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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Need help: newly very defensive and refusing to eat due to stress

    Hello guys, I was wondering if yíall had any advice for my situation.

    Iíve had my new BP (banana split) for about a month now. When I first got her she was very shy and so I gave her some time to de-stress in her new environment. I noticed she had signs of an upper respiratory so I took her to the vet within that week (I would have sooner but a day or two after I got her she shed and I didnít want too much stress) and they said her lungs are okay but her mouth had mucous so they gave her antibiotics. She did fine at the vet and that whole day she was a whole new snake. Cuddly and relaxed. The next day I tried to feed her as they suggested and she refused so I gave her an anti stress day. The next day I gave her her first round of oral medicine.....itís been bad since then. She has completely refused every mouse Iíve fed her and has been striking non stop. I know it was very stressful so I gave her some time to destress by covering the sides of her tank with a dark towel and allowing rest. But day by day itís gotten worse. She now strikes anytime I go near her and will strike at whatís holding her. I tried holding her bit by bit to allow that trust To come back but like I said sheís striking at whatís holding her now and thatís not safe for either of us. Today sheís going back to the vet for a check up so maybe they have something that can help.

    summary: I am not sure what to do. Iíve googled several things and none of them are working to help calm her down. I know sheís hungry but too stressed to eat and too scared and stressed to let me go near her. Do you guys have any suggestions? I do not want anything bad to happen to her. Iím sorry this is so long. Thank you

  2. #2
    Registered User Hugsplox's Avatar
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    Re: Need help: newly very defensive and refusing to eat due to stress

    Hello and welcome to the forums!

    Fortunately, if you can call anything about your situation fortunate, it's pretty clear to me what the issue is, and you've said it yourself, stress. You've got a new snake, who's moved into a new home, and before she's had time to settle in and acclimate to her new home, you (rightfully so) take her out and take her to the vet. Then there's the oral meds and numerous feeding attempts, and the continuation of handling even though she clearly isn't up for it yet.

    My advice is to stop everything except the meds. Don't try to handle her don't mess with her at all until she has time to settle in. That's going to be rough because you're having to give her the meds, but other than that I wouldn't try to interact with her at all. These snakes live 20+ years so you have plenty of time once you get over this hump with her. You really don't want to handle a new BP until they've eaten 3 times for you back to back. As far as building trust, that's not something the snake can comprehend. Some keepers may disagree with me on this, but I think most reptiles just eventually disassociate handling with danger so they tolerate it, but the snake doesn't get anything out of it. If I just never handled one of my snakes they're not going to get depressed, if that makes sense. Handling is for the keeper's benefit not the animal's.

    Lastly, BPs can go awhile without food, so if she's not losing weight, she's probably fine. I would stretch out your feeding attempts, meaning if she won't eat today, don't try to feed her tomorrow. Most keepers suggested waiting 1-2 weeks between feeding attempts, and I think that's the route you need to take. It may be worth waiting until after she's done with the meds though, and has had some time to settle in and relax.
    Last edited by Hugsplox; 02-19-2021 at 09:55 AM.

  3. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to Hugsplox For This Useful Post:

    ballpythonluvr (02-19-2021),BananaSplit (02-19-2021),Bogertophis (02-19-2021),EL-Ziggy (02-19-2021),GoingPostal (02-19-2021),nikkubus (02-19-2021)

  4. #3
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    Smile Re: Need help: newly very defensive and refusing to eat due to stress

    Hello and thank you so much for the welcome!! Iím really glad I found this site because I occasionally have a lot of questions. And thank you so much for the tips!!

    Until she eats I will no longer handle her. The vet is opting to let me go to them every 3 days for vaccinations instead of oral medicine so I am going to do that to limit contact on my part, while also limiting her stress as well because I know she HATES the oral medicine.

    I am concerned though because she is starting to pyramid a little bit and Iím worried about her losing too much weight. She was a healthy and good weight they said 2 weeks ago (181 kg I believe they said) but Iím starting to see her spine now a little and sheís losing her rolls. Should I still wait you think until post medicine and relaxation to feed?

    again thank you so much for your help I really appreciate it!

  5. The Following User Says Thank You to BananaSplit For This Useful Post:

    nikkubus (02-19-2021)

  6. #4
    Registered User Hugsplox's Avatar
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    Re: Need help: newly very defensive and refusing to eat due to stress

    You're welcome!

    As far as your concerns over her weight , I would ask the vet at your next visit. With ball pythons you want to look at body shape instead of weight, kind of like how we judge prey size by the width of the snake not it's weight. Typically when we tell people to space feeding attempts out, its to give the snake time to get hungry so the chance of them taking a prey item is higher. The issue with your girl is she's going to have to be taken out and moved, and get injections, so that settle in/calm down period can't really get started. Your vet may want you to try something different because of that, but they would be the best people to ask. I hope that the every 3 day deal isn't going to be for very long and they can get her issues cleared up so she can get back to a normal routine.

