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  1. #1
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    Seeking advice for new BP owner.

    Hey! So Iím brand new to the reptile-owning world. I did SO MUCH research before getting my little guy, handled a bunch of other snakes, and really thought I knew what I was doing. And then I got mine and all that went out the window. I guess this is what first-time moms feel like??

    My two biggest concerns right now:

    1) I canít get humidity levels to stabilize in my tank. I have a glass aquarium with a mesh lid. I have 2 water dishes, one directly below the heat lamp. I have covered 2/3 of the tank to prevent evaporation. I mist the tank at least once per day, have used soaked coconut husk mats under the substrate. And nothing I do will get the humidity over 35% for more than a few minutes. If Iím gone for a day or two itís even gotten down to 15%.

    2) I know BP are notoriously picky/bad eaters. Mine is no exception. Iíve tried to transition him a couple times to frozen/thawed rats (he was eating live pup rats from the breeder before I got him) with no success. Today I tried a live pup rat for about 15 minutes in the feeder tank and then gave up and put them both in his normal tank. Theyíve now been together for a few hours, and rat actually just crawled his way into the hide with my snake. Theyíre apparently buddies now. Iím gonna leave him overnight (Iím pretty sure heís too small to fight my snake) but Iím running out of ideas.... itís only been about 2 or 3 weeks that Iíve had him, and I know he can go much longer without eating, but since I have yet to successfully feed him Iím starting to get worried.

    Any advice or encouragement is greatly appreciated!!!

  2. #2
    BPnet Senior Member dakski's Avatar
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    Re: Seeking advice for new BP owner.

    Quote Originally Posted by Boba View Post
    Hey! So Iím brand new to the reptile-owning world. I did SO MUCH research before getting my little guy, handled a bunch of other snakes, and really thought I knew what I was doing. And then I got mine and all that went out the window. I guess this is what first-time moms feel like??

    My two biggest concerns right now:

    1) I canít get humidity levels to stabilize in my tank. I have a glass aquarium with a mesh lid. I have 2 water dishes, one directly below the heat lamp. I have covered 2/3 of the tank to prevent evaporation. I mist the tank at least once per day, have used soaked coconut husk mats under the substrate. And nothing I do will get the humidity over 35% for more than a few minutes. If Iím gone for a day or two itís even gotten down to 15%.

    2) I know BP are notoriously picky/bad eaters. Mine is no exception. Iíve tried to transition him a couple times to frozen/thawed rats (he was eating live pup rats from the breeder before I got him) with no success. Today I tried a live pup rat for about 15 minutes in the feeder tank and then gave up and put them both in his normal tank. Theyíve now been together for a few hours, and rat actually just crawled his way into the hide with my snake. Theyíre apparently buddies now. Iím gonna leave him overnight (Iím pretty sure heís too small to fight my snake) but Iím running out of ideas.... itís only been about 2 or 3 weeks that Iíve had him, and I know he can go much longer without eating, but since I have yet to successfully feed him Iím starting to get worried.

    Any advice or encouragement is greatly appreciated!!!
    1. DO NOT LEAVE LIVE FOOD WITH YOUR SNAKE UNATTENDED! EVER, AT ALL!

    This can lead to serious injury for your snake, or worse. Snakes only kill to eat.

    2. FEED IN TANK!

    3. How long have you had him? 1-2 weeks to settle at least if he's 6 months old. Then food.

    4. How are you offering F/T prey? How are you defrosting?

    5. What does tank look like? Hides, temps, etc.

    6. Humidity needs to be adjusted and fixed ASAP.

    This should be your priority.

    Security, proper temps, and proper humidity for him. Then LEAVE HIM ALONE and let him settle.

    Please take this to heart and that I am trying to help. Been keeping reptiles most of life and keep multiple species (including BP) of snakes and lizards. 13 animals in total.

    GET THE RAT OUT OF THEIR NOW! Then answer questions and we will try to help.

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  4. #3
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    While many here will steer you away from a glass tank for housing a BP (due to humidity requirements), it can be made to work. But you have to realize that
    the plastic type cages many use have very little to almost-no air exchange to make that work. It's not as if humidity can go thru either glass OR plastic......
    it's all about the air-flow. So to make it work, you need to cover more like 99% of the ventilated top.

    Heat lamps are also notorious humidity-"thieves". If you used UTH, for example, the heat would be rising up thru your humid substrate. And all heating equip-
    ment should be controlled by thermostat for safety, due to the higher warmth needed by BPs. All this is why you should always have your enclosure set up for
    testing for at least a week before bringing home a snake, that will only be further stressed by you having to keep making changes when he is new & scared.

