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 #2098036


Rozmarin
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 New baby gopher won’t eat

Hi all. I’m a new site member, but have been reading your posts for a week or so, now. I caught a baby gopher snake (at work, in the hallway!) just before Halloween. It’s about 14 inches long, and about as big around as a fat pencil. I had rat snakes several years ago, when I lived in Florida, and fed them live mice, but times have changed, as I’ve read here and other sites, apparently frozen is the healthier way to go.

I fed a thawed/warm pinkie to it on Monday, 2 November, but he hasn’t eaten since then. I’ve offered the mice to him several times, but no luck. My rat snakes used to stop eating around December, go without food for a couple or three months, then resume near-weekly feedings in late February or March. They were adults, though, and I wasn’t too concerned about the gap in protein intake. The baby gopher (named Sven, for now, Svetlana if it turns out to be female!) doesn’t have the reserves the big guys had.

As suggested, I feed him in a plain Rubbermaid box, I’ve tried wiggling the pinkie, as well as leaving it in with him for a half hour, still no go. I haven’t tried "braining" the pinkie yet.

He doesn’t seem to be getting ready to shed.

I just got a 10 gal tank for him, and moved him into it yesterday. He seems to like it, spent hours exploring, this morning I found him buried in the substrate, only his tail showing.



11/23/09  05:12pm

 #2098075


Concolor1
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  Message To: Rozmarin   In reference to Message Id: 2098036


 Let Him Settle into His New Digs . . .

For a few days. And then the first thing I would do is try a live pinky (separately, or placed somewhere in its cage where it could be easily found and substrate isn’t a problem), and forget what the P/C types say about feeding live. There’s no way a live pinky is going to harm your snake . . .

I had my best luck with my w/ gopher (after last year’s feeding strike) giving it plenty of time to decide to eat. That’s the big reason for feeding live; I’m concerned a f/t pinky will cool off too quickly . . .



11/23/09  06:44pm

 #2098609


JackAsp
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  Message To: Concolor1   In reference to Message Id: 2098075


 Let Him Settle into His New Digs . . .

Two other things that can maximize feeding response: if it’s f/t: cook it slightly with a hair-dryer until it smells like old greasy chicken. Apparently there’s some odor nuance in there that smells better to them than it does to us.
And also: feed early. Diurnal snakes seem to eat best right after their light clicks on in the morning. Oh, when everything’s going well they generally aren’t all that fussy about it, but when they’re being finicky your windows of opportunity may be quite limited.



11/25/09  01:14am

 #2099505


Rozmarin
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  Message To: JackAsp   In reference to Message Id: 2098609


 Let Him Settle into His New Digs . . .

No luck with the live pinky, I’ll give it a couple of days and try the hairdryer/morning approach. He’s become fairly shy, zipping into the tunnels he’s made in the substrate as soon as I take the cover off the terrarium. I take him out daily (mostly), but I’m reluctant to keep destroying his tunnels to get at him.



11/27/09  07:30pm

 #2099537


Greatballzofire
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  Message To: Rozmarin   In reference to Message Id: 2099505


 Let Him Settle into His New Digs . . .

I have five baby gopher snakes hatched in late August. Three of the five have slowed down on eating starting in October. I weigh my snakes on a gram scale. Anybody that seems to be losing weight I brumate. So far the babies are maintaining, so I am just every 5 or 6 days offering food. They always have fresh water. I try to not bother them anymore than is needed to weigh them every couple of weeks. I have a pair of older young bulls and a yearling gopher snake that are already in brumation, having quit eating in late October. I put them in brumation while they were still at healthy weights, round and sleek.

I figure if the snake is not losing weight, I can leave it in its regular habitat. Brumation is to conserve energy and keep them at a lower metabolism so they don’t burn up their reserves over the winter. I rely on the gram scale because just eye-balling them does not work that great for me.

I expect by early spring they all will once again be eating regularly. This last spring all my snakes ate with gusto; it was a joy to behold! I have one big gopher snake who never fails to eat, even in blue. I wish they all were like her, but it is nature’s way to have them go off feed in the winter and resume feeding in the spring.

If I were you I’d leave off disturbing him as much as possible. Let him feel relaxed. When I take the lid off the habitats they generally just lay there and look up at me expectantly. The little babies tend to be a bit more cautious, but are used to me now, and don’t panic when I open their habitats. You can try putting the pink in a little cup near his hide, and if he eats it, good enough, if not you can remove it without disturbing him.



11/27/09  09:34pm

 #2099693


JackAsp
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  Message To: Greatballzofire   In reference to Message Id: 2099537


 Let Him Settle into His New Digs . . .

I agree, that’s probably too much handling. I mean, I’ve gotten away with it with some snakes that were eating anyway... but they were all captive-bred. Another thing that seems to speed up feeding reactions if they’re shy is to put something completely over botht where they’re hiding and what the pinky’s on. An upside-down wicker basket or paper plate or something light like that. Ifg possible, try to position it so a small part of the mouse’s tail or foot is visible, just so you won’t go crazy wondering if the snake’s eaten it or not.
Feeding is more important than taming. Once he gets used to you bringing food to him, the shyness will fade anyway.
And make sure he has a timer set for a very regular day/night cycle. At LEAST 12 hours (you might find he eats better with as many as 16) of consistant daylight hours, with a regular dark sleep schedule in there too. Avoid any light bulbs that have a "fake" look to them and stick with spectrums that resemble actual sunlight. Ultraviolet isn’t really important, but nice clear visible light sometimes makes a big difference.



11/28/09  04:19pm

 #2123088


Rozmarin
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  Message To: JackAsp   In reference to Message Id: 2099693


 Let Him Settle into His New Digs . . .

Finally! 3-1/2 months after his last meal, he eats again! Little guy ate two pinkies this morning, after I’d warmed them in hot water and wiggled ’em in front of him, he scarfed one down in about 30 seconds. I thawed another one, and that got swallowed up, too. I have offered the things to him every 2 or 3 weeks; not interested. Tried the blow-dryer heating, the brain pinning, even a live pinkie, nothing seemed to work. I’ll see how he goes with a pinkie or two on the weekends. He hasn’t shed yet, so I’m hoping that comes next, with his renewed food intake.



02/13/10  03:41pm

 #2123141


Greatballzofire
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  Message To: Rozmarin   In reference to Message Id: 2123088


 Let Him Settle into His New Digs . . .

He did his winter fast and now that spring is coming is ready to eat. In the wild they would go hole up somewhere for the winter because there isn’t much food available in the winter and even if there was it is too cold to digest anything. He is following a millions of years old instinct. Very likely he will go off feed again next winter; not to worry.



02/13/10  06:13pm


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