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  1. #1
    Registered User Caitlin's Avatar
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    Dumeril's baby won't eat

    I finally found a source I trust and got my last 'gotta have it' snake: a Dumeril's Boa. He was born on August 8 and at the time I got him (Sept. 28) had been taking regular meals of F/T rat pinkies. He hasn't eaten since coming home with me. A friend of mine who breeds Carpet Pythons got a pair from the same litter and hasn't been able to get his to eat yet either; we've been commiserating and brainstorming.

    I know that young Dumeril's are well-known for refusing to eat, but I wanted to check in here and see if there's anything else I could/should be doing.

    I have offered F/T rat pinkies and mouse hoppers so far with no results.

    Before coming to me, he had been kept in a rack system in one big tub with his six male siblings, on aspen substrate. All of the babies that are still living in the rack system are currently still eating F/T regularly.

    He's in a 24" long 18" high 16" deep PVC enclosure with deep aspen substrate and a deep heat projector. The enclosure also has a Shadedweller UVB but I haven't been running it as I am worried the light would be additional stress at the moment. Warm spot is 86F, with temp gradient going down to 78-80F. Ambient room temp is 75-80F. My ambient humidity is low (40%) so I put a Tupperware container in his enclosure that's filled with damp sphagnum moss. He spends much of his time there but sometimes is under the aspen substrate with just his head poking out.

    The room is quiet with low activity, and I am not handling him at all. He isn't losing weight.

    I hate to stress him with a move to a different enclosure, but I am thinking I should maybe move him into a small tub with a UTH, keep providing deep substrate, continue offering the humidity box, up the overall humidity to 50%, and try offering a meal in a week. OR I could keep him where he is, up the overall humidity a bit, and just wait him out.

    I'd really appreciate feedback from those of you who have worked with these guys before - I know there are a few of you out there, and I'm totally open to making whatever changes I may need.

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  3. #2
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    Re: Dumeril's baby won't eat

    Quote Originally Posted by Caitlin View Post
    I finally found a source I trust and got my last 'gotta have it' snake: a Dumeril's Boa. He was born on August 8 and at the time I got him (Sept. 28) had been taking regular meals of F/T rat pinkies. He hasn't eaten since coming home with me. A friend of mine who breeds Carpet Pythons got a pair from the same litter and hasn't been able to get his to eat yet either; we've been commiserating and brainstorming.

    I know that young Dumeril's are well-known for refusing to eat, but I wanted to check in here and see if there's anything else I could/should be doing.

    I have offered F/T rat pinkies and mouse hoppers so far with no results.

    Before coming to me, he had been kept in a rack system in one big tub with his six male siblings, on aspen substrate. All of the babies that are still living in the rack system are currently still eating F/T regularly.

    He's in a 24" long 18" high 16" deep PVC enclosure with deep aspen substrate and a deep heat projector. The enclosure also has a Shadedweller UVB but I haven't been running it as I am worried the light would be additional stress at the moment. Warm spot is 86F, with temp gradient going down to 78-80F. Ambient room temp is 75-80F. My ambient humidity is low (40%) so I put a Tupperware container in his enclosure that's filled with damp sphagnum moss. He spends much of his time there but sometimes is under the aspen substrate with just his head poking out.

    The room is quiet with low activity, and I am not handling him at all. He isn't losing weight.

    I hate to stress him with a move to a different enclosure, but I am thinking I should maybe move him into a small tub with a UTH, keep providing deep substrate, continue offering the humidity box, up the overall humidity to 50%, and try offering a meal in a week. OR I could keep him where he is, up the overall humidity a bit, and just wait him out.

    I'd really appreciate feedback from those of you who have worked with these guys before - I know there are a few of you out there, and I'm totally open to making whatever changes I may need.

    Yeap, these little guys are shy eaters. I had the same problem too.

    What worked for me may work for you. Downsize that enclosure to a 6 qt or 12-16 qt tub. Humidity of around 50-60% is fine. Lots of aspen (2 inches minimum) for burrowing. Other substrate can be used as long as it allows burrowing and hiding. Small hides can be provided but they are not known for using them.

    Your hot temp is fine, try not to higher than 85F. 80-85F is preferred. They look cooler temps. Cool end should be about 75-77F, see if you lower that temp to around that range.

    You might have to try live rat pinkie. Attempt after a week of no handling. Leave the live prey inside and walk away. They are more likely to eat when no one is around. Feed at night. You can scent the room by placing the live rat in a box with holes next to the tub hours prior to feeding.

    A lot of this is similar to ball python difficulty feeding. Husbandry needs to be right, they need to feel secure, and patience. Unlike ball pythons, these guys can go without food for much longer without issues.

    If 3 more attempts have failed, go for a day old chick. For some reason, most like chicks a lot more than rodents. It can get them hook on chicks though.

