okay so ive had my ball for a few years. she was on live since i got her, wouldnt take f/t. november of 2018, she stopped eating. i tried white rats, brown rats, different sizes, etc. nothing i was doing was working. she fasted for a year and scared the piss out of me. but nov. 2019, she ate a live rat. i was so excited and had a feeling to get a frozen one after a few live feedings. and she messed. it. up. in like 10 seconds. just fed her the second f/t rat and ive NEVER seen her feeding response this strong. no hesitation, no fear of the rat sniffing her, and no anxiety on my side of an injury. shes still squeezing it which is a little weird because it doesnt have a heartbeat, but im just happy. anyone else have an experience like this?
I have learned through my experiences with live feeding that rats can scare your snake since they aren’t timid. Mice seem to be something that causes a very strong feeding response, since they are timid and scared of everything. Rats just tend to not act like prey as much as what mice do. My little ball python Bellatrix was a pain to get to feed consistently, but once I offered her a live mouse instead of a live rat or f/t rat, she took it no problem. Fed her a mouse one more time after that and she has been on f/t rats ever since. Another thing I have heard but haven’t tried, is that gerbils are loved by BPs. No clue why though. That said, once BPs get a certain age, they just naturally fast. Usually is it because of sexual maturity, other times it is just because they want to.
i head gerbils/hamsters are addicting, fatty, and not as nutritional, may be wrong tho
The answer for f/t is, unfortunately, it depends.
Some hatchlings will eat f/t right out of the egg and never see live food. It isn’t very common.
Sometimes keepers have gone through a whole mouse -> prekilled -> f/t -> repeat with rats, etc. Some have mousers that will never eat rats live, prekilled, or f/t. :\
I have good luck. Even snakes sold to me as eating only live usually switch for me pretty easily. I’ve had more trouble getting mousers on rats.
People will usually say African Soft Furred (ASF) and gerbils can get strong feeding responses. Those rodents are actually the wild diet of a ball python.