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  1. #1
    Registered User WhompingWillow's Avatar
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    Live or assist? (feeding question)

    Alright guys, here is my very first "please help me with feeding" thread. I could use some advice on our Granite IJ. I picked her up right before Thanksgiving, and in the time we've had her she has only eaten twice, both F/T mouse fuzzies. The first time she struck at the mouse and ate, then she skipped a couple of weeks, and the second (final) time she ate the mouse was left in her cage. But that was quite a while ago.

    I've had a lot of luck so far with being able to figure out quirks in eating styles with our snakes, but I cannot for the life of me figure out Bridget. She's lost some weight and doesn't have much she can lose (she is currently about 40 grams, down from about 50). She's starting to have a more pronounced triangular shape, not awful but noticeable. Enough to make me nervous, especially because she almost seems afraid of the prey item.

    We offer once per week. I've tried a smaller fuzzy, a larger fuzzy. Have dipped in chicken broth. Have brained one. Have offered on tongs. Have left in cage. She always shows initial interest but ultimately backs away.

    Husbandry: she's in a 12x18 ExoTerra, hot spot is 90, ambient is anywhere from 77-80. Only source of heat right now is an infrared lamp on a dimmer because she never touches the ground. There's a good heat gradient with a ton of plant cover and a hide (that she never uses). She flicks her tongue when a mouse approaches or if she's out exploring, which is hardly ever because of the not eating. Handling is kept to a bare minimum.

    For some more background, our Bredli is from the same breeder, has the same environmental conditions, and is a garbage disposal - has never missed a meal.

    My questions are these:

    1) Can I or should I be doing something differently?
    2) If she had more size on her I'd just accept the fast until she decided to eat. But I'm not comfortable with that route anymore, as it's been 2 small meals in 2 months. :/ With that being said, should I try live or should I attempt to assist feed? I'm not completely certain I'll be able to source local live mice that are small enough, which is why I'm wondering about assist feeding.

    If I am able to find a live fuzzy (planning to go to the pet shop where I'll have the best chance getting one once the roads clear), what do I do with it if she doesn't eat it? I have not yet had to feed live. All our other snakes are on F/T. If she won't eat it I do not want to in any way be cruel to the mouse.

    Sor for the lengthy post, and thank you in advance for your help!

    Sent from my H3123 using Tapatalk
    BALL PYTHONS: 1.0 Pied/Clark, 1.0 Pastel Vanilla Super Stripe/Sunny, 0.1 Dragon Fly/Buffy, 0.1 Pastel Vanilla Yellow Belly/Cher, 0.1 BEL (Mojave Lesser)/Arya, 0.0.1 Normal/Norm, 0.1 Cinnamon Enchi/Peaches, 1.0 Cinnamon Calico/Yoshi, 0.1 Pewter Het Dreamsicle/Ariel
    BOAS: 0.1 Dumeril's/Memphis, 0.1 BCL/Artemis, 1.0 BCO/Grimm, 0.1 Suriname BCC/Rhubarb
    CORN SNAKES: 0.0.1/Mushu
    MORELIA: 0.1 Bredli/Zelda, 0.1 Granite IJ/Bridget, 0.1 Caramel Diamond Jungle/Pixie

  2. #2
    Registered User Dianne's Avatar
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    Re: Live or assist? (feeding question)

    I would try live before I tried to assist feed. One of my hatchling bps, Belle, that I bought last summer was difficult to start and I ended up having to feed live fuzzies. After a few weeks of steady meals, she switched to f/t with no problem. Same thing with my sub-adult female, Artemis, that I bought 9/2/18. She just ate for the first time for me last night, live small rat.

    Assist feeding is very stressful to the snake. Very young or small snakes can also be injured during the process. I personally only consider assist feeding as a last resort when Iím seeing clear weight loss, after Iíve tried everything else.
    Other Snakes:
    Duncan
    - 1992 0.1 Bci; Hudson 1988 1.0 Colombian rainbow; Yang 2002 1.0 Corn snake; Merlin 2000 1.0 Solomon Island ground boa; Kett 2015 1.0 Diamond Jungle Jaguar carpet python; Dakota 2014 0.0.1 Childrenís python

    Ball pythons:
    Eli 1990 1.0 Normal; Buttercup 2015 1.0 Albino; Artemis 2015 0.1 Dragonfly; Orion 2015 1.0 Banana Pinstripe; Button 2018 1.0 Blue Eyed Lucy; Piper 2018 0.1 Piebald; Belle 2018 0.1 Lemonblast; Sabrina 2017 0.1 Mojave; Selene 2017 0.1 Banana Mojave; Loki 2018 1.0 Pastel Mystic Potion; Cuervo 2018 1.0 Banana Piebald; Claude 2017 1.0 Albino Pastel Spider; Penelope 2016 0.1 Lesser

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  4. #3
    BPnet Veteran Craiga 01453's Avatar
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    I've never had to assist feed. But from all I know it's an absolute last resort.

