Baby pall python refusing to eat

Asked January 2, 2018, 9:25 PM EST

My mom bought me a baby ball python for Christmas, but my mom told me she hasn't ate since November. Only a few weeks before my mom bought her. Since then we've tried feeding her , but she's refused it all. My dad and I have her enclosure with high humidity and her temperature as always around 75-80. We have a damp towel over her tank to help with humidity, hoping that will help her appetite. So far it hasn't. I have no idea what to do at this point. Im hoping I'll get answers here.

Sullivan County New York

3 Responses

Thank you for your question. What types of food have you tried to feed your snake, so far. Also, do you know if your snake is wild-caught or captive-bred. Wild-caught means it was captured in the wild in its native country. Captive-bred means it was produced from breeding parents that are in captivity. Wild-caught specimens are sometimes more difficult to induce to feed, because they are not used to feeding on white mice or rats.

Ball pythons can be difficult when it comes to feeding. Environmental factors can have a significant influence on your snake's willingness to eat. I see that you're monitoring humidity and temperature. Here's a link to a ball python care sheet provided by Reptiles Magazine that you can use to make sure you're providing a suitable environment for your new snake:

and here is a link to a Reptiles Magazine article on specific information regarding ball python feeding issues:

Let me know what you've been trying to feed and whether your snake is wild-caught or captive-bred, and thank you for contacting Ask an Expert.


I think she's captive bred, but im not 100% sure. We've been trying to feed her frozen/thawed pinkies but she has no interest for them

Thanks for the information. You stated in your trying to feed frozen/thawed pinkies. Hopefully, you're thawing each one before attempting to feed it to your snake. Never given frozen food to them, and you should always warm up the prey item before placing it in the snake's cage. DO NOT use the microwave. Small items like frozen pinkies, fuzzies and even adult mice can actually explode in the microwave. Your parents will not be pleased. Use a dish of warm water and place the food inside a ziploc bag and place it in the water to warm it up. Make sure you give it plenty of time to thaw and warm up.

Even if your snake is a brand new hatchling, it's probably large enough to eat a larger food item than a pinky. Try using a fuzzy mouse, and preferably a brown one. This will most closely resemble the color of the prey the ball python normally feeds on in the wild. Also, ball pythons are normally nocturnal, so give your snake its food at night. Since it's already dead, it's okay to leave the prey in the cage overnight with your snake. It's best if you can get your snake used to eating dead prey, because you don't run the risk of the rodent biting your snake. It is very easy for these type of bites to become infected. Also make sure you have a hide box in the cage for your snake. Ball pythons can be very easily stressed, and providing a hide box gives them a place to feel secure. If the snake is in the hide box you can leave the prey item just outside the entrance. Use a pair of forceps instead of your fingers to place it there, in case your snake decides to strike the prey right away.

If you've tried to offer food a few times and the snake doesn't show any interest, and you're sure your providing the correct temperature and humidity for your snake, then I recommend you take your snake to an experienced reptile vet for a check up. Wild-caught specimens often have parasites that cause problems. Adult ball pythons sometimes fast for several months. An adult is capable of doing this because they usually have sufficient fat reserves, but a hatchling can't go for long periods without eating. Your vet can determine if you snake has any health-related problems that are affecting its ability to eat.

I hope this information helps, and thank you for contacting Ask an Expert. Good luck with your snake!