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 #2161863


Gopherdude
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 Another Approach to the Hunger Strike Issue

Sometimes, the Pituophis and others (my king is occasionally guilty) decide that they have had enough F/T rodents and absolutely will not take any more. That’s when I break out the Sherman live traps, concoct my special blend rodent bait and trap a few local K-rats, pocket mice, cactus mice, etc., give them a good "bop" and toss them in with the former reluctant one. You wouldn’t think you were dealing with the same snake. Suddenly, they’re eating those wild smelling mice as fast as I can catch them.

My big red bull decided recently that he had enough F/T rats for awhile. Then one of my dogs kills a half grown rabbit (cottontail) within the fenced portion of our property and I quickly salvaged it, brought it in, dropped it in the tank with him and it was gone (engulfed) in a hurry.

As for issues with any parasites, bugs, protozoa, etc., I’ve not had any. Snakes eat these guys in the wild all the time and I keep mine "adapted" to a few wild meals here and there to "successfully" break those annoying, prolonged hunger strikes. In the desert where I live, there is no shortage of the rodentia either. Since I stick with normals rather than genetically watered down morphs, my snakes are not that far removed from their wild ancestral lines anyway.

Once they’re off and feeding again, the F/Ts are treated no differently (readily engulfed again) I have found. Just a thought for those of you that are interested...



07/11/10  05:32pm

 #2161887


Greatballzofire
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  Message To: Gopherdude   In reference to Message Id: 2161863


 Another Approach to the Hunger Strike Issue

I’d be leery of feeding wild rodents to my snakes because of the parasite load. I raise my own mice and feed both ft and fresh killed, live if the mice are pinks or fuzzies. I do have three gopher snakes that insist on being fed under their hides rather than in the feeding container. If that is what they want to do, I am willing to accommodate them. Not eating only becomes a worry if the snake in question begins to lose too much weight. Last fall one of my young bull snakes stopped eating and I went ahead and brumated him for the winter. He came out of brumation with a good appetite.

A thing I’d do with the wild rodents is put their blood on the domestic mouse or rat for scenting, but not feed the wild rodent to the snakes.



07/11/10  07:32pm

 #2161903


Gopherdude
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  Message To: Greatballzofire   In reference to Message Id: 2161887


 Another Approach to the Hunger Strike Issue

Hey Pyro,

I have heard the parasite (more aptly protozoa) concerns associated with CB snakes for years but I personally think it somewhat over-rated if not a bit hyped. As two of mine are bonafide wild-caughts and the other four are not that far removed from wild caught in the CB industry, I have no worries. Probably more of an issue as they put on some serious age. After all, the average wild snake lives nowhere near as long as their CB kin housed in a snug enclosure for a variety of reasons.

Now when it comes to some of the morphs, I’d tend to agree - the more sterile and otherwise controlled, the better. That F/T food will grow them and grow them fast but it’s the same ole routine week after week and they get tired of it occasionally and refuse it. Kind of like a person limited to a steady fare of TV dinners when suddenly confronted with some recently harvested wild game. Well that’s a no-brainer (assuming that said individual is not a vegetarian).

In the snake world (as with any predator), that fresh native meat will ALWAYS stimulate them and break up those periods of fasting that cause the keeper so much concern. Most people are into the sterile thing though and conduct their lives accordingly (including the management of their pets, kids, etc). I’m not one of those.

a.k.a. the Pit_fan



07/11/10  08:23pm

 #2162062


Greatballzofire
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  Message To: Gopherdude   In reference to Message Id: 2161903


 Another Approach to the Hunger Strike Issue

Hi, Pit_Fan! LOL!

I thought worms were the main parasites that would be transferred to snakes from wild rodents, and Trichinosis, common in wild rabbit. I have never worried about protozoa. I keep things clean and change their water every day. The mice are reared in clean conditions, although since I have put them outdoors in their screen tent for the summer, I have had an infestation of earwigs move into the tent area for the mouse feed and water. But once the earwigs find their way into the mouse tubs, the mice eat them!

Anyway, the observation you have made that wild food will stimulate a flagging appetite is something I will keep in mind, and the next time I catch a wild rodent (or run over a squirrel on the road!) I will bring it home and flavor the mouse with the blood. I don’t think freezing will kill the Trichinosis, or I’d freeze the wild rodent first, then feed the whole thing to the snake, instead of just freezing to save the blood.

