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  1. #1
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    Feeding Strike/Staying in Cold Hide?

    Hey everyone! I'm probably just worrying again, but I want to check and rule out any possibilities! Rather be safe than sorry! I've had my girl for over a month now.

    My 2.5ish year old girl, Nagini, shed about 4 days ago on Friday! It was all in one piece (very proud mama) and she dropped a nice big POOP and urate right after, so looking healthy there! She spent her entire shed in her warm hide, however, immediately after shedding, she goes straight into her cold hide and has been in there for the past 3 days straight (it's Monday)... I know they will pick and choose when they want, but it is pretty cold outside and I'm just worried as she usually goes between the two hides regularly.

    I also tried feeding her the day after she shed, thinking she would be hungry, but she refused to eat, which she has never done. I thought it was maybe the rat's size as it was a tiny bit larger than usual, so I brought her a smaller rat 2 days later (today) and she still does not want it. She sniffs at it- getting so close she is literally touching it but then just turns her nose up at it. I know BPs also go on hunger strikes, but she has never refused a meal and usually has striked at it before I have even completely gotten it inside lol (greedy gal). If this is a hunger strike, how many times refused before I know that? Should I keep offering weekly food?

    I am trying not to stress her out- I only took her out once to feed and change substrate on Saturday and then today.

    LASTLY, I noticed some "dirt" around her snoot- I see this on her rather frequently actually cause she has a habit of digging. I've caught her doing it a couple times and it's actually extremely adorable lol But I attached some pics, just in case? This isn't mucus or mouth rot, right?? (Also enjoy her dorky little face). Should I be attempting to clean this off? I usually just leave it as I don't want to bother her and there's never A LOT of it, so I generally just let her be her weirdo snake self.
    https://ball-pythons.net/gallery/fil...4/img_4917.jpg
    https://ball-pythons.net/gallery/fil...4/img_4920.jpg
    https://ball-pythons.net/gallery/fil...4/img_4922.jpg

    Anything to worry about?

    Her husbandry: one hide on each end (cold and hot), both are enclosed little hides with just an entrance hole and she seems to love them both up to now. Warm hide has UTH under at exactly 90-91F, checked regularly and controlled with thermostat- the probe is sandwiched between UTH and under the tub. Ambient temps are as close to 80F as I can get them to stay, but usually lingering around 78F- using a heat lamp with thermostat as well. Humidity always between 50-60% and 70% during her shed. All of this has been consistent since I got her, so nothing has changed dramatically about it recently!

    Appreciate your input!

  2. #2
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    As to whether or not this is a "hunger strike", there's a first time for everything, and she's also about the right age to do it.

    I wouldn't offer food weekly, I'd do not less than 2 weeks. Another thing, you're going by the temperature on the thermostat, right? Be sure you take the
    actual-IN-cage temperature right over the UTH & under any substrate...just to make sure it's not too hot where she might be touching. That alone could
    explain her desire for the cooler hide, IF the warm hide is too warm.

    She looks fine to me in photos...a cutie! But you've only had her "a little more than a month" now, right? How many times has she fed for you? Any?
    And are you sure she ate rats (not mice?) prior to coming home with you?
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 02-11-2019 at 11:02 PM.

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    Re: Feeding Strike/Staying in Cold Hide?

    Thanks for your reply!

    No, I have 2 digital thermometer/hygrometers inside the cage on each end as well as a temp gun that I use to measure the surface temp! So I am pretty positive it is not TOO hot for her (unless all the gadgets are broken of course! lol). If it's not too hot, is this still normal for her to do?
    Before this shed cycle, she would switch between the two hides fairly regularly, so it is just concerning to me that she's now all of a sudden on the cold hide exclusively, especially when it's such a cold winter.

    Isn't she adorable? lol I'm gaga eyes for her But yes, I've had her a little over a month and adopted her from her previous owner who never had a problem feeding (he never mentioned if she's ever been on a hunger strike, though). And since I've had her, she's eaten like a machine exactly once a week (so about 4 times). She weighs about 850G and her widest girth is about 3 big fingers (or 4 if you have tiny hands lol), so she is definitely big enough for the SMALL rats I've been feeding her. Definitely not medium or full sized, but she seems to do just fine with the small ones!



    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    As to whether or not this is a "hunger strike", there's a first time for everything, and she's also about the right age to do it.

    I wouldn't offer food weekly, I'd do not less than 2 weeks. Another thing, you're going by the temperature on the thermostat, right? Be sure you take the
    actual-IN-cage temperature right over the UTH & under any substrate...just to make sure it's not too hot where she might be touching. That alone could
    explain her desire for the cooler hide, IF the warm hide is too warm.

    She looks fine to me in photos...a cutie! But you've only had her "a little more than a month" now, right? How many times has she fed for you? Any?
    And are you sure she ate rats (not mice?) prior to coming home with you?

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    Bogertophis (02-12-2019)

  6. #4
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    It's possible that your sweet-beep could be doing a normal response to winter & maturity by going off feed. Snakes respond not only to temperatures but also
    to shorter day-lengths, but also it might be related to being in a new household. I'm also assuming you aren't handling...that plus a change of household can
    also put a snake off of eating. Sounds like you've got her set up correctly...I'm curious, how often her former owner was feeding her? Weekly sounds like a
    lot for a 2.5 year-old snake...so maybe THAT's actually what put her off eating...too much food. If it's not a "winter-response", maybe it's a "too much food"
    reaction, lol. Either way, you'll figure it out. Sounds like you have the right size food, but I'd say you've been feeding too often for her age. Snakes are great
    teachers of patience & they make "detectives" of us all. (Even if her previous owner fed her once a week, it's also possible that he was feeding smaller
    prey items...not all sources label prey sizes the same way.)
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 02-12-2019 at 12:17 PM.

