how do i get my ball python to eat?

colubrid1 - another thing about feeding rats. BP's do not want to eat large rats. The rats must be fairly small as the rodents they feed on in Africa don't get that big. So most will turn away a large rat. Feed medium rats and feed often.

Don't forget to have undertank heaet on one end to offer temp gradients and DO NOT USE lamps, light bulbs, above heating elements like heat lamps or coils. Snake in general will dry out and get very dehydrated.

It is not normal for a BP and most snakes to drink water. They hydrate from the environment as they move about choosing humid, cold, heat ect ect ect. Mostly they spnd their lives in a hold that goes down and has different humid levels and they monitor themselves.

Basically these snakes are great at feeding and surviving without OUR help in the wild. If a BP (or any snake) does not eat it is not the snakes fault but always the keeper. I never owned a snake that refused food and died of starvation. But unfortunately that is how most die in captivity. From people not understand how these snakes operate and their ethology. Give choices in temps, humidty, food and let the snake teach you what it wants. Then you can start to understand them better.
I have a hide for her that fits her snugly over a heating pad, and a heat lamp over top of a climbing tree covered in fake foliage, she spends all her time in her hide tho. And I have a large container of water for her to shit in and whatnot. I live in alberta so live rats aren't an option as they're extirpated and illegal here, but I can still buy frozen ones. She has been raised in alberta her whole life so probably has never had a live rat, and has been eating mice her whole life Phone Post 3.0

Johnny_Bunzels - Just shake your dick at it Phone Post 3.0

I was going to suggest tea bagging since ball is in the name, but this might work too.

Man iv been dying to get a BP! This just makes me want it so much more! Phone Post 3.0

mynameisMud - 
colubrid1 - another thing about feeding rats. BP's do not want to eat large rats. The rats must be fairly small as the rodents they feed on in Africa don't get that big. So most will turn away a large rat. Feed medium rats and feed often.

Don't forget to have undertank heaet on one end to offer temp gradients and DO NOT USE lamps, light bulbs, above heating elements like heat lamps or coils. Snake in general will dry out and get very dehydrated.

It is not normal for a BP and most snakes to drink water. They hydrate from the environment as they move about choosing humid, cold, heat ect ect ect. Mostly they spnd their lives in a hold that goes down and has different humid levels and they monitor themselves.

Basically these snakes are great at feeding and surviving without OUR help in the wild. If a BP (or any snake) does not eat it is not the snakes fault but always the keeper. I never owned a snake that refused food and died of starvation. But unfortunately that is how most die in captivity. From people not understand how these snakes operate and their ethology. Give choices in temps, humidty, food and let the snake teach you what it wants. Then you can start to understand them better.
I have a hide for her that fits her snugly over a heating pad, and a heat lamp over top of a climbing tree covered in fake foliage, she spends all her time in her hide tho. And I have a large container of water for her to shit in and whatnot. I live in alberta so live rats aren't an option as they're extirpated and illegal here, but I can still buy frozen ones. She has been raised in alberta her whole life so probably has never had a live rat, and has been eating mice her whole life Phone Post 3.0

I don't know what a hide box fit "snuggly" means. But a peace of cardboard or newspaper would make the snake just as happy. Did you read my posts above? You should read them about 10x until you get it. That is 40 years of breeding snakes and almost 50 years of keeping snakes speaking to you.



The lamp will dehydrate the snake. A snake is not meant to drink water and drinking water to balance her out won't work. She will be in a constant state of dehydration.

You are thinking in human terms and not a snakes. You are guessing that a water bowl is what the snakes needs and that could not be further from what it needs.

Take out the heat lamp. It dries the air and will wreck havoc on the BP health. BP do well in humidity above 80%. How dry do you think that air is with a heat lamp?

Just because reptile pet shop supplies sell heat lamps and what not does not mean they should be used. It is true and a sad thing that people see these items (and that they are ven made and targeted fro snakes) and are told by pet shop employees to use them. Nothing worse than more misinformation being passed around and that is what is happening in herpetoclture. With the internet any know-nothing that kept a snake for a year or two is an expert and has something to say and what they learned is from other people who didn't learn a thing. I can tell you even someone that has been keeping snakes for 10 or 20 years still do not know what they are doing.


Snakes are really cool animals. They do and can do things that are mazing.. like they can follow a scent trail of a female that passed two years ago and follow it. But we cannot compare them to other "pets" and it is not as simple as keeping them at a set temp of 82F , add a water bowl and decorate their cage with plastic plants. A snakes sees things very different and rather than try to emulate the enclose with natural décor, try and understand who a snakes operates and meet those needs before you meet your asthetic needs.



also your snake is sitting in the hide because it is trying to raise humid levels in that tiny box. It has no other choice but to try and survive the conditions your provided.

