Are you interested in learning more about what ball pythons eat to survive?
Are you trying to decide between feeding your ball python live prey or frozen mice?
Feeding your snake frozen mice is a great alternative to live prey, but when you are trying it for the first time you might wonder:
How Do I Feed A Ball Python Frozen Mice?
When feeding your ball python frozen mice, please select the appropriate size, thaw the mouse, then using tongs wiggle it in the snake’s cage to entice the animal to eat. While some will not be interested initially, there are some tips and tricks to try to make frozen mice more appetizing.
Continue reading to learn exactly how to prepare frozen mice for your snake and for the extra information on making this type of food source appealing to your snake.
How To Feed A Ball Python Frozen Mice
Feeding a ball python frozen rodents, may not appeal to their instincts to strike and eat their prey, but it is a safe alternative.
Frozen mice are readily available and easy enough to find for pet owners.
There are a few steps you need to take to feed these frozen mice to your snake properly.
Here we will break down what you need to know for proper feeding.
Selecting The Right Size
When you are looking to feed your ball snake, it is extremely important to give them the proper size feeders.
A ball python should be fed mice no larger than the diameter at the largest part of their body.
If the food is larger, the snake might not even attempt to eat what you put in front of them.
They also risk having the mouse becoming lodged in their mouth or esophagus, or they could also regurgitate the animal.
This can cause a lot of pain and even injuries to your ball snake, so it is best to err on the side of caution and find a slightly smaller bit of food than going for larger.
Frozen pinkies and fuzzies are available if your snake is young or small.
Pinkies are very young mice, aged about five days old, getting their name from their appearance.
They are without fur and appear pink.
Fuzzies are anywhere from five days to two weeks old and have just begun to get a slight fuzz on their bodies where the fur is beginning.
There is varying size of frozen mice available, so make sure you are getting the right choice for your ball python.
Thawing The Frozen Mouse
You can’t just throw a frozen mouse in your ball python’s tank direct from the freezer.
First, you will need to bring it to at least a warm temperature or slightly warmer.
To thaw out the meal, allow it to defrost in a baggie in your refrigerator.
Or float the mouse in a bag in cold water until it is no longer frozen.
If you go with this route, it usually will take about 30 minutes in the cold water to thaw, but if after 30 minutes it is not, replace the cold water and let the baggie with the mouse sit for another 30 minutes.
Follow this up by putting the baggie in warm water, not boiling, for 10 to 20 minutes.
We do this because you do not want the mouse to be too cold since snakes are cold-blooded, and the cold mouse will slow down digestion.
It is not recommended to heat the mouse in the microwave or oven or by placing it in boiling water.
You not only risk spoiling the meat by doing any of these things, but you could also damage your snake if it eats it.
Feeding Your Snake With Tongs
Once your mouse is no longer frozen and slightly warm (about 90° to 95° degrees Fahrenheit (32° – 35° C) is ideal), take a pair of tongs or forceps and hold the mouse in the tank to give to your snake.
This is a great way to present the meal to your snake without associating your fingers with food.
Not associating your fingers with food is going to save you some pain when you want to go to handle your snake.
With the tongs, you will also be able to wriggle and move the mouse to mimic a live mouse.
How To Make A Frozen Mouse Appealing
So you have tried wiggling and moving the mouse around with the tongs, and your snake still isn’t going for it.
This isn’t uncommon as a dead animal is not going to be as enticing to your ball python as live prey.
There are plenty of things to try to make this type of food more appealing.
While it might not seem like a big deal, the mouse’s color can dissuade the snake from eating it.
White mice are not found in your snake’s natural habitat, so if a white mouse doesn’t work, try to find a brown, grey, or just dark-colored mouse.
Enhance the scent of the mouse by dipping it in chicken broth.
This is a great way to appeal to some snakes, and you might see yours make a move to eat the thawed prey.
Going off the scent, make attempts to associate the mouse with a food you know your snake already likes.
This is a trick to try when you are introducing any new food.
Rub the food you know they like on the new food, in a way tricking your snake into believing it will be something like what they already know and like.
The next trick is a little gross, so if you are squeamish, this might not be the option for you.
Sometimes a snake will react and try to eat the prey if they smell blood, and to do so, cut open the mouse and expose their innards to the ball python in its cage.
They are especially attracted to brain matter, so expose this using a pair of pliers.
If you are finding these things are working, try transferring your ball python to a separate cage just for feeding times.
This should be a quiet place where your snake can feel safe and have some privacy when eating.
It could be a covered plastic bin, a glass or plastic tank, or another type of secure enclosure.
When you transfer your ball python to this other enclosure every time, they will pick up on the signal and realize it is time to eat.
It would help if you also tried to reduce your body movements when feeding your snake as you could cause fear and stress to the animal.
Don’t get discouraged if you don’t have instant success.
This is a process requiring patience and persistence.
With any animal, finding what works for you ball python is likely to require some trial and error and what works for one snake, might not work for another.
Try these tips to help you figure out what works best for your ball python.
Why Feed My Ball Python Frozen Mice?
Feeding your pet snake frozen prey is a great way to keep your ball python from getting injured.
When you introduce live prey into their habitat, you are appealing to their instincts, but you also open the snake up to the opportunity to sustain some real injuries.
A live mouse or rat will be fighting for their lives and, in the struggle, can claw, scratch, or bite your snake.
These injuries can become infected or make your snake more susceptible to disease.
If you are worried about the risk of live prey, definitely opt for frozen.
You might have to get a little creative if you have a picky eater, but frozen prey offers good nutrition with little risk.
Other Reasons My Ball Python Won’t Eat?
Throughout the article, we have touched on this one a bit, but there are other reasons your snake might not be going for the frozen mice.
When they are getting ready to shed, a ball python will lose their appetite.
This is an instinct from the wild because, during this time, their eyesight is very poor.
They don’t want to run the risk of becoming someone else’s meal while hunting for their own.
If you have tried everything to get your snake to eat and they don’t, you might think about contacting your veterinarian.
There could be an underlying health issue coming into play and ruining your ball python’s appetite.
Be sure you find a vet specializing in reptiles to be sure you are getting the best care for your pet.
Feeding your ball python frozen prey is a great source of nutrition without the dangers of being bitten, clawed, or scratched.
There is a bit of a learning curve with this style of food, and if your snake is a picky eater, you might have to try a few tricks to get them interested.
We hope this article has given you some good information on how to feed frozen mice to your ball python.