Tips for feeding newborns?

Also may be too hot. Mine wouldn’t eat till I got the temp down to 85 on the hot end. Then they took f/t no problem.

I thaw the f/t in the room in cool water, couple hours as I feed about a third of the collection at a time. The snakes can smell them so they know prey is around. I feed in the evening after they become active with the lights in the snake room dimmed. I warm the rats under a heat lamp which takes a few minutes and again they can smell the prey. By the time I’m opening tubs they are striking.

Also found it helps with babies to start with a smaller prey item so they aren’t intimidated. I start with rat pinkies, so I don’t have to change species later, they don’t seem to mind. Don’t chase them or bop them, just hold the prey item. If they don’t take it right off, I will move on and come back to them in a few minutes, oftentimes they will take the prey the second chance they get. It’s almost as though they have to think about it, like “hey, that was food, man I gotta get that if it wanders by again…”

If yours are wandering, then they may be too warm, may need a cool side hide, may need more cover, dont know what your set up looks like. Get them some fake plants, even in a dark tub they will feel better. They are ambush predators, don’t open the tub all the way, leave a hiding space and “creep” the prey item near the hide spot, they’ll often rush out, snatch it and haul it back like a trapdoor spider. Even my big adults prefer to ambush out of the tub, if I open it too much, they will either launch out or retreat back to the back and wait.


Oh! I should mention these guys are super small! They all weigh 45-48g, so a rat pinky isn’t too small for them, it’s about the size of their belly. I got all my pinks from a local breeder before they all hatched, but I made sure to get some fuzzies as well.

I’d still prefer to start them on FT if I can, as it’s a whole lot easier and less expensive. But hey, if I have to get live, it’s what I got to do! I’ve left the pinks in there before and some have taken it, so I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before they regularly eat.

As for blocking out the tubs, I’m getting my tape ready right now lol.

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I normally feed late at night after work, and I use a blow dryer to get them hot before offering! I don’t have tiny hides but I have a bunch of fake flowers and plants in there for them, and I’ll see if I can adjust the heat for them and see if that’s the issue! I know my adults seem happy on 88-90, but this being my first year with newborns I still have some things to fix lol.

Here’s what an empty bin looks like!

I would do about twice that amount of plants so they can feel hidden and sneaky :wink:

My quarantine rack has clear tubs like yours, and I have found that new arrivals just don’t settle down without two hides and lots of cover, like gecko tank levels of cover for the small ones. My quarantine tubs are bigger than your hatchling tubs though, like 20+qt, so that’s part of it too.

And I honestly think letting them smell the prey thawing out for a couple hours before they see it really helps to get them into hunting mode. Since I started doing that, my feed response really improved. To the point where now, if someone doesn’t feed, I know to check them in the morning to find out what’s wrong.

Another trick I was just reminded of while I was feeding tonight, try to hang on to the prey and wiggle it when they grab it. Let the prey “fight” for a few seconds before you close up. I think they grip tighter and really believe it and want to eat it if they feel like they fought for it. I’ve had young ball pythons drop the prey and not eat it, but when they have to “fight” they don’t seem to do that. With my big ones I can’t do that, they just rip it out of the tongs, it’s scary. :sweat_smile::rofl:

One of my big girls one night hit the prey so hard, she knocked it out of the tongs to the floor. So I pushed her tub closed and bent down to get the rat. I stood up and turned around to find I had not closed the tub all the way.:scream: She had reached out of her tub and over to the stand with the heat lamp (an old chick brooder lamp) and the rats and had helped herself! Now that’s a feed response.:+1:
So lucky she didn’t burn herself. Now I keep the stand much further away. The rats don’t cool that much in one extra step, duh. 🤦


I might have to make some hides with plastic bowls for now lol, I bought some Halloween bowls from dollar tree to do it but just didn’t get time! Guess it’s a midnight project tonight lol

I definitely have to try that then! Might help my super picky adults that keep going on and off food lately too