So far my snakes seem to just go off feed according to the seasons; starting in the fall they begin eating less. Although I do have one big fatty (Gonzo the Pacific) who is only two years old and is 52 inches long; she eats all through the winter.

a.k.a. Greatballzofire



07/12/10  03:10pm

 #2162074


Imderrickjed
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  Message To: Greatballzofire   In reference to Message Id: 2162062


 Another Approach to the Hunger Strike Issue

My big bull has dont the hunger strike twice. Once for 3 months. Seemed ok so I let him just sleep or whatever. once he started eating again it was pretty normal. This last time I just left him and the mouse in the feeding area for an hour. He ended up eating him. I think he just got tired of the mouse walking on him.



07/12/10  03:24pm

 #2162146


Greatballzofire
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  Message To: Greatballzofire   In reference to Message Id: 2162062


 Another Approach to the Hunger Strike Issue

Argh! I meant a.k.a.Pyromaniac....
It’s too hot today to think straight. Also when it gets hot some of my snakes take a little break from eating, then when it cools down a bit start eating again. I don’t think anybody, man or beast, has much of an appetite during a heat wave!



07/12/10  06:58pm

 #2162152


Gopherdude
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  Message To: Greatballzofire   In reference to Message Id: 2162146


 Another Approach to the Hunger Strike Issue

Hey Pyro,

I hear you on the HEAT! It’s a cool 106 here in the Sonoran Desert right now but that’s about average for us this time of year. My snakes are all over the feeding spectrum when it comes to the WARM season. Everyone feeds pretty well during March right after brumation, then the males take a break from towards the end of March until early May. Then everyone feeds like mad during May and June with a pause again in July. From there it gets variable, my king, red bull, Great Basin and San Diego’s feed pretty well through late summer and early fall and my local Sonoran shuts down sometime in August for the duration. Wild food gets his attention to a degree then. By late October or early November, everyone quits for the year. Stays too warm here to put them down until about Thanksgiving week. Then everyone goes down until about mid February when it starts getting warm here again...



07/12/10  07:30pm

 #2162211


Gopherdude
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  Message To: Gopherdude   In reference to Message Id: 2162152


 Another Approach to the Hunger Strike Issue

What I was getting at with that non-feeding period from mid-March through April affects my males entirely and my females to a degree. The males go into cruise mode where they are restless and constantly on the move, especially late in the day and during the night. They have breeding on their mind and seem hard-wired in cruise mode during a 45 day period or so. Food does not interest them in the least during this period. When they’re past it though (early May for me), they resume feeding like crazy. My females will continue to feed during the early spring but at a reduced level. Fall can be maddening for my local Sonoran as he seems cued to shortening days, regardless of the steady temperatures. Can’t put him down for the winter until late fall and he does burn a little fat during that three month period (during which he is very actively cruising again). In the fall, they are hard wired to cruise back to overwintering dens and cruise he does. Sonoran’s are my personal favorite of the entire gopher complex. Here’s a couple pic.s..





07/12/10  11:26pm

 #2162306


Greatballzofire
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  Message To: Gopherdude   In reference to Message Id: 2162211


 Another Approach to the Hunger Strike Issue

That’s a very handsome Somoran.

Quote:

Fall can be maddening for my local Sonoran as he seems cued to shortening days, regardless of the steady temperatures.


Could you maybe trick him with a full spectrum light set to mimic summer daylight hours? I know fiddling with the length of day and night works great with plants, I wonder if animals would respond as well. My fence lizards bred during the winter because they were in the house and got longer light hours than if they had been outdoors (plus inside the house was a lot warmer in January than outdoors! LOL!)



07/13/10  01:33pm

 #2164461


JackAsp
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  Message To: Greatballzofire   In reference to Message Id: 2162306


 Another Approach to the Hunger Strike Issue

It works if they aren’t overly attuned to the cycle in the windows, which most aren’t. If the cage has a great window view, then the cage light trick may not do it. Of course, cages that are near windows are also prone to other winter problems, like drafts altering your temperatures, especialy at night.
True story: I spent over 19 years trying to get a carpet python to eat during the winter. She always stopped around September and wouldn’t start again until ate least late March, no matter what I did with lighting. It wasn’t until she was 20 that I was finally able to cut her winter fasting time in half by using the same exact light trick that I’d tried a zillion times before. The reason it finally worked? Arthritis. She wasn’t climbing up to window level very often any more.
I doubt the UV itself matters, but there is a big visual difference between a good light that looks like natural sun and a bad light that looks artificially white, yellow, or purple. You can go the Home Depot route though. The only time I out actual reptile lights over my snakes is when I bought them for my lizards or turtle and they’ve gotten used enough that they aren’t any good for UVB anymore anyhow.



07/22/10  09:32pm


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