My Snake Isn't Eating

BigSam

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
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Mar 15, 2003
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I have tried for two weeks now to feed my snake. If you guys don't remember I have the ball python. What is a good way to get my snake to eat. Also, should I be worried about him not eating. I know they can go a year without eating but those are the wild ones. His eyes arn't blue so he is not sheding and I don't know why else he wouldn't eat. I need so help again:confused: :?
 

Bry

Arachnodemon
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Mar 22, 2003
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773
Sam, relax...has your ball python shed yet? If not, then the fact that his eyes cleared up means he will be shedding for you any day now. Give him another week before trying to feed him again. He should have shed for you by then. Going two weeks with no food is no big deal to any snake, wild or not. Give him time, he'll shed for you. He should be ready to eat again once he sheds. One question, are you still offering live mice?

Bry
 

BigSam

Arachnoprince
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Mar 15, 2003
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My Snake Isn't Eating

What's up Bry,
The question is if I feed live or dead mice,...right? Well if it is then the answer is yes and no. What I do is I get the end of an screw diver and hit the mouse hard in the back of the head and that keeps him from moving. The mouse isn't moving , but he is breathing so therefore that makes him alive. I have only done it once and he didn't go for it so i'm going to wait until he eats again and try it again.
 

Bry

Arachnodemon
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Mar 22, 2003
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773
Sam,

The way you described it, a better term to use would be 'stunned'. When you say 'live' people picture a fully conscious mouse that's walking around the snake's enclosure. Anyways, about my first question, has your ball python shed yet?

Bry
 

BigSam

Arachnoprince
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Mar 15, 2003
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What's up Bry,
My ball python hasn't shed yet.
Still waiting for him to shed, I will be so happy when he sheds, in one peace :D
 

Bry

Arachnodemon
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Mar 22, 2003
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773
Sounds cool, keeping the humidity up will help him shed in one piece. It should be any day now.

Bry
 

biznacho

Arachnosquire
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Feb 11, 2003
Messages
129
Originally posted by BigSam
What's up Bry,
The question is if I feed live or dead mice,...right? Well if it is then the answer is yes and no. What I do is I get the end of an screw diver and hit the mouse hard in the back of the head and that keeps him from moving. The mouse isn't moving , but he is breathing so therefore that makes him alive. I have only done it once and he didn't go for it so i'm going to wait until he eats again and try it again.

Whats wrong with feeding live mice? I just drop in a mouse once a week and watch for a bit, if she(my snake) eats it my job is done. If she dont eat it after a bit i take it out and try again 2 days later. I've never had a problem this way.

Sometimes the moue goes to to sleep in the cut down cheerios box used as a house and it can be a pain to get the damn thing out without burning my slef on the heat lamp but it gets done.

biznacho
 

Bry

Arachnodemon
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Mar 22, 2003
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Well, for starters, live mice and rats can do some serious damage to a snake. If you leave the mouse in, it can chew up the snake. Too many snakes have died as a result of this. All it takes is one well-placed bite from those long rodent teeth to severely disfigure or even kill a snake. You may think that a rodent will have no time to react when a snake strikes at it. This may be true, but snakes do make mistakes. Sometimes they don't grab the head or wrap around the prey properly, giving the mouse's head room to manuever. When a mouse's life is at stake, their first instinct is to bite hard. I have heard of stories where mice and rats have bitten right into a snake's skull and instantly killed it. I've heard of snakes getting their eyes or snouts bitten, resulting in mouthrot, infections, loss of an eye, and various other problems. Ultimately, many of those snakes are terrified of their own food and never eat again. Let's not even start on the possible transmission of parasites.

If you think you can prevent this from happening, think again. Snakes and rodents have far quicker reflexes than the human eye can follow. Many snakes, and I DO mean many snakes in the wild will often eat carrion, this is true for captives also. Very few snakes strictly eat live or stunned prey. Out of many snakes I've seen personally, I've only seen one snake that will not accept anything but live, and sometimes stunned, rat pups after 4 years of trying to convert it to dead prey. Not to mention that this snake doesn't know the first thing about wrapping a rat in the safest way, like the textbooks say they should; which is pretty nerve-wracking for her keeper. A vast majority of snakes feeding on live can be easily converted. I admit watching snakes take live prey is fascinating, but the risks outweigh the benefits by far. Why would anyone want to subject them to that kind of risk week after week? Unfortunately, many people refuse to convert to dead prey for their own enjoyment. Just because nothing happened the first 20 times doesn't mean it won't happen the 21st time. As I said before, all it takes is one bite.

