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  1. #11
    BPnet Senior Member Albert Clark's Avatar
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    Re: Starting to fail at husbandry…

    Quote Originally Posted by MedicalAuthor View Post
    I’ve actually left her alone a lot recently. I let my son hold her about a week ago for like 15 minutes and then put her back. I think that day or the day after I did the pillow method. That was weekend before last and I haven’t handled her since or even messed with her cage much. Before that I’ve taken her out maybe once every 1-2 weeks, usually a couple days before feeding and only for like ten minutes.
    Consider not handling the animal at all until it starts back feeding on a regular schedule. We understand that it’s always tempting to pick them up and enjoy them but truly it’s in the better interest for the animal not to. A young ball python at 133-200 gms. Should be a feeding machine. Once they stop feeding it deserves a quick evaluation to find out why. Typically we start with the environment.
    Last edited by Albert Clark; 09-26-2022 at 03:46 PM.
    Stay in peace and not pieces.

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  3. #12
    Registered User plateOfFlan's Avatar
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    Re: Starting to fail at husbandry…

    Quote Originally Posted by MedicalAuthor View Post
    My woes started about three weeks ago. Before then my BP was eating weekly, seemed content, etc. Three weeks ago she failed to eat a rat that I think was too big. Actually wrapped the rat any failed strike attempts and the rat escaped.

    Tried again with a much smaller rat a few days later and she didn’t even attempt but then noticed the blue eyes and figured shed was underway. Because I don’t have the best humidity in the tank (more on that below) I made a humidity box with moss and even put her in there (because after a night it didn’t look like she explored it at all) and she got put after a few minutes.

    She shed all but about an inch worth right past her head. Also because of the experiences with the rats (I’m now a Rat Dad with a three story cage and three baby rats haha) I tried to switch to f/t. First one I tried a week ago and she didn’t take at all. Thought maybe it was the incomplete shed so I tried the pillow method (twice) and no luck.

    Gave her some time and thought I saw signs of her being hungry (waiting by her hide entrance). And I think I read that if it’s just a small piece that wasn’t shed and it’s not on the eyes or the tail that you could let it go until the next shed. So I tried another f/t yesterday. Thawed the rat out in the fridge overnight and learned the hard way that putting them in water that’s too hot = exploded rat. So that happened. Then my third and last rat from the three I bought I did it more slowly.

    My BP was out of the hide when I offered the rat and she promptly left to go in the hide. My BP also is a slow eater. Whenever she ate live prey it would be at least 30 minutes before she even unraveled and stuck her head out of the hide. So I ‘brained’ the rat (unsure if I did it right, basically stuck a knife in its skull, heard the skull crack, and exposed some red but it didn’t leak out much) and left the rat draped over wood (so as not to pick up substrate) and put the lamp over that spot to keep it up warm.

    Waited several hours. Nothing. Snake went from one hide to the other so actively passed the food.

    So I’m feeling a little discouraged but also unsure how bad the situation is. I know BP’s sometimes don’t eat for a while. The f/t method feels disgusting (they’re all floppy and liquidy, like a smushed jelly sandwich) and it’s hard to imagine anything wanting to eat that.

    The biggest thing I can think of for tank parameters is the humidity. The temperature has been fine but I have had a hard time keeping the humidity up, even with aluminum foil on the top. Are there in-cage humidifiers I could use?

    If you were me would you offer live food next time to just make sure she’s eating?

    Any thoughts/encouragement/advice welcome.
    That's a lot of drama for eight weeks! I also encourage you to try not to panic. I have a few suggestions on the f/t feeding, from experience with a difficult drop feeder. (First I'd leave the snake alone for a bit, maybe up to a week.)
    When offering frozen thawed, I go directly from the freezer to water out of the cold tap, with the rat nose-down in a ziploc. You have to leave the top of the ziploc open to let the water get close to the rat. Leave it for around an hour, then switch the water for very hot water (my tap will go up to like 114F, just stop before 120F because that's sous-vide temps and we don't want to cook it!). Leave in the hot water for around 5-10 minutes. If the head isn't body temp (rodent body temperature is high 90s like ours) maybe dip the head for like 30 seconds.
    Then when offering the rat, even my drop-feed boy won't take a rat if he's out of his hide, or if it's just left in the enclosure. They won't find it. If your snake is lurking just inside their hide entrance they may be hunting. You can gently open the enclosure and offer the rat some small distance away - if you shove it in their face they'll get scared and retreat - and then jiggle the tongs to get their attention. For my drop feeder I still do a little rat dance to let him know where the rat is, and I only leave it when he's good and interested and slowly starting to approach with a lot of tongue-flicking. There's a certain finesse to doing the rat jiggle, every snake responds to a slightly different dance it seems. I hold the rat horizontal just behind the shoulder blades so it looks natural, other people dangle it by the tail or other methods. A non drop-feeder will usually strike pretty quickly, no need to dance the rat for more than like five minutes. Then quietly close the enclosure and cover with a towel if they're really shy, and keep the room quiet for them while they eat.
    Good luck!