    NEVER LEAVE A LIVE RAT IN THE CAGE WITH YOUR SNAKE...THEY GET HUNGRY AND WILL CHEW ON YOUR SNAKE, & IF YOUR SNAKE IS NOT READY TO EAT,
    IT WILL NOT KILL THE RAT, IT WILL JUST BE TRAPPED & GETTING INJURED. Your snake & the rat are NOT "buddies". Not now, not ever.

    Often the reason a BP won't eat (besides being handled, being new & scared, being fed the wrong way or wrong rodents or wrong size...) has to do with the
    cage temperatures. What are they? -the highest & lowest?
    Many friends in low places...

    The only alternative to co-existence is co-destruction.
    Jawaharlal Nehru.....Indian politician (1889 - 1964)


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  6. #4
    Telling it like it is! Deborah's Avatar
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    Aside from what was mentioned previously.

    itís only been about 2 or 3 weeks that Iíve had him, and I know he can go much longer without eating
    Yes and no, it depends on the age/size of the animal if you just got a 2019 Baby you do not have much time and getting the animal on track as soon as possible is VERY important.

    How big is your snake?

    How big is your enclosure?

    What are your exact temps? What do you use to measure them?

    How tight are your hides?

    How often have you been handling him?

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  8. #5
    Registered User RedRabbit's Avatar
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    Re: Seeking advice for new BP owner.

    Quote Originally Posted by Boba View Post
    Hey! So I’m brand new to the reptile-owning world. I did SO MUCH research before getting my little guy, handled a bunch of other snakes, and really thought I knew what I was doing. And then I got mine and all that went out the window. I guess this is what first-time moms feel like??

    My two biggest concerns right now:

    1) I can’t get humidity levels to stabilize in my tank. I have a glass aquarium with a mesh lid. I have 2 water dishes, one directly below the heat lamp. I have covered 2/3 of the tank to prevent evaporation. I mist the tank at least once per day, have used soaked coconut husk mats under the substrate. And nothing I do will get the humidity over 35% for more than a few minutes. If I’m gone for a day or two it’s even gotten down to 15%.

    2) I know BP are notoriously picky/bad eaters. Mine is no exception. I’ve tried to transition him a couple times to frozen/thawed rats (he was eating live pup rats from the breeder before I got him) with no success. Today I tried a live pup rat for about 15 minutes in the feeder tank and then gave up and put them both in his normal tank. They’ve now been together for a few hours, and rat actually just crawled his way into the hide with my snake. They’re apparently buddies now. I’m gonna leave him overnight (I’m pretty sure he’s too small to fight my snake) but I’m running out of ideas.... it’s only been about 2 or 3 weeks that I’ve had him, and I know he can go much longer without eating, but since I have yet to successfully feed him I’m starting to get worried.

    Any advice or encouragement is greatly appreciated!!!
    I would second the advice from those above, with some additional questions/clarifications. (And yes, this is exactly like first-time parenting, haha! Don't be discouraged, almost everyone hits the same stumbling blocks when they're first starting out.)

    1) Humidity - Out of curiosity, what are you measuring your humidity with, and where have you placed the device or probe for measurement? Some devices are not as accurate as others. Piggybacking on Bogertophis's questions about temperature, same there - what devices are you using for measurement, and where?

    2) Feeding - I definitely agree that it's best not to leave a live rodent unattended with your snake. The only exception would be mice or rats in the pinky and fuzzy stages, since they are too weak to do much of anything, but the general rule of thumb is that as soon as the rodent has its eyes open, then it's ready to bite, and rat pups are at the stage where their eyes are starting to open. Even if the rat pup you currently have is a little thing with the eyes still shut, then consider that your young snake is also probably scared and stressed out by its unwelcome new roommate, and is probably going to be less inclined to eat as a result. So yeah, time to evict that roommate.

    [Edit: Whoops, some redundancy with Deb's response which I didn't see until after posting, but you get the idea, haha.]
    Last edited by RedRabbit; 06-05-2019 at 10:52 PM.
    1.0 - 2018 Cinnamon Enchi Ghost - Ignis ("Iggy")
    1.0 - 2018 Butter Mojave BEL - Ravus ("Rae")

    Iggy&Rae on Instagram:
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  10. #6
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    Re: Seeking advice for new BP owner.

    Quote Originally Posted by dakski View Post
    1. DO NOT LEAVE LIVE FOOD WITH YOUR SNAKE UNATTENDED! EVER, AT ALL!

    This can lead to serious injury for your snake, or worse. Snakes only kill to eat.

    2. FEED IN TANK!

    3. How long have you had him? 1-2 weeks to settle at least if he's 6 months old. Then food.

    4. How are you offering F/T prey? How are you defrosting?

    5. What does tank look like? Hides, temps, etc.

    6. Humidity needs to be adjusted and fixed ASAP.

    This should be your priority.

    Security, proper temps, and proper humidity for him. Then LEAVE HIM ALONE and let him settle.