I have graphic pictures, and I'm not afraid to use them. Please don't make me. :)

Bry
 

bubbli_ilddud

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jul 15, 2009
Messages
1
how to wean my snake?

Hi, I was reading your thread hoping to find a reason for why my spotted python is not eating. I'm not worried yet, it's only been a little over a week since his last meal, but i was wondering if you could tell me a little more about how i might go about weaning him onto taking frozen/thawed rats rather than having live ones. (he hasn't eaten the one i got for him a few days ago and now i have a rat living in a fishtank - hopefully one he can't escape....i don't particularily want this to be a regular worry of mine :p )

if you have any advice for me i'd really appreciate it.
My python's almost an adult and has only ever been given live mice/rats -- currently he feeds once a week so far.

thanks again :)
 

mamajewels

Arachnopeon
Joined
Nov 22, 2010
Messages
1
Bitten Cornsnake

Hi Everybody....

I am new at this. I have owned a corn snake for about 4.5 years now and really am still learning a lot about her. She has always been a pretty healthy eater but hasn't eaten for the last 3 months, Im starting to get concerned.

I started by feeding her live mice. Got lucky I guess, that was what her previous owner fed her. Then I heard about the biting and got worried so I started feeding her frozen/thawed mice. Worked fine! Then this past 3 months or so she has refused to eat, once she even yawned at me and actually turned her head away.

Today I though maybe I should give her a live mouse again to give her the thrill of the kill she got bit on her body, I think there she is ok..... I got upset and stunned the mouse so she could then eat it but she never did so I have now removed it from her dwelling. However, before going up to bed I thought I would peek in on her and noticed the very end of her tail was a different color (kind of dirty brown/red) that dang mouse knawed on the end of her tail. So the last half inch to 3/4 inch is knawed on. Will she re-generate and is she ok? Will she eat again? I'm really botherd by her not eating...... advize please
 

RoachGirlRen

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
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Jul 8, 2007
Messages
994
If your snake has a puncture wound and a chewed up tail, it should probably be on antibiotics. One of the nicest snakes I worked with at the zoo died of a systemic infection after a rat bit it. Looked like a minor little wound, no one thought anything of it... unfortunately, as with any puncture wound, infection is a HUGE risk, and this infection was caught too late.

Also for future reference: if a snake goes off food for a prolonged period of time, the last thing you should do is throw a dangerous live prey animal in with it. Going off food can be a sign of ill health or inappropriate husbandry parameters, both of which can make your snake weaker and more vulnerable to an attack. Instead, check for signs of underlying health issues and double-check your care. It is winter; has the temp in the enclosure dropped? The photoperiod changed? These can signal changes in eating habits.
 

SK8TERBOI

Arachnopeon
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Oct 18, 2010
Messages
42
I have had several Ball python's Is yours WC or CB i noticed y WC went off feed often but as others say if there is an injury present Give it your immediate attention i lost a BP from a small nip on his tail from his food also
 

SpiderGuy814

Arachnopeon
Joined
Nov 21, 2010
Messages
27
If your snake has a puncture wound and a chewed up tail, it should probably be on antibiotics. One of the nicest snakes I worked with at the zoo died of a systemic infection after a rat bit it. Looked like a minor little wound, no one thought anything of it... unfortunately, as with any puncture wound, infection is a HUGE risk, and this infection was caught too late.

Also for future reference: if a snake goes off food for a prolonged period of time, the last thing you should do is throw a dangerous live prey animal in with it. Going off food can be a sign of ill health or inappropriate husbandry parameters, both of which can make your snake weaker and more vulnerable to an attack. Instead, check for signs of underlying health issues and double-check your care. It is winter; has the temp in the enclosure dropped? The photoperiod changed? These can signal changes in eating habits.
Its ironic that a ZOO didnt catch the infection fast enough to save the snake's life. what Zoo do you work that that they didnt catch that infection? My thought always was that they had professionals at zoos that just seems like ignorance on the zoo's part. and I've never worked at a zoo before but correct me if I'm wrong but i thought all zoos fed their predatory animals (bears,falcons, snakes etc) pre killed animals anyway?

