Please advise me on how to start a baby blood python to feed...


Dear VPI,

PLEASE HELP ME! Hello I am from Greece and I am a reptile hobbyist. First of all, sorry for my bad English. I have a great variety of snakes (such as boas, pythons and colubrids), amphibians and arthropods. I believe that I have good knowledge in raising reptiles.

My problem is that the last two days I purchased a baby blood python and I tried to feed him. Unfortunately he didn't accept the food. I tried a high variety of methods to feed him (first with frozen mice, second with live ones) but with no success (please note that I haven't tried the force feeding method because I want my snakes start feeding naturally).

I also tried all the possible combinations even in total darkness but without results. Please note that I keep him in a large fauna box in which I have placed a hide box a water bowl and a box which contains sphagnum moss to keep the humidity high. The snake is mostly hiding in its moss box.

Also, the snake seems to have eaten because it defecated. I am stressed because this is my favorite snake. I had purchased a 1.20 m blood python in the past. It would be very kind of you to tell me what to do. Reply me as soon as possible. Thank you for your time! Marios

Dear Marios, 

Unless your snake is very thin and starving, there is not so much hurry to see that he eats.

When we receive a new baby blood python, we place him in a small cage that is 36 cm x 15 cm x 10 cm. The baby sits on paper and there is a small water container. That is all. Then we place the cage in a very quiet place on a rack of cages. Half of the cage is in the dark and half is in the light of the room.

Then we do not disturb the snake for at least a week. After a week we place a small live mouse in the cage and usually the snake eats immediately.

It is more difficult to get a baby to eat in a large cage because they are not as exposed to the food as when they are in a small cage. Very young blood pythons do not like dead food, although once they begin to eat regularly, then they will learn to eat dead food. Do not handle your snake and then expect him to eat. He is young and probably frightened by his new surroundings. After he eats you can handle him all you want.

Do not force feed him. Always remember our favorite saying--"healthy and happy blood pythons ALWAYS eat when they are hungry."  

If he is not eating it is either because (1) he is not secure in his cage (2) he is not healthy (3) you are not maintaining him correctly or (4) he is not hungry.

Probably the number one reason that baby blood pythons do not eat well in their new homes is because their new keepers are keeping them too warm. We keep babies at 80-82 degrees F and without any supplemental heat. Above this temperature range, we find that the warmer they are, the less likely they will feed well.

Do not be so quick to stress. Patience is important when working with baby blood pythons.

Good luck with your baby.  DGB