Baby gerbil feeder

What Can I Feed My Ball Python Besides Mice (Other Foods)

Are you tired of only feeding your ball python mice?

Or maybe your ball python still shows signs of hunger after its feedings?

If so, you’re probably asking, “What can I feed my ball python besides mice?”

In this article, we’re going to uncover several other feeder options to offer your ball python.

We’ll also explore a few other common questions pet owners have about feeding ball pythons.

Let’s get started.

Ball pythons primarily eat a diet of mice and rats, although they will sometimes enjoy eating other feeder prey like chicks, hamsters, gerbils, and guinea pigs.

Table of Contents

How Often Should I Feed My Ball Python

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to determining how often to feed your ball python.

Instead, the answer depends on your snake’s age and size compared to the size and type of feeders you offer.

A good rule of thumb is to feed your baby ball python every five to seven days for the first six or seven months of its life.

After about seven months, reduce its feeding to once every seven to 10 days.

This feeding schedule will last for the next couple of years until your snake reaches adulthood (around two or three years of age).

Once it reaches adulthood, you may once more reduce its feedings to every 10 to 21 days.

When to Feed Baby Ball Pythons

Let’s briefly explore when to feed your baby ball python before we go into the topic of what to feed your ball python.

When a ball python hatches from its egg, it can live off the nutrients from the absorbed yolk for the first few weeks.

It’s important to let your baby ball python shed its skin (usually, this happens within the first five to seven days) before trying to feed it.

Once it sheds completely, give it the first feeding.

You can learn more about shedding in our post on how often do ball pythons shed.

Baby ball pythons are not always eager to eat since they may still be full from the yolk nutrients.

They may also have a hard time getting used to feeding on prey, so be patient and don’t be alarmed if they don’t eat right away.

Offer them food every five to six days and monitor them closely to see if they’ve eaten.

If your baby ball python hasn’t eaten anything after three weeks to a month, you may need to take it to the vet to see if something else is wrong.

And if you purchased your hatchling from a breeder or pet store, contact them to find out what their feeding routine was and if your ball python had ever eaten before coming to your home.

What to Feed a Baby Ball Python

For the first few months of their lives, baby ball pythons are typically offered fuzzy, pink, or hopper mice.

It’s important to stay away from adult mice or larger rodents during the early years of a ball python’s life for a few reasons.

First, ball pythons swallow their prey whole, so baby ball pythons can’t physically handle eating anything wider than their midsection.

Second, baby rodents (like pinky mice or rat pups) are newborns, offering good amounts of protein and even calcium since their bellies are full of their mother’s milk. 

Third, if you offer your baby ball python a large or adult-sized rodent feeder, it may get injured by the feeder.

Since baby ball pythons are smaller and are less proficient at striking and killing their prey, it’s best to offer them small feeders to reduce the risk of scratching or biting.

So what should you feed your baby ball python?

Go for small rodents like pinky mice, fuzzy mice, hoppers, rat pups, fluffs, and weaner rats.

During the first few months of your ball python’s life, try to stick with the small mice feeders before moving on to baby rats and other rodents. 

Learn more about feeding baby ball pythons in our other post dedicated to babies.

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What Size Food Should You Feed a Ball Python

Ball pythons swallow their prey whole, meaning if the prey is too large for their stomach or mouth, they won’t be able to eat it.

With this in mind, make sure the feeder prey you offer is as wide as the broadest part of the snake’s midsection.

This should ensure no problems arise with the feeder size.

What do Ball Pythons Eat in the Wild

Ball pythons, native to western Africa, eat whatever prey animals are available and consumable.

Their diets consist primarily of rodents like gerbils, striped mice, African soft-furred mice, and jerboas in the wild.

They may also eat birds (especially male ball pythons since they spend most of their time up in the trees), shrews, and lizards.

In short, any animal the ball python can overpower and swallow is a fair game for dinner.

What Can I Feed My Ball Python Besides Mice

As we already discussed, ball pythons should only be fed small mice (like pinkies and fuzzies) or tiny rat pups during the first few months of its life.

After the first few months have passed, however, venture into other feeder categories.

The majority of your ball python’s diet will consist of adult mice and rats, but offering some level of variety is usually a good idea.

Other feeder options you may want to offer include chicks, quail, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, and multimammate mice. 

Feeder prey is offered either live or pre-killed, but most people prefer to stay away from living prey.

Not only is it more humane to pre-kill the prey before offering it to your snake, but it also protects your snake from getting injured.

Feeders like mice and rats have been known to bite and chew on snakes in self-defense and aggression, so opt for pre-killed prey if you want to protect your snake from possible injury.

However, if you choose to offer live prey to your snake, never leave your snake unattended with live prey in its enclosure.

