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RE: Balls off food-- wondering when to worry

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Posted by: joeysgreen at Tue May 25 10:25:10 2010  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by joeysgreen ]  
   

emysbreeder has offered some good advice on how to perhaps trigger a feeding response. There are other tricks, and I'm certain you'd probably find a larger list of these in the ball python forum.

Have you been keeping track of your snake's weight? Usually a 10% loss is when it's time to step in and start interferring. With adult snakes that have a history of fasting, I "might" be inclined to stretch this a little higher (12-14%) but the fact of the matter is that fasting reptiles shouldn't be losing a whole lot of weight because they minimize energy output.

I would begin by triggering a season change like emys suggested, and if this doesn't work, try other tricks, starting at minimally invasive tactics. Other things to try is altering the time of day you offer food (evening, or even "late night".) Perhaps the abscence or addition of a nocturnal light may address the problem. Trying a live prey item might work, or perhaps a smaller prey item. Or a different one (like African soft furred rats, gerbils, hambsters etc). Remember that stress will be a factor so don't make a dozen changes all at once. Be patient.

If you run out of options and time (because you are seeing a weight loss or lowering of body condition), then you can try assist feeding. This is where you take a smaller prey item and gently manaeuver it's nose into the mouth of your snake. The goal is to work it deep enough where the snake takes over and continues to swallow on it's own. I would not suggest force feeding or tube feeding unless it's absolutely necessary, and at that point, a trip to the vet would probably be in order first.

One last thought; you changed the substrate type since they last fed, perhaps changing it back to what they had before may trigger a feeding response(?) There are other ways to get humidity, and it can also be concentrated into a hide, with the rest of the cage being drier.

Good luck,

Ian


   

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