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  1. #1
    BPnet Lifer muddoc's Avatar
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    Assist Feeding Instructions

    I have seen numerous threads of late about first time breeders asking about how to get their stubborn feeders to start eating. If after about 4-6 weeks of age, the snake has not eaten, it is probably about time to give it a little instruction on how to eat. With that said, I would not recommend anyone do this that has not be able to actually see it done in person or get some hands on experience by someone that knows what they are doing. However, we all know that sometimes this is just not possible. So, I have attempted to describe how we do it as best as possible below. I would like to add some pics of the process, however, I do not have any babies that need assist feeding yet. Once I get a stubborn feeder later in the year, I will take some pics and update this thread. I just didn't want to wait until I had pics, since there are many people that could benefit from this now.

    Here is a short run down on how I do it. Get a small hopper mouse (or ASF, if this is what your intended food item will be, although I would recommend a mouse, because they have more hair and seem to have slightly thicker skin than the ASF at this size) and let it sit in some warm water for 5-10 seconds. That just helps to lubricate it for the process. NOTE: The prey item should be a pre-killed or frozen thawed rodent. Grab the snake behind the head, and make sure that the first 2-3 inches of the neck are straightened out and in line with the mouth. Use the rodent's nose to get the snakes mouth open. Use a pair of small hemostats and grab the rodent just behind the head. Gently push the rodent into the snakes throat until the front shoulders just disappear from view. At this point, grab the snake by the head, gently applying pressure on the upper and lower jaw, so that it can not spit the rodent out. While holding the pressure on the jaws, gently tug on the rodent in an outward direction. This helps to insure that the recurved teeth are dug into the rodent slightly, making it harder for the snake to spit it out. Set the snake down and close the tub. Leave it alone for at least 1 hour. That should do the trick.

    If the snake took the meal, offer a live meal in about 5-7 days. If it doesn't take the live meal, or spit out the assist attempt, I generally will try again to assist in 7 days. Usually you will only have to assist once or twice and they get the idea. I have had to assist as many as 6 times. If after 3 attampts at assissting haven't worked (this is usually about 7-8 weeks post hatch), it is time to force feed. Follow the same procedure outlined above, but continue to push the rodent into the throat until the back legs have disappeared from view and then start gently massaging the meal down the throat into the stomach.

    If anyone has any questions, please let me know via PM or on this thread. I hope this helps those that may have questions regarding this nerve racking process. Believe me, it will test your nerves the first couple times you do it, and it is stressful to the snake. However, with time, you will become very proficient at it, and I believe that it is a very beneficial skill to have when hatching snakes, as it will save a life or two in time.
    Tim Bailey
    (A.K.A. MBM or Art Pimp)
    www.baileyreptiles.com
    The Blog

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  3. #2
    BPnet Veteran Spaniard's Avatar
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    Re: Assist Feeding Instructions

    Great Post Tim,

    Thanks for that write up.
    ~*Rich
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  4. #3
    New Member Shin86's Avatar
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    Re: Assist Feeding Instructions

    rite on...almost had to assitsted feed my girl, but she finally ate
    1:1 mojave


  5. #4
    BPnet Lifer muddoc's Avatar
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    Re: Assist Feeding Instructions

    Quote Originally Posted by Spaniard View Post
    Great Post Tim,

    Thanks for that write up.
    Thanks Rich. I always hate to hear that anyone ever has to do this, but I believe it is inevitable if you breed snakes, and I like to know that there is something out there for a beginner to give them the best possible chance at success in the event they have to assist feed.
    Tim Bailey
    (A.K.A. MBM or Art Pimp)
    www.baileyreptiles.com
    The Blog

  6. #5
    BPnet Veteran Spaniard's Avatar
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    Re: Assist Feeding Instructions

    I think you're absolutely right Tim; and its something I don't look foward to doing. I will be glad to have this to read over when I do. Thanks again.
    ~*Rich
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  7. #6
    Registered User boost3d05's Avatar
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    Re: Assist Feeding Instructions

    great write up...i have had to do this with the snakes @ work, and some of my personal collection to get them started.

  8. #7
    Venom Life Neal's Avatar
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    Re: Assist Feeding Instructions

    Good write up Time. I'm glad I haven't had to do that for any of my snakes. I don't really think I could, I would have to get somebody else to do it.
    -Colubrids-
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  9. #8
    BPnet Veteran Lucas339's Avatar
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    Re: Assist Feeding Instructions

    great write up. i had to do this with an animal at 6 weeks that had yet to shed. after a couple of force feedings, it finally shed.

  10. #9
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    Re: Assist Feeding Instructions

    Wish I had this write up a few years back, ran into a lady at the pet store who had been shoving mice down her bp's throat with a pencil for an entire year. I was so horrified I didn't even know how to respond.

  11. #10
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    Re: Assist Feeding Instructions

    I have forced fed my snake 3 times so far he hasnt ate on his own but it is getting easier every time.Do you think I should put a frozen pinky in instead of always trying to feed him live fuzzies he is 3 months old

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