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Old 11-29-19, 11:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
Mrr
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Will a ball python take too large of a meal?

Hey there,

So a few weeks ago, I was shopping for feeders for my two ball pythons (a one year old male and a 3 year old female). My female is quite small for her age, due to being a very finicky eater for the first 1.5 years of her life. I had typically fed both of them small rats, but after looking at the size of the medium rats at the store, I figured it was about the same width as my girl's widest. I dropped it in and she took it no problem. It was gone before I checked back so I assumed it was okay. This week whole watching her eat, I wondered if perhaps it was too big? I mean she got it down, but it was definitely a stretch. I feel like she's wide enough at her thickest part, but her head and neck are still so tiny.

Should I go back down to small for a bit? Or is it okay to continue since she seems to have no problem taking them? I've always heard that they'll never take too big of a meal, but I'm not sure how true that actually is
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Old 11-30-19, 09:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Will a ball python take too large of a meal?

They can and will try to eat something that is too big for them, if it's too much strain on their body they'll throw it back up if they're able. Ideal preysize for most snakes is somewhere between the same thickness as the thickest part of their body, up to 1,5 times as thick. (doesn't go for all snakes, some require smaller meals like redtails.) If it didnt take a over the top amount of time to get it down, and it wasn't too much thicker than her girth I woulnd't worry.
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Old 11-30-19, 12:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Will a ball python take too large of a meal?

Okay, that's a bit of a relief. Its been about 60 hours since she took it, and she hasn't regurgitated. I'm noticing that she's still looking quite full though. I wonder if maybe this particular "medium" rat was a bit bigger than the last? I bumped her heat up a bit and have decided to leave her alone for another day or two. Is there any point at which I should worry?

I feel like the medium was easily the same size as her thickest part, maybe a little bit thicker. But she looks so full right now, I just can't tell if I should drop back down to small rats for a bit. She seems like small rats are a bit too small for her, but perhaps I'll just feed more often?
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Old 11-30-19, 07:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Will a ball python take too large of a meal?

Keep feeding medium rats, just delay your next feeding by a week if the snake doesn't appear to have digested it yet. Eventually she'll take a medium rat weekly without any issues.
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Old 12-01-19, 02:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Will a ball python take too large of a meal?

Do you know how much your BP weighs? Most snakes can take larger meals than we think but you don't want to push the envelope too far. If she's already kept the meal down for 48 hours you should be ok. When I've fed larger than normal meals to my snakes I just delay their next feeding by a week or so. I have a scrub python that is very comfortable on medium rats but I recently gave him a large. Instead of eating in 2 weeks I'll wait 3-4 weeks to feed him again.
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Old 12-02-19, 10:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Will a ball python take too large of a meal?

Thank you guys! I've heard differing opinions on this - some saying I shouldn't feed medium rats until she reaches 2000g, others saying that if she ate it, its fine. I'm thinking because she hasn't regurgitated it, she should be okay.. she's just quite fat looking right now. I think the mistake that I made was feeding her too frequently.. I had been doing small rats every 10 days, and then these two mediums were 10 days apart as well. I think I just need to space her meals out more, and possibly revert back to small rats for the time being.. Thoughts? She still hasn't had pooped yet though, so hopefully she'll empty out soon

As for her current weight, she's sitting at about 900 grams at 3 years old (she's been a slow grower due to her refusal to eat for the majority of the first 1.5 years)
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Old 12-04-19, 04:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Will a ball python take too large of a meal?

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Originally Posted by Mrr View Post
Thank you guys! I've heard differing opinions on this - some saying I shouldn't feed medium rats until she reaches 2000g, others saying that if she ate it, its fine. I'm thinking because she hasn't regurgitated it, she should be okay.. she's just quite fat looking right now. I think the mistake that I made was feeding her too frequently.. I had been doing small rats every 10 days, and then these two mediums were 10 days apart as well. I think I just need to space her meals out more, and possibly revert back to small rats for the time being.. Thoughts? She still hasn't had pooped yet though, so hopefully she'll empty out soon

As for her current weight, she's sitting at about 900 grams at 3 years old (she's been a slow grower due to her refusal to eat for the majority of the first 1.5 years)
I would cut back on meals to every 2 weeks and probably go to a small rat for a bit. Saves you a bit of money and the snake will be fine and grow at an alright weight.

I generally used the 10 - 15% weight rule for my ball pythons. 135 gram rat (Which is in the medium range for most suppliers) would be 15% of your 900 gram ball python.

If you're not hoping to breed her I would slow down a bit though.
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Old 12-05-19, 12:06 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Will a ball python take too large of a meal?

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I would cut back on meals to every 2 weeks and probably go to a small rat for a bit. Saves you a bit of money and the snake will be fine and grow at an alright weight.

I generally used the 10 - 15% weight rule for my ball pythons. 135 gram rat (Which is in the medium range for most suppliers) would be 15% of your 900 gram ball python.

If you're not hoping to breed her I would slow down a bit though.
Thank you! I'll jot that down for future reference when determining prey size, and start to space my meals out a bit more. I am hoping to breed her at some point (next winter if she makes weight in a HEALTHY way, if not I'm happy to give her another year). I don't want to be power feeding her by any means, and definitely didn't mean to be doing that. She just has a strong feeding response and usually by about 10 days after a meal she's out seemingly hunting for the next one.. buut I suppose I shouldn't be feeding her just because I think she's hungry.. My bad!
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Old 12-05-19, 08:54 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Will a ball python take too large of a meal?

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Originally Posted by Mrr View Post
Thank you! I'll jot that down for future reference when determining prey size, and start to space my meals out a bit more. I am hoping to breed her at some point (next winter if she makes weight in a HEALTHY way, if not I'm happy to give her another year). I don't want to be power feeding her by any means, and definitely didn't mean to be doing that. She just has a strong feeding response and usually by about 10 days after a meal she's out seemingly hunting for the next one.. buut I suppose I shouldn't be feeding her just because I think she's hungry.. My bad!
Ball pythons and most snakes are opportunistic feeders. They generally will eat when they can because they are unsure when the next meal might be.

I would stick to a small rat every week if you're planning on breeding her until roughly 1000 - 1100 grams.
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