Why is my ball python not eating food?

The ball python is among the most popular pets all over the world. Many pet owners love keeping them because of their ease of care, low maintenance requirements, and docile nature. They are also known as non-picky eaters. Although they enjoy eating a variety of prey items, sometimes they stop eating. This can make pet owners worry.

It is common for ball pythons to stop eating temporarily due to a variety of reasons, such as an improper environment, being handled excessively, and so on.

10 common reasons why your ball python won't eat food and solutions to those problems

For a first-time pet owner, it can be difficult to understand why their ball python stopped eating. However, we will explain to you below the reasons your ball python stopped eating and the solution to help you get your ball python eating again.

Whenever they experience stress or anxiety

When your ball python is experiencing stress and anxiety, it will often stop eating for a short time when they are experiencing those feelings.

The following are some of the possible reasons why the ball python is experiencing stress

  • Loud noise from the Environment.
  • Improper temperature and humidity.
  • Improper feeding etc.

Solution- If you want your ball python to avoid stress and start eating again, then you should not have to change its enclosure every time. Furthermore, you should not handle them too often, especially after they have eaten food.

When their habitat temperature is too cold

It is important to note that ball pythons are cold-blooded animals, which means they are dependent on temperature to survive. If the temperature of the habitat of the ball python is too cool, the snake becomes stressed and stops eating.

Ball Pythons become lethargic if their enclosures are too cold, and may also develop respiratory infections and other health complications.

Solution- If you want to make sure the ball python starts eating again then you will have to warm their habitat with the help of heating sources like heating pads and ceramic heat emitters as well as monitor the temperature of their habitat regularly with the help of a thermometer.

You can buy a Digital Reptile Vivarium Thermometer from Amazon and a Reptile heating pad from Amazon.

When they shed their skin

When ball pythons are in the process of shedding, they become defensive, skip a feeding and spend a lot of time in hides. During this time, they avoid eating entirely, spend a lot of time alone, and they stop eating for about two to three weeks.

In the following list, you will find some signs that indicate that the ball python is about to shed.

  • A dull color is seen on the skin.
  • The color of the eyes changes to gray-blue.
  • In nature, there is anxiety and fright.
  • Mostly spend time in hiding.

Solution- If you would like your ball python to have no problems during shedding, and they start eating again after the shedding process, then you should ensure that you provide them with a water dish during the entire shedding process, and do not disturb them.

Whenever they suffer from illness or parasites

When the ball python is sick or suffering from parasites, it may have stopped eating or not been fed properly for some time.

Listed below are some signs of illness that can be observed in Ball Pythons

  • Lack of appetite,
  • Nasal and oral discharge from the eyes and nose,
  • Making wheezing noises,
  • Their scales are discolored.

Furthermore, they can also be prone to parasites and stop eating. Examples of internal parasites are protozoa, hookworms, etc., and external parasites include ticks and mates. These external parasites are extremely harmful as they can cause respiratory infections, weight loss, and difficulty shedding.

Solution- If you want to ensure that your ball python can recover from sickness and parasites as soon as possible, then you need to visit a vet as soon as possible.

When your feeding methods and food are not liked by them

It is possible that ball pythons don't feed their prey food when your feeding methods aren't liked by the snake, for instance, if the food that you feed them is not their favorite, or if the prey size is wrong, or if you handle them frequently after feeding them some food.

Solution- If you want your ball python to start eating again, then you should find out what type of food this snake enjoys eating. You should also know how to properly feed your snake. Check out How to feed the Ball Python.

During the breeding season

When ball pythons are in the breeding season, both adult males and females of the species stop eating food. After laying eggs, the female ball python continues not to consume food. However, the male starts to consume food after the breeding season. Pythons breed when their temperatures are cool around September through November.

Solution- When they are breeding, you should take care of them by giving them a low temperature during this time. A veterinarian should be consulted if your ball Python keeps refusing to eat food for a long period.

When they are in a brumation state

It is common for reptiles to become inactive during certain periods of the year, spending most of their time hiding and reducing their feeding. This is known as brumation, and it is mostly seen in the winter. Therefore, ball python owners should not be concerned about it since it is common for them to refuse food during the winter months.

Solution- The best thing you can do for your ball python during the brumation stage would be to keep it alone and not handle it during that time.
When your ball python takes more than three weeks to refuse to eat food, then you need to get your ball python to a vet before you leave it alone for too long.

If their enclosures are incorrect

Ball Pythons are generally low-maintenance reptiles, and they are happy with a low-maintenance habitat if taken care of properly. It is also essential that their habitat be set up correctly with appropriate substrates, tank sizes, cleanliness, etc. If you fail to provide a suitable habitat tank setup, then they will become stressed and stop eating.

Solution- You will need to set up the habitat of your ball python appropriately if you want it to start eating again. You will need to keep the habitat clean all the time and you should wait to do several changes to the habitat at a time. Learn how to set up a habitat for a Ball Python.

Too much handling

A ball python can become stressed if it is handled too much and for that reason, he or she may stop eating.

Solution- It is recommended that if you want your ball to start eating again, you should not handle them after they have been fed. In addition, you should try not to hold them excessively more than three times a week.

When the lighting in their habitat is too bright

It is preferable for the ball python to eat at night when there is no darkness in its habitat. However, if the light level in the habitat becomes too bright, the ball python will stop eating. As a result of the bright lights in the ball habitat, they become stressed and stop eating food as a result.

Solution- In order to make sure your ball Python doesn't stop eating food as a result of too much light, you should feed them at nighttime. You should use infrared bulbs and allow them to eat food one hour after turning off the lights.

Chart Showing how long ball python can survive without food

In the following chart, we provide you with a chart showing how long the ball python can survive without food without suffering health issues but by exceeding this period, then the python suffers health problems.

Age of ball pythonDuration
Baby (0-2 months) 2-4 weeks
Juvenile (2-6 months) 3-5 weeks
Sub-adult (6- 12 months) 2-4 months
Adult (over 12 months) 4-6 months

Do ball pythons suffer health problems if they don't eat for a long time?

Yes, it's true that ball pythons can suffer health problems if they are starved for a long period. Such health problems can include malnutrition, dehydration, and sometimes even death if they are not fed for a long period.

What to do to make the ball python start eating again?

Listed below are some useful tips and the method for ball pythons to start eating again.

  • It is important that you make sure that everything is set up correctly in the ball python habitat, including the temperature, humidity, and hiding areas.
  • Ensure that the ball python habitat is kept clean and a dish of water is available at all times for the pythons.
  • The ball Python loves to eat at night, so you should feed them at night if you want to keep them healthy.
  • It is recommended that if they refuse to eat food, then you should provide a variety of prey for them to choose from.
  • If your ball python refuses to feed for a long period, then it is a good idea to consult a veterinarian.