Many people purchase frozen feeders and thaw them out before giving them to their ball python.

If you go the frozen feeder route, you will need to ensure the feeder is warm (or at least room temperature) before feeding it to your snake.

Why? Since ball pythons are cold-blooded reptiles, their bodies can’t warm up cold food, meaning if they eat a cold meal, their internal temperature drops to freezing.

You should warm-up cold feeders by placing them in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes before offering them to your snake.

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How Much Should I Feed My Ball Python 

It’s typically best to offer only one item of prey per feeding session.

If your ball python still appears to be hungry, you probably need to consider giving it food more frequently or increasing the size of its feeders.  

While the feeder animal should not be larger than your ball python’s midsection, it should also not be much smaller than the width of your snake’s midsection.

This ensures your snake’s meal is large enough to satisfy it until its next feeding.

As your ball python grows and matures, you will need to change and adjust its feeder animals accordingly.

Here is a tentative guide on how much to feed your ball python throughout its life stages:

Hatchling or First 3-5 Meals

At this stage, you’ll want to stick with small rodents like pinkie (newborn) mice or rats, or hopper mice.

Offer one to your hatchling ball python every five to six days. 

Baby Ball Python Less Than 200 Grams

At this stage, your baby ball python can handle a small mouse, rat fuzzy, or another small rodent.

Just make sure its width is no bigger than the width of your snake’s midsection.

Offer feeders every seven days.

Juvenile Ball Pythons Around 200 to 350 Grams

Once they’ve reached the 200 to 350-gram mark, your ball python should now be able to eat rat pups or an adult mouse.

At this point, you’ll want to offer food every seven to 10 days. 

Ball Pythons Around 350 to 500 Grams

When your ball python grows as large as 350 to 500 grams, it’s time to graduate it to weaned rats and jumbo mice.

At this stage, you’ll most likely only need to feed it every 10 to 14 days. 

Adult Ball Pythons 500 to 1200 Grams

If your ball python continues to grow and reaches above 500 grams, you’ll need to start feeding it a diet primarily consisting of small rats as mice will no longer be large enough to satisfy its nutritional needs.

Only offer food about every 14 days. 

Adult Ball Python 1200 to 1800 Grams

Ball pythons of this size should be fed primarily medium-sized rats.

Always make sure the rat is not too large to safely fit inside your snake’s belly (no wider than the width of your ball python’s midsection). 

Again, stick to a feeding schedule of about every 14 days.

With all this talk about size, you might want to check out our post on the ball python growth timeline.


If you’ve been asking the question, “What can I feed my ball python besides mice?” we hope this article gave you a few helpful ideas!

Remember to make sure the feeder isn’t wider than your snake’s midsection, and follow the guidelines we laid out for when and how often you should offer your snake food. 

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Keeping gerbils at home


  • Basic information
  • Habitat
  • A bit of history
  • Character
  • How many gerbils can live in a cage at the same time
  • Contents
  • Feeding
  • Health
  • Interesting facts about gerbils
  • Summing up

Gerbils are small and active rodents, unpretentious in maintenance and care. Of course, in popularity they are significantly inferior to hamsters and domestic rats, and yet many lovers of miniature pets prefer them.

There are over 100 species of gerbils. About 35 of them are listed in the International Red Book. However, only one species is suitable for home keeping - the Mongolian (clawed) gerbil. It is about her that will be discussed in this article. nine0005

Basic information

Latin name: Meriones unguiculatus.

Order: rodents.

Family: mice (in some sources - hamsters).

Genus: lesser gerbils.

Body length: 11-13 cm.

Weight: 90-125 g.

Colours: white, red, slate, color-point, color-point light, Himalayan, lilac, sapphire, dove, golden argent, argent cream, topaz, dark-eyed honey and others, natural color - agouti.

Eye color: black, red, ruby.

Features of appearance: hind legs are longer than the front ones, there is a fluffy tassel on the tail.

Lifestyle: daytime.

Life expectancy at home: up to 6 years.


Mongolian gerbils live in the deserts and dry steppes of East Asia (middle Mongolia). On the territory of our country, they are found in Tuva, less often in Southern and Eastern Transbaikalia.

Since the natural habitat of the animals is a hot and dry desert, where the maximum daily temperature sometimes exceeds 50 degrees, gerbils have to hide in burrows and wait for the indicators to decrease. For this reason, in the wild, they are nocturnal. Domesticated rodents, at optimal temperatures, are active during the day. nine0005

A bit of history

Surprisingly, gerbils live side by side with humans for only about 50 years. The first international exhibition where rodents were presented as pets took place in 1969. In the wild, only one coat color is found - agouti, but over time, breeders managed to get other varieties of colors, including black and color-point.