Your intentions are good. Otherwise you would not be posting here. But if someone with experience as mine tells you something you should listen and follow it.. hopefully you will learn from the snake after that because there is a lot more to keeping them in a box their whole lives. It is great to start listening to what the snakes are trying to tell you by what they are doing. Things like she is always in her small hide box.. well she is trying to raise humidity in that box but will be futile doing so.. also the fact she is not eating.

Remember this. when you put a snake in a box it is always the keepers fault and never the snakes fault for getting ill. sick, dying or not eating. You have to provide certain things for your BP to eat (or at least know they do go on hunger strikes-and BP don't really eat dead thawed out food as much as they should when they are "on" feeding cycle. .. You were gieven some great advice and you should follow those outlines and take it from there. Once you can manage that I can answer other questions.

Wow, a lot of what your telling me is the opposite of what I have read. Her hide is a cave from petsmart that hugs her on all sides but still allows her room to turn around and get out if she wants. Her humidity is between 50-60%, I read that more humidity than that can make BPs prone to respiratory infections. She doesn't drink from her water much I don't think, she mostly uses it for a toilet. Her hide sits on top of her heating pad and I have the lamp on the other side of her tank above her climbing tree as a hotspot. Phone Post 3.0

Perhaps I should get another heating pad that can go to a higher temperature for a hotspot on the other side of her tank then? Phone Post 3.0

mynameisMud - Perhaps I should get another heating pad that can go to a higher temperature for a hotspot on the other side of her tank then? Phone Post 3.0

That would be a start.

Next is you should ask what a humid box is if you don't know.

Also putting her hide over her hotspot is not a good idea. She will utilize the hotter end when she is digesting.. Most will choose the cooler side when not digesting.

If you only have access to mice I suggest feeding like 10 large jumbos at a time. Find a mouse breeder or breed your won if rats are not available.

I guess if you don't have the rats (a staple for BP's) you will have problems unless yours east mice at every meal. Most BP's prefer rats but will switch their preference fro no reason at times. In other words they are hungry and want to eat but they refuse a mouse and will relish a rat., same goes when they refuse rats they wil relish a mouse instead.

Like I said in the beginning. BP (though the most common pet snakes) are more problematic compare with kinsganskes, ratsnakes and other colubrids. Unfortunlhy the pet trade is filled with them from imports (from breeding farms in Africa) and today from people breeding an abundance of them. Most people buy a BP without knowing much about them and they are more an "impulse buy" , rather than research them and be able to take care of them properly people never find out how to take care of them and the snakes languish and suffer for a long time.

Same goes for Iguanas and chameleons. While cute. They are much harder to keep than other lizards like leopard geckos, bearded dragons that are available in the pet trade.

Hey colubrid1. Thanks for all the info you've provided! I learned more from you then all the research iv done! You made it all make scenes in a great way. Now I feel more confident in getting a BP. Iv had other reptiles, but not a snake.

Anyway iv met a guy in my neighborhood thats a breeder. (never would I buy from a pet store) I'm wondering what are some things I should look for when buying one? I trust this breeder but don't want to take his words on choosing the best snake. I'm not looking for a very fancy color. I would like some type of morph but don't need the best since im not going to breed. Also do you have a website or something so I can check out your collection? Phone Post 3.0

What is a humid box? Phone Post 3.0

It's where you stick your snake.

Pay attention, Beavis. Phone Post 3.0

DickolasNicholas - Hey colubrid1. Thanks for all the info you've provided! I learned more from you then all the research iv done! You made it all make scenes in a great way. Now I feel more confident in getting a BP. Iv had other reptiles, but not a snake.

Anyway iv met a guy in my neighborhood thats a breeder. (never would I buy from a pet store) I'm wondering what are some things I should look for when buying one? I trust this breeder but don't want to take his words on choosing the best snake. I'm not looking for a very fancy color. I would like some type of morph but don't need the best since im not going to breed. Also do you have a website or something so I can check out your collection? Phone Post 3.0

Buying from a breeder direct is a much MUCH better idea than purchasing from a pet shop.

Snakes that make it to pet shops are bred by a breeders and then wholesaled out to someone. Those snakes may not have been sold for a long time before the breeder shipped them to a wholesaler because they could not sell them quick enough.

A wholesaler has warehouse which dirtibute the snakes to pet shops (much like your French fries and hamburgers at Mcdonalds come from) the manager places the order and the snakes arrive from a distributer (pet shops do not buy snakes from breeders direct anymore unless they are a small mom and pop pet shop). SO these snakes have lived in all types of conditions before they even make it to a pet shop.

Buying from a breeders is good. I would ask which snakes eats the best and pick the healthiest and largest one. Don't just pick the ones that is the prettiest. Go for how well the snake looks (weight) and hopefully the breeder will be honest with you.. You can also ask for a particular sex. For isnatance females of certain species get larger than males. In other species males get bigger and eat better than males. It depends on what type of snake you want.But you want the sex that east the most and gets bigger faster as they have a stronger feeding response and are more likely to be more bullet proof as a captive.

