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Thread: First Feeding

  1. #21
    Registered User Malum Argenteum's Avatar
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    As for 'feeding doesn't have to be complicated', I sort of agree, but will point out that many species we keep have not evolved to feed on Mus musculus or Rattus norvegicus. BPs (I just learned; research to make a point here) can be pretty heavy bird eaters, especially when young (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/...50009809386744).

    As for 'healthy animals eventually eating' that simply isn't true, mostly because of the limited and unnatural captive prey offerings (though I think in part because of the unnatural environment generally). I sometimes (less than regularly, but more often than I'd like) have hatchling snakes that simply won't accept a reasonable captive diet, and they starve or get euthanized. I currently have about a half dozen hatchlings that need their food boiled or brained, and are showing no signs of change in preferences. The hoops I jumped through to get them even this far were considerable, and I had two losses this season from complete non-feeders.

    Once snakes get out of the hands of the breeder, the poor- and non-feeders among them have been (hopefully) weeded out, so a sample that only considers those established animals isn't representative. I don't think many keepers know what trials go on behind the scenes with some of these species, both in getting them feeding and otherwise (birth defects, health issues, behavioral issues).

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  3. #22
    BPnet Senior Member EL-Ziggy's Avatar
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    Re: First Feeding

    Quote Originally Posted by Malum Argenteum View Post
    As for 'feeding doesn't have to be complicated', I sort of agree, but will point out that many species we keep have not evolved to feed on Mus musculus or Rattus norvegicus. BPs (I just learned; research to make a point here) can be pretty heavy bird eaters, especially when young (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/...50009809386744).

    As for 'healthy animals eventually eating' that simply isn't true, mostly because of the limited and unnatural captive prey offerings (though I think in part because of the unnatural environment generally). I sometimes (less than regularly, but more often than I'd like) have hatchling snakes that simply won't accept a reasonable captive diet, and they starve or get euthanized. I currently have about a half dozen hatchlings that need their food boiled or brained, and are showing no signs of change in preferences. The hoops I jumped through to get them even this far were considerable, and I had two losses this season from complete non-feeders.

    Once snakes get out of the hands of the breeder, the poor- and non-feeders among them have been (hopefully) weeded out, so a sample that only considers those established animals isn't representative. I don't think many keepers know what trials go on behind the scenes with some of these species, both in getting them feeding and otherwise (birth defects, health issues, behavioral issues).
    Awesome insight! I appreciate your input. As a breeder youíve dealt with hundreds, if not thousands, more animals than I have so I respect your knowledge and contribution to the hobby. I just want to make sure weíre comparing apples to apples on areas where we might disagree.

    I understand that there are some advanced and rare species with very specialized diets and these snakes may require more delicate care. In this case I presumed we were only discussing BPs, and other commonly kept species, which have been CBB for generations and have adapted to consume a primary diet of rodents and avian prey which we have a broad selection for. BPs are probably the most popular, and most commonly kept, snake species in the world. I think itís very rare to find a CBB BP that wonít readily feed on mice, rats, asfís, chicks, or quail all of which are available in bulk supply.

    I believe thereís a big difference between an animal that canít eat and an animal that wonít eat. I have patience and sympathy for animals that canít eat. I donít have as much concern for animals that wonít eat. Canít is a disability and wonít is a choice. If I have an animal that chooses not to eat I would rehome it before I let it starve but so far itís never come to that which has led me to conclude that hunger ALWAYS wins in the end. I agree that the disabled, extremely deformed, and severely problematic feeders should be identified and removed from the gene pool before those CBB snakes reach consumers. I also encourage keepers to only purchase well established animals from reputable sources and they shouldnít encounter too many issues. Snake keepin really isnít rocket science. Feed Ďem water Ďem, keep Ďem warm, and give Ďem place to hide and be left alone. Nature will handle the rest.
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  5. #23
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    @El Ziggy: I don't know where my snake-breeding experience compares to Malum Argenteum's (not to mention the various other snakes I've acquired one way or the other over the years) but I have to say that I've likewise seen my share of snakes that were very "challenging-to-raise", & in the wild, I assume some of these are also the ones that just don't survive. As our captives though, most of us work our butts off to help them live, so that's why I don't agree with your blanket statement that "they'll always eat"- as already noted, that is sadly NOT true. Snakes are not carbon-copies, any more than we humans are. They have individual variations (genetic & physical history) that can make them respond differently, & since they can't talk & tell us about it, their survival is in our hands.

