How long should I wait after receiving my Ball Python before I try to feed him/her?
We suggest that you allow a couple days for your new ball python to settle into his/her habitat before you attempt any feeding. Handling should be kept to a minimum during this acclimation period.
What should I feed my new ball python?
We generally feed live rat fuzzies to baby ball pythons. Occasionally we will offer mouse hoppers. Either is fine for you to feed, but we suggest trying LIVE rat fuzzies for the first few feedings because that is what we were feeding in most circumstances. Pinky baby mice or rats are too small for a ball python. They do not smell like anything and it is very rare for a ball python to eat a pinky. One of the most common mistakes people make is attempting to feed a pinky.
My new Ball Python refused his/her first feeding attempt, what should I do?
Don't worry. It is common for a Ball Python that has had a drastic change in environment to refuse his/her first meal. You should remove the prey item and try again in 5 days. DO NOT TRY TO FEED EVERY DAY. This constant stress of having a prey item out in the enclosure will only exacerbate the problem. None of our Ball Pythons are shipped until they have eaten at least 3 meals. This means that they were feeding well in our facility and it also gives you time to acclimate him/her to yours.
I am having a feeding problem. My new Ball Python has refused a second time. What should I do?
Follow these steps EXACTLY and your snake will eat.
1. Contact our team via text by clicking the Text icon at the bottom of the page, to inform us that you are having a problem.
2. At night, after the sun has done down(not just a dark room, but at night), turn all of the lights in the room off. Snakes are nocturnal predators. They know the difference between night and dark. This is the most important of these steps.
3. Place a LIVE rat fuzzy in the enclosure and immediately leave the room. Do not watch through the glass. Leave.
4. Leave the rat fuzzy in the cage over night and do not even look in the room until morning. A quiet, undisturbed environment will make the snake feel secure and when he/she goes out to "hunt" that night they will find the rat fuzzy. A rat fuzzy still has its eyes closed and is still nursing, it is not a danger to your snake. It should have a little fur. A pinkie rat does not seem to have enough odor or move around enough to elicit a feeding response. NEVER LEAVE A LARGER PREY ITEM IN THE ENCLOSURE OVER NIGHT.
5. If it is gone, then you should be on track to a normal feeding schedule and regimen. If the fuzzy rat is still in the enclosure the next morning, remove it and wait for 5 days. Do not attempt to feed every day. Please contact us to update us that you are still having an issue.
6. This time, still in the dark room and at night, except this time place a LIVE mouse hopper in the enclosure. A mouse hopper can harm your snake, so you should also place a few small pieces of dog food in the enclosure at the same time. Given the choice between eating the dog food and eating your snake, we have never seen a mouse make the choice of the snake. Most chew incidents happen because the rodent is hungry.
7. Only wait 1 hour with the mouse hopper in the enclosure in the dark room. It is too dangerous for you to leave the mouse in overnight.
8. When you check in an hour, the mouse should be a lump in the snake. If it is not, remove the mouse immediately.
9. Contact us again via the text icon and we will make arrangements to either exchange the snake or offer one on one advice about how to proceed. We rarely ever make it to this point, so do not worry.
Please keep in mind when you receive your snake, this is all new to this baby snake who has only known one environment since he/she was hatched. The process of shipping and changing to a new environment can be scary. When a ball python is scared the normal response is to curl up in a tight ball or strike. Striking is not aggressive behavior. This is a fear response. You should reassure your ball python that he/she is in a safe environment by gently handling. Any striking should go away within a couple of days or sooner when the snake realizes that you are not going to harm him/her. If you prefer to wear gloves that is fine but it is usually not necessary.