    And as Deborah often says: " you don't assist feed an animal that already knows how to eat".
    ...and in Deb I trust.

    Since the snake came to you at 50 grams and has eaten twice in yoyr care, I would advise against assist feeding.

    I don't know enough about the subtleties of their care, but Bredlis are mainland Australian carpets, and Irian Jaya is an Indonesian island... maybe their husbandry shouldn't be identical?
    Maybe try making some husbandry tweaks. What works for one locality may not for the other.
    Last edited by Craiga 01453; 01-23-2019 at 10:05 AM.
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  6. #4
    Registered User WhompingWillow's Avatar
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    Re: Live or assist? (feeding question)

    Thank you both. I'm going to head to our local mom and pop shop later today to see if I'm able to acquire a fuzzy. If so that's what I'll offer in a few days (last night was the most recent attempt, so I don't want to stress her out by offering too soon). I'm hoping that after a few live feeds she'll switch back over to F/T. If she does not eat the live mouse, what should I do with it? See if the store will take it back? A fuzzy won't be old enough to survive on its for any length of time, and I really wouldn't want it to suffer in any way. I'd rather not offer it to a different snake because everyone else is eating F/T...
    BALL PYTHONS: 1.0 Pied/Clark, 1.0 Pastel Vanilla Super Stripe/Sunny, 0.1 Dragon Fly/Buffy, 0.1 Pastel Vanilla Yellow Belly/Cher, 0.1 BEL (Mojave Lesser)/Arya, 0.0.1 Normal/Norm, 0.1 Cinnamon Enchi/Peaches, 1.0 Cinnamon Calico/Yoshi, 0.1 Pewter Het Dreamsicle/Ariel
    BOAS: 0.1 Dumeril's/Memphis, 0.1 BCL/Artemis, 1.0 BCO/Grimm, 0.1 Suriname BCC/Rhubarb
    CORN SNAKES: 0.0.1/Mushu
    MORELIA: 0.1 Bredli/Zelda, 0.1 Granite IJ/Bridget, 0.1 Caramel Diamond Jungle/Pixie

  7. #5
    Telling it like it is! Deborah's Avatar
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    Assisting is a last resort regardless of the species, live is the route to go. Considering is 40 grams, what I would do is set her up like a breeder would. I have bred IJ in the past and all were setup in a 6 quarts tub until they were strong feeder.

    You may or may not put a piece of pipe across the tub personally I never had when they were young.

    So what would I do in order

    Feed live if refused immediately switch to a smaller space and wait a week and offer live.

    Assist would be my very last resort after 2 weeks of that treatment has failed.

    People always thing "oh snakes can go a long time without food" well it's true but when they are that young getting them on track fast as possible is very important because they can't go that long and the more you wait the more it becomes a viscous circle.

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  9. #6
    Registered User WhompingWillow's Avatar
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    Re: Live or assist? (feeding question)

    Quote Originally Posted by Deborah View Post
    Assisting is a last resort regardless of the species, live is the route to go. Considering is 40 grams, what I would do is set her up like a breeder would. I have bred IJ in the past and all were setup in a 6 quarts tub until they were strong feeder.

    You may or may not put a piece of pipe across the tub personally I never had when they were young.

    So what would I do in order

    Feed live if refused immediately switch to a smaller space and wait a week and offer live.

    Assist would be my very last resort after 2 weeks of that treatment has failed.

    People always thing "oh snakes can go a long time without food" well it's true but when they are that young getting them on track fast as possible is very important because they can't go that long and the more you wait the more it becomes a viscous circle.
    Thank you, Deborah. I'm thinking I'm going to have to set her up in a smaller tub. Thankfully I have some spare parts hanging around so it will be a quick change if it comes to that. I'll keep everyone posted, fingers crossed live does the trick!
    BALL PYTHONS: 1.0 Pied/Clark, 1.0 Pastel Vanilla Super Stripe/Sunny, 0.1 Dragon Fly/Buffy, 0.1 Pastel Vanilla Yellow Belly/Cher, 0.1 BEL (Mojave Lesser)/Arya, 0.0.1 Normal/Norm, 0.1 Cinnamon Enchi/Peaches, 1.0 Cinnamon Calico/Yoshi, 0.1 Pewter Het Dreamsicle/Ariel
    BOAS: 0.1 Dumeril's/Memphis, 0.1 BCL/Artemis, 1.0 BCO/Grimm, 0.1 Suriname BCC/Rhubarb
    CORN SNAKES: 0.0.1/Mushu
    MORELIA: 0.1 Bredli/Zelda, 0.1 Granite IJ/Bridget, 0.1 Caramel Diamond Jungle/Pixie

  10. #7
    Telling it like it is! Deborah's Avatar
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    Re: Live or assist? (feeding question)

    Quote Originally Posted by WhompingWillow View Post
    Thank you, Deborah. I'm thinking I'm going to have to set her up in a smaller tub. Thankfully I have some spare parts hanging around so it will be a quick change if it comes to that. I'll keep everyone posted, fingers crossed live does the trick!
    Hopefully it will work out, young carpets can be a pain but once you know what works for them they are a lot easier than BP and never turn down food, just need to get on track, good luck.