    I tried to find this on the forums but I've misplaced the last post I saw it, if you go to the below link, there's a article on Reptifiles talking about obesity in ball pythons. The article is a good read but the important part I wanted you to see is the picture showing the different body styles of ball pythons. You can use that to gauge if your girl is still at a normal and healthy size.

    https://reptifiles.com/ball-python-c...ealth/obesity/

    Last thing, I realize I didn't say much, or anything, about her striking. I think that should subside once she has a chance to settle in. Right now she's probably thinking "every time this big animal comes near me something bad happens" so she's treating you as a threat. I wouldn't take it personal, like I said snakes don't hold grudges, they don't get angry, they just are what they are. That's why I never understood why people all dishonest humans "snakes" seems like there's nothing dishonest about a snake lol
    Last edited by Hugsplox; 02-19-2021 at 11:14 AM.

  7. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Hugsplox For This Useful Post:

    ballpythonluvr (02-19-2021),BananaSplit (02-19-2021),Bogertophis (02-19-2021),nikkubus (02-19-2021)

  8. #5
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    Talking Re: Need help: newly very defensive and refusing to eat due to stress

    This is amazing!! Thank you so much for your help and for the link!! I will definitely study up on that and will see what the vet says! We are there now so fingers crossed! Again I really appreciate everything!

  9. The Following User Says Thank You to BananaSplit For This Useful Post:

    Hugsplox (02-19-2021)

  10. #6
    BPnet Veteran nikkubus's Avatar
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    Hugsplox is dead on with what I would have suggested.

    I would make sure your temps and humidity are right even though the stress is the most likely reason she is refusing food. Make sure she has a 88-90F hot spot and humidity is 50-60%, because if the vet does suggest assist feeding and she gets food in her belly but doesn't have heat right, it's going to be really hard to digest and she could regurgitate and be set even further back. Love or hate him, Brian Barczyk is an expert at properly assist feeding, so this is worth checking out if that becomes needed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRZvKDbNuD8
    7.22 BP 1.4 corn 1.1 SD retic 0.1 hognose

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  12. #7
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    Re: Need help: newly very defensive and refusing to eat due to stress

    I agree with what they're saying. Your BP definitely needs that settling in time, [but you did the right thing taking her to the vet.] I've seen something similar before, where a reptile/animal hasn't experienced anything and they relate you with the item/situation that caused them stress. Which could probably stress them out more when you're around. Once she starts eating, you can always put the medicine inside the rat or mouse to avoid having to hassle with her and she will still get everything she needs. She probably just spooked, but as they said you'll still have plenty of time with her, so no need to rush things. As minimum handling as possible and I'd say you're doing pretty darn good all things considered! Good luck!

    Edit: oh and, as the person above me said, Temps are very important!
    Last edited by BlueOrleans1290; 02-19-2021 at 01:06 PM.

  13. #8
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    Re: Need help: newly very defensive and refusing to eat due to stress

    Thank you all so much!!!

    The vet says no more signs of upper respiratory and did some tube feeding. We do have another appointment in two weeks to check on her feeding and possible explore assisted feeding if necessary at home.

    Her temperature in the tank is: 87 deg F and her humidity is at 55%

    I am definitely going to go back and read through and watch the links yíall sent! I really appreciate everyoneís help and for everyone being so nice!!

  14. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to BananaSplit For This Useful Post:

    ballpythonluvr (02-19-2021),Bogertophis (02-19-2021),Hugsplox (02-19-2021),nikkubus (02-19-2021)

  15. #9
    Registered User Hugsplox's Avatar
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    Re: Need help: newly very defensive and refusing to eat due to stress

    Quote Originally Posted by BananaSplit View Post
    Thank you all so much!!!

    The vet says no more signs of upper respiratory and did some tube feeding. We do have another appointment in two weeks to check on her feeding and possible explore assisted feeding if necessary at home.

    Her temperature in the tank is: 87 deg F and her humidity is at 55%

    I am definitely going to go back and read through and watch the links yíall sent! I really appreciate everyoneís help and for everyone being so nice!!

    This is fantastic news, I'm glad the RI is gone. Hopefully you don't have any other issues and can start enjoying life with your girl!

  16. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Hugsplox For This Useful Post:

    BananaSplit (02-19-2021),Bogertophis (02-19-2021),nikkubus (02-19-2021)

  17. #10
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    Re: Need help: newly very defensive and refusing to eat due to stress

    Thank you! When she starts feeling better Iíll send some updated pictures! Sheís really precious!

  18. The Following User Says Thank You to BananaSplit For This Useful Post:

    Hugsplox (02-19-2021)

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