But I have had corn snakes before and they've been bitten by their food before (mice) but the bite bleeds for a few seconds then stops (within due time or faster if the snake was going to shed soon) the snake sheds and is back to normal.

Also these same corn snakes that i had that got bitten they were STILL looking for more food after they swallowed the prey item that had just bitten them so they werent phrased by it at all

there is always a risk of a bite from live prey but snakes rarely die from them when the proper feeding techniques are applied.
 

RoachGirlRen

Arachnoangel
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Jul 8, 2007
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As I said, it was a systemic infection - as in bacteria entered the snake's bloodstream via the bite wound. Outwardly the snake looked fine, but by the time it was noticably ill (reptiles being excellent at hiding illness) it was too late to save it. I'm not going to disclose the zoo's name so there can be a witch hunt, at any rate, as the individual who was in charge of the reptiles hasn't worked there in MANY years and to my knowledge they feed only pre-killed now.

At any rate, the point I was trying to drive home with that story isn't that some zoos have irresponsible practices, but rather that mamajewels should probably see the snake to a vet, both because it's been off of food for three months AND because it has some serious sounding rodent damage.

IMO, there is no particular benefit to feeding live prey, no particular drawback to feeding pre-killed, so I fail to see why people wouldn't just take the option that is prevents any chance of unneeded injury to the snake. You don't have to buy F/T to offer prekilled. It is plenty easy to pre-kill a live mouse if you want to raise your own food or buy feeders if frozen can't be obtained locally. And in the case of snakes that absolutely REFUSE to convert to pre-killed, stunning makes things a HECK of a lot safer than just chucking a live mouse in the tank.
 

the toe cutter

Arachnobaron
Joined
Mar 20, 2010
Messages
424
But I have had corn snakes before and they've been bitten by their food before (mice) but the bite bleeds for a few seconds then stops (within due time or faster if the snake was going to shed soon) the snake sheds and is back to normal.

Also these same corn snakes that i had that got bitten they were STILL looking for more food after they swallowed the prey item that had just bitten them so they werent phrased by it at all

there is always a risk of a bite from live prey but snakes rarely die from them when the proper feeding techniques are applied.

Live prey is the absolute WORST way to provide your caged snake, that has no escape route, a meal. I have made that mistake in the past had some large, very powerful healthy(and expensive) herps that were killed and 1/4 eaten by the time I came back to check on them in mere minutes. Including a 3.5ft male Crotalus horridus atricaudatus! Anyone who has been in the hobby for any extended amount of time knows someone who this has happened to or been through it yourself. Its a common mistake that inexperienced keepers make, and its completely unnecessary! F/T are readily available from numerous feeder companies, at local reptile shows, and are much cheaper than paying for live rodents at your LPS. I just bought 250 large mice, 100 large fuzzies, 100 small mice for 114$ shipped, thats an average of .25$ per mouse. If you think about housing, frequent substrate changing, food, smellyness etc. its actually cheaper and more efficient to purchase F/T rodents than breeding your own! So there is no reason to not atleast attempt frozen mice. Cheaper and safer and will cost you far less monetarily ie, vet bills and antibiotics, and emotionally as well. The idocy you feel after losing a pet due to ignorance and neglect is immeasurable. I have seen what rodents can do to seemingly capable animals(even venomous) in minutes and that is the reason why ALL of my herps were either switched over or have been F/T rodent eaters. Even the normally non-rodent eaters and especially venomous since alot of crotalids, and I have heard BP's, are prone to sudden anorexia from something as simple as rodent bite and the stress it causes upon the caged animal. And why would you think it was OK to let your pet be bitten anyway? That is completely irresponsible as a pet owner! If you compare a mouse or rats front tooth diameter and a cornsnakes body diameter and compare that respectively to humans it would be like someone stabbing you with a slightly sharpened, broomstick handle! Its just something to think about.
 