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  5. #13
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    Is this incomplete shed okay to leave?


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  7. #14
    BPnet Veteran Homebody's Avatar
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    Re: Starting to fail at husbandry…

    Quote Originally Posted by MedicalAuthor View Post
    Any thoughts/encouragement/advice welcome.
    I think you've gotten enough advice, so I'll offer encouragement. Along with all the joys that keeping a bp brings come challenges. Maintaining humidity, shedding and feeding are the main ones, and they challenge even experienced keepers at times. You're new to this. It takes time. Be patient with yourself. You'll get there.
    1.0 Normal Ball Python (2019 - 2021)
    1.0 Normal Children's Python (2022 - present)

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  9. #15
    BPnet Senior Member Albert Clark's Avatar
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    Re: Starting to fail at husbandry…

    We understand that it’s a lot of suggestions / advice given. I really feel once you get your thermostat to regulate the warm side temperature the reptile will be more comfortable and start feeding. A thermostat is is your best husbandry equipment to be sure your heat gradient is optimal and where it needs to be. Amazing looking reptile too. A damp cloth and a wiping motion from head to tail will remove that patch of stuck shed.
    Last edited by Albert Clark; 09-26-2022 at 05:40 PM.
    Stay in peace and not pieces.

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  11. #16
    BPnet Royalty Zincubus's Avatar
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    Re: Starting to fail at husbandry…

    For what it’s worth I’d keep things simple especially as you are relatively inexperienced..

    I’d stop all handling until it’s has 3 or 4 consecutive meals …

    Then I’d spray the viv / tank each day to get that old skin off ..

    Then I’d persist with trying frozen- thawed but use the tried and trusted ‘hairdryer’ method. I’ll send it to you now via PM


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro




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  13. #17
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    I think everyone else has covered the basics... I did see one thing that may have been glossed over a bit.

    How old was the rat that you fed last? Still fuzzy or an actual up and around rat? You mentioned the rat escaping.
    There's a small chance that he got bit on that area of the neck where the skin is stuck. If it was a bite and they weren't quite due to shed, sometimes something like that can cause them to go into an early shed cycle.

    As long as there's no weeping or swelling there you should be fine.... but if the baby was bit, that could also explain the sudden aversion to food. You may need to try scenting the rat like a mouse to make it 'different' but mice are more jumpy and prone to bites so I would be careful trying to feed mice while the baby is still being picky like this.

    Hopefully I'm wrong and someone else's advice on getting them jumpstarted on eating again works for you!

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  15. #18
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    That could be possible and maybe even probable. The rat was a hopper and was very active. After the first failed strike it went to the other side of the cage and made a barrier. And shortly after making it my pet rat it bit me hard enough to draw blood.

    Last night I look him out and misted the stuck shed area and used a damp towel to rub the area. Most of the shed successfully came off. I did notice that one area it started to look like the old skin was pulling up new skin (like slightly raw in a small spot where the shed was coming up, similar to pulling dead skin off your finger and then it starts to go too deep) so I stopped there.

    my thoughts were to try a live feed again in a couple days, like a really young fuzzy, just to see if she’ll eat and to reassure she has eaten and to give myself mentally more time to switch to f/t but I will try the lamp method.

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  17. #19
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Live rats are formidable opponents for young snakes. Sounds like your snake got a bite- if any broken skin injuries, Vetericyn ointment/spray (for reptile use) is recommended, as it won't mess up sheds the way petroleum jelly-based antibiotic ointments made for human skin will.

    (In a pinch, a little dab of Neosporin is okay to use, as long as it's not "pain relief" formula as there is something toxic to snakes in that version.) Diluted (to look like weak tea) Betadine (aka povidone-iodine) is okay to dab on snake wounds also, to help prevent infections.

    Rats have lots of germs- so all bites to your pet are best avoided, which is one reason we strongly advocate getting all snakes on pre-killed (fresh or f/t) rodents- also for humane reasons.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  19. #20
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    The bite would have been three weeks ago at this point but I may use it on the area that seemed raw while removing the shed last night. And to clarify, it didn't draw blood or become fleshy, it just looked like the demarcation from shed to new scales was disappearing and a little patch was raw.

    Also, meant *hairdryer method earlier. Will check my DMs and try soon.

    For what it's worth, she's still fairly active. Will be out of the hide, basking when it's alone and dark, moves well when going back to the hide, etc.

    I appreciate all the help and guidance!!!

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