:joy: my adults launch out of the bins, so I can only crack the tub open enough to shove the head of the rat in or else my hand is on the menu :sob: especially my girls, my big pinstripe flew out once and almost landed in my lap with the rat :joy: and my big normal I bred this year took hold of the tongs (and rat of course) and I had to wait until she started eating the rat to grab my tongs back!! Love her though, she’ll take 3 rats at a time (Which I’ve only done once since they were like weaned rats after she laid)


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The bowls look pretty good, they’ll do and be season appropriate.:grin::ghost:

Know what you mean about launching. I have had to catch mine once or twice and once I did have to pick one up off the floor. When they’re building, they are monsters at feed time. I often have to unwrap one or two from the front of the tub where they’re pinning the rat against the outside of the lip.:upside_down_face: Fortunately, once they have the rat, you can do almost anything moving them, they don’t care as long as you don’t try to take away the lunch!:grin:

Try feeding slightly smaller prey at slightly more frequent intervals. Like my largest food item is a small rat, but I feed adult breeders every 5 days not once a week. My hatchlings get fed every 5 days too, but again a smaller prey item, something a little smaller than their body width. So like a big fuzzy instead of a pup, or a big pup instead of a weaned. I think they digest better that way and get more nutrition. The poo is always smaller and smells less, it’s more compact. They just seem to do better. Energy levels are better, they don’t lay there all lethargic for days on end with a huge lump. They just look better doing it like this. Idk, maybe they don’t do any better, just seems like it.


Put them in the bins so hopefully they’ll settle by Sunday night!

Once I was feeding my female, and I had to clean the bin. Took the paper towel from under her slowly and she let go and tried to launch at me :sob: mama snake needs to chill lmao

I feed small rats once a week for everything, most of my snakes won’t take every 5 days unless it’s a female that’s breeding or my spider morphs lol. The babies that did eat seemed to be moving around 2 days later so the small pinkies I have were probably a bit small too

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Yeah, hatchlings are born big enough to eat larger than rat pinks usually. I just feed one or two to let them get used to the procedure, then up to fuzzies. I don’t switch to pups until they are easily taking the largest fuzzies. Their heads need to be big enough. I have a g-stripe girl who “should” be able to take a pup based on her body width. Never gets it down, only manages midsized fuzzies. She’s going to take forever to grow…:unamused:

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I normally never have issues with my young snakes taking big meals, when my pin was at 200g she was slamming small rats no problem (Because the owner was giving her them, I decided to as well but this was 3 years ago and she was my second snake)


I’m late to the convo, so don’t have much to add besides confirming that live hopper mice usually work best with hatchlings. I’ve only hatched a few clutches but if they didn’t accept a live rat pup after a couple meals, I’d give them a mouse hopper and that always got them eating.

Usually after several mouse meals, their feeding responses really ramped up so I was able to switch them to rat pups, and eventually f/t as well.

I had to assist feed a few of my babies but they all eventually started eating on their own. Two were holdbacks and are still doing great.


I’m heading the the pet store now to see if they have anything! I don’t think they’ll have live hoppers but I should get some mice that aren’t larges lol


Got one to eat so far! She’s the only one with a good feeding response in this clutch lol. Her second meal, so happy!


Have you tried boiling the prey to remove it’s scent?

Wouldn’t boiling cook it though?? Last I knew reptiles weren’t supposed to have cooked meat?

You don’t need to boil it long term just long enough to get the scent off. It’s a trick that works on a lot of colubrid species that can be scared of the scent.

Also until a few weeks ago I thought the same thing but there is a pretty interesting thread going here in the community that’s proved me wrong.

Do you think you can link the thread?

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Here you go

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It is a “flash boil”, basically you drop the feeder into boiling water for about 5 seconds and then remove it, let it cool to a reasonable temp and then offer it

You can also wash with Dawn dish soap, rinse really really well and offer that