Are you interested in the feeding habits of the ball python?
Is your ball python not interested in eating the frozen mice you have been trying?
If you are noticing your ball python is not interested in their food, you might consider trying live prey, but with this decision, you could wonder:
How do I feed my ball python live mice?
When feeding your ball python live mice, you must first select the correct size for your snake and add the mouse to the cage according to your established feeding schedule. You will need to watch to make sure the snake does eat the mouse without getting injured.
Ball pythons instinctually prefer to eat live prey but can be trained to eat frozen mice.
Keep reading for more information on feeding your ball python live mice.
Table of Contents
How To Feed A Ball Python Live Mice
Live mice are one of the choices you might decide on to feed your ball python.
It is best to purchase your live mice from a reputable company to avoid passing any chemicals.
A reputable company will have fed the mouse properly as well.
Never give your ball python a mouse you catch in or around your home because you will run the risk of giving your snake some parasites or passing along anything harmful.
When you are feeding your ball python live mice, you first need to determine the correct size for your ball python to eat.
The size of the food is essential, or you could cause some problems for your ball python.
If the food is too large, you risk having your ball python regurgitate the mouse.
This is a painful process for ball pythons and can cause internal issues.
The mouse could also become lodged in the esophagus or mouth of the snake.
If this happens, you will have to remove the mouse stuck in your ball python.
Once you have established the right size, you will need to feed your mouse, place it into the cage, and give the snake time to see it and attack.
Be sure not to hold the mouse with your hands in an attempt to give your snake an easy meal.
This is a sure way for you to have your hand bitten, and your snake will begin to associate your hand with food.
You will need to keep an eye on the situation to ensure your ball python does not get injured, and also be sure to remove the mouse if the snake does not make any attempts to eat the mouse.
How Many Mice Should I Feed My Ball Python?
Once you have decided to feed your snake a live mouse, you might be wondering how many mice you should put in the cage at one time.
As mentioned above, the size of the mouse is more important than the quantity of food.
It is best to feed your ball python one mouse per feeding.
Especially with live mice, the snake will have a more challenging time catching more than one mouse at a time.
Feeding live mice already come with the risk of the tables turning and your snake becoming the prey or, at the very least, the one who could get hurt.
This danger is only increased when you have multiple mice in the cage.
Stick to a regular feeding schedule and only feed your snake one mouse when the day comes along.
Is Feeding My Ball Python Live Prey Safe?
Feeding your ball python live prey is the most natural option when it comes to getting your ball python to eat.
There are some things you should be aware of when feeding your snake live prey.
Whether it is a mouse, rat, or even a gerbil, you must remember they will try their best to survive.
This means when you put them in the cage with your snake for feeding, the animal will fight for its life, and your snake could be at risk.
During this fight for their lives, the mouse or other rodent could scratch, bite, or otherwise injure your pet.
Infections of the scratches or bites can come afterward, and you will not only worry about the health of your snake, but you will likely be on the receiving end of some serious vet bills.
At the very worst, your ball python could be killed when the prey fights for its life.
Alternatives To Live Prey
Perhaps you are grossed out by the idea of feeding live prey to your ball python, or maybe you think feeding live mice to your snake is a cruel practice.
You might consider using pre-killed or frozen prey if you are nervous about feeding your snake live prey out of safety for your ball python.
Frozen mice are readily available for purchase and delivered directly to your door.
One of the great things about the availability of frozen prey is the variety offered.
You will be able to purchase different sizes of frozen mice to accommodate the sizes of your snake as it grows or for multiple snakes of various sizes you might own.
These frozen mice and even rats range in sizes.
Purchase pinkies, days-old baby mice, rats without fur, or fuzzies, slightly older mice who have just started developing a light fuzz.
They also have mature mice and rats available from small to extra-large, so you will be able to get the right size you need.
You will need to thaw the mice before you feed them to your ball python as they cannot eat them when frozen.
This will hurt your snake and slow down their bodily functions as they are cold-blooded and require a warm temperature for their body to function correctly.
When you feed your ball python a frozen mouse, make it more appealing by wiggling it in front of the snake using a pair of tongs.
Cut open the head of the thawed frozen mouse to reveal the animal’s brain and entice the snake to eat.
As with the live mouse, you should never use your hands to feed the snake directly.
This will confuse the snake and make them think your hands are food.
Any time you go to handle the ball python, just for regular handling, you will run the risk of being bitten as they are associating hands with food.
Frozen mice are not as appealing to your ball python, as they will be much more interested in live prey.
Again, this is a much more natural option for them, but your snake can become accustomed to pre-killed mice given some training and conditioning.
Why Isn’t My Ball Python Eating
While frozen mice are a great alternative to live prey, your snake might not be as keen to eat them.
The kind of food is one of the reasons your snake might not be eating, but there are some other environmental and health reasons.
Even the color of the mouse might be a reason your snake is not eating.
White is not a natural color for mice in the wild, but brown and grey colors are.
If your ball python is not eating the white mice you are attempting to feed, try finding a brown or grey colored mouse to see if it will entice them.
There are some other reasons your ball python might not be eating, including the temperature and humidity levels.
These cold-blooded animals need a cage with a temperature gradient to give them the opportunity for their body to perform natural functions.
The humidity of the cage is directly linked to this as well.
Your snake might be getting ready to shed its skin, and during this time, snakes do not have an appetite and have limited vision.
If your ball python is not eating, be sure to check these things first before you begin to worry.
Once you have eliminated those issues and your snake is not eating, you should call a veterinarian who specializes in reptiles.
A veterinarian will tell you if your ball python has developed some disease or even parasites.
Tips for Feeding a Snake
If you want to try and feed your snake before visiting the pet, the following tips will be of great use:
- Change the Type of Rodent: As mentioned, try a different color of mouse. If that does not work, you might want to try other prey options, such as rats or gerbils.
- Change the Time Of Day: In the wild, snakes come out at night to hunt and eat. Try feeding your snake in the evening when they are more active and ready for food.
- Feed In A Different Cage: Some snakes are more comfortable eating in a separate environment than their usual living space. Try using a small feeding tank or box.
- Use Live Prey as an Appetite Stimulant: If your snake is not eating frozen prey, try using live prey for one feeding session to spark the appetite and then continue with frozen prey.
- Hold the Prey Differently: Try moving the prey around in front of your snake and see if they show any interest. You might also try dangling it from a string or using tongs to simulate live movement.
Snake-Approved Supper: Concluding the Live Mouse Feeding Guide
Feeding your ball python live mice is an excellent way to get the nutrients they need.
This is also a great thing to try if your ball python is a picky eater, but be sure you are aware of the possible dangers of feeding live prey.
If you are still worried about your ball python’s eating habits, be sure to contact your veterinarian to understand what will work best for you and your snake.