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Old 01-03-17, 06:11 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Baby ball won't eat

So I have read that ball pythons can go awhile without eating, but I am wanting to give some background information in case I need to change something.

I recently got a baby pastel morph on the 24th of December. At the time, the breeder told me he was about 6-9 months old. She also informed me that he had been eating live food and suggested feeding him rat pups. I am not sure if that was exactly what he was eating before. From what she said, the color of the rat pups also varied. He last ate on the 22nd when he was still at the breeder.

I at first tried feeding him a thawed white small mouse that I had gotten from the breeder. He seemed interested in it, but would not eat it. After researching, his weight is currently 102 grams and I read that fuzzy mice or rats would work best. Today, I tried giving him a thawed fuzzy mouse. Once again, he showed interest, but refused to eat.

Currently, he is in a 29 gallon tank with 2 hides (attached), climbing vines and a water dish. During the day, the hot side gets between 85-90 degrees. The cold side hovers around 77. He mostly stays under the hide on the hot side but will move around at night and climb on the vines. During the day, he is given a 75 watt basking bulb. At night he is given a 775 watt nighttime bulb. It is not infrared. Nighttime temps stays at around 72-75 degrees. Humidity ranges between 55-65%.

Based on the information, is it something that I just need to try until he eats or does something need to be changed with his enclosure? I am not sure what to do since I currently buy him forzen feeders and ending up tossing them out since he won't eat.

FYI: I have a close-up attached of his hide. It is a large size, but he has plenty of space and is not poking out the backside. Sorry, for the unclear picture.

Thanks!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg enclosure- full view.JPG (125.4 KB, 56 views)
File Type: jpg enclosure- full view 2.JPG (113.0 KB, 55 views)
File Type: jpg hide log.JPG (138.9 KB, 52 views)
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Old 01-03-17, 06:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Baby ball won't eat

Some suggestions:

1. Those log hides do not offer much security for a snake since they're open on 2 sides. You're further off getting box-type hides that barely fit your snake. They like snug hides.

2. That's a really big (tall) enclosure for a baby ball python...although I am sure some would disagree with me. At the very least, cover the sides and the back up with something to reduce the chances of your snake feeling exposed.

3. It's my opinion that your temps are too cold. Aim for 78-82 ambient, with a 92-95 hot spot, with no night time drop. Heat stimulates hunger and therefore will stimulate feeding response.

And finally...

4. If he was eating live, get him eating live food for you before you try anything else. Just offer 1 properly sized live food item in the evening once a week. Once he is eating regularly then you can try to get him on F/T. Fuzzie mice would be too small. I would try a large live fuzzie rat. Big enough to entice appetite, but not big enough to hurt the snake. Offer feeding in the enclosure, don't use a separate feeding bin/cage. Be patient and don't offer food any more often than every 5 days (but I would recommend once a week as stated)

Last but not least : Not sure if you've been doing this, but DO NOT handle your new acquisition until it's eating well.
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Old 01-03-17, 07:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Baby ball won't eat

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Originally Posted by Andy_G View Post
Some suggestions:

1. Those log hides do not offer much security for a snake since they're open on 2 sides. You're further off getting box-type hides that barely fit your snake. They like snug hides.

2. That's a really big (tall) enclosure for a baby ball python...although I am sure some would disagree with me. At the very least, cover the sides and the back up with something to reduce the chances of your snake feeling exposed.

3. It's my opinion that your temps are too cold. Aim for 78-82 ambient, with a 92-95 hot spot, with no night time drop. Heat stimulates hunger and therefore will stimulate feeding response.

And finally...

4. If he was eating live, get him eating live food for you before you try anything else. Just offer 1 properly sized live food item in the evening once a week. Once he is eating regularly then you can try to get him on F/T. Fuzzie mice would be too small. I would try a large live fuzzie rat. Big enough to entice appetite, but not big enough to hurt the snake. Offer feeding in the enclosure, don't use a separate feeding bin/cage. Be patient and don't offer food any more often than every 5 days (but I would recommend once a week as stated)

Last but not least : Not sure if you've been doing this, but DO NOT handle your new acquisition until it's eating well.
Ok, thank you. I have closed off both logs on 1 side to help him feel more secure.
I have ordered a background for the back wall and just now ordered one for the sides so they will be closed off.

For heat, I was using a 5.5 inch dome light with reflector, but it became too hot on the lamp itself (about 300 degrees) and made the temp.'s in the tank too high. What do you suggest to help raise the temp.'s some? I currently use 75 watt bulbs. Should I maybe try 100?

Thank you for the advice on the feeders. I will try giving him a live fuzzie rat next week.

I have done little handling with him since he arrived. Should I continue to feed in the enclosure even after he consistently feeds or switch him to another tank for feeding?

Just to make sure, should I monitor his weight since he is not eating or leave it be for now?
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Old 01-03-17, 09:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Baby ball won't eat

I don't really think the tank is too big myself, but with the size in mind it would do to add at least another 1-2 snug-fitting hides and maybe some more fake vines, and cover 3 sides like Andy mentioned. It's not big enclosures but open spaces that stress them out. So long as there's plenty of cover, they should be fine in a larger enclosure. The enclosure is just currently very open and barren considering the size of it.

Andy said pretty much everything else I'd say in response to the OP.

As far as your last response:

What temperature is the room that the tank is in? Is there any way to warm it up if it's a little cool?

Always feed in the enclosure, it will reduce stress on the snake and make feeding time easier on you as well. Feeding in a separate container is just going to encourage the snake not to eat: ball pythons are ambush predators and taking that away from them can make them reluctant to eat (some are hearty feeders but this one already is refusing food).

