My Ball Python Keeps Missing His Food

When you own a ball python, feeding time is always fun to observe!

It’s fun to watch your pet “search” for food and can help you develop a closer relationship with your snake.

Even if your ball python has never had a problem previously, it is possible for it to occasionally miss its target when it strikes.

What makes ball python miss his meal, then?

The prey just isn’t warm enough for your snake to accurately pinpoint its location, which is the most likely explanation.

It is vital to thaw frozen prey before feeding it to your pet because ball pythons identify prey using its fragrance and body heat.

However, learning more about why ball pythons commonly reject food can typically be advantageous when beginning to tackle your snake’s feeding problem.

Is it normal for ball pythons to go off food?

Ball pythons in the wild are likely to go long periods without feeding.

In some cases, this is due to a lack of food, but in other occasions, like during the breeding season or shedding cycles, they may purposefully refuse food, as they do in captivity.

However, even though I wouldn’t describe food refusal in ball pythons as “typical,” it happens frequently.

In general, infrequent fasts are not harmful as long as they don’t last for extended periods of time.

The following are a few of the most typical causes of ball pythons not eating:

Health Issues

A snake will often turn down food due to sickness.

The two most frequent conditions that will reduce your snake’s appetite are parasite infestations and respiratory diseases, but everything from dehydration to viral infections can cause anorexia.

Inappropriate Habitat

You should focus on your pet’s environment once you’ve made sure he or she is healthy.

Your snake will almost certainly have feeding issues if you don’t give it a pleasant habitat.


If your snake is in good health and has a well-designed habitat, he might just be fasting.

Ball pythons frequently fast during the dry season, as was previously mentioned, and some even stop eating during the breeding season.

Males and people who were caught in the wild frequently fast.

Pickiness in Prey

A certain kind of prey may be preferred by some ball pythons, especially those that were captured in the wild.

Unfortunately, some specimens may reject domestic rats and mice as a result.

When should I worry about my ball python not eating?

It’s challenging to say with certainty how long any animal can survive without food, and this is particularly challenging when it comes to snakes.

As you likely already know, most snakes only eat sometimes.

Serpents frequently embark on several-week long fasts, and some of them may go months without eating.

However, snakes who are unwell frequently turn down food.

Therefore, once your snake avoids food for a period longer than a few weeks, it is advisable to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.

Your veterinarian will be able to assess whether your snake has parasites, respiratory infections, or any other medical conditions that could affect his appetite.

In order to keep your pet from being hungry while you try to treat any ailments that may be affecting him, your veterinarian can also, if required, tube-feed him.

How do you know if ball python is starving?

When a snake displays certain characteristics, such as prowling the front of the tank, becoming more active, focusing on you anytime you are close to the enclosure, flicking its tongue more frequently, and hunting at the same time every day or night, you may know it is hungry.

Important Signs Your Snake Is Hungry

You can tell when your snake is hungry if you know what to look for.

This is critical so that your snake does not go hungry.

The following are signs that your snake is hungry:

Prowling Attitude

More frequently, your snake will move around the enclosure’s front.

This may be a form of hunting behavior or a conditioned attempt to grab your attention.

The fact that snakes also engage in escape behavior should be noted.

They are under stress at this time and trying to find a means to leave their tank.

If your snake hasn’t been fed in a while, it’s more probable that it’s trying to get out of its stressful environment by scaling the front of the enclosure.

Air Taste

Snakes use their forked tongues to suck up particles from the air and funnel them to the vomeronasal organ, where the snake can smell what’s nearby.

This is a solid indication that your snake is searching for food and attempting to locate it in its immediate surroundings.

Your snake is growing hungry if it flicks its tongue more frequently than normal.

Changing Hides

There should be plenty of hiding spots in your snake’s enclosure.

Snakes value seclusion and prefer to be alone whether digesting meals or sleeping.

If your snake is frequently moving in and out of hides without staying within, it is possible that your snake pal is hunting for food, especially if your snake hunts in burrows naturally.

Less soaking and resting

A snake that is more active than usual is either on the hunt or attempting to avoid stress.

If your snake enjoys soaking in water but is doing it less frequently, this could be a clue that it needs to be fed.

Because soaking can improve digestion, a snake is more inclined to do so after being fed.

Related article – Do ball pythons like to soak in water?

Focus on You

Snakes have been trained to link you to food.

Your snake may be asking for a tasty reward if they seem much more interested in you than normal.

Feeding and Hunting Routine

If it’s close to feeding time (typically every 1 – 2 weeks, depending on your snake’s age and species), you should feed your animal because it’s accustomed to this routine.

Similar to this, when a snake is hungry it will engage in hunting or prowling activity depending on whether it is nocturnal or diurnal (active at night or during the day).

Will my ball python starve itself?

It’s possible that ball pythons can move so quickly that they die.

Even though it’s not common, it is feasible with captive-bred animals.

Therefore, even though it would take a long time for a ball python to starve to death, you must be aware that it is possible.

As a result, even if you don’t need to be concerned every time your snake declines a meal, you should always get aid if the refusal lasts a month or more.

This is specifically true for snakes that appear to be underweight, acting abnormally, or displaying any other illness-related symptoms.


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