In captivating a ball python, it is a must to know each and every detail on how you are going to feed it. These types of snakes eat if they are and happy, but there are moments where they don’t eat, in these situations, your goal as an owner is to know the reasons why behind it. There is a possibility that it has something to do with their bodily processes, which is a normal thing, or it could mean something else that is detrimental to their health. A guide to feeding your ball python is important so that you would know.
What is the Feeding Behavior of Ball Pythons
Knowing the feeding pattern of a ball python is an important aspect of taking good care of them and keeping them healthy. A well-grown python eats every 7-10 days. Baby python eats more often because of its growth rate. Ball pythons are considered, a slow-moving reptile that has ambush-style hunting tactics wherein they do not chase their prey, they’ll just wait for it to go near them that is why they often eat less. Good thing, they can go long without eating and do not fell and ill effects. They are considered binge and picky eater, but just like other animals, they are also prone to overweight and obesity.
What Do They Eat?
The ball pythons have the ability to eat prey larger than their heads because they have an elastic kind of jaw that stretches to accommodate their large prey. To avoid choking, it is still a practice to give them a fairly sized prey usually rodents. The mice and rat’s size should be at least at the same size as its midsection. Don’t set aside water when feeding them. Water does not only help to increase humidity levels, but it is also a must to keep them hydrated. They love soaking their bodies, so make sure that there are two bowls, one for soaking and one for soaking.
Reasons Why Ball Pythons Don’t Eat
There are some instances wherein ball pythons will stop eating at any time of the year for a variety of reasons. Food is their only source of energy; they can go on for a couple of days, weeks, or even months without food, but in captivity, you will be alarmed if they will not eat longer than the usual time of feeding. These are the possible reason why your ball python doesn’t eat.
In the wild, they thrive in temperatures 86 degrees F (30 degrees C) during the day, but in the night time, the temperature drops down a little. In captivity, it is important to mimic this temperature as well, but an average of 82-84F (27-28C) and with a basking spot of 86-88F (30-32C) is ideal. If it is too cold or too hot, it may affect their eating habits due to their inability to move.
· They are being disturbed or stressed
Ball pythons are used to staying underground or in the burrow where they are not disturbed by their prey or by humans. In captivity, hiding places are important to make them feel secure. If you keep on handling them during the day while they are resting on their hide cages, they could also be stressed and disturbed. A noisy environment is another cause that is why your snake is located in an area where it can have a rest and where people that go near their cage is controlled.
· They don’t recognize the food that you will give them
In captivity, if your ball python is used to eating rodents, it could be a challenge giving them other types of food. If they don’t recognize it, they will not totally eat I that is why you may need to shift to their usual food, but there is a trick that breeders do to introduce a new food to a ball python which is to rub a dead rodent to the new food that you are introducing and slowly remove the scent.
· The cage size is wrong
Large snakes are normally placed in a large tank, but for ball pythons, even though they have quite a large physique, it is ideal for them to be kept at a medium-sized tank. If you place them in a large tank, there is a possibility that you will have a hard time feeding them, especially that they are not a hunter, so if you place their food in their cage, don’t expect that they will try to search for it. If they are placed in a medium cage, they can easily see the food and that it could be more accessible to feed on it.
· They are about to shed
When snakes are about to shed, they will go off for food. That is just because of how their body copes with the changes that they feel. If you feed them while they are shedding, their shed might be rolled into their food that may cause problems in the digestive process. After the snake sheds, expect that your snake will have a voracious appetite.
· They are sick
When your snake is not feeling well, it also affects their appetite as well. If they look lame, take it immediately to the veterinarian for immediate diagnosis and treatment of their illness.
· They are not hungry
Ball pythons have a slow metabolism; that is why they could retain the food that they have eaten even after a week. If they are not hungry, they will just ignore the food that you will give them.
· It is the breeding season
The ball pythons naturally go off for food during the breeding season. Studies show that males even take 5-6 months of food off before the breeding season, especially if they see a prospect female. While the females start to have food off as soon as the breeding season starts. After they lay eggs and wanted to incubate the eggs, make sure to clean they’re immediately and change the substrate because even though you have removed the eggs from the mother if they can still smell its smell, they will still continue to fast.
Feeding Tricks for Ball Python
- They feed on rodents, that is why to try switching mice and rats so that you have a choice of food that you can give them.
- The ball pythons are nocturnal; that is why you need to make sure to feed them during the night time only. Some ball pythons can be fed if the light is dark or dim.
- To serve as a treat, give them a live small rodent.
- An indication that your snake is well fed with a correctly sized prey is it leaves a small bump into their belly and not a huge stuffed-like sausage.
- If you are introducing new food to your snake, scent the new food through the use of dead rodents.
- Always check the temperature level before feeding them. Too hot or too cold temperatures affect their eating habits.
The feeding ball python is an important aspect that you need to master as a responsible owner. If you feed them correctly, not only that, they will be healthy, but you can be sure that they can be able to do their life processes in an accurate way.