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 HELP! Ball Python won't feed...

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DaganGecko
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PostSubject: HELP! Ball Python won't feed...   Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:47 pm

Hey guys,

I purchased a 100% het axanthic female ball python at a show last summer. She has only eaten two meals by herself since then. About a month ago a friend showed me how to force feed her, but the meal was a petty mouse. Still I could not imagine trying to force feed her anything larger, and it seemed rather traumatic! I have tried everything from keeping her in a small bin or a large bin, to changing temperatures, to getting creative with different kinds of hides...I have tried both frozen/thawed and live...I have tried rat pups and I have tried mice. I'm at a loss!

I'm not sure whether I should be attempting to force feed her weekly or not. Currently I'm in Yorktown, VA, and would be much obliged if anyone could help me get this gal feeding. The male is younger and already getting larger than her.

Thanks!
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smd58
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! Ball Python won't feed...   Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:52 pm

Ive allways had good luck with slow eater by keeping them 3 to 5 degress hotter then normal. a small shoe box and two hides, Have you tryed a ASF?
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DaganGecko
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! Ball Python won't feed...   Sat Jan 21, 2012 11:20 pm

No, they can be fairly hard to find. At shows they always sell first thing, sometimes before the show even technically opens!
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smd58
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! Ball Python won't feed...   Sun Jan 22, 2012 1:13 am

You can try this one also, get the bedding that the ASF were on and put mice,rat pups on it so they pick up that smell. That's worked for me also. And it's cheap.
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zues
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! Ball Python won't feed...   Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:55 am

What type of cage are you using? What type of heat source? Have you tried leaving a rat fuzzy in her cage over night? Did you try to assist feed before you force fed? I personally would not go the ASF route unless you have no other choice. In my experience the only snakes I have had imprint on ASF's problem feeders. Not a road you want to go down.
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smd58
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! Ball Python won't feed...   Sun Jan 22, 2012 5:39 pm

I haven't had any imprint problems, my stuff goes from mice to rat and back again. But with them not readily Avalable I would only go there as a last resort. And zues has a good question assist or forced? I've had good turn outs with assist and not so good with forced.
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DaganGecko
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! Ball Python won't feed...   Sun Jan 22, 2012 8:10 pm

zues wrote:
What type of cage are you using? What type of heat source? Have you tried leaving a rat fuzzy in her cage over night? Did you try to assist feed before you force fed? I personally would not go the ASF route unless you have no other choice. In my experience the only snakes I have had imprint on ASF's problem feeders. Not a road you want to go down.

I use tubs from 24 qt to 41 qt. I have flexwatt heat tape hooked up to a digital thermometer really good, Ranco. And of course I tried assist feeding first. : P
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! Ball Python won't feed...   Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:05 pm

She could be fasting where it's winter.
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zues
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! Ball Python won't feed...   Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:09 pm

How big is she? If she is a hatchling I would say the tub is WAY to big. I keep my hatchlings in a 6qt untill they are around 300g. From there they go to 16qt untill they are close to 1000g.
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DaganGecko
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! Ball Python won't feed...   Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:36 pm

She is 300g and in a tub about 15 or 16 quarts. That is where she lived for months after I got her, then I switched her to the larger tub to see if it would improve her feeding (room for more hides), and after a month or so of that I moved her back down to the small tub, but there has been no improvement. Just so you know she hasn't been moved back and forth a bunch of times--this was over a course of many months.

I guess I will try to increase the heat even more and buy some very small rat pups.
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ezekiel21
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! Ball Python won't feed...   Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:20 pm

DaganGecko wrote:
Just so you know she hasn't been moved back and forth a bunch of times--this was over a course of many months.

I guess I will try to increase the heat even more and buy some very small rat pups.

i was gonna ask how often you've changed her conditions, cause that can be kinda stressful. ive had some snakes that just wont eat anything "big". they wont eat the rat that they should, according to their size, they like prey WAY smaller than i would have given them. i just had to try a bunch of different sizes.
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DaganGecko
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! Ball Python won't feed...   Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:23 pm

My only success with her ever was rat pups, but the last time I tried one she left it alone for two days when I finally removed it. xP I'm just so worried about how little food she's had in such a long period of time. I would like to know whether, if all else fails, I should make a REGULAR force-feeding (assist if possible but so far hasn't been) schedule like once a month or biweekly. What do you think?

Just for anyone who's confused--she's in a 16 qt tub with flexwatt heat tape regulated by a thermometer and seems to be afraid of any food that moves and disinterested in any food that doesn't.

Maybe it's time to try the "paper bag" trick. : P
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zues
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! Ball Python won't feed...   Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:28 pm

How much weight has she lost? If she seems scared of food I'm not sure I would try the paper bag trick. I have never tried this personally but I have heard it working for other people. Try putting a rat fuzzy inside a upside down small flower pot with a hole in the top. Give the snake a chance to hunt prey and the rat can't run all over the snake.
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DaganGecko
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! Ball Python won't feed...   Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:37 pm

Hmm, that's an interesting idea. I shall try and let you know how it goes. Smile Oh, and she's probably lost 100 grams total.
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! Ball Python won't feed...   Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:58 pm

If she is 300 grams and has lost 100 grams, I'd say there is a problem. First, husbandry needs to be examined. If that is good, then health. If that is good, then it could be a picky eater. I'd first try a mouse hopper. I have had no issues going from mice to ASFs to rats and back. Imprinting on one food source does happen, but it is not as common as the Internet would have you believe.