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    Re: Feeding Strike/Staying in Cold Hide?

    Okay that's what I am hoping for! Maybe she's just acclimating and going on a little strike.

    Her former owner fed her about once a week as well, but would feed her 2 mice instead of 1 small rat. She hasn't had a problem with the size, but maybe I'm feeding her too frequently! I was trying to fatten her up a bit as she is a little underweight, so maybe she's just taking a break. I'll space out her feedings a little more when she's off this strike.

    I am a little more concerned about her being in her cold hide, though. She's still in there as of today, but hopefully she will just go to her warm hide once she is ready! If you have any ideas as to why she's not staying in her warm hide, that would be helpful! I can't think of anything as it is clean, right temps, and she liked it before. But again, maybe she's just being a little weirdo and trying to keep me guessing

    Thank you for all your help so far!!


    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    It's possible that your sweet-beep could be doing a normal response to winter & maturity by going off feed. Snakes respond not only to temperatures but also
    to shorter day-lengths, but also it might be related to being in a new household. I'm also assuming you aren't handling...that plus a change of household can
    also put a snake off of eating. Sounds like you've got her set up correctly...I'm curious, how often her former owner was feeding her? Weekly sounds like a
    lot for a 2.5 year-old snake...so maybe THAT's actually what put her off eating...too much food. If it's not a "winter-response", maybe it's a "too much food"
    reaction, lol. Either way, you'll figure it out. Sounds like you have the right size food, but I'd say you've been feeding too often for her age. Snakes are great
    teachers of patience & they make "detectives" of us all. (Even if her previous owner fed her once a week, it's also possible that he was feeding smaller
    prey items...not all sources label prey sizes the same way.)

  9. #6
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Re: Feeding Strike/Staying in Cold Hide?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hannahvh View Post
    Okay that's what I am hoping for! Maybe she's just acclimating and going on a little strike.

    Her former owner fed her about once a week as well, but would feed her 2 mice instead of 1 small rat. She hasn't had a problem with the size, but maybe I'm feeding her too frequently! I was trying to fatten her up a bit as she is a little underweight, so maybe she's just taking a break. I'll space out her feedings a little more when she's off this strike.

    I am a little more concerned about her being in her cold hide, though. She's still in there as of today, but hopefully she will just go to her warm hide once she is ready! If you have any ideas as to why she's not staying in her warm hide, that would be helpful! I can't think of anything as it is clean, right temps, and she liked it before. But again, maybe she's just being a little weirdo and trying to keep me guessing

    Thank you for all your help so far!!
    Rats are harder to digest than mice (even 2 mice), so yes, you need to give her more time to digest them. I think that will help a lot.

    It makes sense now (to me) that she's staying in her cold hide...she is deliberately slowing down her digestion...if she was warmer, it would overwhelm her digestive
    tract. Think of it as a traffic jam... I know it seems counter-intuitive, but I can remember giving a large rat to an adult BCI (boa) when she was only used to consuming
    mediums at the most. She was more than big enough to take that size, but instead of staying warm, she went to the cool side to "slow it down": warmer temperatures
    cause the excess still-undigested food to "spoil" & swell up in their stomach, so somehow they know to slow it down. This is exactly why it's so important that our snakes
    have temperature choices when kept in captivity...it's not like a dog that can whine at the door to be let out. Just be observant, patient & support her choices...she
    knows what she's doing. If we pay close enough attention, they manage to teach us.

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  11. #7
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    Re: Feeding Strike/Staying in Cold Hide?

    This is exactly what I was looking for, thank you! That definitely does make sense, especially since she wouldn't be used to digesting rats AND why she's probably not wanting to feed right now as well. I'll space out her feedings more and see how she adjusts to that instead!

    They are such amazing creatures and never cease to surprise me! She definitely likes to freak me out with her odd behaviors and I swear she gloats when I look confusedShe's a silly one. I will keep an eye on her and do my best to make sure the cool side is warm enough to keep her comfy, but just let her be other than that!

    Thanks for all your ideas, really appreciate it!


    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    Rats are harder to digest than mice (even 2 mice), so yes, you need to give her more time to digest them. I think that will help a lot.

    It makes sense now (to me) that she's staying in her cold hide...she is deliberately slowing down her digestion...if she was warmer, it would overwhelm her digestive
    tract. Think of it as a traffic jam... I know it seems counter-intuitive, but I can remember giving a large rat to an adult BCI (boa) when she was only used to consuming
    mediums at the most. She was more than big enough to take that size, but instead of staying warm, she went to the cool side to "slow it down": warmer temperatures
    cause the excess still-undigested food to "spoil" & swell up in their stomach, so somehow they know to slow it down. This is exactly why it's so important that our snakes
    have temperature choices when kept in captivity...it's not like a dog that can whine at the door to be let out. Just be observant, patient & support her choices...she
    knows what she's doing. If we pay close enough attention, they manage to teach us.

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