what size rat to feed ball python
Don’t place too much emphasis on the labels retailers place on their rodents, such as “small,” “medium” or “large.”.
Ball pythons are notorious for going off feed, and not eating for up to 3-4 months. Once your ball python reaches maturity at around 3 years old, feed it once in 2-2.5 weeks, or even 3 weeks if offering a larger meal. Please start switching from mice to rats at 100-150+ grams, sooner, the better.
Many of my pythons grab the rodent almost before it touches the ground. We also known from past experience that so long as your python isn’t losing condition that this extended fast likely isn’t anything to worry about. There are two traditional ways to feed a ball python; either giving them live rodents to catch and kill, or providing dead animals that are bought frozen. Mice and rat sizes will also differ. If the water is too hot then the rodent thaws out too quickly, which often ends in the stomach bursting. If you intend to feed your snake a frozen rodent, you’ll need to begin by thawing it out. This is how to break it down: For example, for a juvenile ball python, you can get a bag of frozen adult mice like this. Firstly, some people like to move their snake to a different “feeding cage”. Keep records of what food was offered on what dates, and whether it was accepted. Make sure you offer right sized food – your ball python won’t eat any prey items that are too small. #2: Make sure to warm rat prey in warm water/under the lamp to elicit feeding response. You can remove the mat after feeding.
Once it constricts, keep wiggling a bit longer so it can constrict harder. But this isn’t necessary for most captive snakes (especially captive-bred individuals). To avoid any substrate ingestion, place a mat, newspaper or similar under a food item. First meal is often 2 weeks after first shed, 1-12 months old, or up to 750 grams, whichever first, 12-15% of your ball python’s weight. Our website is compliant with GDPR and adverstising laws of United States. Others might have an issue switching, and it can take weeks to months to get back on track. It’s always better to feed 1 larger prey item, than few smaller ones. We’re here to explain everything you need to know about feeding your ball python. Wash your hands after handling prey items, before you start feeding your ball python. Larger mice will be around 1-1.5 months old. As long as your snake will accept the prey item, there isn’t a danger in erring on the small side. I am obsessed with reptiles and have been keeping them my entire life. Be aware, however, that there is a lot of flexibility in this. Next, I fill a plastic tupperware container with water; roughly 50% boiling and 50% lukewarm. For example, some ball pythons might not switch from mice to rats. Iguana Terrarium Set Up Guide And DIY Iguana Cage. Don’t offer prey items by hand – your ball python might sense heat coming off you and then bite you by mistake. It gives me time to clean out her actual tank get it all spiffy and clean before she returns back into it. Some ball pythons get used to eating one type of food item, and will not accept anything else. ReptileAdvisor.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. The key, as I have discovered, is to use moderately warm water.
Observe or monitor your snake to ensure he completes the feeding process from afar. This isn’t as big a problem for modern keepers as it was for ball python enthusiasts in decades past, as most ball pythons on the market are now captive-bred, rather than wild-caught.
And because ball pythons generally have a hard time switching, make sure you offer something that you can always get. Some keepers like to feed live rodents, believing it is more “natural” and secretly enjoying the “hunt”. This second process serves to gently warm the mouse to around body temperature. Once the snake strikes the food item, release your grip with the tongs. Yes this can eventually cause them to assume you are food even if you have gotten lucky so far doesn’t mean it won’t eventually happen they go by instinct and if every time you put your hand in there is when you are giving them food then that is automatically what they will think is happening that it is time for feeding.
Please allow at least 48 hours to handle your ball python after feeding. If you can only find small mice that your snake can consume then this is certainly better than nothing, though your goal should be to gently “convert” your ball python to eating rats as soon as possible. Stick to same color when switching, or try to experiment if needed. Your ball python needs to eat warm-blooded prey food items. The flipside of course is that a rat or house has the potential to do some serious damage to your snake; cases exist where snakes have had chunks bitten out of them by a rodent trying to escape becoming dinner. As a result, a warm prey item is more appealing than a cold one. We’ll discuss the procedure for feeding a live rodent later, but most keepers should try to use frozen-thawed rodents whenever possible.). My advice would therefore be to start off with rats if they are available in a suitable size for your snake. However, once you determine the correct size for your pet, you may be able to refer to the bodyweight of the prey when ordering new rodents in the future. Sometimes, you can even leave a f/t prey in the cage with your ball python. They also developed a bad reputation for going off food for long periods of time and for generally being fussy eaters. However, as your ball python gets larger (up to a year old or so), you will need to either feed 2-3 mice, or switch to small adult rats. Please be patient and monitor your ball python’s weight. The lid is then placed into the tub to keep the heat in.
Other affiliate programs include Clickbank, Swell, Custom Reptile Habitats. Breeding Leopard Geckos: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide, 10 Awesome Corn Snake Accessories & Decorations, Are Leopard Geckos Good Pets? If it only eats a small mouse, don’t offer another mouse to leave it a bit hungry. However, some owners advice to dust the prey items with calcium or a multivitamin with every few feedings. You should always aim to feed your ball python frozen/thawed (f/t) mice or rats, instead of live prey items. These days most cities have a reptile shop selling such items. In case this is your first ball python, or you’ve never fed a snake before, we’ll begin by outlining the basic feeding process: That’s all there is to it, but we’ll cover several aspects of the process in greater detail below. Ball python are opportunistic feeders, so you have to create a feeding schedule. If feeding frozen mice or rats, make sure to thaw them properly before offering. For keepers with more than one ball python, an alternative solution is to feed them on different days. If snake number one won’rt eat their food, it is then presented to snake number two, who will hopefully eat it. Don’t use a microwave to heat food items, as it will cook its insides and can burn your ball python when it eats it. First of all, you must wash your hands properly after handling food items.
To switch from live to frozen, you should always warm up prey items to 100 and even up to 110 F to elicit a feeding response.
Frozen-thawed rodents are easier to store and handle.
Now that you have a suitable prey item of the proper size, you must prepare it before offering it to your snake. My supplier offers them in “small”, “medium” and “large” sizes. Don’t feed your ball python every time it seems active or alert, or it can lead to obesity. This time around you only need to suspend the rodent for a few minutes. If it is left untouched for more than a few minutes then I know there’s little interest and remove it. What is more, they are going to be more aggressive, and can seriously injure and scare/stress your ball python. The prey item should create a moderate, yet distinct bulge in your snake, which will slowly shrink over the course of a few days. Please note, that most ball pythons get used to eating only one type of prey, and will have issues switching to something else. You should feed your young ball python frozen thawed mice or rats and then gradually increase the size. In the wild, snakes typically catch, subdue and consume live prey items.
Always consult a licensed veterinarian in case of emergency. Ask them about what they’ve been feeding, and how often, to give you a good starting point. One of the best ways to do so is by briefly and gently touching the rodent’s head to a heat lamp bulb. They claim that this reduces the chances of your snake mistaking you for food at a later date, as they only eat in one specific place. This will help make it appear alive, which is necessary for some ball pythons. Small fuzzy/hopper mouse or similar. This should be no larger than the fattest part of your snake. Others are rather more bashful, and prefer to wait until I’m gone. Combine this with regular health checks and weigh-ins and you’ll be in the perfect place to assess your ball pythons health and appetite.
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