Have you been noticing that you have an underweight ball python? Weight loss is a serious concern for snakes as they typically maintain very healthy weights when they are in the wild.
You can tell that your ball python is underweight if it has a narrow, triangular body, any of its bones are visible, or in extreme cases the eyes will look sunken in from weight loss.
The best thing you can do to treat an underweight ball python is to take it to your local vet. They have the medical experience necessary to rule out things like intestinal parasites, disease, and other health conditions that can cause ball pythons to suddenly lose weight.
After that, you’re going to want to come up with a consistent feeding schedule that’s appropriate for the age and size of your pet snake.
Ball pythons are great pet snakes to have especially for people who are new to keeping snakes or reptiles in general. They’re very calm and rarely bite or harm their owners. Keeping your ball python at a great weight is the best way to keep this pet happy and healthy.
Let’s take a closer look at what counts as a healthy weight for ball pythons and how you can improve their diet.
How Do I Know If I Have An Underweight Ball Python?
There’s a few quick ways you can tell if your pet ball python is underweight and it all has to do with the shape of its body. A healthy ball python is going to have a slightly triangular body, but it’s going to be muscular and rounded.
If your ball python is underweight, it’s going to have a very pointed, triangular appearance and it might even have sunken eyes, a weak jaw, and a concave belly. Having an underweight ball python is a serious health issue and here’s how you can spot it.
You might not know this about a ball python, but its body is all muscle. It uses that muscle to slither around, constrict its prey, and navigate its environment. If your ball python has a healthy weight, those muscles are going to be very pronounced and you won’t be able to see any of its bones.
An underweight ball python might even have ridges along its back that reveal parts of its vertebrae. If you can see ribs on your python, that’s a sure sign that it’s dangerously underweight.
We should talk about signs that your pet ball python is dangerously underweight. If your pet ball python starts to lose muscle definition in its jaws, that’s a sign that its weight issues are getting serious.
The most critical sign of an underweight ball python is sunken in eyes. If the eyes of your pet ball python are sunken in, you need to start working with a vet right away to get its health back in order.
How Can I Get My Ball Python To Gain Weight?
There’s a few steps you can take to make an underweight ball python start to put some weight back on and regain its health.
This involves taking your ball python to the vet to make sure there’s not any serious underlying medical conditions and then changing how you feed your ball python to encourage weight gain.
There are practical steps that you can start taking this week to help your ball python regain its health. Here’s how to get started.
The first thing you’re going to want to do is find a vet in your local community that has treated ball pythons before. Some vets only have experience with cats and dogs and they’re going to be ill-equipped to handle these particular reptiles.
Your vet is probably going to want to get a stool sample from your ball python just to make sure there aren’t parasites or other common diseases that are causing this weight loss.
After your visit to the vet, you’re going to need to make some dietary changes to help your ball python gain weight.
The first of these changes is going to be regular feeding. Your ball python should naturally keep a healthy weight as long as you’re feeding it on an appropriate schedule with appropriate prey.
To get your ball python back up to wait, you’re going to want to feed it once every five days with an appropriately-sized prey item such as a freezer mouse.
Feeding it slightly smaller prey, but more often such as once every five days, can promote your ball python to rebuild a healthy appetite.
How Often Should You Feed An Underweight Ball Python?
Now we need to talk about the scheduling and feeding your underweight ball python. One of the tricks of ball pythons is that they are naturally very lean animals.
Ball pythons don’t put on weight to hibernate and they don’t put on much fat in the wild. This is because they eat on a very consistent schedule that allows them to maintain their body weight.
Younger ball pythons, as well as smaller ball pythons, need to eat more often, but they need to eat smaller prey such as fuzzy’s or pinky mice. You should feed these ball pythons once every five days, but make sure that they’re only eating smaller prey items.
The biggest ball pythons will need a full size rat, or up to two mice in one meal, but only eat once every 25 to 56 days. You can talk with your vet about coming up with a feeding schedule that’s perfect for the age, size, and health of your pet ball python.
There are some other factors that can be impacting how often your ball python is eating. Ball pythons, just like all other reptiles, are very susceptible to cold. If it’s not an appropriate temperature in your ball python’s enclosure, they’re not going to be willing to eat as often as they should.
Ball pythons also slow down their eating when they’re about to shed so, if your ball python has skipped the last meal or two, it might be a sign that it’s shedding time.
Ball pythons also slow down their metabolism when they’re under a lot of stress which means that you should consider your ball python’s environment in order to help improve its diet.
If you’re worried that you have an underweight ball python, there are some things that you can start doing today to improve its health. Taking your ball python into the vet is a great way to find out if a medical condition is causing its weight loss and while you’re waiting for those results to come back in, you can come up with a consistent feeding schedule for your pet snake. These things will help your ball python regain its natural weight.