Spotted Python suddenly refusing to eat.

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TWiSC

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I’ve had my Spotted Python for over 4 months. I got him when he was 9 months old. He suddenly refused to eat and showed barely any interest in the mice I offered him last week and tonight. I have been really stressed out the past week as I’ve not run into any problems with him in the past and now I can’t figure out why he’s currently refusing to eat. I’ll try to give as much information as I can below to get some insight on might be causing this and how to fix it.

Enclosure:
He’s currently kept in a 30x30x30cm glass enclosure. I was told that he’ll be fine in that enclosure for around 12-18 months of age. The back and right side is covered with a black background. I have a hide on the warm side and a hide on the cool side of the enclosure along with a water bowl. For decorations; there’s a piece of driftwood placed on the back end of the enclosure above his warm hide he rests on, i’ve attached a short and long paper rolls in the front and left side for him to climbed on and on the left side I’ve also attached one of his spare hide that looks like a rock that he climb on to and go into. I’m using aspen as the bedding material that’s around 1 and a half inches thick.

Temperature:
The temperature of the enclosure is managed by a thermostat along with a heat mat which is place outside under the enclosure that covers around half of the enclosure. The temperature probe is placed inside the enclosure stuck at the bottom below the substrate. I was told to keep the temperature at around 28c by the place I got him from. By using an infrared thermometer, I keep the warm side of the enclosure from 28-30c and the cool side is around 25-27c.

Feeding:
I’ve always feed him once every week with frozen mice. Since I’ve last got him i have increase the size of the mice. The size of the mice I feed him is slightly thicker than the thickest part of his body. My method of thawing the frozen mice is by putting it on a zip lock then placed at the bottom of a container. I then run it under that tap until the water is warm. Once it’s warm, I leave it submerge for around 10-15 min changing the water halfway through.
I feed him inside his enclosure during late at night. I dangle the mice in front of him or in front of his hide to get his attention and after just a few seconds he’ll strike it. It usually takes him around 10-30 minutes to fully consumes the mice.
The only time he’s never tried striking the mice is when he’s going into shedding.

Shedding:
He has been shedding every month from the time I got him. The last time he shed was on 21st of January. During the shedding process he’s always In his hide and is very inactive at night when he usually is. I always offer him a mice during the feeding day of the week even though I know he’s in shedding and every time he has refused. I offer him a mice 2 days after he had successfully shed and starts to roam his enclosure at night again.

Activity/Behaviour:
Normally after feeding day he’ll be inactive for the next 2 days usually in his warm hide. During those days I will completely leave him alone, only changing his water bowl if need be. The night after those 2 days I’ll start to see him go out his hide again and thats when I check his enclosure to remove the part of the bedding where he defected that white substance and urine. At this point, he’ll go back to his normal behaviour, being active at night switching between his hides depending on the time of the day. After 2-3 days I’ll find and remove his brown poop.
I only handle him at night when I see him out his hide. I usually let him rest on my arm, slither around my shoulder/neck, hide inside my hoodie, climbing on my headphone or by throwing a bunch of things on my bed and letting him explore around it. I handle him probably 1-3 times in a week.
He has always been tolerant to being handled and has showed no signs of defensive/aggressive behaviour when in his enclosure every since I got him. The only incident was once when I was feeding him he went for my finger instead of the mice but only striking it not even biting into or latching on it.
At the moment and the past week I have not noticed any discerning change in his behaviour besides showing no interest in the mice I offer him.

What I’ve tried:
Tried feeding him again 2 days after he refused and showed no interest in the mice I offered him. Had the same result. So i decided to give it a week before trying again and completely leaving him alone for that duration. So then, I decided to do some research.
Some recommended that I turn up the temperature higher. So I tweaked the thermostat to have the warm side to 30-32c. Another suggestion was to try covering the enclosure to possible relief some stress for the snake which I’ve done so but I leave a small area open during the day so he can discern from being night and day. I also went and bought some smaller size mice that I tried feeding him tonight but he still wasn’t interested.
At the moment, I’m gonna try leaving the mice inside his enclosure overnight to see if he’ll eventually go for it.


Questions:
1. How worried should I be if this continues on?
2. I’m gonna try to feed him again after a week. Or how frequent should I be trying to offer him mice at this point on?
3. What might be the cause of him to refuse feeding?
4. What else can I do to try and to get him to start eating again?

I would really appreciate some insight and help. Thanks
 

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Jakma94

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Try different prey item and see what happens also if the mouse or rat isn't quite warm enough try using a hair dryer to heat it just that little bit extra. I have a jungle jag python a Diamond python a black headed python and a woma python and all mine are great eaters but sometimes go off rats and mice.
 

Sdaji

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It's pretty normal for healthy adult pythons to stop eating for a while, even in perfect environments. A few weeks, months, sometimes even years for males (yes, really and literally, it's not common but it does happen). They don't eat three square meals per day like a western person on a basic routine.

For an adult python to skip a meal or two is less of a concern than your friend declining a piece of fruit or cake when you offer it. A month or two off feed is about like skipping breakfast, unless it's over winter in which case six months of not eating is about equivalent to you not eating overnight while sleeping.
 

Susannah

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It looks like everything is set up right and you're doing the right thing. My Stimmy goes from regular meals to not eating for a few months...it used to stress me out - but he is perfectly happy (as far as I can tell by his behaviour - not nippy at all, active enough, nice looking skin, sheds in one piece...) But then he'll go back to eating. Don't stress too much - keep offering, but also don't worry so much! He looks like a healthy snake to me!
 
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