    One example: Many years ago I noticed an unusual snake- a yearling Texas longnose- in a pet store that I regularly did business with (supplying rodents etc). It was in an out-of-the-way tank & it turned out they'd had it for some months; it hid all the time, & never ate for them so obviously it wasn't selling, & was very thin- at real risk of dying. It was actually a c/b that had been raised on f/t pinkie mice when they bought it- impressed with it's attractive tri-colors (black, orange-red, & cream) & small size (nice for a pet- they were sure it would sell). But even though the breeder got it going, it was now starving despite a reasonable home & proper food offered. I had experience with our native desert Western longnose snakes- they're very difficult because mice are NOT their natural diet- small lizards or snakes are- & for this reason, they're not common pets- this was the first time I'd seen a c/b one.

    I offered the mgr. a swap, a c/b young king snake that I'd produced, which ate like crazy & made a great pet for anyone, in exchange for this hapless longnose snake they couldn't sell or care for. Just to make sure, I tried offering f/t pinks as the snake had been raised on (& also tried live pinks etc etc.), but the snake just didn't feel well enough to want to eat. So I gently tube-fed the tiny snake some Gerbers chicken baby food (thinned with water), and waited. It was like a magic act: it didn't take very long for the snake to perk up, & the next time I offered f/t pinkies, he ate them, and ever since has fed for me. This snake is now 19 years old (at least one online source lists 19 years as their maximum lifespan) & has eaten multiple f/t fuzzy mice at each feeding for me all these years. (He rejects mice unless they're f/t & thawed in water- that washes off mouse odor, making them more palatable to him.) Sometimes we (snake keepers) think we know more than we do about the snakes we're keeping.

    I can't be everywhere to help every snake- if only? So that's why I post here & share my experience with snakes, hoping that the more we all share what works, the more snakes we can save & appreciate. Do you really think this TX longnose would have survived with your methods? I don't. And this is why I've compared this situation with snakes to what happens (or what would happen) to humans in the hospital if they never got the energy they needed from an I.V. to fully recover. It's much the same thing. The body needs a little "pick me up" to feel good enough to have an appetite, whether that body belongs to a snake or a person. And watching a snake die from starvation isn't my idea of good snake-keeping, not if I can change the outcome. They do NOT "always eat".
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  7. #24
    BPnet Senior Member EL-Ziggy's Avatar
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    Re: First Feeding

    @ Bogertophis- I respect your experience and expertise and I’m not necessarily disagreeing with you. There are exceptions to every rule. Some animals will fail to thrive no matter what we do. That’s the circle of life. I’ve conceded that there are some unconventional species that require more than general feeding care. The situation you described with the longnose snake is an excellent example. You stated that it’s an animal that primarily eats lizards and other snakes in the wild and is rarely kept in captivity. I can understand if it’s very difficult to transition those animals to a rodent based diet and I wouldn’t recommend new keepers take on those kinds of challenges. When I say generally that all healthy snakes will eventually eat if presented with food, I’m speaking primarily about the snakes that are most commonly kept in captivity like BPs, other pythons, boas, and most colubrids which have been eating commercially farmed rodents and avian prey for generations. In those cases, where animals have previously eaten, and then stopped eating after leaving the breeder, or during winter/breeding seasons, I believe that it’s always just a matter of time and patience before survival and self preservation mandate that the animal eventually eat again. That’s why I recommend keepers relax, not panic, and stay the course. Every stubborn feeder situation that I’ve had, and in ALL the countless threads I’ve seen on this forum, and other public platforms, has ALWAYS ended with the snake eating. Sometimes it takes weeks or months but I haven’t seen one “healthy” animal starve itself to death yet. Snakes that have never eaten, or require assist/force feeding, should never be made available for sale to the general public unless they come with the appropriate warning.
    Last edited by EL-Ziggy; 01-09-2022 at 08:00 PM.
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  9. #25
    Registered User Malum Argenteum's Avatar
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    Re: First Feeding

    Quote Originally Posted by EL-Ziggy View Post
    I understand that there are some advanced and rare species with very specialized diets and these snakes may require more delicate care. In this case I presumed we were only discussing BPs, and other commonly kept species, which have been CBB for generations and have adapted to consume a primary diet of rodents and avian prey which we have a broad selection for.
    I took you to be making more broad statements about snakes in general -- my mistake, and it is something of a habitual one on my part. Sorry if I made it sound as if you were claiming something you weren't.

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    Re: First Feeding

    Update....week 2

    Received my frozen rat pups from Big Cheese. Thawed one out at room temp in a ziplock for 2-3 hours. 10 minutes under a heat lamp. 1st attempt....she took it no problem! Can't believe it, but super relieved I had no transition time from live to F/T.

    Thanks again for helping out everyone!

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  13. #27
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    ​GREAT!
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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