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Thread: Ball Python health problems. Help!

  1. #1
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    Ball Python health problems. Help!

    I have a 4 year old female ball python, Molly, who has been refusing to eat for almost 6 weeks now. She generally eats 3 live mice every week or every other week. Over the last 2 weeks I have noticed that she has lost some weight, feels dehydrated, and her skin is loose. Her aquarium stays about 75 to 80 degrees Farenheit, and I know the house is a little drier than ideal but her cage is misted two to three times per day. I'm quite concerned about her, looking for any advice or thoughts? Anything would be very appreciated.

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    Senior Member BarelyBreathing's Avatar
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    First off, why three mice a week? A ball python should take one appropriately sized prey item every seven to fourteen days. By appropriately sized, this means that the prey item should be as big around as your snake is in its widest section.

    Tell us a little about your set up? What type of enclosure do you use? What size is it? How many hides? What are you using to measure temperature and humidity? What is the humidity? What type of substrate is she on? Do you provide a bowl for water?

    My recommendation is to bring her into the vet, along with a fresh poo. If she is losing weight and is looking dehydrated, there is something wrong.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gecko-lover
    You are like a computer or something.. if I type certain words it scans your hard drives and puts out an automated response.

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    Her previous owner ridiculously tried to feed her a rat when she was a baby and it attacked her, she's got a few scars from it. Molly is now 5 feet long and terrified of anything larger than a small mouse. She is in a 60 gallon glass aquarium, on basic terrarium liner. She has a plastic igloo to hide in and a bowl large enough to completely soak herself in. I use the thermometer and humidity gauges from the pet store, usually keep her at 50% humidity. Unfortunately since she hasn't eaten she hasn't defecated recently so I don't have a sample to give to a vet.

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    Senior Member BarelyBreathing's Avatar
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    First off, I don't mean to sound harsh, but throw those guages in the garbage. Both are known to give off readings that are severely inacurate. You will need a digital thermometer and hydrometer. Humidity should be around 60%, basking spot at 90f.

    Second, ball pythons like to feel secure. Because of this, most keepers opt to keep them in Sterilite sweaterboxes, or something quite similar. Keeping your snake in a tub will help them feel more comfortable by making them feel hidden. On top of that, it will help control the humidity. Tub, hide, water bowl, paper towels as substrate. It's really that simple. Fish tanks were built for fish, not for reptiles. They don't do a good job at all of holding in heat or humidity. If you do insist on keeping her where she is, I suggest a few things to help her feel more comfortable. I highly recommend covering at least half of the top if you have a screen lid. This will help raise the humidity levels without you having to mist regularly. You may also want to cover the sides and back of the tank to help your snake feel less exposed. You will need to provide a lot more clutter along the bottom. 60 gallons is a lot of space for a ball python, and she probably feels very uncomfortable in it. Add leaf litter (or fake plants) along the bottom, pieces of cork bark, extra hides (at least three, one in the warm area, one in the cool area, and one in the middle), a few branches, anything you can do to allow her to move from one side of the tank without being too noticeable.

    Thirdly, when you feed her, are you feeding live or prekilled? I would recommend slowly increasing the size of her meals over time, once you get her eating again. You can do this so gradually it's barely noticeable. Also, if you feed prekilled, there are several things you can do to make a larger prey item more appetizing, but we will get to that when she is eating again regularly.

    I still recommend her seeing a vet. Good luck.
    http://www.reptileforums.net/forums/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=9182&dateline=1312315  066
    Quote Originally Posted by gecko-lover
    You are like a computer or something.. if I type certain words it scans your hard drives and puts out an automated response.

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    She gets fed live mice, I've tried to feed her prekilled but she doesn't even show interest in it. I'll be getting her to a vet as soon as I can, but I very much appreciate the help, I will definitely be using it. Thank you!!!

  6. #6
    Senior Member BarelyBreathing's Avatar
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    Like I said, there are different things you can do to help her show more interest in prekilled (brain cases, scenting, dipping, etc), but we will get to that when the time comes. First things first, she needs to be healthy.
    http://www.reptileforums.net/forums/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=9182&dateline=1312315  066
    Quote Originally Posted by gecko-lover
    You are like a computer or something.. if I type certain words it scans your hard drives and puts out an automated response.

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