    Please take this to heart and that I am trying to help. Been keeping reptiles most of life and keep multiple species (including BP) of snakes and lizards. 13 animals in total.

    GET THE RAT OUT OF THEIR NOW! Then answer questions and we will try to help.
    He wasnít unattended... his tank is in my room so I was keeping an eye on him. But I took it out, snapped itís neck and tossed it in the freezer for later.

    2. Feed in tank... as in his regular tank?

    3. Iíve had him maybe 2-3 weeks now? I waited just over a week before trying to feed for the first time, and then have tried every 4-5 days since.

    4. I take the rat out of the freezer and transfer to plastic bag which I then submerge in lukewarm water for about 30 minutes until itís fully thawed, then transfer to hot water for 20 minutes or so until the rat is a little warmer than room temp... then Iíve been using a separate feeder tank which I warm up with a heat lamp while the rat is thawing, put my snake in and then hold the rat by the tail, twitching him for about 15-20 minutes before giving up.

    5. I have a 20-gallon glass aquarium with a screen lid. Iíve covered about 2/3 of the lid with plastic (itís actually a picture frame I just set on top) to try and prevent too much evaporation. I have a heating pad on one side as well as a heat lamp set up to a regulator that keeps the temp on that side between 85 and 95 (it can sometimes get up to 104 during the day though, my thermometer has a memory so I can check it if Iíve been gone). This generally keeps the other side of the tank around 70-80, though it can get a bit warmer during the day. But my BP usually hangs out on the warm side anyway. I have two small water dishes on either side of the tank, a plastic hollowed-out tree thing that is his favorite hide on the warm side, and a cardboard box as hide #2 on the cool side. He rarely prefers that hide. I use Repti Bark substrate, but added a coconut husk mat under part of it near the heating pad because I was hoping that would help retain water and increase the humidity. I also have some vines and such scattered around for him to climb/explore as he goes around his tank.

    6. Yes, I agree. What else can I do?




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  11. #7
    BPnet Senior Member dakski's Avatar
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    Re: Seeking advice for new BP owner.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deborah View Post
    Aside from what was mentioned previously.

    Yes and no, it depends on the age/size of the animal if you just got a 2019 Baby you do not have much time and getting the animal on track as soon as possible is VERY important.

    How big is your snake?

    How big is your enclosure?

    What are your exact temps? What do you use to measure them?

    How tight are your hides?

    How often have you been handling him?
    I just saw the 2-3 weeks that he's been with you.

    I also saw your other post where you have been taking pictures with him and handling, etc.

    From the pictures, I agree with Deborah - it's important to getting him eating.

    I think you need to make some adjustments to your tank and then leave him alone for a little bit, let him settle, and then do not handle, etc. until you he eats a few meals.

    Basic for a tank:

    Proper temps taken at the ground with a temp gun.

    All heat devices thermostat controlled.

    Proper humidity - which as Bogertophis mentioned, heat lamps will make difficult, especially if not being controlled and providing proper temps - in other words too hot = faster evaporation.

    2 Hides minimum. Snug and the same hide on both sides. Boba should not have to pick security over proper temps.

    I've made the mistake of handling and being excited and not following protocol for a new animal. You will have him for a long time and have plenty of time to bond. Get him on track first. Learn from others' mistakes.

  12. #8
    BPnet Senior Member dakski's Avatar
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    Re: Seeking advice for new BP owner.

    Quote Originally Posted by Boba View Post
    He wasnít unattended... his tank is in my room so I was keeping an eye on him. But I took it out, snapped itís neck and tossed it in the freezer for later.

    2. Feed in tank... as in his regular tank?

    Yes. Where he lives and feels safe.

    3. Iíve had him maybe 2-3 weeks now? I waited just over a week before trying to feed for the first time, and then have tried every 4-5 days since.

    See the post I just put up. Leave him be for a bit and then offer again.

    4. I take the rat out of the freezer and transfer to plastic bag which I then submerge in lukewarm water for about 30 minutes until itís fully thawed, then transfer to hot water for 20 minutes or so until the rat is a little warmer than room temp... then Iíve been using a separate feeder tank which I warm up with a heat lamp while the rat is thawing, put my snake in and then hold the rat by the tail, twitching him for about 15-20 minutes before giving up.

    I will post proper defrosting and offering procedure at the bottom of the post. 20 minutes in hot water = cooked rat, especially at that size. You should defrost at room temp or lukewarm water for as long as it takes for the size of rat, and then drop in hot water (tap water) for 30 seconds to a minute to get the heat pits going on your BP. Not more. Also, offer on tongs for a minute or two. If not interested, leave him alone, you are only stressing him out. You can leave a F/T rat in the tank overnight to see if he eats.

