Vote for BP.Net for the 2013 Forum of the Year! Click here for more info.

» Site Navigation

» Home
 > FAQ

» Online Users: 448

10 members and 438 guests
Most users ever online was 6,337, 01-24-2020 at 03:30 AM.


» Today's Birthdays

» Stats

Members: 70,697
Threads: 244,767
Posts: 2,537,746
Top Poster: JLC (31,651)
Welcome to our newest member, Thomas S
Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 33
  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    05-23-2018
    Posts
    33
    Thanks
    27
    Thanked 28 Times in 13 Posts
    Images: 11

    Feeding Aging Pythons

    I am new to the forum (first post) and I am hoping that someone has had a similar experience... I have owned my Ball for 28+ years and I was wondering is snakes can lose their "senses" with age? Most specifically their sense of smell?

    I am not sure of the sex of my snake but Tattoo has been called a she her entire life based on the not always reliable method of tail shape. She is has always been housed in an old school glass terrarium with a screen top, incandescents for heat, and paper towels for substrate. She has a hide on the warm side of the tank. I rinse and refill her water dish daily with filtered water. She is offered one thawed jumbo mouse a week in a separate feeding tub. She is handled frequently and is allowed to roam my bedroom whenever I notice that she wants out. The only major change is that I switched from live to frozen a couple of years ago. I realize that some will have issue with both the substrate and the size of her meals but after 28 years I doubt that either of those are causing my current problem.

    She has gone through fasting periods many times throughout the years but, while stressful, they were self-limiting and had no apparent ill effects. However her latest fast had extended into its fifth month accompanied by increasing restlessness. In the past when I let her out of the cage she might roam around for an hour and then settle in a favorite warm spot. Now she was constantly moving and climbing and not settling. I tried to feed her again during these periods of restlessness but she still refused to eat. In desperation I finally left the mouse in her cage overnight and she ate it! Huge relief!

    She has continued to eat for the past five weeks but only if I feed her in the cage and only after several attempts. It is pathetic to watch as she crawls over and over the mouse but can't find it. She noses it, loses it, mouths it, loses it and finally gets the job done. Her eyesight seems fine, her muscle tone is good, she is well hydrated. I was thinking maybe her Jacobson's organ was failing? Has anyone had a similar experience? Is there a super mouse scent that might help her?

    Thanks!

  2. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to puddinck For This Useful Post:

    Bogertophis (06-20-2018),richardhind1972 (06-20-2018),rottn (06-20-2018)

  3. #2
    BPnet Senior Member tttaylorrr's Avatar
    Join Date
    11-10-2014
    Location
    Chicago, Illinois USA
    Posts
    5,704
    Thanks
    4,501
    Thanked 5,429 Times in 2,889 Posts
    Images: 22
    welcome to the forum! ironically, your profile is showing you have 3 posts.

    28 years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! that is incredible! do you have photos to share? (here's a how-to on sharing photos with our forum).

    i can't really comment on your current questions as i'd rather leave this to someone more experienced than myself, but i just wanted to say welcome and to ask for a picture of your old noodle friend.
    Last edited by tttaylorrr; 06-20-2018 at 02:31 PM.
    4.4 ball python
    1.0 Albino 0.1 Coral Glow 0.1 Super Cinnamon paradox 1.0 Piebald 0.1 Pastel Enchi Leopard het Piebald 1.0 Coral Glow het Piebald

    1.0 corn snake
    1.0 Hypo

    1.0 crested gecko
    0.1 ????

    0.1 cat
    0.1 Maine Coon mix

    0.1 human ✌︎

  4. #3
    Bogertophis's Avatar
    Join Date
    04-28-2018
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    14,083
    Thanks
    19,783
    Thanked 12,074 Times in 7,597 Posts
    What a great question! And congratulations for caring for your python for so long. I've had some pretty old snakes too, and I've seen similar issues.
    I can't say (with scientific proof) that they lose their sense of smell, but anecdotally agree that it sometimes appears that way...also vision. The difference
    is that you can at least SEE their cloudy eyes, but you can't see a change in their Jacobsen's organ. Another factor is that they just don't need as much
    food as they get older...their metabolism slows down, their growth slows way down, so they don't have the food drive of a younger snake, and when you
    combine that with some reduction of their senses, you have a "finicky" snake that won't always eat the way they used to, or as much.

    Snakes teach us patience, that's for sure. I used to have an old Baird's rat snake that apparently had a stroke about 7 years before he passed away.
    He was the sweetest snake (& had done public outreach in his younger days) but I had to help him eat after that, and until he passed away at age
    27. With him, it wasn't his sense of smell but lack of control of his body. Right now I have an older corn snake (20) that acts similarly to your python
    though, and yes, I've seen this in a couple others. Gotta remember that as pets, our snakes live much longer lives than they would in the wild: there,
    they'd be preyed upon when they slow down, or they'd get an infection from a failed attempt to constrict prey.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 06-20-2018 at 03:11 PM.

  5. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Bogertophis For This Useful Post:

    puddinck (06-21-2018),richardhind1972 (06-20-2018),rottn (06-20-2018)

  6. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    05-23-2018
    Posts
    33
    Thanks
    27
    Thanked 28 Times in 13 Posts
    Images: 11

    Re: Feeding Aging Pythons

    Thanks for sharing experiences! I guess I will continue to feed her in her cage despite the mess...

