Having some problems with keeping the humidity up in my 29 gallon glass enclosure. I have an adolescent albino ball python that I’m raising and having an issue getting her to eat. I’m using a ceramic heat bulb on a thermostat that I keep around 80-82 degrees. I also have a heat pad on the warm side with a thermostat. First substrate I used was ReptiChip that I soaked before putting in enclosure and couldnt keep the humidity up above 35%. Just changed it out with the first cleaning and decided to try EcoEarth hoping that it would help with the humidity. When I got home from work today the humidity is down to 30% and it seems the substrate is drying out which im assuming is because of the heat bulb im using to heat the tank. The only thing I can think of that is causing my albino to not eat is the humidity not being right. I’ve even stopped using a UVB light that I had on a day/night timer thinking she didn’t like the light.
As far as a background on her eating, she ate the first weekend after I got her (frozen/thawed) with no problem at all. The next weekend when I tried to feed her she struck and coiled but when she tried to swallow she was trying to swallow the rat backwards. After a few minutes of trying unsuccessfully she gave up and went in her hide. Two weeks went by with her not showing any kind of interest in eating and two nights ago when I tried again she finally struck and coiled again but when she went to swallow she just stopped and abandoned the rat. I’m starting to get worried and thinking it has to be the humidity being so low. Any suggestions would be amazing and please throw some ideas out on how I can heat the enclosure and keep the humidity up at the same time. I’m even thinking of getting a live rat to try even though she has never been fed anything but f/t (breeder fed her f/t as well).
Also she is about 7 months old and I’ve had her about a month. She has not shed and is shoiwing no signs and beginning to. (cloudy eyes, pink belly, etc)
Hello! When I kept ball pythons in glass enclosures, I had to cover most of the screen with aluminum foil to help keep humidity in; you could also try using a bigger water bowl, and/or moving the water bowl to the warm side of the tank (assuming it is a tank-type aquarium). One other suggestion for getting her to eat is moving her to a smaller enclosure to see if that could be part of the issue. Good luck, and please keep us updated!
What temp is the heat pad set to?
Humidity being too low is usually the last thing to keep them from eating. Heat and security are the first 2…after that BPs are notoriously picky. What are you doing to the rodents when you feed her? How are you thawing, are you making sure they’re warmed up enough? No hot pocket icicle in the middle here…
If she’s small and the 29 gallon is very sparse and open she may just be nervous and need more hides.
If the heat pad isn’t a little closer to 90 it may be slower digestion.
What was the breeder feeding? (edit just saw your comment on only F/T being fed.) If mice vs rats you may need to do that until she’s properly settled in or double check on the size being given
For the humidity issue… most of the top of the tank should be covered to prevent humidity loss. a big water dish helps as well.
Yes @gina5678 is right! Cover 2/3-3/4 of the lid to the enclosure. Don’t use ceramic heat bulbs it dries out the air and substrate faster, use under tank heater on a thermostat, go back to coco blocks and a larger water dish. Should help with humidity. As for eating, sounds like your snake might be insecure, add another small hide, one on the cool side and one on the hot side. Move the cage to someplace quiet, or add some more coverage for the snake to not feel out in the open. Also wait 5-7 days after changing the cage so your snake feels comfortable before offering food. Also it may just be holding out for live, I have had several strike and wrap frozen thawed not eat, then offer a live and it will be gone in about 10 minutes. Good luck, keep us updated
I have a hide on the cool side and another on the warm side. I have the heat pad set on 90 degrees for the warm side. I used a fuzzy rat for her first feeding that she ate, after struggling the next few times I switched to a smaller mouse thinking other was too big to no avail. I may try a live this weekend and see what happens. I do need to cover most of the top and see if that helps.
One other catch is to be sure the mouse is at or over about 85 F. My BP has a boa appetite but he will not be persuaded at all to take anything not warm enough. And I feed him at about 9 or 10 PM, which can be helpful too.
Also, instead of getting the mouse wet, try to keep it in a baggie to seal in the rodent scent maybe? Or if you know someone with rodents, roll it in some dirty bedding before feeding so it gets the smell back.
