Monday, November 15, 2010

What I've noticed over the years

Well, I am never going to be comfortable saying that I know EVERYTHING about Ball Pythons, nor am I going to tell someone that they are wrong about their own personal experiences.

But here are mine, and I'd like to share them with you!

In general, babies eat well. Some tend to be more picky than others, but usually when you get them to start, they are good to go for a while. Every 5 days? No problem...

Mouse hoppers are great starter food sources for pain in the ass feeders. Rat pups are my main go-to, but wiggling around and twitching doesn't quite do it for some feeders, and mice are the way to go after a good month of trying.

Water... Water is a very very very important part of husbandry, as all living creatures need it. Make sure to provide plenty of water, or else your snakes may not eat. Never a good sign...

When it comes to around a year, there are some animals that eat straight thru any season, any time, anywhere... Most Ball Pythons do not, however, and will stop eating around 600-800 grams for a while. Mostly this happens during the breeding season, but not exclusively. This tends to happen, as I said, within their first to second year.

And then, when it warms up, they get to eating again. This can be a length of time up to eight months, depending on the animal. Sometimes they change preferences completely.

With females that have bred and produced eggs, this can happen, albeit unfortunately.

There is a female that I have had for a long time, and she was always a rat eater. After she produced eggs, she stopped eating... She stopped eating completely. It took her a year and a half to begin eating again. Why is that??? And how did she manage that long?

She decided she only ate mice. I only fed her rats. She turned her nose up. She may have taken a few within that year and a half, but never consistently as she normally did. But I finally gave in and gave her mice after moving her into a smaller tub, different substrate, different locations, and even smaller feed items (I even tried rat pups!) Of course she had water, and a hide and a nice tub. But she wasn't really happy... She wanted a Mickey.

Oh well.

So that is how long I've had a problem feeder. I just recently, within the last few months, have been feeding her mice. Now she and I have an understanding, and we get along just fine!

With those situations, I wouldn't suggest jumping shark and giving into mice if you don't have a steady supply. I give them a month to get it in gear with the food that I offer, and then I try new things. I have gotten very patient with bad feeders, and I have to say, sometimes, time and a new thing is all they need.

But back to those pesky sub-adults... That is a different story. For the most part, no matter what you do, they will still refuse. It is par to the course of growing up for some animals. Again, I don't say ALL, because that would be a fallacy.


And it still sucks.

But we see the challenge, we approach it with an open mind, and celebrate when they start eating again!

So there you go. Of course, this is not all that I've noticed over the years, but I have to say, it is a big one! We'll be talking more about other things that tend to trend over here at Heather's Herps, but of course, as always, if you have a question, comment it and I will answer!

Have a fantastic day, my friends! Happy Monday!


Jackie M. said...

So I feed f/t? Every week is a guessing game about how many rodents will get eaten... but this time of year I almost always guess a couple too high. I HATE wasting rodents.

(You feed exclusively live, right?)

My current strategy is to offer every week until I feel my blood pressure going up, and then switch to every other week.

Heather Wong said...

I do feed live only.. Sometimes prekilled (when the rats overheat, and I have no other choice).

Yes. Every week is a guessing game, and it isn't fun. I HATE having leftovers.

Krystal said...

So...this was past year was my first in terms of breeding, and I got a lovely eight-egg clutch. But there was this one baby who ate a mouse hopper initially...and then stopped eating. I tried all different kinds of stuff to get her to eat (especially when it came close to two months since she'd eaten and she was looking pretty sad). I even went so far as to try force-feeding (I thought I'd run out of options), but she wouldn't have any of that.

Wait, there was one thing I hadn't tried (for some stupid reason): rats. I stuck a live rat pink in there and she went gung ho! o.O Now, she eats like a pig, turning herself into a small football every weekend. Goofy girl.

I usually start feeding mine with mice and then switch them to rats later because 1) small mice are cheaper and 2) I've had few problems getting snakes switched over to rats (especially if they're already eating f/t).

Anyway, sorry for the rambling. Good post, as always! I like hearing what other breeders do so that I have more options of what to do in case things go bad.