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  1. #1
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    Question New Owner Worries

    Hi everyone, I apologise in advance for this long post and the constant use of Royal not Ball, but i'll try and break it down so you can skip bits:

    Background

    Last year while on holiday my son watched a wildlife show and got picked to handle a corn snake, since then he has always asked for one. So the wife and I decided that if he can save up some money he can get one..... Thinking that a 6 yr old would never save. But lo and behold he save all his Christmas money, Birthday money and even money from bits like Easter. So when he gathered 250 and asked if he can have a snake and having known he researched lots of you tube videos we couldn't say no. He is also autistic so we thought a pet would be nice for him to calm him and give him something to focus on.

    We originally planed on a corn snake but having spoken to some reptile experts at a local zoo we frequently visit they suggested a Royal Python as they are slightly larger and slower to handle compared to the more slimline and agile corns... amongst all the other pro's and con's.

    So we took him to a pet shop that was highly recommended and there he got to handle a corn and a royal, with him falling in love with the Royal.

    Set Up

    We opted for the forever home set up which looks like below:






    The Vivarium is 48x18x18, we are using a Ceramic heater on a pulse stat. We have 2 hides a small branch, large water bowl, foliage and currently using exo terra snake bedding.

    The hot end is around 32 Degrees Celsius (34 at probe) and the cool end is circa 27 Degrees in the cool end (Using a thermo gun).


    The Snake​

    the snake is roughly 7 months old and currently weighing in at:
    He was supposed to be eating weekly rat pups.


    The Concerns:

    Since we have had the snake it seems to spend 95% of its time in the cool end in its cool hide, even when switching hides around or placing him in the hot end after a handle. It always goes to the cool end.

    It has not eaten for the last 7 weeks, it will go and put its head next to the feed, then just not show any interest.

    It has done one poo since we have had it, so now i am guessing it hasn't anything inside.

    While i understand they can go without food for quite some time I'm concerned as to why it's gone from a regular strike feeder to food shy, i would have hoped that by week 5 it would have settled in and be ready to eat.

    I've tried:
    * Leaving the feed over night in case it was shy
    * Tried different times in case it was a late night eater (around midnight compared to 8 pm when my son can try and feed)
    * Tried Braining the rat pups
    * Tried swapping from Rat pup to small mice in case it wanted something different



    So i was hoping for either some reassurance (So i can re assure my son as he's getting worried) or some pointers for us newbies so we can improve the life of our snake.

    Thanks for reading.
    Last edited by YoJimbo; 07-17-2017 at 07:19 AM.

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  3. #2
    BPnet Senior Member Zincubus's Avatar
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    New Owner Worries

    Ideally , add some branches and /or pieces of bark ( all from local woods / forest or garden ) .

    Also at least two hides one at warm side one at cooler end ( ideally identical hides ) .

    As regards getting it to eat ,.


    This method WORKS if done properly ...
    I wait until evening as they're nocturnal of course . I let the rodent thaw out in the reptile room so they get the smell ..
    Then I warm up the mouse / rat with a hairdryer and offer with tongs IMMEDIATELY whilst still warm . If refused simply repeat the heating and offering as many times as needed. .
    A couple of mine will only strike feed from within their hides so I dangle the warm rodent in front of the hide's entrance - usually works but if it fails simply reheat the rodent with a hairdryer and immediately offer again whilst it's still warm continue until it's grabbed ...
    I always wait until evenings to feed as they're nocturnal of course .

    Incidentally , if it shows no interest at all not even a tongue flicker maybe it's best to leave for a week or so.

    I
    Last edited by Zincubus; 07-17-2017 at 08:03 AM.

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  5. #3
    Registered User BPGator's Avatar
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    Re: New Owner Worries

    I'm confused, was he eating for you initially and then stopped or was he eating well for the pet shop but not for you?

    The enclosure is huge for a royal of that size. I would add more identical hides (at least one in the middle). Your enclosure is so big there may some area in the middle with a more ideal temp for him. Also can't hurt to clutter the floor up more. All this is to help him feel more secure which could be the feeding issue.