SpiderGuy814

Arachnopeon
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Nov 21, 2010
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Well to begin, you just said you were an inexperienced keeper at the time. so being inexperienced why would you leave your snake alone with any prey item before making sure it was at least dead if not eaten? me being an experienced keeper I learned the easy not to do that by asking questions to this website, the people I got my first snake from and doing other research. You cant just leave a snake alone and expect nature to take its course automatically. even some experienced keepers to this day STILL dont leave the snake alone with prey items even if they know their snake will eat it as soon as it hits the floor. also no matter how many snakes I had i never breeded any mice or rats I just brought them when needed. and the bigger the snakes got I just adjusted the meal to its size so I never ran out of money feeding any of my animals and for me it never got costly.

And you didnt read between the lines when i said my snake got bitten by the mouse if you would have, youd of noticed that I was still present in the room and I NEVER left and I made sure the blood stopped and no future issues came about. Also i dont know if you notice but in the wild when a snake gets bit by the prey item if its not a killer bite the wound heals ITS SELF there is no VET in the wild. some times if youve ever watched animal planet you see a croc, that has gotten into a fight with another one and it has the scars to prove it. there is no vet in the wild animals live with their scars.
 

kevin91172

Arachnobaron
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Oct 11, 2009
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try taking the water a way for a few days,then give it back with a few drops of b12;)
 

the toe cutter

Arachnobaron
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Mar 20, 2010
Messages
424
Well to begin, you just said you were an inexperienced keeper at the time. so being inexperienced why would you leave your snake alone with any prey item before making sure it was at least dead if not eaten? me being an experienced keeper I learned the easy not to do that by asking questions to this website, the people I got my first snake from and doing other research. You cant just leave a snake alone and expect nature to take its course automatically. even some experienced keepers to this day STILL dont leave the snake alone with prey items even if they know their snake will eat it as soon as it hits the floor. also no matter how many snakes I had i never breeded any mice or rats I just brought them when needed. and the bigger the snakes got I just adjusted the meal to its size so I never ran out of money feeding any of my animals and for me it never got costly.

And you didnt read between the lines when i said my snake got bitten by the mouse if you would have, youd of noticed that I was still present in the room and I NEVER left and I made sure the blood stopped and no future issues came about. Also i dont know if you notice but in the wild when a snake gets bit by the prey item if its not a killer bite the wound heals ITS SELF there is no VET in the wild. some times if youve ever watched animal planet you see a croc, that has gotten into a fight with another one and it has the scars to prove it. there is no vet in the wild animals live with their scars.
In the wild the snake is not in an enclosure with a dangerous animal and has the advantage since rodents in the wild will generally be taken by surprise. And when I was an inexperienced keeper with alot of hots, it was 1994. I don't think that this site was available then and back then the hobby was more word of mouth from keeper to keeper. Please do some research before you attempt to engage in a conversation with someone you do not know. And even though you were in the room, apparently bites still took place. So that is a null and void point. A snakes tube-like body structure means that most organs are also morphologically the same design and a puncture to the elongated right lung or other important arteries, and organs is a serious hazard with feeding live rodents. But we are getting off topic here, I was simply stating the obvious in saying that live rodents are dangerous and unnecessary. I have switched alot of reptiles that do not feed on rodents naturally to F/T with little to some effort. Thats all I was saying, if you wish to debate me further, please PM me. But lets not get off topic here too much. Thanks again!
 

RoachGirlRen

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
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Jul 8, 2007
Messages
994
I do not suggest removing any snake's water source for a few days, especially not one who may be ill based on its recent behavior. If your snake has been off food for three months, and you haven't changed its husbandry parameters, AND it has bite injuries from rodents... it needs to see the vet.

As far as the comment about snakes not having vets in the wild... this isn't the wild. It is captivity and as owners of captive animals we are charged with all aspects of their wellbeing. Wild animals die all of the time from injury, infection, disease, parasites, etc. This does not mean that it is acceptable to subject them to undue risks nor deny them vet care in captivity.
 

Ookamii

Arachnosquire
Joined
Oct 6, 2010
Messages
104
I have to agree with Toe cutter hear, my husband used to feed his/our corn live untill he married me and i MADE him switch her to F/t after i saw her get bit my a mouse, LUCKILY it didnt break the skin before we got in and stunned it, i also got him to start feeding her more often, he was feeding her once every 2-3 weeks and she was as skinny as a 3 foot corn, and she was 5 1/2 feet long! after we switched her to once a week she gained weight and was her appropriate thickness for her size. I found out he had her on the poor feeding scedual for 4 years!, and she was a 8 year old snake.
 
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