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  • Writer's pictureVedant N.

Why is my Ball Python not eating - What to do?

Ball pythons, also known as royal pythons, are a popular pet among reptile enthusiasts. These snakes are native to Western and West-Central Africa and are known for their docile nature and beautiful coloring. However, one common issue that owners may encounter is anorexia, or refusal to eat. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including illness, stress, or improper husbandry. In this article, we will discuss the causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of anorexia in ball pythons.

Reasons Why Ball Python stops eating -

Ball pythons can stop eating for several reasons, including illness, stress, and improper husbandry.


Many illnesses will cause a ball python to stop eating, including respiratory infections, parasitic infestations, and metabolic bone disease. Respiratory infections, such as pneumonia, can cause difficulty breathing and make it uncomfortable for the snake to swallow. Parasitic infestations, such as internal or external parasites, can cause gastrointestinal discomfort and make it difficult for the snake to digest its food. Metabolic bone disease, a condition caused by a lack of calcium, can cause pain in the jaw and make it difficult for the snake to open its mouth and eat.


Stress is another common cause of anorexia in ball pythons. Stress can be caused by a variety of factors, including improper temperature and humidity levels, overcrowding, or a lack of hiding spots. Ball pythons require a warm and humid environment, with a basking spot that reaches around 88-92 degrees Fahrenheit and a cooler area that stays around 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature or humidity levels are not within the appropriate range, it can cause stress for the snake and lead to anorexia. Additionally, if a snake feels overcrowded or does not have enough hiding spots, it can become stressed and stop eating.

Picky Eaters

Another reason Ball Pythons stop eating is that they're generally just picky, so when it comes to their choice of food, a lot of times pythons prefer what they are fed as babies. If they're kind of established early they tend to get very stuck on that in the sense that they establish that smell is what they eat and sometimes if you're offering them a completely different type of rodent or a size food, it is very unfamiliar to them or even if you're trying to offer them frozen thought instead of live or vice versa. All these things can lead to having a picky eater which means it just wants what it wants and that's just how it is.

Improper Diet

Improper diet is another factor that can contribute to anorexia in ball pythons. Ball pythons are primarily carnivorous and require a diet of rodents, such as mice or rats. It is important to ensure that the prey is of the appropriate size for the snake and is offered at the appropriate frequency. Additionally, it is important to ensure that the prey is properly thawed and offered at the appropriate temperature, as a snake may refuse to eat if the prey is too cold or too warm.

Improper Enclosure

Improper enclosure, such as overcrowding or lack of hiding spots, or poor hygiene can also contribute to your ball python going off-feed. It is essential to provide a clean and healthy environment for your snake. This includes providing a clean and spacious enclosure, with appropriate substrates and hiding spots, and cleaning the enclosure regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria and parasites. Also, Make sure you maintain proper enclosure temperature so that the metabolism of your snake remains steady.

How to get your Ball Python to eat?

Visit Veterinarian

If your ball python is not eating, it is important to consult with a veterinarian experienced in reptile medicine. They will be able to perform a physical examination and possibly run laboratory tests to determine the underlying cause of the anorexia. A physical examination will include a thorough examination of the snake's body condition, including its weight, muscle tone, and overall appearance. A veterinarian may also perform a fecal exam to check for the presence of parasites or other abnormal organisms. In some cases, blood work or other laboratory tests may be needed to rule out underlying medical conditions.

Depending on the underlying reason for the issue, the method of treatment for ball pythons who are not eating will vary. The veterinarian will prescribe the proper medications and treatments if the lack of appetite is caused by an underlying medical issue, such as an infection or parasite infection. The vet may suggest modifying the snake's surroundings or diet if its lack of appetite is brought on by stress or poor care.

Force-feeding could be required in some circumstances to help the snake get its appetite back. This usually includes feeding the snake through a feeding tube under the supervision of a veterinarian to provide it with the nutrition it needs.

Tips to get your Ball Python Eat:

  • Review Enclosure and Habitat Setup

The most common reason why your ball python is not eating is due to a lack of proper enclosure. You should make sure, among other things, that you've created an effective thermal gradient that gives him a broad range of temperatures. You should also make sure that his basking area is warm enough to maintain a balanced metabolism.

It is also important to provide multiple hiding spots for your ball python to avoid stress.

  • Offer Different variety of Prey

Though we mentioned earlier that some ball pythons are very picky about their diet. Fortunately, out of curiosity some ball pythons can easily switch their diets, and in some cases, this is enough to get your ball python to eat.

  • Scent Transfer Technique

Because snakes primarily use their sense of smell to navigate the world, it is often easy to lure them into eating unusual prey by making it smell more appetizing. Frequently, you can accomplish this by simply rubbing a domestic mouse or rat on the animal you want to smell like.

How to avoid Ball Python going Off-feed?

The best way to prevent ball pythons from going off-feed is to provide them with a healthy environment and diet. This includes maintaining appropriate temperature and humidity levels, providing a clean and spacious enclosure, and ensuring that the snake is fed a diet of appropriate size and frequency.

It is also essential to monitor your snake regularly for any signs of illness or stress and to consult with a veterinarian experienced in reptile medicine if you notice any changes in your snake's behavior or appearance.


In conclusion, going off-feed in ball pythons can be caused by a variety of factors including illness, stress, improper diet, and husbandry practices. It is important to provide a healthy environment, and diet and to monitor the snake's health regularly. In case of anorexia, seek the help of a veterinarian experienced in reptile medicine to determine the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment. By following these guidelines, you can help ensure the health and well-being of your ball python.

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