    As for feeding, I agree with Zincubus. But just to make sure, was the pet shop feeding frozen rat pups too?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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  7. #4
    Registered User craigafrechette's Avatar
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    First off, welcome!
    And congrats on getting your son his first snake. Huge props to him for saving up AND doing some online research!! That's awesome!!! I find my snakes to be very therapeutic, so I think you and your son made a great choice. I deal with depression and anxiety and am a recovering alcoholic and drug addict and my animals, especially my snakes, sometimes help me to get through the day.


    Ok, the snake isn't eating, so let's figure out why....

    Based on what I have read and can see, your BP, sorry, Royal for our friends in the UK , is probably feeling shy and not secure enough in his forever enclosure.

    BPs can be very finicky eaters. The main reasons they refuse at that age are almost always husbandry related.
    -So, starting with your temps (I had to convert to Fahrenheit because....America, hahaha, we also still use inches and feet like a country of fools) I see you're in good shape there.
    -The next thing to consider is security. That enclosure doesn't offer much security in the eyes of a snake. If a BP doesn't feel safe and secure, it will often refuse food in order to be able to escape faster if threatened. My suggestions would be to consider a smaller temporary enclosure, you could even put it directly inside your forever enclosure. The RUBs that I see others in the UK using might be your best option for now. If you're reluctant to try that right away, just try adding some clutter to the enclosure, ie more plants, rocks, sticks etc...just make sure anything you use is safe and properly cleaned/disinfected (more on that later if you're interested).


    The bottom line is this though: the snake needs to start eating. So, as responsible snake keepers, we need figure out why and we need to do what the animal needs us to do to get them eating. We may not like the look of a RUB or temporary enclosure as much as a Viv, but a hungry, malnourished, skinny, dehydrated snake doesn't look good in a viv either. Nor is it fair for the animal. So sometimes we need to sacrifice our wants for the animals needs.
    If you want to try adding more clutter and security to the viv and see what happens, I say go for it. If the food strike continues it may be time to try a temporary plan B...

    Good luck, keep us posted. We're here to answer any questions we can and help you, your son and your snake
    ...life is beautiful...

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  9. #5
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    Re: New Owner Worries

    Quote Originally Posted by BPGator View Post
    I'm confused, was he eating for you initially and then stopped or was he eating well for the pet shop but not for you?
    Sorry, he was eating for the shop owner. he has never ate for us.

  10. #6
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    Re: New Owner Worries

    Thanks everyone for the advice, I'll look at getting some more things to clutter the floor up and another identical hide to place in the middle for now. we tried feeding last night so if i get the bits tonight i'll see how he goes next Sunday

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  12. #7
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    So I finished work early to get down to the reptile shop.

    Here's the new layouts, kind of went from one extreme to another








    So now i guess I'll let him settle then try to feed him again Sunday night.

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  14. #8
    BPnet Veteran tttaylorrr's Avatar
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    Re: New Owner Worries

    Quote Originally Posted by YoJimbo View Post
    So I finished work early to get down to the reptile shop.

    Here's the new layouts, kind of went from one extreme to another








    So now i guess I'll let him settle then try to feed him again Sunday night.
    that looks lovely!!! definitely more cozy.

    good luck, sunday!
    1.2 Ball Python
    1.0 2014 Albino (Yellow Lemon Lemongrab)
    0.1 2016 Coral Glow/Banana (Spaghetti Marinara Noodle)

    0.1 2017 Super Cinnamon (Coffee Bean) &

    1.0 Corn Snake
    1.0 ?? Hypo ("Corny" Cornelius)


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  16. #9
    Registered User craigafrechette's Avatar
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    Looks good!!!
    ...life is beautiful...

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  18. #10
    BPnet Senior Member Zincubus's Avatar
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    Re: New Owner Worries

    Quote Originally Posted by YoJimbo View Post
    So I finished work early to get down to the reptile shop.

    Here's the new layouts, kind of went from one extreme to another








    So now i guess I'll let him settle then try to feed him again Sunday night.
    That's one of the nicest setups I've seen , looking real good .

    Nice work !!



    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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