Gerbils are predominantly diurnal, although there are rodents that are active at night. These miniature animals almost never sit still, preferring to travel around cage and please the owners with their mobility.

Mongolian gerbils are friendly, quickly and easily get used to hands, almost never show aggression. They may respond to their own nickname. And they also love to gnaw and dig holes, so in cage there must always be various objects and shells to maintain the usual life of the animal.

How many gerbils can live in

cage simultaneously

In nature, rodents live in small groups: one male and 2-3 females with cubs. Therefore, at home, several gerbils can easily get along in one cage . However, there are a number of conditions. It is advisable to acquire animals at the same time, and from the same litter, since they are already accustomed to dividing the territory among themselves. It is important that at the time of settlement they were about 6-8 weeks old. If you do not plan to breed gerbils, give preference to individuals of the same sex. nine0005

Interesting fact! Gerbil gestation lasts 23-26 days. Usually from 1 to 10 babies are born. The female feeds them with milk for up to 1.5 months.


So, to keep a gerbil you will need:


Minimum size - 55x40 cm, height - 45 cm. It is advisable to give preference to multi-level structures, since gerbils love to jump. Possible content at aquarium or terrarium (at least 10 l), but the container must be tall (or covered with a lid) and well ventilated.

Important! Keep cage away from heat sources and direct sunlight. The optimum temperature in the room is 20-23 degrees, while the air must be dry!

Ladders , shelves , running wheel

This equipment is necessary for active rodents, since they almost never sit still.


There should be a lot of it, because the animals love to dig. Keep this in mind when choosing cage - choose a model with a high tray. As filler fit sawdust or wood pellets .

Important! Gerbils practically do not smell and do not excrete much urine, so a complete replacement of filler can be done every 2 weeks. However, if you have males, we recommend doing this more often, since they are quite active in marking the territory.


It is used as an additional filler, as gerbils love to burrow. If desired, the animal can eat dry grass for food. nine0005


Gerbils are animals that are used to hiding from heat and predators in minks, so nature has an instinct to hide in them. For a pet, you can choose house made of plastic, wood, coconut shell.

Feeder and Drinker

Feeder is better to choose metal or ceramic, drinker - nipple.


Gerbils are inhabitants of the desert, so water procedures are contraindicated for them. However, pets need to maintain their appearance. Dry hygienic chinchilla sand is suitable for this. It is poured into tub and placed in cage . Gerbil will be happy to mess around in it. The procedure is carried out 2 times a week . Duration - 20-30 minutes .


The mixture of cereals consisting of wheat, barley, oats and other crops should form the basis of the gerbil's diet. They contain vitamins, minerals, fatty acids necessary for the health of the pet. It is advisable to choose ready-made rations , which additionally include protein components. So, in mixtures for rodents Grums there is dehydrated meat. nine0005

The pet's diet can be varied with vegetables, fruits, berries (except citrus fruits, cabbage, potatoes). From them, the pet receives not only useful substances, but also water. However, the content of plant foods should not exceed 10-15% of the daily requirement, since a larger amount is fraught with digestive problems. As an alternative source of vitamins, germinated grass is also suitable.

In gerbils, like in other rodents, the front incisors are constantly growing. For stitching at cage must always be present dry twigs and mineral stone .

Animals are fed 2 times a day - in the morning and in the evening. Uneaten remains of vegetables and fruits must be removed immediately.

From time to time you can pamper your pet with healthy treats . The assortment of the Grums brand includes tunnels, grain baskets, sticks with fruits and herbs, dried apple, sunflower and pumpkin seeds and others. nine0005


Like other pets, gerbils are prone to a number of diseases. More often, rodents are diagnosed with pathologies of the respiratory system. Diarrhea occurs due to malnutrition. Some pet rodents are prone to allergic reactions. Older animals have heart attacks and strokes.

If pets infected with fleas live in the house, there is a possibility that the bloodsucking will get to the gerbil. This is also possible in the case when at cage is placed with badly processed hay. When infected with ectoparasites, the rodent begins to itch actively, wounds and sores form on the skin. This condition is dangerous for the pet, therefore, it requires immediate contact with a veterinarian-ratologist, who will select the necessary remedy .

It is important to treat cage as it may contain flea larvae and eggs. The rodent's dwelling should be washed with infectious solutions. nine0005

Also, a gerbil can become infected with internal parasites - helminths. This is due to the consumption of unwashed and poor-quality foods. Signs of invasion - weight loss, skin scratching. For diagnosis and treatment, it is important to contact a specialist in time.

Interesting facts about gerbils

1. In the wild, these smart animals dig deep holes (up to 3 meters!), and often divide them into zones for rest and food. They even have a "bathroom" and storage room. nine0005

2. A female gerbil is ready to breed from the age of three months. And immediately after birth, the rodent is again ready for fertilization.

