Ball pythons are often considered easy snakes to care for, but that doesn’t mean they don’t require proper nutrition. If your ball python is refusing to eat, it can be frustrating and worrisome. However, there are a few things you can do to help get your snake back on track.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most common reasons why ball pythons stop eating and offer tips for getting them to start eating again.
So, if you’re struggling with a ball python that won’t eat, keep reading!
Why Won’t My Ball Python Eat?
Ball pythons may go off food for a number of reasons, the most common of which is a change in their environment.
Ball pythons are very sensitive to changes in their environment and can often go off food for weeks or even months when something as minor as rearranging the furniture in their enclosure throws them off balance.
Other reasons ball pythons may refuse to eat include stress, illness, improper husbandry, or your python is simply not hungry. Ball pythons typically only eat every one or two weeks, so it’s not unusual for them to go for periods of time without food.
Things to Check if Your Ball Python Won’t Eat
If your ball python won’t eat, there are a few things that you should check before rushing them off to an expensive veterinarian appointment.
The reason your pet isn’t eating could be because they are about to shed, or it could be related to one of the below environmental factors, so it is best to try and rule them out first.
Any experienced snake owner will tell you that keeping a clean cage is essential to the health of your pet. Not only does it help to prevent the spread of disease, but it also keeps the Snake from becoming stressed.
Ball Pythons, in particular, are very sensitive to their living conditions and will often refuse to eat if their cage is not clean. This is because snakes are actually quite hygienic animals and will not want to eat in a dirty environment.
In fact, a dirty cage can even lead to serious illness in Snakes. As a result, it is important to keep the cage clean and free of any debris.
Temperature & Humidity
One of the most important things to remember about ball pythons is that they will not eat if the temperature and humidity levels in their enclosure are not correct.
These snakes are native to Africa, where the climate is hot and dry. In captivity, they need to be kept warm, with a basking area that is about 10 degrees warmer than the ambient air temperature.
The ideal temperature for a ball python is between 78 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, with a humidity level of 55-60%. If the temperature drops too low, the snake can become sluggish and may stop eating altogether because it will not be able to digest its food properly.
If the humidity level gets too high, the snake may develop respiratory problems. As a result, it is important to closely monitor the temperature and humidity levels in a ball python’s enclosure.
Other Environmental Factors
Keeping a ball python as a pet can be a rewarding experience, but it’s important to understand their needs. One key factor in ensuring a happy and healthy snake is to avoid stressing them out.
Ball pythons are solitary animals and keeping more than one in the same enclosure can cause significant stress. This can lead to a loss of appetite, which can in turn lead to health problems.
In addition, other environmental factors like too much noise, not enough light, etc. can also cause stress.
As a result, it’s essential to carefully consider the snake’s needs before adding any new elements to its enclosure.
If your ball python is not eating, and you have checked all of the above environmental factors, it could be the food or simply the snake is not hungry.
Perhaps the food items are too large, or it is possible that the food is not in good condition, but you are unaware.
If you suspect any of these issues, first, try a fresh batch of pinky mice to see if that helps or try offering smaller food items more often, and warming the food a little to mimic a freshly killed meal they would naturally eat in the wild.
Hopefully, with a little trial and error, you should be able to get your ball python eating again.
Time of Year
It is quite common for ball pythons to go off their feed during mating season. This is perfectly normal behavior and nothing to be concerned about.
If your snake is otherwise healthy and active, there’s no need to worry. Just make sure to provide plenty of water and a hiding place, and your snake will likely resume eating once the mating season is over.
How to Get a Ball Python to Eat?
Ball pythons can be fickle when it comes to eating, so there are a few things you can do to help your snake get back on track:
- Check your snake’s habitat thoroughly and give it a good clean. Ensure the temperature, humidity and light are all at the required levels.
- Try feeding your snake smaller meals more often rather than one or two large meals per week.
- Warm up the food item before offering it to your ball python. This will make it more appetizing to them.
- Be patient and keep trying; most snakes will eventually start eating again given enough time and patience on your part.
- If you are particularly worried, make sure your ball python is healthy and has no underlying medical problems that could be causing them to not eat, and schedule an appointment with a reptile vet.
Ball pythons can be fussy when it comes to eating, but by following these tips you should be able to get your snake to eat again.
Keep your snake’s environment clean and at the correct temperature, humidity and light levels and try offering smaller meals more often rather than one or two large meals per week.
Warm up the food item before giving it to your ball python so it has more of a natural – freshly killed temperature. Be patient and keep trying; most snakes will eventually start eating again.
If you’re still having trouble getting your snake to eat, schedule an appointment with a reptile vet.
Reptile Wrestler Tips!
“You can try cutting open the pre-killed food too – this may entice the snake to eat!”
“Gently warm any freshly thawed food – this will make the food more appealing to the snake!”
“Check your snake for the early signs of shedding, snakes will not eat when they are going through this time!”
“Ensure you follow a strict cleaning schedule; it is a good idea to spot clean at least every other day at a bare minimum and a more thorough cleaning every 2 weeks!”
Why is my ball python not eating for months?
There are a few potential reasons why your ball python might not be eating for long periods. One possibility is that it’s the breeding season – many male ball pythons will stop eating during this time, particularly if they are in proximity to, and can smell an ovulating female.
Another possibility is that the snake may be ill or stressed, which can also cause it to stop eating. If you’re concerned about your ball python’s health, make sure to speak with a veterinarian.
How long will a ball python go without eating?
A ball python can go without eating for quite a long time. It is said that they can last up to 2 years, but 6 months is quite common, particularly during the breeding season. If you’re worried about your ball python not eating, you can always try to entice them with a freshly killed warm rodent.
When should I worry about my ball python not eating?
If your ball python is not eating, and you have already checked all of the environmental factors that could be causing stress; you should start to worry if your snake becomes emaciated or sluggish, this can be a sign that it’s not getting the nutrition it needs and could be a cause for concern.
Can stress cause a ball python to stop eating?
Yes, stress can be a major cause of a ball python not eating. Factors such as a new environment, handling, or being housed with other snakes can cause stress.
How can I reduce stress in my ball python?
To reduce stress in a ball python, provide a comfortable and appropriate enclosure, handle the snake gently and minimize handling as much as possible, and avoid housing multiple snakes together.
Can changes in temperature or humidity affect a ball python’s appetite?
Yes, changes in temperature or humidity can affect a ball python’s appetite, as they need a specific range of temperatures and humidity levels to be comfortable.
Can I force-feed my ball python if it stops eating?
Force-feeding a ball python is not recommended as it can cause stress and can also lead to health problems. It’s important to consult a veterinarian for advice.
Can certain types of food cause a ball python to stop eating?
Yes, certain types of food such as live prey can cause a ball python to stop eating, as they may not be accustomed to it or may not find it palatable.
How can I encourage my ball python to eat?
To encourage a ball python to eat, provide it with a comfortable and appropriate enclosure, offer food at the right temperature, and try different types of food to find out what it prefers. It’s also important to avoid handling the snake before or during feeding as it can cause stress and decrease its appetite.
Hi, I’m Stuart and I’ve had reptiles for as long as I can remember. When I was younger, I studied for a master’s in Herpetology. Over the years I have worked at several zoos before opening my very own reptile sanctuary. In my spare time, I run this website – which is a resource for people who want to learn more about their little beasties.