Tips for getting a hatchling to feed. Without Live

This is the first time I have had ball python hatchlings.

Any tips for getting a hatchling to feed. Without Live.

I am in the UK where its illegal to use live unless its a last resort, meaning the snake would die otherwise.
Which I think does snakes more harm than good. waiting till its life and death means death is more likely than using live then switching to frozen thawed. Besides, its the natural circle of life in the wild.

There’s plenty of people that live to report such a thing. I even know of incidences where they go to reptile shops to spy and report. So I want to avoid live and the legal problems.

Most are feeding fine, either passively or striking, but for he others- I want the best for my animals, so politics aside-- what can I do for the stragglers?


I am sure you probably have knowledge of all of these tricks but here are the ones that worked for me: 1. Heat up the thawed rodent in a plastic bag in hot water, use a blow dryer on heat, lay on some heat tape or Matt for a few minutes before tease feeding. As we know they have heat pits and this has helped me the most. 2.Use a hopper mouse, brained and bloody. I think mice might smell more wild or stronger then rats, and when you expose the fluid around the brain I think it can add to the scent.
3. Sometimes I would put the rat fuzz, or mouse hopper in a brown lunch bag along with the snake and tape it closed leave it in the heated rack or cage overnight. Works well with live, but also thawed with super shy guys. Also just adding a hide or layers of paper to your snakes cage can make them less stressed more likely to eat.
4. I know everybody may get angry, but if you can’t do live legally, as a last resort I would assist feed. Not force feed. Try to use a rat pink, something slightly smaller then normal, hold the snake behind the head and gently press the rat to the lips until it opens the put the rat as far back as you possibly can in the snakes mouth/beginning of throat. Then hold still, hopefully the snake will start to swallow, just don’t move keep holding it gently and wait for it to finish then put back in cage. I have done this several times and it usually only takes 2-3 times before they start to think hey this eating thing is good and start on there own. Hope this helps! Screw those unfair laws, made by ignorant politicians!!!


No I don’t have much knowledge of how to do this without using live, its my first ball python hatchlings,
I appreciate your advice.
Also when I breed snakes before (Non ball pythons) it was about 20 years ago when live was not an issue in the UK. So I used live for ones that were a problem before it was life threatening. So it was soon enough before a lot of loss of body weight.
So as they were healthy and had some body reserves it was easy to save them and get them onto frozen thawed because they were still strong that I could afford to miss many feeds while trying different strategies.
Leaving live it until its life threatening and the snake is week from malnutrition is cruel and makes success and survival less likely in my opinion.
Hence my plea for alternative’s. So I really appreciate your and any advice. I will try your suggestions.

P.S I have bought various small size rat, SF and nwow mice too.


I have done that in the distant past and am ok with that. At what stage, weeks would you suggest I try that.


If I have a baby that refuses to eat, I will usually wait about 6 weeks after first shed before I will consider assist feeding them, and then that depends upon their body tone.


I would agree. Having to assist feed in my experience usually leads to a problematic eater, but I understand things are a little different in your situation.


I would agree with @graysnake 6-8 weeks after they shed should be about right depending on body condition. Some smaller, or ones that didn’t absorb the yolk as good as others may require slightly faster assistance, but from your pic yours all look like good healthy bps to me!


@graysnake & @nswilkerson1 @banereptiles
Thanks for your advice, it helps alot , I will study it thank you :grinning: