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  1. #1
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    Hatchling seems confused about eating?

    Hi I recently bought 2 new BPs from a local breeder. One was 9 weeks the other was 6 weeks. I have had them 2 weeks now, and the younger one hasnít eaten for me. I am not new to BPs and really not new to picky ones. However with her being so young I donít want her to go without eating too long. I verified with the breeder before I got her that she was eating well and had taken rats. He assured me she had taken 2 mice and 2 rat fuzzies so far. I gave her a full week in her new enclosure before I tried to feed her the first time. Then waited another full week before trying to feed her this 2nd time. She has been wandering around the last few days like she is hunting so I know she is hungry.

    Here is the weird part for me, I am using fresh killed, she acted nervous so I set it down for her and walked away. She seems VERY interested in the rat, but not like she wants to eat it. She is smelling it and circling it. At one point she even laid next to it. She just seems a bit confused on what to do with it. At this point do I cave and try feeding her a mouse? Or hold out so she will eat a rat?

  2. #2
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    Re: Hatchling seems confused about eating?

    Quote Originally Posted by Violanna View Post
    Hi I recently bought 2 new BPs from a local breeder. One was 9 weeks the other was 6 weeks. I have had them 2 weeks now, and the younger one hasn’t eaten for me. I am not new to BPs and really not new to picky ones. However with her being so young I don’t want her to go without eating too long. I verified with the breeder before I got her that she was eating well and had taken rats. He assured me she had taken 2 mice and 2 rat fuzzies so far. I gave her a full week in her new enclosure before I tried to feed her the first time. Then waited another full week before trying to feed her this 2nd time. She has been wandering around the last few days like she is hunting so I know she is hungry.

    Here is the weird part for me, I am using fresh killed, she acted nervous so I set it down for her and walked away. She seems VERY interested in the rat, but not like she wants to eat it. She is smelling it and circling it. At one point she even laid next to it. She just seems a bit confused on what to do with it. At this point do I cave and try feeding her a mouse? Or hold out so she will eat a rat?
    OK, first off let's clear something up: a snake (a BP) that's "wandering around" is not "hunting for food"- they are stressed & perhaps physically uncomfortable.

    Stress comes from being in a frightening new place (snakes learn their way around, so no matter what you do, you & your home is scary to a new snake- & remember that baby snakes get eaten by predators, which is what we appear to be to a hatchling snake); stress also comes from handling -which I hope you know better than to be doing? Stress also comes from not enough cover (places to hide) in their home (it would help if you share pics or info about how you are housing them). A minimum of 2 hides are needed, one warm side & one on the cool side, & snakes feel safer with "clutter" (fake vines & deep substrate, etc). Stress/discomfort also comes from incorrect temperatures...what are they?

    What time of day are you trying to feed? BPs prefer to eat in the evening- dim light- with people either not around or staying out of their vision as much as possible. Think "ninja"

    Offering food too often also adds stress & reducing the chance of success. So if a snake refuses food, wait a week to let them settle in, then try again. Meanwhile, make sure they have peace & quiet, no handling, & as few disturbances as possible.

    Another thing that could have helped your success would be to have set-up their new home to be as similar as possible to how the breeder had them. The amount of space is critical-going from tight quarters with the breeder to a larger home with you seems like a reward for the snake, but it's apt to just scare them- ie. make them feel insecure. But don't change anything now (other than to add "cover" & hides)- just be patient.

    When snakes are used to eating live, & you try to offer fresh-killed, you might need to use feeding tongs to give subtle motion to the prey, until the snake gets the idea. Don't over-do it- they don't need to be break-dancing- just look like they're alive.

    But again- feed at night- & when a BP is ready to eat, they're often looking out of their hide- waiting to ambush their prey. They don't actively hunt for prey- they're not fast enough to chase after it. They wait for prey to cluelessly get too close to where they're hiding, in safety from predators that would eat them too.

    So if you're offering fresh-killed ("f/k") & using tongs- it's IMPORTANT not to approach the snake with it. You want to wait for the snake to be looking out for something to ambush, then slowly wiggle it past, not towards, where the snake is. You watch closely for the snake to show interest- tongue flicks & following. Move the prey slowly- let the snake feel like he's catching up to it.

    If the snake continues to look out of their hide, but still won't take the prey, try leaving it (a short distance away) overnight. Turn off the light- do not hang around or cause any vibrations/noise. (you might be making the snake too nervous- remember, they're still learning how to be snakes, lol). Check in the morning- & toss out the prey if it's still there.

    BTW- it's your decision about switching prey right now, BUT it's best to feed EXACTLY what the breeder did, & continue that for a while (like a month+) before trying to switch to another type of prey. A new home is enough for a snake to worry about- don't throw them any more "curves" than you have to, for best success.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 05-17-2023 at 02:49 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

  3. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to Bogertophis For This Useful Post:

    Alicia (05-20-2023),Armiyana (05-20-2023),nikkubus (05-19-2023),Ruby (05-17-2023),Violanna (05-25-2023)

  4. #3
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    Re: Hatchling seems confused about eating?

    Is the heat source regulated by a thermostat ??


    On occasion an over active snake could simply be too warm and itís trying to get out ..


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  6. #4
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    Re: Hatchling seems confused about eating?

    I think there is a lot of information we are missing here 🤔
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    Re: Hatchling seems confused about eating?

