Tell me about Ball Pythons! (Feeding)
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Thread: Tell me about Ball Pythons! (Feeding)

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    Senior Member HollowHeaven's Avatar
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    Tell me about Ball Pythons! (Feeding)

    So, I've been seriously considering getting a ball python. I've always wanted a snake and I'm finally getting serious about it. I already have the cage lined up. I don't know the exact size but I've seen it and it's pretty good sized.
    I'm looking into getting either a yearling or a full sized adult.

    This is the unit


    I'm wanting to know about daily care and let me see your set ups!

    But mostly, I'm wondering about feeding. I'm not feeding live. I just don't think I could do it having had mice and rats as pets for so long, also knowing it can be dangerous for the snake.
    I'm wondering what sized mouse/rat a growing/adult ball python would need and where do you guys buy yours? I did a short google and they seem... insanely expensive. One had a two pack of rats for almost $20 and I can buy 4 or 5 live ones for that, not to mention the mice.

    "Even-tempered at home but an aggressive hunter. Amenable to formal training. A good family dog that likes to please."
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    Senior Member jade5280's Avatar
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    Re: Tell me about Ball Pythons! (Feeding)

    How big is that tank? They like more ground space than height because they don't climb high. A 40gal breeder tank dimensions are a good size for an adult and to be able to fit a large enough water bowl and two hides.

    I fed large frozen mice to my adult male and bought them from Petco or Petsmart.

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    Re: Tell me about Ball Pythons! (Feeding)

    There are a bunch of rodent suppliers online. I like Big Cheese. Rats are only a couple dollars apiece but shipping is $29 flat rate so you want to order enough to make it worthwhile (doesn't take much considering the local prices!). Adult BPs never need anything bigger than a small rat, unless it's a particularly large female during breeding season, then she might need a medium rat. A well-fed BP should be on small rats within a year or 2, then you just stick with that their entire life. If you get an adult, that's easy, just buy 6 month's worth of small rats and you're set. If you get one under 650 grams, you'll have to get some smaller rodents to start off with. If you share a freezer with anybody, make sure they're OK with a bulk supply of frozen rats .

    One thing about BPs is that they generally aren't consistent eaters, especially males. One of mine hasn't eaten since September :/. But that's what they do, it doesn't hurt them (if they're healthy adults), just relax and let them decide when they're hungry. If you have a baby that isn't eating, that's more of a cause for concern.

    Make sure you get one that's already eating frozen/thawed prey. Live eaters can be converted but it's not something I'd recommend for a first-time owner. Also, a lot of breeders will sell off their "mousers" (ones that won't eat rats, just mice) so if you don't mind feeding 3 or 4 mice at a time you could maybe find a nice mouser for cheap. 4 mice don't cost too much more than a small rat.

    That's not an enclosure I'd say is ideal for a BP; adults are ground snakes not climbers. But I think it could work if you're getting it cheap . You'd have to clutter it up a lot so the snake wouldn't feel nervous about all the open space though. It's hard to relax when you think a hawk is going to swoop in and eat you!

    Keep an eye on Craigslist. Snakes seem to be a pet that people often regret, there are always plenty of snakes advertised. Or go to a reptile expo---the last one I went to, there was a breeder liquidating all of their breeding stock, tons of nice adults for cheap.
    Last edited by Willowy; 01-02-2017 at 01:23 PM.
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    Senior Member Foxes&Hounds's Avatar
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    Re: Tell me about Ball Pythons! (Feeding)

    Make sure you get a guard for that bulb. Even if you think they cant get up there, the buggers find a way. Better safe than sorry with horrendous burns.

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    Senior Member HollowHeaven's Avatar
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    Re: Tell me about Ball Pythons! (Feeding)

    Thanks for the info guys. I'm not sure when I'll actually got after the snake, I'm just piddling around.

    But I think it could work if you're getting it cheap
    I'm getting it free Lol
    I'm not sure the exact measurements of the cage but it has more groundspace than height despite that photo. That particular light is just to show the tank so I'm not sure what I'll do with it in the long run. I've got time though.

    I won't actually go for a snake until I feel confident in my knowledge and that I can actually afford food and vet if needed.

    "Even-tempered at home but an aggressive hunter. Amenable to formal training. A good family dog that likes to please."
    The Redbone Coonhound, defined by the AKC.


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    Senior Member CptJack's Avatar
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    Re: Tell me about Ball Pythons! (Feeding)

    I feed frozen rat pups to babies/juveniles, my adult male eats small adult rats every 10 days or so. Growing snake, you want about 10% of their body weight once a week, once they hit 1000 grams, you feed 100 grams of rat or mouse and stop and they keep doing their thing. Be aware they can get finicky or go off their food for quite a while. Get a scale so you can weigh food until you can eyeball it (it looks CRAZY big at first, but remember you're feeding to the largest part of their body, not neck, their throat is an elastic bag) and to make sure you don't freak when your adult male goes 'LOL, winter, I'll eat in 4 months'. (ie: If there's not quite a bit of weight loss, you're fine). You also need to pick up a thermostat of some sort for the heat mat - Hydrofarm makes a decent and relatively cheap one.

    Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. Roger Caras

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    Re: Tell me about Ball Pythons! (Feeding)

    You also need to pick up a thermostat of some sort for the heat mat
    Hmm, that made me think about how to apply a heat mat in that type of enclosure. If there's access to the underneath, and the material isn't too thick, you could put it underneath. If there's no access to the underneath. . .maybe stick it between 2 ceramic tiles? I've seen that done before.

    Anyway, yes, you need a thermostat, no matter what heat source you use. BPs tend to just sit there and let themselves get burned so they need it even more than most reptiles.
    "Compassion for animals is intimately associated with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man."
    Arthur Schopenhauer, The Basis of Morality

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    Senior Member CptJack's Avatar
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    Re: Tell me about Ball Pythons! (Feeding)

    OH! And seconding big cheese rodent factory. Shipping is expensive because of the cost of the dry ice weight, but if you buy several packages at a go, it gets cheap. I spend about 150.00 on food for my guys - for a year.

    Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. Roger Caras

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