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QUESTION: I have a 1yr old and 5mnth old Ball Pythons... Im trying to learn more about them... How often do I feed them? I was told by the previous owner, they get fed bi weekly. Is this correct? Do the mice need to be alive or can they be dead? Also how often do I clean the tank and what can I clean the tank with, that won't affect the pythons?

ANSWER: Snakes are simple animals, thankfully. Once they hit 1 year old their metabolism slows way down. Up till then they can be fed a good meal once a week or 2 small meals a week. I prefer 2 small meals for breeders. Helps them grow great and be fat and healthy without power feeding them.

The small one can be fed weekly, food should be slightly larger than the fattest part of the snakes body. If there is a lump so large after feeding, that the scales separate badly then the meal is to big.

Feeding them both bi weekly will not hurt them at all. As far as feeders go, you will find it hard to transition them from live to frozen or mice to rats. Just be patient when you make these transitions. The will eat when they get hungry enough. They can go months without food.

I feed dead and only dead, I at times feed frozen but rarely. I order several hundred live and then kill right before feeding. Most shops will kill your rodent if you ask. But some have adopted a "cruelty" policy and won't. So you will have to kill the rodent.

Feeding live can cause issues. If the mouse feels threatened or gets hungry it will bite or eat your snake. There are some awful pics online of this happening. Even if the snake eats right away, if they don't grab the rodent the exact way they need to, they will get chewed on till the rodent dies.

If they get bit on the nose it can quickly turn to a bad infection, cause major swelling and for the snake to go off food. A vet visit will be in order.

I use fine shredded aspen for my snakes. NO pine or cedar. And I just spot clean the poop, add new shavings and call it done. Rarely do I clean the whole bin and when I do I just soak them in bleach and hot water, rinse and dry good and you are done.

You may notice around sudden temp changes, that your snakes go off food. Unless it lasts for more than 2 months I wouldn't worry. But let me know if you have any other questions about them!

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QUESTION: Thank you your help..... I appreciate your fast response, but I have one more final question... What is the best way to pick  them up out of the pen so they don't feel agitated???

Answer
Just scoop under them. You have to always keep in mind that snakes tolerate us. They really dislike human contact and there will be days where they do not want to be messed with.

But scoop them quickly. If you try and stroke them or hesitate it gives them time to get mad and consider biting you. You can also flatten your hand and quickly lay it on their head. Don't smash them, but it makes them pull their head back and direct their attention away from possibly biting you. Just touch your Palm to their head quickly, pull away and scoop them up.

I only get bit if I hesitate or it is a day they just don't want to be messed with.

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Amber Barrett

Expertise

I can answer any and all questions about snakes, whether its how to pick the right snake for your needs and wants, eating and temperature issues, health problems ( I can not give a diagnosis or make up for vetrinary treatment but can give options on what to do). I can also answer any questions on breeding snakes, what it entitles, what you can expect, I know quite a bit about any products for snakes and their husbandry.

Experience

I currently keep over 150 snakes, I keep everything from ball pyhtons, to retics to green tree pythons. I have been around them my whole life due to a family interest in breeding them. I have researched, purchased, and delt with just about every snake, product and issue you can run into.

Education/Credentials
Although I do not have a degree in herpatology, I have been around snakes my whole life and through books, research and life I know alot about them.

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