is no schedule snakes in general are very efficient and bowel movements may vary from once a week to every 4 to 8 weeks. It depends on feeding frequency and prey size as well as metabolism (older animals having a slower metabolism)

Young animals utulize most of their prey for growth as well.

So unless there are signs of an obvious blockage which would be a persistant bulge near the cloaca there is nothing to worry about, of course feeding the animal appropriately is also important.

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Yes, there was a bulge near his cloaca. It looked like he was swollen down there, like a balloon filled with water.

Hi, despite your attitude i still appreciate your response. As you so kindly pointed out, a simple google search actually shows that snakes should poop around 2 days after they eat! Along with that, my other ball python has never retained his bowel movement as long as this one has. Thank you for your help.

I’ve kept several ball pythons for several years and it is a rare day that any of them poop 2 days after each meal. They tend to poop about as often as they shed, from what I notice. If you see a bulge or blockage or blood I would double check your husbandry and make an appointment to see an exotic veterinarian if the issue persists. They shouldn’t need help going to the bathroom.

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As you so kindly pointed out, a simple google search actually shows that snakes should poop around 2 days after they eat!

That’s not accurate for ball pythons. Did you read something on colubrids? Colubrids kind of poo constantly… ball pythons do not.

It really is pretty common for them to go a month or more even when small. You’ll visibly see a bulge near their cloaca. It’s normal.

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A bulge before a bowel movement is normal a PERSISTANT bulge is not. A persisistant bulge that creates a blockage feels hard and is usually made of harden urates and fecal matter.

And I would recommend forgetting about Google when it comes to snake care obviously BP are not supposed to have a bowel movement 2 days after they eat, it happens when they are ready and again they are efficient creatures, so soaking unecessaraly which only stresses the animal is not something recommended unless there is a real issue.

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A bulge before a bowel movement is normal a PERSISTANT bulge is not.

Accurate. But let’s quantify persistent being more than 2 days. :slight_smile:

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they are right…there is not a schedule. I have 9 pythons and a boa constrictor and none of them is pooping two days after feeding. Some are only pooping once in a month and expecially the small ones take long before they poop and if you don’t keep them on paper but on like cocohusk sometimes the poop is so small you don’t even see it. It’s logic because their food is also small. I currently have three small ones and three other ones I also bought as hatchlings but are now going to two years . Their metabolic rate is simply very slow. My boa can keep it even up to five weeks, but when she goes, she beats my 20 kilo dog in poopsize:blush:

I agree to thecrawdfather. Please don’t help him because there is serious chance you hurt the snake. blood makes me worry too so I share his concern. Let nature do it’s thing. If in the next days you see blood again or different behaviour in the snake then please consult a reptile vet. If not, just be patient and simply wait till it comes naturally, even if it takes weeks or even a month. Indeed it’s vital to do a lot of research, you never do to much, and from different sources. There is enough crazy advise out there, so you have to check sometimes ten different caresheets, forums YouTube channels and then use common sense and filter the one that comes up the most. I am happy to see you found this forum and are ready to ask. If you have any doubt, before you do something, please ask here. There are all lot of people here who keep them for many years ( me only two, so I’m even a beginner)and can give you good advise.

Good luck with your little boy. I hope he is oke .

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@sgmason
What all of them said!!! Your snake is young and it’s still growing rapidly. As such, it’s understandable that its body needs all nutrition it can get from its prey. Unlike mammals, snake intestines aren’t long wiggly things, it’s quite literally just a single tube. Food is passed slowly and used whole with prety much just hair, claws and some fiber from rodents own guts being only undigested parts. If you feed your snake 30g adult mice, chances are only about 3-4 grams turn into an actual poop. Meanwhile the size of the poop i usualy find when cleaning is about half the size of prey i feed - which means 5 - 6 meals till there’s any poop at all! So of course your snake takes time!

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Thank you for your help! He looked really swollen and discolored so I wanted to help. I appreciate the advice.

You are getting your info mixed up with what some people say about Colubrids. They are frequent poopers and can indeed poop a couple of days after eating. Balls… Whole different ball park. In the future make sure to do your research using just ball python info however you find it. Blanket info is rare when keeping any reptile or amphibian. Every specie is different even if it might seem like it could pertain. Always always double or even triple check.

Hope your ball is okay. Sometimes with my own ball when she was a baby all I’d find for weeks on end were balls of urate (the white stuff) until after several feedings later I’d find a bit of poo. Won’t reiterate what others have put better than me.

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Everyone makes mistakes I do hope he is ok and no permanent damage was done. Just…sheesh man. I notice I get snippy with people and I apologize because we all worry about every little thing when we are new but the time to ask your huge panel of experienced keepers is BEFORE you decide to turn your snake into a go-gurt…not after.

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Go-gurt :joy::joy::joy::joy::joy:

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I am a new BP owner and my initial Google searches also said 2-6 days after a feed for a BP. I searched farther and asked my breeder but I can see where the concern came from

If you have a snake that actually does this you have an absolute machine!

I’ve had them go 6-8 weeks with no poop. I think a slight warm water soak is okay, but as others have said, don’t force it out. Keep an eye on him and rest assured, he’ll be fine.