    The reason my profile says three (now four) posts is because the first time I tried to pose the question my session timed out. When I logged in again as prompted there was a glitch and my post dissapeared. I then wrote to admin in the hopes they could recover it. Waited a few days, no response. Wrote second message to admin asking if could recover and also why my profile (at time) showed 1 post. They responded that my original post was unrecoverable and that any messages to admin were included in post counts. That is why I had a count of three after my first forum post.

  7. #5
    Bogertophis's Avatar
    Join Date
    04-28-2018
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    14,083
    Thanks
    19,783
    Thanked 12,074 Times in 7,597 Posts

    Re: Feeding Aging Pythons

    Quote Originally Posted by puddinck View Post
    Thanks for sharing experiences! I guess I will continue to feed her in her cage despite the mess...
    With my current old corn snake, he's close to 6' and "should" eat a large mouse, but most of the time he acts like it won't fit, lol....he'll grab it, hold it, then leave it,
    even though he's hungry & eats a few days later, but usually something much smaller. It's also obvious that his vision is quite poor now. Once in a while he will eat
    a large mouse, but his appetite has slowed way down. All this is normal for an aging snake. But they aren't all the same either & my late Baird's rat snake was very
    unusual in that he wanted food but would wobble his head & neck all over trying to grab it...very uncoordinated. Once he got food in his mouth, I had to hold it with
    my tongs & guide it well into his mouth & upper throat, otherwise he'd just drop it. From that point he could swallow it. I can't believe he lived as long as he did,
    especially with that issue, but he had me to help him. As long as he seemed to want to live, I was right there to assist & I was very fond of him. Like I said though,
    a wild snake would never last. Just like humans, not all snakes age the same way, and many never make it long enough to see these kinds of things.

  8. The Following User Says Thank You to Bogertophis For This Useful Post:

    Alter-Echo (06-25-2018)

  9. #6
    Bogertophis's Avatar
    Join Date
    04-28-2018
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    14,083
    Thanks
    19,783
    Thanked 12,074 Times in 7,597 Posts
    Reminds me of a Far Side cartoon, ya gotta love Gary Larson! (he kept snakes too, btw)

    https://i.pinimg.com/originals/f6/d3...bda92edd00.jpg

  10. The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to Bogertophis For This Useful Post:

    Alter-Echo (06-25-2018),djansen (06-20-2018),hilabeans (06-21-2018),puddinck (06-21-2018),richardhind1972 (06-21-2018),tttaylorrr (06-21-2018),Wharf Rat (06-21-2018)

  11. #7
    BPnet Veteran DennisM's Avatar
    Join Date
    07-19-2014
    Posts
    907
    Thanks
    104
    Thanked 571 Times in 379 Posts
    Images: 24
    Well, I suppose there can be sensory degradation in all species as they age. I have a 25 year old bp that I haven't noticed anything like that in, but the snake definitely started feeding less frequently in her late teens. She only feeds 8-10 times a year for about the last decade. I had another her same age that died recently and the pattern was the same. So my experience is that they just don't need the same food intake as they age. I wouldn't be concerned.

  12. The Following User Says Thank You to DennisM For This Useful Post:

    bcr229 (06-21-2018)

  13. #8
    BPnet Lifer ladywhipple02's Avatar
    Join Date
    07-26-2005
    Location
    Greensburg, Indiana
    Posts
    2,667
    Thanks
    432
    Thanked 955 Times in 400 Posts
    Images: 11

    Re: Feeding Aging Pythons

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    With my current old corn snake, he's close to 6' and "should" eat a large mouse, but most of the time he acts like it won't fit, lol....he'll grab it, hold it, then leave it,
    even though he's hungry & eats a few days later, but usually something much smaller. .
    This is a good point I think... since they don't need as much food as they age, perhaps feed a smaller prey item, something easier for her to grasp and get down?

  14. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    05-23-2018
    Posts
    33
    Thanks
    27
    Thanked 28 Times in 13 Posts
    Images: 11
    Tattoo fed on Monday so I waited until today to take some pics. Unfortunately after several attempts I am unable to upload them because the files are too large. I will resize and try again but I need a break!

    I also apologize for the late "Thanks" to Bogertophis but I usually lurk around forums instead of joining... This is mostly new to me and I don't know how to navigate very well.

    As mentioned above I am having issues with timing out of my session. First with posting and today with trying to upload photos. Is there a way to set preferences to stay logged in?

    Thanks!

  15. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    05-23-2018
    Posts
    33
    Thanks
    27
    Thanked 28 Times in 13 Posts
    Images: 11
    OK, see if these images work... I am not sure how to rotate the images so bear with me. I included a close-up of her eye to show how clear it still is. I am pretty sure her issues are scent related.


  16. The Following 9 Users Say Thank You to puddinck For This Useful Post:

    Alter-Echo (06-25-2018),Bogertophis (06-21-2018),glasspassages (07-11-2018),hilabeans (06-21-2018),purpleroan (06-25-2018),Spicey (03-23-2021),the_rotten1 (06-22-2018),Trinityblood (03-23-2021),tttaylorrr (06-21-2018)

Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v4.2.1