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Topic: Hibernating Snakes

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Subject: Hibernating Snakes
Date Posted: 4/20/2009 10:15 AM ET
Member Since: 7/24/2007
Posts: 2,269
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I have an 11 year old ball python that has always gone into a hibernation and quits eating in the winter. It seems to get longer as the years go by. He never ate very often, only one rat every 4-6 weeks in the summer and will turn them down if he is not "hungry." This last stretch seems really strange to me. He had his last rat early October and turned one down in November. I tried to feed him this weekend and her was not interested. I even put him a tub of warm water to wake him up. After a good swim, I returned him to his cage and added the rat. He looked at the rat and sniffed it, but would not eat. After I took the rat out, he went back into his hiddy hole and went back to sleep. Any ideas?

It was a live rat. He will only eat a dead one if he is really hungry/active and won't come near a thawed frozen one. He is about 41/2 feet long, when we got him 11 years ago he wasn't much bigger than a pencil!

Date Posted: 12/1/2009 5:17 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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Ball pythons are notoriously picky eaters. My oldest has gone as long as 11 months without eating, and suffered no ill effects. Just make sure the cage is nice and warm and there is always fresh water available, and as long as your snake isn't losing muscle tone I wouldn't worry. One thing that seems to set my snakes off is when nighttime temperatures begin to drop. . . so you might want to get a heating pad and/or a night light to keep the ambient temperature in the cage near 80 degrees farenheit if you want to try and get your snake feeding again. But again, if the snake's muscle tone is still firm and (s)he's not exhibiting any neurological symptoms I would't worry too much.