And yeah definitely make sure it’s thawed all the way through and warmed up.
Assuming your room temp is less than 80 degrees you might be pumping water out of the cage air via condensation on the glass. Especially in a cold room I recommend covering the back and ends with some sort of insulation. Be mindful of fire risk if your heat source isn’t secured away from the insulation and screen cover (shiny side down foil?).
Also, years ago my vet told me Boids need at least a few hours a day at 85 deg for immune health. Maybe 80 deg air just isn’t warm enough for healthy digestion. But once you cover most of the top and insulate you might have no problem getting air temp up. It’s a hard line though as 90 and over can be fatal too. Need good controls and monitoring.
I do agree that security is also huge (good temp hides being a great start). Not handling and perhaps even feeding with lights out might be a good idea until eating well and more confident. Also you might eventually need to try live. But hopefully between hides and warmer and watching from a distance trying not to move or not watching at all …
You received some good advice.
1, cover the top. It will help a lot with temp and humidity.
2, just use the under tank pad. But check the temp of the substrate and set it accordingly so it is at temp. (just setting the thermostat is not an actual inside temp).
3, switch to live for now.
4, do not feed or hadle for the next week. Wait 7 days and try again. If not eating, wait another week. Trying to often is just stressing it. It would not hurt to wait 2 weeks if one week does not work.
5, if you get a strike and it tries to eat, repeat the process right after. (if using f/t) it could be looking for the movement to confirm it is food.
6, not eating for a month is not unusual for a BP. Especially for a new arrival and young one.
7, size of housing could definitely an issue. Get a small storage bin with locking lid. Put some 1/4in holes around the top, about half way across on both sides and on one end. Use substitute and water with under tank pad and a hide. And set accordingly to inside temps.
Just something to try, cover the tank so it can not see you when you are feeding. Watching and moving could be a distraction for it.
Ok so today I had my wife wrap the mesh lid in aluminum foil minus the area where the heat bulb is and magically the humidity stayed at the right percent. My only concern with this is will it cut off air and oxygen from getting inside the tank (suffacate my friend). Only left it completely covered for about an hour because I was worried about the oxygen issue. Once I pulled back the corners a bit to assure oxygen is getting in the humidity started dropping down again. It seems the only way I can keep the humidity up is to completely seal the top of the tank.
All great advice given here. I would go with #7 that @d_y_python suggested. Remember that your girl more than likely lived in a small breeder tub before she came to live with you in her 29 gallon mansion. Big difference.
I have 4 young bps in small snug tubs with uth, 2 small dark hides and a water bowl. They all eat every week. 2 of them practically snatch their food. If you insist on leaving her in the tank, nix the light. Way too drying. When I had tanks I always laid a piece of plastic wrap over the screen and I put a small hand towel on top of that. Some might disagree but it worked well for me. And no light. The uth should be sufficient.
No need to worry about air or oxygen. We covered ours comply except where the light was and had no issues. This was before we switch to tubs and storage bins.
With tubs, we only had 1/4in holes spaced 1 inch apart on 2 sides and only about a 3rd of the way across. And a few on in end. This also worked without problems.our rack fits the tubs fairly tight, without holed in the tubs and there are no problems with this setup either.
If you do need to increase humidity, you can add another dish with substitute and fill with water. This will help hold the water longer and give longer time with more humidity.
I think you have it figured out, with the to covered.
This is true.
Most of these post are from unexperienced keepers. They do not have the experience, knowledge or ability to do long term testing. Having them use smaller enclosures is the best way to go so they can get their snakes eating and allow them to unstress faster.
Any size enclosure will work. If you know what you are doing.
Covered the mesh lid and thats doing the trick! Humidity is staying higher than it was and I got her to eat finally today! The trick was a live feeder, she has never had a live rodent (breeder had her on f/t) but she was quick to snatch it up. Currently digesting, so happy!
Congrats! You can always try f/t again if that is more convenient for you, but several of mine no matter what will only take live. Welcome to the wonderful but sometimes frustrating world of ball pythons!