Hey everyone! My daughters friend decided she didn’t want her ball python anymore so dropped it off at our house… (my daughter is his new proud owner!)
My first concern is it’s very underweight. It’s about the length of a adult male but the same thickness as my 6 month old piebald. It’s back is very pointed and the ribs can all be felt. What is the best way to nurse this guy back to health so he’s a great pet for my daughter? I’ve never really dealt with rescue animals. And he does have a vet appointment set already!
What size mice (or rats) should he be eating? They said that it’s only eaten once in the past month and it was a medium mouse… which seems Super small for him.
Side question! Is this just a very malnourished normal that is giving it the dull gray color or is it some sort of morph? Either way it’s pet only, just curious for naming purposes!
I have seen worse
Find out what size of food and type of food it was fed before.
I have seen a few poor sites, like Gumtree UK (I guess crages list might be the USA equivalent ) where adults were fed pinkies and they blocked me when I tried to help.
Build the size up slowly.
That’s very unfortunate he was eating medium mice
Even medium mice are a bit small and a bit low in nutrition for an adult in my opinion. (please others chalange this if you disagree.) I guess frequency of the previous owners feeding is relevant too.
I would suggest more frequent feeding, then get it onto rats.
One way is to scent the rat with a mouse smell.
Another is to trick it. Have a mouse and rat ready, then when it strikes towards the mouse- quickly put the rat in position of the strike. you have to be fast. But even if you done get it the first time, dont worry, try again. A few times should convert it to better food. then increase the size gradually.
Awesome! Thank you… how frequently do you think?
You could do a jumbo mouse every 5 days. After he is up to a good weight you can start trying to switch him to rats.
@ashleyraeanne makes a good point,
How frequent is it used to?
But for me its more about quality that frequency.
I’m not sure, all they said is that they’ve fed it once in the past two months… it came with the mice they were feeding and I looked at them… it’s definitely been on hoppers
I would also recommend getting him into a tub setup with a good heat mat and thermostat with paper towels. That way you can monitor him better and have a better chance at him feeding. Make sure you quarantine him in another room if you have other animals too.
Again, housing is key as @ashleyraeanne says
One hopper mouse every two months is sad for an adult…
Yeah it is I have a rack with a empty spot I can put him in
Does the rack have other animals in it? Or is it a quarantine rack?
Fantastic point, I completely blanked that part, I have a different rack I’ll put him in where he will be alone
A different room is the key, for best quarantine. if you dont have a quarantine rack in a different room, a tub with a lid and heat mat with thermostat in another room will do. If no rack, you might want to use some cardboard to reduce light like a tub in a rack would have a light gradient or less light if you dont have an empty rack in another room
It sounds counter intuitive, but for rescues like this, I personally would avoid feeding too much too soon. His body might not be used to handling the full bone mass and fur on an adult mouse if he’s only been eating hoppers… If he’s already malnourished, a regurge or diarrhea can make it worse.
If he was only eating hoppers, I would try a small mouse and see how he does for a couple of days. Try another small mouse in 5 -7 days or so.
Monitor for any signs of regurge or diarrhea. I would keep doing smalls for another week or two as you get to understand him and his habits.
If he does well on the small mice, bump him up to mediums for a couple of weeks. Same as before, monitor for anything funny.
After that you can try switching him to something a bit more to his size. If you want to try rats earlier, just make sure the rats are approx, the same size as the small or medium mice.
He looks normal phase to me, but the malnutrition can make the scales much duller and lackluster.
Another thing that can happen in malnourished BPs that I’ve seen is the skin can almost be paper thin. So be careful with anything too sharp or rough in the enclosure. Especially if the scales almost look too small compared to a normal BP. The ones I’ve seen this in were actually worse than yours malnutrition wise, but since yours may have been treated this way for so long, I would still take it as a concern.
I’d also keep an eye out for mites and such, so paper bedding and as sterile as you can keep it for a bit while in quarantine probably isn’t a bad idea.
Good luck with the little guy!
This guy has been doing fantastic! When feeding him I have noticed that he has a wobble about the same as my spider ball python. Is this neurological damage? It’s not always present
This guy has now been transitioned to rats and is currently eating weaned rats, he’s moving up in the world XD
Usually neuro issues in non-wobble morphs are caused by overheating or exposure to chemicals iirc — I’d definitely wait for further input though, I know some things but wouldn’t be able to go into depth about it like others likely would
Glad to hear he’s doing well otherwise!