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  1. #1
    Registered User Gottalovesnakes's Avatar
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    Juvenile wonít eat - getting scared :(

    Hello all! Ruby, my 9 month old girl has only eaten one small adult mouse in the last 3.5 months. She is a shy girl, but really sweet. Itís really important to me that she is healthy and thriving.


    Rubyís enclosure is a plastic tub with holes drilled in, about 15L x 13W x 15H inches. Edges are blacked-out. I recently had her in something just a little bit larger, but moved her down in case this was a reason she wasnít feeling comfortable eating. Hasnít made a difference. I use coconut fibre substrate.


    She has two hides, one on each side of her enclosure that are identical. I put fake plants over top for cover. I use my temp gun to take the temp on top of the substrate inside the hides, as I find itís always a bit warmer in the hides (they insulate a bit of heat), and thatís where she spends 90% of her time. I keep the warm side hide at 85F on top of the substrate (90F below substrate) and the cool side at about 75-79F. I recently added a second heating pad on her cool side and set to achieve the above temps because I live in a cool climate and it was a bit too cool on my cool side otherwise. Both warm and cool sides have probes in the enclosure under the substrate that are attached to a thermostat. I shown the location of the warm-side one in an image below.


    For feeding, Iíve tried both adult mice and small rats in various colors (choosing a size thatís definitely not too big for her), she doesnít seem interested in either lately. She used to eat both/either with no issues. She has always been a shy eater, never striking at meals even when she was eating consistently. If she didnít strike at the meal when offered, I would just place it on the substrate and leave overnight and she would always come out later and eat it.


    My feeding protocol is thawing the rodent in warm water, then drying and heating with a hair dryer and offering by mimicking the movement of a live rodent. She always comes to check it out a bit, but never strikes, and never comes out to eat it after I leave it on the substrate overnight as she used to do before.


    I have been handling only occasionally because she is shy with handling and I donít want to stress her - I just want her to start eating and we can work on handling later


    Any and all suggestions would be SO VERY appreciated. . I really want Ruby to thrive.


    Jessica

    Update: I canít seem to add attachments to this thread. Iíll try uploading the pictures of my setup to my gallery for you all to see.

  2. #2
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Your temps. sound fine, but when owners describe their snake as being " shy but very sweet" that suggests there is handling, which is a until a snake is feeding easily & consistently for at least 3 meals (unless in shed, that's a legit excuse). Stress is very hard to see in a snake...but it's implied when they won't eat.

    Handling, no matter how gentle, stresses snakes until they learn they're safe with you, & that's not "job 1" for a new snake...eating is "job 1". Put their well-being first, always, & be patient.

    Remember that snakes are not domestic animals- they rely on instincts. In the wild, the only thing that picks them up is a predator that's about to EAT them. That's stressful, & ruins the appetite, or at least distracts from it. We all like to handle our pet snakes, but always remember that snakes don't think of themselves as pets, & may misinterpret your intentions. They have to be snakes first...they need an appetite to survive & be healthy. And they're not all the same in this, some take longer than others. (Sometimes the "best" pets are the feisty ones that bite, lol.)

    Whenever you get a new snake, it's best not to keep changing their enclosure or their food. That makes it harder for them to settle in. Feed exactly what the previous owner or breeder fed (same kind of prey, same size, live or fresh-killed or frozen-thawed) for best results.

    Since she doesn't always eat right away, & since you start off by thawing in warm water, it may be that by the time she's brave enough to eat, enough spoilage has taken place to cause her to refuse to eat. I suggest you thaw only in cool water from now on, & briefly warm just prior to offering. It will have a much longer shelf-life if she waits a few hours before eating. BPs are not carrion eaters, & they can easily smell a "ripe" rodent. Many will reject it.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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

    Armiyana (05-29-2024),Gottalovesnakes (05-28-2024),mistergreen (05-29-2024)

  4. #3
    Registered User Gottalovesnakes's Avatar
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    I didn’t handle her at all for the first 2 weeks after I got her and not until I got her eating. She was eating regularly with absolutely no issues and at this time I was handling a few times a week.

    I have stopped handling all except about once a week since she stopped eating. I have by NO means rushed into handling.

    I’ve put her needs ahead of my own personal desire to handling her.

    With regards to the other suggestions, I’ve tried not to make too many changes, but when she refuses to eat for months I feel like I have to tweak something.

    I’ll try your suggestion about just briefly warming before eating so it doesn’t speed up spoil time, so if she decides to eat later it won’t spoil as fast.

    Thank you!

    ***Also, I’ve uploaded pics of Ruby’s setup to my gallery for you all to see
    Last edited by Gottalovesnakes; 05-28-2024 at 01:01 PM.

  5. #4
    BPnet Lifer EL-Ziggy's Avatar
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    Re: Juvenile wonít eat - getting scared :(

    Your husbandry seems dialed in, and she is a little young to go off food for 3 months, so I can see why youíd be concerned. Is she losing any significant weight? If not, Iíd keep offering food every 2-4 weeks. If she doesnít eat in another month or two Iíd probably schedule a trip to the vet just to be safe. Iíve had BPs go off food for 8-12 months, and they were perfectly fine afterwards, but they were both older than your girl. I hope she gets back on track soon. Keep us posted please.
    3.0 Carpet Pythons, 1.1 Bullsnakes
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  6. #5
    Registered User Gottalovesnakes's Avatar
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    Thank you so much for your input EL-ziggy. I have a scale. Ruby was 228g three weeks ago. I have yet to weight her again since. No visible changes to her. Iíll try weighing again soon - but if I opt for absolutely no handling until she eats again that will be a little hard because I have to reach in to get her out and onto the scale, which may stress her. I donít know

  7. #6
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Re: Juvenile wonít eat - getting scared :(

    Quote Originally Posted by Gottalovesnakes View Post
    Thank you so much for your input EL-ziggy. I have a scale. Ruby was 228g three weeks ago. I have yet to weight her again since. No visible changes to her. Iíll try weighing again soon - but if I opt for absolutely no handling until she eats again that will be a little hard because I have to reach in to get her out and onto the scale, which may stress her. I donít know
    If you just weighed her 3 wks ago, don't bother yet for some time to come. Meals & hydration make for insignificant changes. Don't stress her for no reason. But, fyi-to weigh a snake, put them in a container (box or snake bag- pillowcase, whatever). Weigh them in the container, then weigh the container & subtract that from the combined wt. to get the snake's wt. No snake is going to sit still on a scale...
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

  8. #7
    Registered User Gottalovesnakes's Avatar
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    Okay - thanks for the suggestions. Last time I put a round bowl on the scale and zeroíed that out before putting her in to weigh so that went pretty well. Iíll pass on the weighing for now though

  9. #8
    Registered User Gottalovesnakes's Avatar
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    Ruby at last night! Yay!

  10. #9
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Re: Juvenile wonít eat - getting scared :(

    Quote Originally Posted by Gottalovesnakes View Post
    Ruby at last night! Yay!
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

  11. #10
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    Re: Juvenile wonít eat - getting scared :(

    Quote Originally Posted by Gottalovesnakes View Post
    Ruby at last night! Yay!
    Fabulous !!!!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

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