If the mouse hopper doesn't work, you could try a rat crawler left in overnight. Feel free to give me a call if you want to discuss. Typing on an iPad isn't that easy.
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ezekiel21
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! Ball Python won't feed...   Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:07 am

How old is she?
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zues
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! Ball Python won't feed...   Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:39 am

I agree with Don that imprinting isn't near the problem the internet would have you believe. At one point my entire collection was on nothing but ASF's. I got to that point because I only had room breed one type of rodent and I had a problem feeder that liked the ASF's. Before ASF's the problem feeder would mice or rats every couple of weeks to every couple of months depending on if he felt like it. With ASF's he would eat weekly sometimes more than one. After moving and starting up my rodents again he never ate anything other than ASF's the entire time I owned him. Everything else in my collection is just happy to have something thrown in their enclosure. They don't really care what type of rodent it is.
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DaganGecko
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! Ball Python won't feed...   Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:46 am

Don wrote:
If she is 300 grams and has lost 100 grams, I'd say there is a problem. First, husbandry needs to be examined. If that is good, then health. If that is good, then it could be a picky eater. I'd first try a mouse hopper. I have had no issues going from mice to ASFs to rats and back. Imprinting on one food source does happen, but it is not as common as the Internet would have you believe.

If the mouse hopper doesn't work, you could try a rat crawler left in overnight. Feel free to give me a call if you want to discuss. Typing on an iPad isn't that easy.

Yes I know there is a problem, that's why I've been trying to get help. I'm sorry, but I just keep hearing that in this thread and it's something I already know. Ball pythons can be very frustrating, and I have tried everything I can think of with this one. I do not believe it is my husbandry practices because my other snakes very rarely refuse food and even then only during sheds. I have been wondering if something happened to make this snake frightened of food. I guess the only thing to do is go through the gamut of things to try all over again.

I tried a mouse hopper a month ago with my friend Sandy (QuietTempestReptiles, an experienced breeder in TN), but the mouse hopper was refused. That was when Sandy showed me how to assist feed, which turned into a force feed. I will try a mouse hopper left overnight again and let you guys know how it goes. If that doesn't work, I will wait a week or so and then try a rat pup left overnight. How does that sound? And I've increased the temps. I'm not sure where to purchase ASFs until possibly my next show in March...

Edit: I am not sure of her age. I bought her from a breeder that my other vendor friends vouched for. I guess next time I will try to obtain papers! She was a good price though.
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DaganGecko
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! Ball Python won't feed...   Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:10 pm

I got a rat pup and a rat crawler (eyes open, pretty fat and big for a crawler...maybe a runner) and put them in. I think she is eating both of them! Cross your fingers. I have the door shut and the lights off. I think increasing the temp and decreasing bin size helped. I also removed one of her hides that she would sit on.
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! Ball Python won't feed...   Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:23 pm

Good luck.
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ezekiel21
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! Ball Python won't feed...   Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:56 pm

good luck, let us know if she ate them.... hopefully she did Very Happy
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DaganGecko
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! Ball Python won't feed...   Fri Jan 27, 2012 3:17 pm

She did! And she didn't regurg anything. This morning she looks so fat. I am incredibly relieved. She was starting to get skinny. I hope she keeps this up. I would really like to see her grow quickly. It's so disheartening when a snake does not grow for so many months!
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! Ball Python won't feed...   Fri Jan 27, 2012 3:20 pm

Congratulations! Sounds like you have a shy feeder. I'd try again in three or four days.
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! Ball Python won't feed...   Sat Jan 28, 2012 4:12 am

also if your useing live maybe try frozen thawed. Ive had snakes refuse live but take frozen thawed.
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! Ball Python won't feed...   Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:44 am

allaboutthekings wrote:
also if your useing live maybe try frozen thawed. Ive had snakes refuse live but take frozen thawed.

Absolutely true! I would have never thought it until I saw it. Some are too intimidated and shy of live rodents.
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DaganGecko
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! Ball Python won't feed...   Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:25 pm

No she hates frozen/thawed. I have tried varying colors and sizes and species of f/t. Looks like it will be live young rats for a little while...but they are not hard to come by!
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! Ball Python won't feed...   Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:34 am

I'm glad she started to eat Dagan, I hope it continues Smile
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! Ball Python won't feed...   Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:21 pm

I thought y'all might like an update. Today Risk ate two live rat crawlers. I'm so proud. <3 I can't wait until I can put my axanthic pair into action some day. But I'll have to! Patience is a virtue. Just glad she's back on track. I was getting really worried for a while.
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PostSubject: Re: HELP! Ball Python won't feed...   Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:35 pm

Glad to hear it. Sometimes, they just like to worry you.
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