3. The maximum height that the animal can jump is 3.5 m.

4. Up to 60 kg of reserves can be found in the mink of a wild gerbil.

5. Miniature pets do not hibernate, however, with strong changes in climatic conditions, their activity is noticeably reduced. nine0005

6. The most fragile organ of a gerbil is the tail: if handled incorrectly, it can fall off, and a new one will not grow. Of course, the animal can adapt to live without a tail, but it is better not to bring it to this.

7. Animals are not allowed to be kept as pets in Hawaii and California. The authorities of these states are afraid that rodents that have escaped from their owners will multiply quickly, which will cause significant damage to nature.

Summing up

1. Mongolian (clawed) gerbils are miniature pets that are undemanding to keep. In one cage several rodents can coexist simultaneously.

2. With proper care, the animal lives up to a maximum of 6 years.

3. Little pets lead a predominantly diurnal lifestyle, while they are almost always active - they run, jump, dig.

4. The rodent is easy to tame, it has excellent contact with a person.

5. Important conditions for keeping a gerbil are an ambient temperature of 20-23 degrees and dry air.

6. The pet will be needed by: Cell with equipment ( shelves , Lesenyki , Wheel ), House 9000, Filler 99, hay , feeder , Drink , Bath with sand , Dry branches

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    7. The basis of the diet of the animal - grain mixtures .

    Also recommended


    Species history

    Recently, along with many mammals, gerbils have become very popular. Animal lovers are happy to buy and care for these little animals.

    The word gerbil itself has many meanings. With this name, rivers flow in the Voronezh, Kirov, Smolensk and other regions. In Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, villages and villages are called Peschanka. There is also a gold-copper deposit in the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug.

    Gerbil in our case is a class of mammals, a detachment of rodents, a family of hamsters. In nature, they live in burrows in the desert regions of Central Asia, Africa, and China. Initially, they were brought for medical experiments. Then it turned out that gerbils are easily tamed and well suited for keeping in the house. nine0005

    Description of the breed

    The gerbil is a small rodent similar in appearance to a degu, but smaller in size. It has ears, eyes, a tail, like most of the detachment. Very sociable and inquisitive, fidget. With pleasure it will take goodies from your hands and sit on your shoulder!

    It weighs a little more than 100 grams, with a body length of 12-15 cm. The tail is the same length, with a fluffy tassel at the end. The gerbil is completely covered with shiny hair. It protects the animal from cold, skin injury and drying. There are various colors of these cute animals - beige, smoky, black. Gerbils are characterized by seasonal molting - by winter they have a new hairline. nine0005

    Care and maintenance

    It is better to keep gerbils in pairs, as they feel more comfortable in a group and their lifespan is greatly increased. For maintenance, it is better to take a spacious, metal cage measuring 50 by 70 cm, preferably 2-3 floors.

    Since gerbils are active, they will be very happy if you put a running wheel in the cage. Necessary elements are a drinking bowl and a feeder. To keep the litter dry in the cage, it is better to take a drinker in the form of a bottle that is attached outside. This leaves more free space for gerbils to move around. nine0005

    Use FIORY corn litter for a highly absorbent bedding. In addition, it retains odor and does not give dust. For hair care, it is necessary to put a sand bath in the cage once a week. Do not forget to disinfect the cage with Ultradon.

    Now about nutrition. The basis is a grain mixture. Properly balanced is the German food Vitakraft for gerbils. It contains nuts, fruits, rich in vitamins. It also contains biotin, which is very important for the beauty of the coat. Gerbils will not refuse hay, in which they burrow with pleasure. If you have to be away from home for a long time, then a tasty stick will come to the rescue in nutrition, which must be attached to the cage. She will save the pet from hunger. nine0005

    Food for gerbils

    Treats for gerbils

    To grind down incisors that grow throughout life, place a mineral stone next to the feeder.

    If you want to breed gerbils, then you need to take young animals. They become sexually mature by 10 weeks, but it is better to give birth at 4-5 months, when the body of the animal becomes stronger. Pregnancy lasts 24-28 days. From 4 to 8 naked cubs are born. They grow very quickly and at the age of one month they already approach the feeder on their own. nine0005

    When to see a doctor

    Gerbils rarely get sick, but some abnormalities can still occur. When feeding poor-quality feed, animals may develop diarrhea. You should not treat yourself with antibiotics, since not every drug is tolerated by gerbils. Monotonous food can cause vitamin deficiency, which is manifested by a change in coat, baldness. Bald areas can also appear as a result of the constant friction of the animal on the bars of the cage. nine0005

    These animals are very clean, and if there is dirt in the house, then this is a sign of ill health. Often there is sneezing and discharge from the nose. It could be an inflammation of the respiratory system, or maybe an allergy to the bedding.

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