    You misunderstood a bit, I didn't mean she was wandering or out in the day. She only comes out at dusk and dawn, just peeking out her head and sniffing the air. Only time she comes out at all during the day is moving hides. For those asking if I use a thermostat yes I do. I have 2 heat sources, an overhead CHE and an under tank with 5 inches of coco coir topped with orchid bark. warm side is around 83-85 and cool side is 75. Water is directly under the CHE to promote evaporation and keep stable humidity around 65%. Which I will bump up around shed time by soaking the substrate. I am however taking your advice to move her into a smaller tank. She did come from a breeder that uses the bin method. So it was definitely a shock to move her into a 36x18x18 terrarium. I am in the process of setting up a 10 gal tank with blacked out sides to make her more comfortable. She will move in to that tonight and I will try feeding again after a week. I did wind up trying a mouse also, which she still refused and oddly cuddled up with. Also she was never fed live. She was fed F/T by the breeder. I switched to fresh kill as it is the method i use for my older snakes. I am willing to try F/T though. Also im not worried about her weight. She is right on track at 81g at 2 months old. A little on the small side but going 3 weeks without eating it is expected. Please let me know if you have any other questions or advice.

  9. #6
    BPnet Veteran Alicia's Avatar
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    Re: Hatchling seems confused about eating?

    Quote Originally Posted by Violanna View Post
    You misunderstood a bit, I didn't mean she was wandering or out in the day. She only comes out at dusk and dawn, just peeking out her head and sniffing the air. Only time she comes out at all during the day is moving hides. For those asking if I use a thermostat yes I do. I have 2 heat sources, an overhead CHE and an under tank with 5 inches of coco coir topped with orchid bark. warm side is around 83-85 and cool side is 75. Water is directly under the CHE to promote evaporation and keep stable humidity around 65%. Which I will bump up around shed time by soaking the substrate. I am however taking your advice to move her into a smaller tank. She did come from a breeder that uses the bin method. So it was definitely a shock to move her into a 36x18x18 terrarium. I am in the process of setting up a 10 gal tank with blacked out sides to make her more comfortable. She will move in to that tonight and I will try feeding again after a week. I did wind up trying a mouse also, which she still refused and oddly cuddled up with. Also she was never fed live. She was fed F/T by the breeder. I switched to fresh kill as it is the method i use for my older snakes. I am willing to try F/T though. Also im not worried about her weight. She is right on track at 81g at 2 months old. A little on the small side but going 3 weeks without eating it is expected. Please let me know if you have any other questions or advice.
    First, good call on setting up a smaller cage for her while she settles in! That's needed, and that may be enough to do the trick all by itself.

    Second, try nudging up your temps. I like giving my hatchlings an 87-88 degree hotspot. Usually, I find 87 to be best. Also try to bump your ambient temperature by about the same 2-3 degrees to something more like 77-78.

    Apologies if I missed it, but how are you measuring your temps? Probes, IR temp gun, both?

    In a 10gal, especially insulated, it's pretty easy to maintain temperatures without a CHE. I don't know what wattage you're running, but a CHE can be very drying in a small cage - whereas you're not going to have the same issues with a UTH on its own. A fix for humidity could be a humid hide.

    That's all I've got off the top of my head. Hopefully, someone else will chime in with more
    Last edited by Alicia; 05-25-2023 at 05:38 PM.

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    Re: Hatchling seems confused about eating?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alicia View Post
    First, good call on setting up a smaller cage for her while she settles in! That's needed, and that may be enough to do the trick all by itself.

    Second, try nudging up your temps. I like giving my hatchlings an 87-88 degree hotspot. Usually, I find 87 to be best. Also try to bump your ambient temperature by about the same 2-3 degrees to something more like 77-78.

    Apologies if I missed it, but how are you measuring your temps? Probes, IR temp gun, both?

    In a 10gal, especially insulated, it's pretty easy to maintain temperatures without a CHE. I don't know what wattage you're running, but a CHE can be very drying in a small cage - whereas you're not going to have the same issues with a UTH on its own. A fix for humidity could be a humid hide.

    That's all I've got off the top of my head. Hopefully, someone else will chime in with more

    I go based off the thermostat probe and a temp gun. In my large tank the probe is directly above the UTH which has the 5 inches of substrate. SO i take the reading from the temp gun in the hot hide, cool hide, and center substrate and adjust the thermostat until i get the temps i want. The higher temps will be very easy in the smaller tank. I'm not worried about maintaining humidity. I keep an eye on it but my home humidity already sits at 55-60% so it is VERY easy to maintain in an enclosure. I have multiple sizes and wattages of CHEs as I use them for many different animals, Tortoise, chicks, ducklings, snakes etc. Im using a small 100 watt on the 10gal tank. She was just put in and checked it out for 5 mins before settling in the warm hide. Unfortunately i dont have too many plants in there yet. Its cluttered as i have 2 hides, a water dish, and an aquarium decor that she can slither through. But only like 4 small plants for now. I will definitely be adding more. I'll update in a week to see if she eats. Or earlier if she starts day traveling. Im not used to smaller tanks for snakes, I don't want it to get too hot and her not have a place to escape to.

  12. #8
    BPnet Veteran KingPythons's Avatar
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    Re: Hatchling seems confused about eating?

    So if the breeder did mice and switch to rats, have you tried mice again ?
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    Re: Hatchling seems confused about eating?

    yes i tried a mouse on week 3 feeding. She literally cuddled with it. She had her head just laid on the mouse for hours. I do not linger so she gets the semblance of privacy, but i check in every so often. The cage she is in now i blacked out all the sides except half the front side. So she is in a much darker area. I also added more plants and clutter since my last post. She was wandering in day for the first 3 days but has since settled down. I am still giving her 2-3 more days until we attempt a feeding in this enclosure.

  15. #10
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    Re: Hatchling seems confused about eating?

    Do you know what type of bedding the breeder was using? Sometimes mimicking that previous inclosure works too.
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