Ball Python food size
Before I go into today's blog about problem feeding ball pythons and some things you can do to get your ball python to eat, I wanted to address the tons of phone calls and emails I receive on a daily basis.
I keep several hundred ball pythons and rodents so it's very time consuming to care for them all, handle customer inquiries, coordinate shipping transactions, etc. My contact information is plastered all over the website, the Internet, my business cards, magazines, etc. so it's very tempting to phone "Ron Crawford, the Ball Python Breeder" with any and all questions related to ball pythons. Although I don't mind taking time from my day to answer non-sales related questions from people who didn't purchase their ball python from me, I'd prefer general non-sales related ball python questions to be asked in the Reptile Forum. It just makes more sense to have questions and answers posted in the public forum because it helps other people who might have the same questions or concerns.
Now that I have that out of the way, let's talk about why some ball pythons don't eat and what we can do about it.
"Thanks for the food offer but I'm going to have to decline."
I recall a conversation I had with the owner of Radical Reptiles in Philadelphia, PA a few years ago about this topic. He felt that ball pythons were imprinted with what types of food prey they'll eat. It sort of makes sense to me but it doesn't fully explain why some wild caught ball pythons will eat domestic rats or mice born here in the USA. The thought process is that wild caught animals (born in Africa, exported to the USA and abroad) are conditioned to eating local prey items. When they're introduced to our rats and mice, they won't recognize them as food items so they won't eat them when we offer them as prey items.
Wild caught's that don't respond to mice or rats are often given gerbils as a food item because they're a close relative of the Jerboa, a food item that many ball pythons eat in the wild.
Another food item that has gained popularity in recent years is the African soft-furred rat. They are very expensive but the general consensus is that they work well with wild caught ball pythons that refuse mice, rats and gerbils.
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