  4. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to Cheesenugget For This Useful Post:

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  5. #3
    BPnet Veteran Bogertophis's Avatar
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    SUCH beautiful snakes...pity they can make you pull your hair out when they're young-scared & refusing to eat. Hang in there, Caitlin. I've never had one of these, but if I think of anything else that you could try (besides what Cheesenugget suggested), I'll be sure to post again. I would definitely try live.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 10-18-2020 at 03:36 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  7. #4
    BPnet Senior Member GoingPostal's Avatar
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    You can always put your smaller tub straight inside your larger cage, have you tried a live meal or don't want to go there? Mine has always been a crazy eager eater on rats but doesn't care at all for birds when I've offered for variety. I never had any of the feeding issues some do and mine went straight into an even larger cage so not much advice. Are you letting the prey warm up to temp near his cage at all so he gets "in the mood"?
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  9. #5
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    Forgot to clarify: chicks may be too big for your snake if it's very young. I meant quail chicks if you can get your hands on them. The good thing with this species is once they start eating, they rarely have strikes as adults compared to ball pythons. So hang in there.

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  11. #6
    BPnet Senior Member Sonny1318's Avatar
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    In the three I had, one male, then later a pair. The first was a nightmare to get eating. The pair I bought local, ate no problem. Best of luck.
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  13. #7
    BPnet Senior Member dakski's Avatar
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    Re: Dumeril's baby won't eat

    I'll risk saying things you probably already know, but here goes, hopefully someones benefit. I recognize you are regular on here, and do not mean to be condescending at all, however, sometimes we forget things when we are concerned. Please take my suggestions with a grain of salt.

    Also keep in mind I am not a dumerils expert by any stretch of the imagination. My BP, Shayna, can be a shy eater sometimes, as can my Scaleless corn, Solana.

    Check-list

    1. Dark, dark, dark. Feed at night, dark room, etc.

    2. Make sure he feels secure otherwise - hides, etc.

    3. Temps and humidity dialed in.

    4. Try leaving the (F/T) prey overnight?

    5. Scent the area (let the F/T prey sit next to the tank for a bit before feeding).

    6. Try different prey (adult mouse if rat pups aren't exciting him right now)?

    7. Any chance he is in, or going into, shed?

    It can be stressful when you are seemingly doing everything right and an animal won't eat. I am thinking of you guys and pulling for you.

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  15. #8
    Registered User Caitlin's Avatar
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    Thanks so much, everyone, for the support and the good advice and suggestions.

    Never, ever hesitate to share reminders and advice with me even if you are sure I already know them. Keeping snakes for all these years has taught me a lot, but the most fundamental lessons have been that I've got to stay humble, remain open to advice, and always be willing to check and re-check the basics, even if they may seem obvious.

    I've moved him into a 15-quart Sterilite tub in the quarantine room, which is super quiet and easily kept dim. He's still staying in the humidity box, so I am tempted to switch his substrate to coconut husk as that holds humidity better. I always worry a little when a snake spends most of its time in a humidity box - I take that as a signal that I need to re-adjust their overall conditions rather than let the box solve ongoing humidity issues. But a total substrate change is quite a bit of additional stress, so I am holding off for now and may just add some moss balls to the enclosure to keep humidity at 50-55%. I'll definitely try thawing his meals next to his enclosure and will be offering only at night.

    I needed to place an order with Layne Labs this week, so I included a bag of day-old quail since it's a flat shipping cost anyway. And if the Dumeril's refuses the quail I am sure I'll have plenty of takers, as the rest of my crew is blessed with enthusiastic appetites.

    He still looks like he's in great condition, so I suspect that those of you telling me to keep things quiet for him and just be patient are probably right. He's actually reminding me more and more of my Brazilian Rainbow Boa when she was little - shy, prefers low temps, has pretty specific humidity needs, and prefers quiet.

    He's a gorgeous baby, and I am very much hoping that we get past this and he starts eating. Between beauty and temperament, he's a snake I've wanted for a long time, so I'm willing to accept the lessons and reminders he's dishing out to me about the fact that I just don't know it all, lol.
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  17. #9
    BPnet Senior Member dakski's Avatar
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    Re: Dumeril's baby won't eat

    We are pulling for you and the little guy. Hope he starts eating soon.

    Keep us posted.

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  19. #10
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    Re: Dumeril's baby won't eat

    Quote Originally Posted by dakski View Post
    I'll risk saying things you probably already know, but here goes, hopefully someones benefit. I recognize you are regular on here, and do not mean to be condescending at all, however, sometimes we forget things when we are concerned. Please take my suggestions with a grain of salt.

    Also keep in mind I am not a dumerils expert by any stretch of the imagination. My BP, Shayna, can be a shy eater sometimes, as can my Scaleless corn, Solana.

    Check-list

    1. Dark, dark, dark. Feed at night, dark room, etc.

    2. Make sure he feels secure otherwise - hides, etc.

    3. Temps and humidity dialed in.

    4. Try leaving the (F/T) prey overnight?

    5. Scent the area (let the F/T prey sit next to the tank for a bit before feeding).

    6. Try different prey (adult mouse if rat pups aren't exciting him right now)?

    7. Any chance he is in, or going into, shed?

    It can be stressful when you are seemingly doing everything right and an animal won't eat. I am thinking of you guys and pulling for you.
    All of the above PLUS .. maybe try the ‘hairdryer’ trick .. absolutely nothing to lose ... I’ll send the method to you by PM.

    Plus if leaving it in peace overnight works for some maybe try that but start off with a warmed up thawed mouse / rat ?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro




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