What are your temps and Humidity? Ball pythons can already be picky eaters and if husbandry isn’t on point they wont be happy.
When was the last time they ate?
If everything was good and checked out perfect Personally I would go to a vet. Our local vet has and treats ball pythons and for mine is around 35 each for a check up but if they pass you will be loosing a lot more.
I rescued a 5 year old one from an elderly couple that could could never get it to eat since it was purchased and was a hatchling. I know the breeder so I took it in. They have brought it in every week for 5 years because it would never eat for them and breeder suspected they had it too cold, and based on their setup it looked to be the reason. After putting in a tub with proper humidity and temp it eats for me just fine every couple of weeks.
I have others that refuse to eat sometimes. Some will only eat certain colors while some need an ASF every once in a while.
I am no expert and others may have a better opinion but for sure check out the husbandry if nothing else as it can be the reason for them not eating.
Go to a hardware store and get a temp gun and check out their temps dont just rely on the thermostat telling you the temp.
Try the mouse, an ASF, something different. If another animal ends up working you may just need to let a rat crawl around in that type of dirty litter for a bit to get the scent. Ive had a couple that were stuck on mice so the pet shop I got rats from(before I started to breed my own) would put them in dirty mouse litter for on the way home and worked wonders.
You have to assist feed. Hold their head behind the jaws on the sides. Support the body under your arm. Start by taking a pinkie mouse and putting it in your snakes mouth. Close your snakes mouth so the teeth get stuck on the flesh. Then set your snake down. They should swallow the mouse at that point. If there wasnt any issues next time move up to a fuzzy mouse. Keep increasing the size of the mice. I have some snakes now that I did this with. I now can just set a medium mouse in their mouth and they gobble it up.
Some people will say assist feeding is bad and let your snake starve because they must not want to live. So you can follow that advice or at least try something that definitely worked for me. If your snakes lost a bunch of weight already, its time for action.
I’m going to highly recommend against assist/force feeding 1000 gram snakes that have ate many times in the past.If they are all refusing food it would be a indication of husbandry problems imo. Assist/force feeding a snake that size is never an option in my mind. A pinkie or fuzzy would not be enough nutrition for a snake that size anyway. All 5 snakes are not eating for a reason forcing them to eat won’t change the problem that is causing them not to eat in the first place.
Nobody is suggesting to let the snake starve just fixing the problem that is causing them not to eat. Forcing a rodent down a snakes throat is likely to cause more problems that it solves you still have a snake not eating on its own. A 1000 gram snake will not starve itself unless there are underlying health issues. If your having to force feed a lot of snakes the issue is likely not the snakes themselves but the conditions they are kept in.
If you fix the basics you won’t have “starving”snakes to begin with. All 5 are not eating you are suggesting force feeding all five. Clearly the problem lies elsewhere if it’s not husbandry then it’s a contagious health issue and forcing a rodent down a grown snakes throat won’t help that either.
Right you assumed I don’t have success with it when the truth is I don’t do it at all.
Refusal to eat in ball pythons is often a symptom of stress/something off with their husbandry, and so the best solution is not to treat the symptom (by force/assist feeding) but rather to take a step back and re-examine anything that could be stressing out your snakes and find the cause.
What is the temperature gradient?
Do they have appropriately sized hides?
Was each new arrival quarantined and determined to be healthy before putting them all the same room/rack/etc?
What prey type and size were you offering and how were you trying to feed?
Do they have the appropriate level of humidity?
While it’s not exactly uncommon for a well fed adult to occasionally skip some meals, losing 400g is a pretty significant amount of weight, so I understand why you’d be concerned. I agree with many of the other comments that the more details about your husbandry you share, the more we can try to help and trouble shoot
Agree 100% w saleen on this.
Do NOT assist/force feed. Even the “big” “famous” names in the hobby have video’s stating NOT to assist/force feed anything that size that had been previously eating normally. It should only be used for unestablished hatchlings or imports to get feeding(last resort). I’ve had many go on extended hunger strikes especially around the “1000 gram wall” but never had such significant weight loss. If the husbandry is truly on point then 40% weight loss and affecting all 5 is definitely vet territory. I’m chasing a health concern with 1 of my big older girls myself. Sucks when they’re sick wether you have 1 or 100.
That being said I have had success breaking the wall with mice, asf would be ideal but finding may be difficult. 1st try live rat pups overnight 2nd f/t, f/k adult mouse overnight. Last resort is live mouse, closed rack but keeping an eye while it’s in.
Established ball pythons will occasionally go off feed, there’s no getting around that. But to have 100% of a collection consisting of 5 animals go off feed for a long period with such a significant amount of weight loss is a good indication of an underlying husbandry issue(s), or potentially a contagious illness spreading throughout the collection. Proper husbandry needs to be verified and addressed first and foremost before more drastic measures are taken. Regardless, I’ve always heard from experienced breeders that force (or assist) feeding is not appropriate for established ball pythons.
If I had 5 snakes suddenly not eating and losing significant weight I would probably schedule a vet visit for at least 1 to check for parasites, then bacterial and viral infection. Then just treat all 5 for whatever the issue ends up being.
Of course you want to make sure your husbandry is good, but when you’ve got multiple snakes going from eating normally to nothing, to losing weight I would go the medical route.
I would not assist feed in this situation. It’s important to find out why they’re not eating first and address that. If you can find it, and fix it, it’s highly likely they’ll start to eat on their own again.