Will a ball python eat a dead mouse?

In this article, we will answer the following question: Will a ball python eat a dead mouse? We will talk about the eternal dilemma of whether to give a snake a dead or alive prey, and we will teach you how to properly feed a ball python. 

Will a ball python eat a dead mouse?

Most ball pythons will eat a dead mouse, as long as it is prepared and served correctly. It all depends on the conditions in which it ended up dead. If the mouse died of natural causes – it is not advisable to give it to your snake. Once you do not know the cause of death, you should always assume that it was caused by a parasite that could be harmful to your pet.

If the mouse is bought from a truster breeder or food supplier, then frozen and thawed (safely and correctly) to feed the snake, then yes – it is ideal as a prey.

First, it is advisable to get into the habit of always feeding the snake with dead prey, either freshly killed or frozen and reheated. In this way, the snake will get used to it as soon as it is baby, will not balk and therefore there will be no potential danger to the reptile. A rodent frozen up to 6 months will not lose any of its nutritional values.

Giving food to a snake is the easiest thing in captivity. You just need to know the species in your possession, and you will never have to change an iota of their diet. The only variable is frequency. And again, this is counted in days, even in the week.

Your snake is a carnivorous reptile. There are no vegetarians despite some unfounded rumors. However, its prey varies depending on its species. So some snakes only eat rodents, snails, or even slugs. Others ingest anything in their path. Finally, sea snakes can feed on fish eggs along coral reefs. In captivity, you surely have in your possession a corn snake, a boa constrictor, or a ball python. In this case, it’s even more childish.

Should I give my snake a live or frozen rodent?

The 3 snakes above, and even the main snakes intended for captivity, feed on live or frozen rodents. It is better to offer him food that is already dead. This will prevent it from unintentional injury inflicted by prey that tries to defend itself before surrendering the soul. Thus, a mouse or a rat can easily scratch your reptile’s eyes and injure it quite badly.

However, frozen prey doesn’t mean it has to be when you give it to your snake. On the contrary. The rodent in question should no longer have a trace of cold on its body. Ice could offer some digestive problems to your reptile.

Which rodent to give?

The type of prey to donate depends on the size of your snake. So a corn snake less than 4 months old can be satisfied with a tiny mouse once a week. A baby mouse will take over until it is 8 months old. After that, you will have to give it a sauté pan every 10 days or so. Then, once an adult, a corn snake can ingest an adult mouse every 2 weeks.

In the ball python, consider an adult mouse every 8-10 days. When your snake is an adult, you can give it an adult rat every 3 weeks or so.

Finally, the Boa constrictor will be full, if it measures less than 3 feet, from one to 2 mice twice a week. Larger, it will have to ingest one to two rats per week. Those taller than 2 meters may be fond of a rabbit every 10 days. It’s quite infrequent.

What should I do if my snake regurgitates?

Sometimes, your snake does not digest its prey well. He will regurgitate and this will cause irritation in his esophagus. Nothing serious apparently, but you will have to wait 2 weeks before offering him food again.

Feeding the ball python

You will have to be ready to feed your python because here we will give, as said above, whole prey, the snakes only agreeing to feed in this way.

When he is young, small mice will serve as a meal, but as an adult, it will be necessary to pass to the pups, see adult rats for the larger females.

You will find, in the trade, two types of food for the snakes: the food known as “alive” allowing to give alive the rodent to its snake which will hunt it, and the frozen food, made up of rednesses killed then frozen.

I highly recommend the latter option, which limits the stress on the part of the rodent as well as the snake, but also the risk of injury, especially when giving rats. Let’s not forget that rodents have sharp teeth and that a rat, defending itself, can kill or fatally injure your python.

How often a ball python is fed depends on its age. When he is young, one meal per week will be necessary, then it will be necessary to rule out feeding frequencies as he grows older. As an adult, we will give one rat per month.

