Our new Red Tail Boa rescue... good thing I know NOTHING about RTBs...

ember

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Feb 13, 2007
Messages
129
... At least I am able and willing to learn. And have the means and interested to do so. Thank the stars for Google.

So, I have a huge male (? I was told) snake. I was told he is a RTB.

A guy that works at Petco (blocks from our home, so we are there often) asked me to help the other day. Apparently, his brother fancies himself a snake guy (I mistyped that at first to say "snakey guy", heh... that was probably more accurate!), and was slowly killing a RTB though neglect. He got his brother willing to give the snake to a better home or something, and he could not take it for some reason or another (the story is fading in my mind...). I am known at the pet stores as a snake lover, herp/rep advocate, invert-aholic, and responsible pet owner. The worker asks if I "know anyone" that will take the snake, and gives me a desperate and longing look that said "please, will YOU take this snake".

I have read care sheets on RTBs. I have known a few. We belong to a regional Herptile Keepers Association, and have a plethora of experiences available to us to learn from. All that aside, we are still really unprepared and a bit in shock at this large and beautiful new snake in our bedroom.

So, I went to pick him up tonight. On the phone, the brother tells me that the snake is really hungry.... has not eaten in many months because he cannot afford the rats. :(

I get to the apartment, and the wife lets me in (the guy was at work). She was nice, and seemed relieved to see the snake leaving. There were two HUGE tanks with snakes in them. I am sorry to say that I don't even know what kind they were, because I hardly gave them a glance... I was too hyper-focused on the RTB coming home with us. There were probably big boa constrictors, both "normal" patterned. They were in huge tanks on cat litter, no water bowls.

The apartment was a mess. There was a large dog, TONS of tanks and cages, and general human mess. The place also had a particular smell in addition to cigarette and rat/dirty cage. The crack/meth pipe on the coffee table explained that. There were many rats and rat cages. When I asked about why the snake had not been fed, she informed me that those were all pet rats, not food for the snakes.

I guess that the wife was not comfortable handling the snakes. I stuck my hand inside of the tank (which, other than the snake, had cat litter as a substrate, and a paper tube - that's it... there was a lamp, which I found out upon getting home had a regular 100 watt household light in it, not a heat lamp of any type.... the light was rusted into the fixture and I ended up throwing the whole lamp away). I hoped for the best when picking the snake up, knowing that it may very well bite me. He did not. He tried to get away, but had no interest in striking. He was REALLY REALLY cold... like, uncomfortably cold to my skin to the touch. I put him inside of a pillow case, and we loaded up and went home.

Once home, I noticed that the tank was sporting broken glass on one side, mold inside of the substrate, and that there were SHARP raised staples inside of the tube (that was totally gross, too...).

I cleaned my friggin' heart out. I then set up a really nice "spur of the moment" habitat. We made makeshift hides, good substrate, a really nice heat lamp/UV light, water dish, etc. He hissed and hissed a few times while I held him, but I made sure to look him over well... he has a lot of scars. He never did try to strike, and chose instead to ball himself up tight. Our ball python acts like a RTB, and our RTB is acting like a BP. Figures.

His scales are very dry and raised. There is one spot that looks like a tiny puncture wound, but could be a crack due to dryness I guess. No doubt I will get him vetted, but I want to take a week for him to settle and feed first.

He is set up finally and very secure in one of the hiding spots. He is balled up on the hot side of the tank.

I will put photos up soon.

Poor biiiig fella :(

Now for a name... I am sure I will come up with something soon.

And now time to read every thread on all of the forums I can find... and care sheets until my eyes bleed. I want to be a last stop for this snake, and the last thing in the world I want to do is be another person harming him. It is time he gets all of his snakey needs met, right? :D
 

Mushroom Spore

Arachnoemperor
Old Timer
Joined
Oct 14, 2005
Messages
4,598
They don't need the UV light, no snake does, but it certainly won't hurt him. :) (As with the ball python, you'll need to make sure he's not cold at night either.) Also, there's a good chance that hissing was actually wheezing, if the poor baby was kept that cold that long, no doubt he's got a WHOPPER of a respiratory infection and who knows what else.

I don't think he's likely to eat if he's sick, you may as well go ahead and get him to the vet first. If it's bad, he might die before a week is up. :eek:

Also, please please PLEASE report the original owner to the authorities, both Animal Control and the police.
 

ember

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Feb 13, 2007
Messages
129
I know that the UV is not "needed", but the bulb is a really great heat lamp bulb :) I will be using an under tank heater, too... and our room is WARM (80 degrees), so nights will be alright.

I was thinking the same thing, about it maybe being wheezing. I had not thought further to consider that it would affect feeding, etc. We don't get paid until the 15th, but that is just a few days off. Vet it is.

As for reporting the original owners... Totally pointless here. They are not breaking ANY of our area's animal control laws, and authorities won't even respond to paraphernalia/possession issues... and there has to be a BIG deal around distribution (children involved, domestic violence, stolen cars, etc) before even that is responded to. If I reported it, NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING would happen.
 

AviculariaLover

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Oct 20, 2006
Messages
279
Such as sad story, I'm glad you were at least able to help out that snake. Perhaps you could report them anyway, and explain that even if nothing could be done, at least try to give them a scare? Like, a really mean cop paying them a quick visit, I dunno, seems rediculous that that sort of irresponsible behavior could go on unpunished.

You said they live in an apartment, maybe the landlord wouldn't be pleased to hear about the drugs and animal abuse?

Either way, at least now the poor thing has a chance at a better life. Hopefully with the vet visit and enough love and attention it'll pull through.
 

mindlessvw

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Mar 6, 2006
Messages
528
I agree the hissing could be something else like uri...also i would say give him a good soaking. I doubt they took the time to soak him so maybe thirty minutes every day for a week in warm water and his skin will be quite a bit better. I would check witha vet though and make sure. not to mention he may have some dandy parasites! Put some pics up soon!!!
 

Natemass

Arachnolord
Old Timer
Joined
Sep 16, 2006
Messages
619
im glad you got him home that really irritates me, i would have asked about the other snakes as well. i hope you can get the others even if you dont keep them i think anyone with some common sense could take care of them better than those losers. people are just plain cruel.
 
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