I would monitor weight, but only record it once or twice a month to reduce any stress.
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Old 01-03-17, 09:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Baby ball won't eat

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Originally Posted by bigsnakegirl785 View Post
I don't really think the tank is too big myself, but with the size in mind it would do to add at least another 1-2 snug-fitting hides and maybe some more fake vines, and cover 3 sides like Andy mentioned. It's not big enclosures but open spaces that stress them out. So long as there's plenty of cover, they should be fine in a larger enclosure. The enclosure is just currently very open and barren considering the size of it.

Andy said pretty much everything else I'd say in response to the OP.

As far as your last response:

What temperature is the room that the tank is in? Is there any way to warm it up if it's a little cool?

Always feed in the enclosure, it will reduce stress on the snake and make feeding time easier on you as well. Feeding in a separate container is just going to encourage the snake not to eat: ball pythons are ambush predators and taking that away from them can make them reluctant to eat (some are hearty feeders but this one already is refusing food).

I would monitor weight, but only record it once or twice a month to reduce any stress.
The room stays at about 75 degrees, but I have a small space heater I can add if need be.
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Old 01-04-17, 06:20 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Baby ball won't eat

So for heating, I have ordered a 30-40 gallon Zoo Med UTH, 8.5 inch ceramic lamp with dimmer, thermostat for UTH and a lamp stand in case lamp is too hot.

Thank you everyone for your suggestions.
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Old 01-04-17, 06:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Baby ball won't eat

I may also buy a dimmer, that way if it gets too hot and the stand isn't enough, you can just turn the dimmer down. Having a dimmer will also allow you to run a red light at night, since an IR bulb at full power can disrupt them when left on at night but should still give you enough light to view them.
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Old 01-05-17, 10:05 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Baby ball won't eat

I would toss in a rat fuzzy or rat pup live. Whichever doesn't have their eyes open yet. Toss it in the evening and leave it over night. The rat can't harm your snake at this size so it'll be fine.
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Old 01-05-17, 06:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Baby ball won't eat

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Originally Posted by bigsnakegirl785 View Post
I may also buy a dimmer, that way if it gets too hot and the stand isn't enough, you can just turn the dimmer down. Having a dimmer will also allow you to run a red light at night, since an IR bulb at full power can disrupt them when left on at night but should still give you enough light to view them.
I recently purchased a 8.5 inch Fluker's ceramic clamp lamp with a dimmable switch.

I currently use a 75 watt basking bulb during the day and 75 watt nighttime bulb at night. Would you suggest getting a 60 or 100 watt infrared CME and just leave it on for 24/7?
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Old 01-05-17, 06:29 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Baby ball won't eat

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I would toss in a rat fuzzy or rat pup live. Whichever doesn't have their eyes open yet. Toss it in the evening and leave it over night. The rat can't harm your snake at this size so it'll be fine.
I was thinking of trying that on Tuesday night. I should have new lamp and UTH with thermostat on Sunday so that will give him a couple days to adjust before I try feeding him again.
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Old 01-05-17, 10:21 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Baby ball won't eat

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Originally Posted by ariez189 View Post
I recently purchased a 8.5 inch Fluker's ceramic clamp lamp with a dimmable switch.

I currently use a 75 watt basking bulb during the day and 75 watt nighttime bulb at night. Would you suggest getting a 60 or 100 watt infrared CME and just leave it on for 24/7?
I think in as small of a tank as you've got 100 watts may be overkill but a 75 watt CHE may be enough, CHEs heat a bit stronger than a regular bulb. If you get a CHE, yes, you can leave it on 24/7. I would make sure the lamp is large enough for whichever wattage of CHE you end up needing, that way the dome isn't too tight around the bulb which could overheat the bulb or the dome. I'm not really sure how large an 8.5" dome is. haha
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Old 01-06-17, 09:53 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Baby ball won't eat

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Originally Posted by ariez189 View Post
I was thinking of trying that on Tuesday night. I should have new lamp and UTH with thermostat on Sunday so that will give him a couple days to adjust before I try feeding him again.
That's cool. Just keep trying the same thing every 5 days. I find with my baby balls it's about consistency.
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Old 01-06-17, 06:05 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Baby ball won't eat

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Originally Posted by bigsnakegirl785 View Post
I think in as small of a tank as you've got 100 watts may be overkill but a 75 watt CHE may be enough, CHEs heat a bit stronger than a regular bulb. If you get a CHE, yes, you can leave it on 24/7. I would make sure the lamp is large enough for whichever wattage of CHE you end up needing, that way the dome isn't too tight around the bulb which could overheat the bulb or the dome. I'm not really sure how large an 8.5" dome is. haha
I got a 75 watt black infrared. If it's too hot, I recently just ordered a new lamp for him with a dimmer switch. It will be nice being able to use this one 24/7 Currently, I have to switch between nighttime and day time bulbs.
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Old 01-06-17, 06:06 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Baby ball won't eat

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That's cool. Just keep trying the same thing every 5 days. I find with my baby balls it's about consistency.
Do you wait till they get to be a certain size before going to 7 days? If so, when do you usually switch to every 7 days?
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Old 01-07-17, 01:29 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Baby ball won't eat

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I would toss in a rat fuzzy or rat pup live. Whichever doesn't have their eyes open yet. Toss it in the evening and leave it over night. The rat can't harm your snake at this size so it'll be fine.
As of right now, I am not finding anywhere by me that has these. I'm finding pinkies and small rats and mice.
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