Worried about refusal of food! Also ID

I picked up my ball python in December for the first few days he wasn’t able to eat because the heat lamp was broken and transport so he was a bit cold. After eating finally that first week I had him he hasn’t eaten since and the old owner tells me he was a slow grower but a steady feeder.

I upgraded to a bigger terrarium and changed the substrate because it was inadequate. Yet he still is not eating again yet, he has only eaten once since I’ve had him. I’ve tried different colours and genders of rat, different purchase places as well as scenting with gerbil bedding. I’ve tried live and frozen thawed still no go. My friend suggested that maybe it’s because we also have pet rats in the house but the previous owner also bred their own feeder rats I believe in the same room. Our rats are in another room of the house.

Attaching photos of terrarium updates. As well as a picture of his patterning.

He was originally on what looked like beauty bark from somebody’s yard and had just a dog water bowl to soak in which was too high for him to access easily now he is on coconut fiber with a third of the tank having aspen for him to burrow in if he wants.

And on another note I was curious to see if anybody thought he was anything other than normal genetics-wise.

1 Like

I’m not a ball python expert by any means so others please chime in, but its fairly common for balls to go on hunger strikes as far as I know and isn’t super duper concerning unless they’re losing weight.

My best guess is that he feels insecure. Most snakes but ball pythons especially like small, dark spaces. Since you have a glass enclosure, I would try to cover/black out 3 sides, add a hide to the cool side, and/or add more “clutter” (plants and the like). I would also make sure your parameters are perfect temperature and humidity wise. They need more humidity than many people think, as far as I know 60% or so. What I’ve also seen work is to avoid handling before feeding and feed only after dark when he wakes up on his own and starts coming out a bit. Best of luck!


Hi when a ballpython dont eat to get a bigger Terrarium, I dont think that could help, usually to get a small one could help. Yours is so empty. They need to feel save. The most danger come above them. Check your temps and humidity. In a Terrarium is more difficult to get both right. And your Terrarium is on top with a wire mesh? Is your room with right temp.? If isnt then your Terrrium dont get the parameters.

You tried only with rats, maybe try with mice. I bought a 0.1 pied het lavender albino, i didnt ask to breeder about feed, and at Home i tried to feed with rats (even 3-5g Rats) and she didnt eat. I tried with a mice and she eat every week.

You could try to change your Terrarium to a small Tub until your Snake eat a few times, then try It again in your small Terrarium. Where do you feed him? In Terrarium or an extra Box?

I hope you find it helpful, and I hope my English is correct


I’d say a normal.

And try moving him into something smaller.
Give him time to settle then try again with feeding.
I used to own a couple that had to have small tubs or refused food, had to upgrade very slowly…

1 Like

I’d add a lot of foliage to the enclosure. If a ball python does not feel secure they most likely won’t eat. Like mentioned above blacking out 3 sides of the enclosure may help.
He’s going to need a second hide on the cool end to ensure he can thermoregulate properly while still feeling secure.
Don’t try feeding more than once a week, at his size he can go a while with no food. Ball pythons are known for hunger strikes 3 months with no food is nothing to be super concerned about. As long as he doesn’t start losing weight he’ll be fine.


I would definitely read through this New owner with non feeding hatchling, troubleshooting 101 as Deb addressed many concerns with a non-feeding ball python. At least some of these have already been echoed in previous comments.

Ultimately, best of luck to you!


I do have a second hide I had to wash it at that point in time though that the picture was taken cuz he wouldn’t go into it after pooping on the side of it…

And yes my temperature is right it’s probably actually better than it was before cuz there was no humidity in the old setup and just one heat bulb 24/7 that I got him in but he was sent home with a rat that was the only meal he’s eaten. I thought of trying to feed him a mouse as well consult first since they’re kind of fiesty n bite a lot.

What kind of foliage would you guys recommend though and should I stick it into the styrofoam backdrop thing? He bulldozers through EVERYTHING.

He was fed in his tank like the old owner did I’ve tried using his old one and using a tub/box but still no go.

I used to own 3 BP along with 10 other snakes of various types before but I’ve never had one refuse to eat so long. :frowning:

1 Like

If you’re using a tank setup, you want a lot of hides and coverage so they feel safe and secure

Try something like this


As seen in the photo, fake plants can be the way to go. Delicate live plants will 100% get bulldozed over. Definitely clutter your tank up with things your BP can slither through/under. This can greatly reduce stress.

1 Like

Okay cool I just picked up a bunch of stuff from the store I wasn’t sure if that was safe for them or food stress them out more getting stuck places or not.

I used to own hermit crabs once upon a time as well and miss setting up tanks that weren’t barren!
Will post picture of new terrarium setup soon but where should I put the hydrometer should I put it in the middle or towards the top or towards the bottom?

Pet store was out of blackout backdrop for aquariums today so I guess I’ll be looking online or checking back.

Thank you for all the great ideas and such I ended up going with all natural wood hides and I will be getting rid of my plastic hides. One of them was cracked and they aren’t very natural looking anyways.


This better?? I’ll still be getting the side blocking stickers or whatever they are once they restock.


That looks super nice! The left side looks like it could use a bit more foliage, but super big upgrade from your old setup.
Good luck! Hopefully your ball python is more comfortable in that enclosure! Keep us posted and we can help more if you need!