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  12. #8
    Registered User WhompingWillow's Avatar
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    Re: Live or assist? (feeding question)

    Just a quick update that we successfully assist fed Bridget today. I know it's not ideal, but thankfully she seemed to handle it well. We used a small fuzzy, and she ate it no problem after getting its head in her mouth. Hoping she'll make it through the next couple of days without a regurge.

    Sent from my H3123 using Tapatalk
    BALL PYTHONS: 1.0 Pied/Clark, 1.0 Pastel Vanilla Super Stripe/Sunny, 0.1 Dragon Fly/Buffy, 0.1 Pastel Vanilla Yellow Belly/Cher, 0.1 BEL (Mojave Lesser)/Arya, 0.0.1 Normal/Norm, 0.1 Cinnamon Enchi/Peaches, 1.0 Cinnamon Calico/Yoshi, 0.1 Pewter Het Dreamsicle/Ariel
    BOAS: 0.1 Dumeril's/Memphis, 0.1 BCL/Artemis, 1.0 BCO/Grimm, 0.1 Suriname BCC/Rhubarb
    CORN SNAKES: 0.0.1/Mushu
    MORELIA: 0.1 Bredli/Zelda, 0.1 Granite IJ/Bridget, 0.1 Caramel Diamond Jungle/Pixie

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  14. #9
    Registered User WhompingWillow's Avatar
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    Re: Live or assist? (feeding question)

    Just an update on Bridget. She's doing great (she finally shed again!) and is now back to 60+ grams. BUT we are still assist feeding her. We've done so 4 times total (once weekly), always after initially offering a mouse on tongs. All I have to do is get the mouse head in her mouth and she does the rest easily.

    I think the plan is to assist one more week if needed, then skip a week if she doesn't strike on her own the next feeding, to see if hunger wins out around the 2 week mark.

    She is utilizing more of her cage and seems to be becoming more comfortable. Rather than just stay in the same spot 24/7, she's been using her hide and the plants on the cooler side too.

    While assisting isn't ideal, I am happy she takes the mouse so readily without having to actually force it down.

    And yes, we still have Lucky, our now pet mouse from her failed live feeding attempt.
    BALL PYTHONS: 1.0 Pied/Clark, 1.0 Pastel Vanilla Super Stripe/Sunny, 0.1 Dragon Fly/Buffy, 0.1 Pastel Vanilla Yellow Belly/Cher, 0.1 BEL (Mojave Lesser)/Arya, 0.0.1 Normal/Norm, 0.1 Cinnamon Enchi/Peaches, 1.0 Cinnamon Calico/Yoshi, 0.1 Pewter Het Dreamsicle/Ariel
    BOAS: 0.1 Dumeril's/Memphis, 0.1 BCL/Artemis, 1.0 BCO/Grimm, 0.1 Suriname BCC/Rhubarb
    CORN SNAKES: 0.0.1/Mushu
    MORELIA: 0.1 Bredli/Zelda, 0.1 Granite IJ/Bridget, 0.1 Caramel Diamond Jungle/Pixie

  15. #10
    Registered User WhompingWillow's Avatar
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    Re: Live or assist? (feeding question)

    Just a quick update that I am 95% certain Bridget ate on her own tonight! She seemed sooo interested in the F/T mouse and after several minutes she nudged it a bit with the side of her mouth and that's what it took for her to realize, "Hey, I want this." I'm going to check tomorrow to make sure she actually ate it, as she had kind of a funny grip and ended up hanging upside down from her plant with it. Gotta love carpets and their acrobatics.

    It's a huge relief that she took the initiative in eating after several weeks of assist feeding. Here's hoping it's finally clicked for her.

    Sent from my H3123 using Tapatalk
    BALL PYTHONS: 1.0 Pied/Clark, 1.0 Pastel Vanilla Super Stripe/Sunny, 0.1 Dragon Fly/Buffy, 0.1 Pastel Vanilla Yellow Belly/Cher, 0.1 BEL (Mojave Lesser)/Arya, 0.0.1 Normal/Norm, 0.1 Cinnamon Enchi/Peaches, 1.0 Cinnamon Calico/Yoshi, 0.1 Pewter Het Dreamsicle/Ariel
    BOAS: 0.1 Dumeril's/Memphis, 0.1 BCL/Artemis, 1.0 BCO/Grimm, 0.1 Suriname BCC/Rhubarb
    CORN SNAKES: 0.0.1/Mushu
    MORELIA: 0.1 Bredli/Zelda, 0.1 Granite IJ/Bridget, 0.1 Caramel Diamond Jungle/Pixie

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