Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Feeding day stories

So yesterday was feeding day, and I am always pleased when most of the Balls eat.

As some of you know, BPs can be notoriously picky eaters.

I have several.

Some eat only mice, some eat only rats, some eat prekilled, some will kill the rodent and leave it.

Let me share with you a story about a female I have...

Once upon a time, I received a Ball Python morph that I was absolutely thrilled to have. She was a year old, great size, and I was stoked to get her in the breeding program. I asked what she was eating.

I was told Mice.

No problem, I thought. I can switch her over to rats.

Boy was I wrong.


Prescenting a rat pup with mouse smell (yes, that means rolling it in soiled mouse bedding)
Prekilled mice, then prekilled rats right after
Giving her time to "think" about being interested in rats
Frozen thawed rats packed in with mice
Moving around the animal into a new tub, with hides or no hides
and more...

But to no avail.

Her willpower was too strong, and although she wasn't eating, she was the same size. I was concerned, but not worried for her health.

So I gave in.

Mice are a tough feeder option due to the fact that for an adult Ball Python, you need to provide upwards of 10 mice.

I greatly dislike using them as feeder items, because on top of the size, they smell worse than rats.

Maybe my skills as a switcher are just not in tune enough, as I have at least three dedicated mouse eaters in my collection of a couple hundred.

Am I missing some magical trick out there? Maybe... I'd be willing to try again, as I have mentioned before, I dislike Mice. I think they are cute, no question, and the colors they come in make breeding them fun, but.. I'd love to not need them.

I actually don't even use mice as starter feeders for babies unless they are hard starters. This way, they cannot imprint on mice, so my customers and I can happily offer rats and not have any issues. YAY!

But back to the original point, most of the animals are chowing down due to the season. I may put off pairing due to the eating trends, but I do technically start pairing on my Birthday, which is in 8 days.

Again, I am conflicted. I may just start pairing a few pairs that I know are ready, and not start the full swing of things until after Thanksgiving.

I was going to take photos of some new things and shedded things and so forth, but since everyone ate, the bulges in the bellies would take away from the beauty of the photos. Maybe in a few days, eh?

Have a great day, my friends. Stay warm!


BlackJackReptiles said...

Do you feel that the rats have more protein?

Rambo said...

Heather, The ball I bought from you last year is about 3 1/2 feet long and as wide as a pop can. How many mice and how often should I feed it? I seen that you said something about 10 mice (?) I currently feed about 1 large mouse a week or 1 rat per week. I've noticed that if I feed it a large rat, it won't eat anything for up to 3 weeks. Thanks, Jake

Krystal said...

Ohh, yeah, it's a great feeling when most or all the BPs eat!

I haven't ever had a problem switching a snake from f/t mice to f/t rats, but I've only done that with three snakes so far, so I'm dealing with low-number statistics. ;-] But if rats don't smell as bad as mice, I guess I should start making the switch for all of my snakes. I'll need a feeder colony eventually, and less smell is better!

Spygirl said...

My pastel female (who slugged out on me last season) went from eating rats consistently to only eating F/T mice. AND she doesn't like to eat multiple food items at once. *Beats head on desk* I understand you pain. I've tried all the tricks that you have, but nothing works.

They do it on purpose. I believe they can sense our blood pressure rising. And it amuses them.

Jackie M. said...

How funny. My one picky eater is a rat feeder who won't switch over to f/t mice! I've finally got him to take hopper mice, but he won't look at anything thawed, not even the weaned rats.

And ditto what Rambo said. My 700-800g sub-adults all eat jumbo f/t mice once week, and except for Mr. Nibbles, they all act pretty full after only 1-2 mice. And they're all gaining weight pretty well. I think the jumbos have something extra in them, seriously....

Heather Wong said...

Hey everyone,

WOW for all the comments on this topic. LOL!

Keith, I don't necessarily think that rats have more protien, I just like the fact that I only have to feed one at a feeding. I am familiar with the discussion of mice versus rats, which I think I will make another topic of a blog soon!

Jake, I would say for mice and the animal size you are describing, at least 3-4 mice a feeding. Give it as many as it will take at a feeding, and then base your feedings from there on that. One rat is easier for me, which is why I feed primarily rats.

All the rest of you gals, isn't it a trip? I can't stand it some days... And leftover rodents drive me nuts. But what can you do, eh?

Thanks for the comments, and keep them coming!

Krystal said...

Ohhh, yeah, leftover rodents annoy the crap out of me, especially when I try to feed them off to someone--anyone--and I don't get any takers. :P Times like that, I wish I had a monitor....