    5. I have a 20-gallon glass aquarium with a screen lid. Iíve covered about 2/3 of the lid with plastic (itís actually a picture frame I just set on top) to try and prevent too much evaporation. I have a heating pad on one side as well as a heat lamp set up to a regulator that keeps the temp on that side between 85 and 95 (it can sometimes get up to 104 during the day though, my thermometer has a memory so I can check it if Iíve been gone). This generally keeps the other side of the tank around 70-80, though it can get a bit warmer during the day. But my BP usually hangs out on the warm side anyway. I have two small water dishes on either side of the tank, a plastic hollowed-out tree thing that is his favorite hide on the warm side, and a cardboard box as hide #2 on the cool side. He rarely prefers that hide. I use Repti Bark substrate, but added a coconut husk mat under part of it near the heating pad because I was hoping that would help retain water and increase the humidity. I also have some vines and such scattered around for him to climb/explore as he goes around his tank.

    Proper temps are: 88-90F hot spot. 82-84F ambient. 78-80F cool side.

    All heating elements must be thermostat controlled. A BP exposed to 104F for any length of time can lead to nerve damage and/or death.

    UNPLUG heating elements and get a thermostat - ASAP. Better to have a cool snake for a day or two than a dead one.

    6. Yes, I agree. What else can I do?




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    See above in blue.

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  14. #9
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    Re: Seeking advice for new BP owner.

    Quote Originally Posted by RedRabbit View Post
    I would second the advice from those above, with some additional questions/clarifications. (And yes, this is exactly like first-time parenting, haha! Don't be discouraged, almost everyone hits the same stumbling blocks when they're first starting out.)

    1) Humidity - Out of curiosity, what are you measuring your humidity with, and where have you placed the device or probe for measurement? Some devices are not as accurate as others. Piggybacking on Bogertophis's questions about temperature, same there - what devices are you using for measurement, and where?

    2) Feeding - I definitely agree that it's best not to leave a live rodent unattended with your snake. The only exception would be mice or rats in the pinky and fuzzy stages, since they are too weak to do much of anything, but the general rule of thumb is that as soon as the rodent has its eyes open, then it's ready to bite, and rat pups are at the stage where their eyes are starting to open. Even if the rat pup you currently have is a little thing with the eyes still shut, then consider that your young snake is also probably scared and stressed out by its unwelcome new roommate, and is probably going to be less inclined to eat as a result. So yeah, time to evict that roommate.

    [Edit: Whoops, some redundancy with Deb's response which I didn't see until after posting, but you get the idea, haha.]
    I am using a dual thermometer/hygrometer. I donít remember the brand but I bought them from a local pet supply store that specialized in exotic pets. They have a little probe that I drop down into either corner of the tank (one on warm side and one on cool side)


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  15. #10
    BPnet Senior Member dakski's Avatar
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    Re: Seeking advice for new BP owner.

    This is my step by step list on defrosting F/T rodents.

    Others may do it differently and that's fine. This how I do it and it works for me.


    STEPS FOR DEFROSTING F/T RODENTS/PREY

    1. Put prey item(s) into appropriate size plastic bag . I use Quart size ziplock bags up to a medium rat. NOTE: Bags are optional. Some people just throw the prey in the water. I like the bags, but you have to squeeze the air out of them.

    2. Fill the container/storage box 3/4 of the way with room temp to slightly warm water. If you have a temp gun (which you should, so if you don't, get one), make sure the water is not hotter than 85-90F, or there about.

    3. Put F/T prey item(s) in water. Cover (optional) and leave for an hour +/-.

    4. After an hour, rotate/flip prey. If in plastic bags, they often will stay on whatever side you put them in on. So if mouse is on left side, turn to right side, etc.

    5. Leave for another hour +/- for a TOTAL of about 2 hours (up to medium sized rat - longer if bigger prey).

    6. Check that prey is defrosted totally through. Squeeze at different sections of the preys body. Should be cool/room temp to touch, but be soft with no cold spots. If hard (except for bone), in abdomen, for example, or cold, put back in water until room temp and soft.

    7. Take prey out of the container/storage box and put aside. THEN FOLLOW STEPS 8-11 OR STEP 12

    8. Fill container with hot water from tap. If using temp gun, water temp should be 110-130F, not more.

    9. Drop prey item into water for 30 seconds +/-. If multiple prey items, do one at a time. You want each item hot when you offer.

    10. Remove (if hot water, with tongs).

    11. Dry as best as you can, and is quickly as you can, with paper towels. I dry with paper towels while I am walking from the bathroom where I defrost to the snake tanks. I kind of wrap the prey item up in them. It's ten feet, so by the time I get to the tanks, the prey is drier, but still warm.

    12. If not using hot water, use a hairdryer to heat rat so it entices snake

    13. Open tank and offer ASAP.

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