Of course look at the snakes tail, looks for kinks, look for small mites. and check the tail behind the vent to see if the snake is dehydrated (neonates tend to dehydrate very easily) and you don't want a dehydrated snake.


Ask the breeder if if will give you a guarantee (lets say one or at most two weeks) and ask if the snake has been feeding and approximatly how many times. Ask if he will guarantee that the snake feeds within 2 weeks or if you can exchange it if it doesn't.

Check the mouth for mouthrot or any saliva dripping out of the mouth (mucous) as this shows a respiratory infection (mostly common in Boids and pythons) and make sure you have an affordable supplier or frozen or live rodents nearby .

also most small colubrid do better in a small box rather than a big old cage. Bigger is not better for small neonates which won't feel secure and go off feed. These snakes live in holes and are fossorial most of their lives so small neonates like colubrids do better in a small tuppaware container smaller than a shoebox. Once they get on hopper mice you can move them into a shoebox. Ball Pythons babies will do well in a shoebox size. But they will outgrow that in 4 weeks if fed right. A baby ball python at 70 grams should be around 400 grams in 4 months. That gives you an idea how much they will and should be fed.





SnapLocally - It's where you stick your snake.

Pay attention, Beavis. Phone Post 3.0

Actually Snap is partially correct.

A humid box is a wet-humid and furry place with a small hole for an entrance.

Basically a tuppaware box with damp orchid moss and a hole big enough cut into the side of the box for the snake to crawl in. Mkes sure the box has a cover that goes on so that humidity levels do not escape. This will help with dry sheds and the snake will feeely crawl and use this and the entire cage when it is properly hydrated. Then you will see the snakes prefers cold and warm sides depending on when it has a bolus it is digesting or if it is on a fast (like BP do) it will choose coller temps within its enclose.

basically you want to offer these choices so the snake can choose for itself what it wants. It knows when it needs to be warm, hot, cool or cold. That is why a bottom heat (hotspot) of about 90F at one end is good and if your room is cold is better because it offers the snakes a broader
range of heat temps to choose from......
...[obviously using a heat cable on one end will get the cage to hot inside if the room is already 80F. and the snake can't escape the heat. So again some common sense needs to be used here.]

The idea here is I am trying to get people to think on their own about basic needs of the snake. Once you can start understanding that and what a snakes does then there are many ways to keep them to make the experience more interesting and you won't screw up. It is not as simple as putting the kitty litter box in the bathroom and the kitty food bowl and water in the kitchen.

Pansat - She may be getting ready for a larger meal, such as your child. Phone Post 3.0

That is why Ball Pythons are so popular in the pet trade.

Yes they are in the Python family, but they don't get that big. They are a manageable and safe size as adults and they don't need a huge enclose.

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Had many snakes in my life. For the ones that are difficult to feed I would kill a mouse (must be fresh not frozen/thawed) and take a pair of pliers and crack the skull open a little so the python gets a scent of the brain. Not for the faint of heart. The scent usually is enough to attract their attention, works 90% of the time. Other than that, force feed. Phone Post 3.0

I have most of my snakes on frozen rats. Some will eat them at room temp but most need them warmed up a bit. I try to get them at at least 85degrees. Some of the more finicky ones I go between 90-95.
The way I do it is put them in a baggie, thaw them n put them in hot water for 15-20mins. Just don't use boiling water you will cook them. You can even just thaw one then use a hair dryer to warm it up.

I breed ball pythons, sometimes there's just no reason for them going off food and all you can do is offer food once a week and wait them out. As long as they aren't losing a lot of weight they will be fine. I've had them go 8 months without eating before and she only lost 100grams of weight.
Just make sure you have them setup correctly and they will eat when ready. But try everything to get them to eat. Offer smaller meals, try live, try dancing the rat around infront of it (zombie dance)lol. Try not touching it for a couple weeks. Too much handling can stress them also.
You will find out what she likes. Just be patient. Phone Post 3.0

Blipty_Blurred - Had many snakes in my life. For the ones that are difficult to feed I would kill a mouse (must be fresh not frozen/thawed) and take a pair of pliers and crack the skull open a little so the python gets a scent of the brain. Not for the faint of heart. The scent usually is enough to attract their attention, works 90% of the time. Other than that, force feed. Phone Post 3.0

For most snakes this is the way. But Ball pythons tend to want to grab a running prey as it passes them. Not dangled in front. This is why all the large scale Ball python breeders feed live only..All other snakes, colubrids, boid and pythons usually get FT (frozen thawed).

I am not saying you can't get a BP to feed on FT. You can! But not as often and neccessry for their health and cycles.