Feeding Hatchling Ball Pythons

Posted: August 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

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I have been asked recently why it can be difficult to get hatchling ball pythons to eat regularly. In my opinion, it is not difficult at all. Below is how I have done it for years with great success. Last year all my hatchlings took food with no issues and I expect this year to be no different.

Each of my hatchlings are set up in their own enclosure once they hatch. With time being sparse for me, it makes my collection upkeep easier. I don’t want to wind up with 100 baby ball pythons that need to eat and that are not yet setup in their own cages. I use cypress mulch as substrate for all my hatchlings. In my opinion this is a big help. Trouble feeders have become feeding monsters once placed on cypress mulch.

For a first feeding, I always offer either fuzzy mice or ASFs. After the initial meal, I always offer a pinky rat. Sometimes the pinky rat will need to be scented to smell like a mouse or ASF. To do that, just place the pinky rat in a container with mouse or ASF bedding. The scent will transfer to the pinky rat and it will trick the ball python into eating it. After the first scented feeding, they usually will not require another scented feeding. They are offered rats from this point on.

Regardless of what they are eating, I always start them off by placing the snake in a small deli cup with the prey item. This forces the snake to have contact with its intended dinner. A pinky rat or a fuzzy mouse/ ASF won’t hurt the snake.

I always like to make sure the rodent’s eyes are not open yet. I leave them alone over night and 9 out of 10 times they will have eaten by the next morning. I usually feed them this way for 6 or so feedings so they become established eaters.

Once they have eaten 6 or more times, there is not an issue with the snake eating in its tub. All my baby balls are housed in 6 qt tubs with a hide box, water bowel and cypress mulch as bedding.

In the last month, I have hatched out 52 balls and all but 7 have eaten. The 7 who have not eaten yet are ones who just had their first sheds and I fully expect them to eat without any problems soon. I offer the hatchlings food every few days.

Leave a comment as to how you get your hatchlings feeding!


  1. They way I do it here in Scotland 🙂

    Once the babies have left the egg, I do:

    * Quick wee wash in lukewarm water to get the egg goo off.
    * Weigh them and sex them.
    * Pop them in separate tubs with wee hide (plant tray) and water dish, using damp kitchen roll as substrate.
    * One they shed – normally within 10 days, I offer food the next evening.
    * First feed is a Small mouse, with it’s head dipped in freshly boiled water for couple of seconds to ensure piping hot. Wipe off the excess and when offering, I try and keep the mouse flat/horizontal to mimic a live, rather than vertical/from above as I would offer most of the adults.

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