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  1. #1
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    California Kingsnake Feeding help

    On August 18th our baby California Kingsnake arrived, we set her in her enclosure (40 gallon but we have Alot of stuff inside for her) the warm side is around 87 and the cool side is 78-75. We have tried feeding her frozen mice 3 times without luck, each time she went up to the mouse and put her face on it but did not strike, the first time I thought she didnt strike from the tongs so the next time I left it inside for a couple of hours, she had slithered over the mouth after viewing it and the third time (last night) we decided to leave the mouse in overnight and I was really hoping she would go after it and it would be gone in the morning, but im leaving it inside for a bit longer since we have a cam on her it showed she was asleep in the same spot the entire night so I think she might not even know theres a mouse there but im wondering if anyone has any ideas of how to get her to eat? She wanders around alot doing frequent tongue flicks so I would figure that she is hungry. Should I try live or scenting? and how would I scent it, ik that they are lizard eaters so im thinking of scenting it with an anole but how would I do that? Please I just want to get her to eat

  2. #2
    BPnet Veteran Craiga 01453's Avatar
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    You're almost definitely to have to put her in a smaller enclosure for a while.

    What size mice are you offering?
    How are you heating the mice?

    Kings are typically garbage disposals. I've never had any difficulty getting a King to eat
    Last edited by Craiga 01453; 08-27-2020 at 08:23 AM.
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    Re: California Kingsnake Feeding help

    We have a 20 gallon in the garage that I could set up, is that a good size?
    I am offering her pinky mice and im heating it by getting warm water and having the pinky in a plastic bag and having it in the water then I touch the pinky through the bag to see if its thawed yet and then replacing the water with warmer water just to make sure the pinky is nice and warm.

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    A twenty gallon is definitely better.

    Ok it sounds like you're doing everything right. Pinkies can be tricky because they a) cool so fast sometimes they aren't recognized as prey and b) can start to cook since they're so small.

    How often are you offering food?
    Are you handling the snake at all?
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    Re: California Kingsnake Feeding help

    I have offered her food every 4 days and ive only held her once since she came here and that was because the tank we bought the owner had not told us about a hole in it but thats all patched up now, she had escaped the day we got her so that was a huge panic moment lol.
    And ya, when I put the pinky into the warm water and then take them out mins later its cooled down alot.
    we also have towels surrounding the tank to make her feel more secure.
    I have started setting up her new enclosure, once I have it set up and shes in how long should I wait to try to feed her again?

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    Ok, awesome, make sure that enclosure is 100% escape proof. Kings are fantastic escape artists, and at that size they can fit almost anywhere.

    As for feeding I don't see a problem with every 4 days, but I might switch to every 5. Then once she's eating feed every 5 for a while.

    After the enclosure switch I'd wait at least 3 days to offer, but if you're feeling lucky before that it won't hurt to offer.

    Try to be consistent with how you offer as well. Feed after dark. I would try offering on tongs a few times, reheating as needed, focusing on the head. If after a few tries you have no luck try heating once more and leaving it overnight.

    Is the enclosure in a quiet, low traffic area of the house? Sometimes too much traffic can stress them out.
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    When you thaw the pinkies, thaw in COOL water...& Do NOT warm them up, that only helps them spoil! King snakes are not BPs...they don't care about the temperature,
    but they do respond to odors. Did you ask the source of your snake if it had EVER been fed f/t? It was likely only fed live pinkies, & since pinkies don't have a lot of scent
    to begin with, especially after being thawed, use your feed tongs to pinch-damage the pinkie's nose a little...that will release a little more scent. Try offering late at night
    in dim lighting...wiggle the pinkie slightly from tongs to see if the snake will grab it. If not, leave it overnight.

    Another thing: while a 40 gal. tank is huge for a king snake, it doesn't have the negative impact on colubrids* like your baby king, as it would on a BP, but changing cages & the escape were both set-backs in terms of your snake "settling in" (relaxing enough to eat). Don't offer too often (not more than every 4-5 days for hatchling) as that too adds stress. Don't handle a new or non-feeding snake either. (as you already seem to know) *Colubrids like your king snake are active hunters...not ambush-predators like BPs are...that's why they're less bothered by larger tanks. As Craig said though, make SURE it's securely closed.

    What pet stores often do may work well for you & this snake until it settles in better: put the thawed pinky and the snake into a paper bag* (or smaller vented container) & leave for a few hours in the evening or overnight (depends on how late you stay up). Many baby colubrids will eat this way. Whatever you do, don't keep checking on it- it most likely needs privacy for at least 4 hours. *If you use a paper bag, you can put a few pin-holes in the paper for ventilation, and fold the top down several times, then use a binder clip (or something similar) to clip it securely shut.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 08-27-2020 at 12:06 PM.
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    Re: California Kingsnake Feeding help

    Ya, I found the spot she got out of and wonder how she got out, it was a tiny hole where im guessing your supposed to put a wire through.
    So when she starts eating ill switch to trying every 5
    3 days seems like enough, once I finish her new enclosure ill make sure shes left alone.
    When the 3 days have passed ill try feeding her after dark like you said and if she does not take it ill heat it again and leave it overnight.

    But a problem also might be that the tank is near in area where alot of people talk so that could be stressing her out also, with the new tank ill put it in an area in the house where no one goes to make sure stress is at a minimum.

    Is there any kind of trick to using tongs? Like do I have to move the pinky around in a certain type of way

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    Re: California Kingsnake Feeding help

    The place I bought the snake from had said that she was eating f/t, ill try pinching the nose of the pinky and if not luck ill try the paper bag trick and see if that works.
    Ill also still downsize the tank cause it might be causing her stress from being so big and her being so small (They said shes about 6 weeks old)

  13. #10
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    Re: California Kingsnake Feeding help

    Quote Originally Posted by Cypris1 View Post
    The place I bought the snake from had said that she was eating f/t, ill try pinching the nose of the pinky and if not luck ill try the paper bag trick and see if that works.
    Ill also still downsize the tank cause it might be causing her stress from being so big and her being so small (They said shes about 6 weeks old)
    Yes, it matters a lot right now if her tank is located in "grand central station". It should be in a quiet area...distractions just prevent her from calming down...y'all are SCARY. Talking & other activity can be felt as vibrations on the glass...even WE can feel it, we just don't think about trying it- try it if you don't believe me.

    And again, do not heat her pinkies...they thaw very fast in cool water...like 10 minutes at the most. Snakes eat RAW food, not cooked, & not spoiled (-usually).

    BTW, I don't currently keep any kings, but I've kept various kinds in the past, also bred & sold some kinds later. One of my first snakes (& the first to escape) was a hatchling albino Cal king.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 08-27-2020 at 12:20 PM.
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