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  1. #1
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    Loss of Apetite/Wheezing

    Hey all!

    I'm a new ball python owner. It'll be a month come this Thursday since I got him. Here is a run down of my snake and husbandry:

    - He's about 9 months old weighing 281.9 g (measured two weeks ago)...

    - He's in a 20L glass tank with three of the four sides blacked out with poster board. I covered the screen top with aluminum foil, cutting out a hole CHE and two other areas for ventilation.
    - My substrate is coconut fiber.
    - I have a UTH hooked of to a thermostat that keep it around 91 degrees. This wasn't enough to keep the ambient temperature warm enough (as my house is cool) so I have a CHE also on the warm side. This keeps the ambient temperature on the warm side around 89-90F and around 79-80F on the cool side. The basking spot is measured with a temp gun and the ambient temps are measured with digital thermometers.
    - The humidity in his enclosure has varied but has been kept above 50% varying from ~50% to 55%. When I noticed he began to shed I bumped it up to around 65%. Humidity has been my biggest issue given the topic conversation. Measured with digital gauge.
    - I have two hides, one on cool side and one on the hot side. I also have some branches and plenty of cover made with artificial plants.
    - A water bowl is kept in there 24/7 and is big enough for him to soak in.

    Now that I've covered my husbandry, on to the worrisome issue at hand. When I got him I had let him adjust for a week. After this week was up I offered f/t rat pups and he took it to my surprise as he was on live with the breeder. The following week offered again, he took. After feeding I noticed he was in shed, so I bumped of the humidity and let him be. Three days later he shed, so he was most likely clearing up from in-blue when I noticed. (I know... far to late to adjust humidity). So I soaked him the next day (Sunday) and the majority came off except for his head and neck. I tried again the next day (Monday), but the stuck shed didn't come off. I let him be for the next two days as I didn't want to stress him out too much. I then offered food on Thursday and he didn't take. I thought it might be because of all the handling and stress, so I wasn't too worried. I let him be for four days and then offered food on Monday. Again didn't take. Today, I noticed he had pooped so I took him out to handle for a bit and clean up his mess. This is when I noticed some wheezing. I know this could be sign of a URI, however he does have some loose shed around his nose/head.

    What should I do? Should I attempt to remove the stuck shed first using the damp pillowcase method and see if the wheezing is a result of this? Or do you recommend a vet visit right away? Could this be related to the loss of appetite? Any suggestions are welcome! Just want to keep my guy healthy.

  2. #2
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    Re: Loss of Apetite/Wheezing

    Id remove the stuck shed first and wait a few days to see if the wheezing stops. Does he show any other symptoms? If your snake does then Id go and see a vet.

    Humidity should be 50% minimal, but would ideally range from 60-65% regularly, and then bumped up a little bit more when in shed. You could make your snake a humidity box so that they have a separate place where humidity is higher. Or add damp sphagnum moss throughout the enclosure to give it a little boost. You could also combine your substrate with another humidity holding one like cypress or coco husk.

    Id also say to lower your CHE temp since its not necessary to keep it so high for a basking spot since you already have your UTH. The UTH heat plus the heat from the CHE can sometimes be too hot as well. So if you can measure the temperature under her hide and find it doesnt exceed 92 then you are fine. Otherwise, you can lower the CHE by getting a lower wattage or buy a dimmer. Lowering your CHE will also help your humidity.

    But an added note to the temperatures, if it is an RI then you can bump it up to 93. Your snake will need the higher temperatures to help fight it.

  3. The Following User Says Thank You to Faith.luu For This Useful Post:

    edessimoz (05-21-2020)

  4. #3
    Registered User vivi's Avatar
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    The thermostat should have no problem heating the UTH to the correct temperature if the probe is in the correct place. So, where is your thermostat probe?
    vivi

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    Re: Loss of Apetite/Wheezing

    Thanks for the reply!

    Just seeing this now so I'll attempt to remove the stuck shed tonight. Other than the wheezing, he's not showing any other signs of an RI. No mucus, open mouth breathing, stargazing etc. He's showing normal behavior i.e. hiding/asleep during the day and active at night. Not sure if that matters with regard to the RI.

    I bought a bag of cypress the other day which I'm planning to mix in with the coconut fiber when I do a full clean down (most likely this weekend). If that doesn't work, I'll try some damp sphagnum moss.

    As for CHE/UTH and temps, my UTH is hooked up to an On/Off type thermostat so the temp does vary slightly from 89-92. I know ambient temperature is preferential regarding a gradient or constant throughout the enclosure. My issue is that without the CHE temps get down to around 77 throughout the enclosure. If I get a dimmer what temperatures do you suggest I keep my ambient temperature on the warm side at?

    Thanks again for the help!

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    Re: Loss of Apetite/Wheezing

    Hey there,

    My thermostat probe is placed in between the UTH and the glass, outside the tank. In my post I referred to belly heat as a 'basking spot.' Haven't had any issues maintaining these temps around 90-92. I check every other day using a IR temp gun.

  7. #6
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    Hi there for the humidity I use paper towels with hand towels. It does the trick and holds the humidity for a few days. I also had the same problem with the coconut fiber but I so I ended up switching the bedding to wood chips .

  8. #7
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    Re: Loss of Apetite/Wheezing

    Quote Originally Posted by edessimoz View Post
    My issue is that without the CHE temps get down to around 77 throughout the enclosure. If I get a dimmer what temperatures do you suggest I keep my ambient temperature on the warm side at?

    Thanks again for the help!
    Ambient temperatures ideally should be between 78-80 throughout the enclosure.

    I personally think your air temperatures on the hot side can just be your ambient temps because you also have a UTH, but if you wanted to increase it, you could go up to 90.

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