How to serve food to a ball python

The ball python has good antibodies, so it is rare for it to get sick if its living conditions are right. The most common problems are intestinal obstruction or the development of parasites, including mites which are the most common, which can be transmitted by contact if you have touched another snake with your bare hands without washing them afterward, or by a lack of hygiene in the terrarium.

You can spot these parasites by seeing them roaming around on the snake’s belly, but also by its behavior: it will regularly bathe in its water bowl, something it hardly ever does in normal times.

To get rid of ticks, you will need to completely empty the terrarium, clean it with white vinegar, immerse all its decorations in a mixture of very hot water and a good dose of white vinegar, and put newspaper in the bottom of the terrarium as a substrate.

The snake will have to spend a week in this sterile terrarium, and it is imperative not to put back a bowl of water, in which the ticks reproduce. Give the python a drink every day by lightly spraying one of the panes of the terrarium.

To get rid of ticks on the python, you will have to buy a fairly mild spray parasite, for kittens for example. Then, spray it on a clean sock, and rub the whole body of the python with this product (without touching the head). 

You will repeat this process every other day for a week, then you can redo your python’s terrarium, remembering to give it plenty of freshwaters, it has been a very trying week for it.

For any more serious problem, you will need to consult a specialist veterinarian.

You now know how to keep a ball python in your home, take the time to educate yourself, and feel ready to welcome such an animal because sharing its life with this snake can be a very beautiful experience but if you are finally afraid of it or that some aspects put you off, better give up.

Like many Boidae, the Royal Python feeds, in nature, mainly on rodents, especially gerbils. It seems that he sometimes decorates his usual with chicks. The Python Regius is devoid of venom, like other pythons and boas. Preys are therefore killed by constriction, that is to say, suffocated. 

For this, the snake bites the prey and, in a fraction of a second, encloses it between its rings and does not release its grip until the victim’s heart has stopped beating. It is then that he will ingest it, starting with the head.

Young snakes should be fed every 5 – 7 days, while adults can be fed every 10 days easily. With juvenile specimens, things generally go very well. If you have recovered a newborn, just know that the first meal is normally accepted within 15 days of the first molt which takes place after one to two weeks from the hatching.

The best is therefore to offer him one or two young mice starting to have hair, once a week. As the snake grows, the size of the prey will be increased by offering mice or young rats again and again once a week. Adult specimens should be fed a large rat of the correct size for 10 days. The Royal Python is recognized as a frequently fasting snake. A royal python in good condition can last for several months without damage.

It is important to always wash your hands when you have just touched a rodent and intend to handle or touch the snake. The hand that has touched the rodent will have impregnated on its small odorous particles and that the snake will quickly have detected them and taken the person’s hand for a rodent!

The bottom line

Unfortunately, the information on exotic pets is rather scarce and few people know that most snakes can be fed freshly dead or even frozen mice. You just have to know the technique. 

It is better to get snakes used to eating dead animals. This way you can have them frozen. The problem with giving them live prey is that they can hurt themselves unnecessarily trying to catch the scared mouse.

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!

FAQ on Will a ball python eat a dead mouse?

Can I leave a dead mouse in my snakes’ cage?

You can leave a dead mouse in your snakes’ cage. But if your pet is not hungry or ill, it will make no difference. Also, your snake can refuse to eat the dead mouse if it is too cold, for example.

How long can you leave a thawed mouse?

You can leave a thawed mouse in your snakes’ cage for about 24 hours. 

What can snakes eat besides mice?

Besides mice, snakes can eat rats, fish, small birds, eggs, worms, and other amphibians. 

How long can a snake go without eating?

A snake can go without eating for about six months. In the wild, they are used to going weeks without food. They slow down their metabolism and preserve energy. 

Will a snake starve itself?

Snakes will not starve themselves to death unless they are neglected or ill. Some of the reasons why a snake may starve itself is overfeeding is their breeding season or they are stressed. The stress comes from living in poor conditions or because of being neglected. 


PetMD – What Do Snakes Eat?

Animal Corner – Snake Characteristics

MSD Manual – Nutrition in snakes

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