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Tupi1   JackAsp  
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 Suddenly not eating and cranky.

almost a month ago I finally got my sonoran gopher moved out of a 20 gal into a large cage.She has since been really cranky and the normally active snake has not once come out from under her hide.She also refuse a mouse for the very first time ever..
The new cage is big, 4x2x2..It it too big or maybe its because its darker.The tank had a light for heat and the new cage although it has room light is in a rather dark area and its cooler by about 5 degrees.Im wondering if maybe she is thinking its winter..I didnt help because I was trying to get her out to look her over and make sure she wasnt sick and I dropped her wood hide on her (didnt hurt her but didnt help her attitude) ..
I have a smaller cage that is 4x18x18 that I may have to move her too.I has an overhead light heat source too.

08/27/11  04:10pm


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  Message To: Tupi1   In reference to Message Id: 2234609

 Suddenly not eating and cranky.

Darker is, at least in this case, worse. A good Pit cage has plenty of hide options where they can rest their eyes, but still has good illumination during the day. One thing I’ve found about diurnal/crepuscular snakes in general is that they put a lot more effort into doing natural things if during the day they have natural-looking lighting. Pits usually eat so well that it doesn’t really matter how thy’re illuminated, but if you have one that is stressed, then making sure there is clear, natural-looking cage lighting is a big plus. Also, in a big cage like that, you should be able to ROCK the thermal gradients! Some deep burrowable substrate, a small heat pad under one corner, and the snake can and will learn how to stay warm enough.

I’ll tell you what the biggies are in my opinion. But I’ll also admit that my opinion is kind of limited in its expansiveness, because the only Pits I’ve ever owned were two pines and one bull. That said, here’s what comes to mind.

1. Loose-coil-sized warm spot close to 90, but as much of cage as possible as close to 75 as possible. I’m lucky as hell to live in a warm apartment, because my bull only uses his warm hide for about five minutes when he wakes up in the morning, and, if he feels the need, uses that as his bathroom, which even if I’m not home works perfect because he won’t go there until the next morning anyway,so I come home, sniff, blah blah blah.

2. Natural-looking daylight. I think the psychological effects of UVA are highly exaggerated, but the effect of clear sunny lighting as opposed to something with a white, yellow, or purple tint is a big deal. I admit, I have generally had Pits eat fine under whatever lighting I gave them. But I’ve seen it do wonders with a western hognose (who grew a fraction of an inch longer than her 40 gallon tank; Audabon seriously needs to update some of its "maximum sizes" on commonly kept species!) and on an 18-year-old carpet python who finally decided, once I decided to try the lighting experiment, to start eating about two months earlier in the year than she ever had before. So if, for whatever reason, your gopher is having appetite issues, then, yes, light quality is probably a big plus.

3. Lots of partial hides. Or even lots of actual hides, just don’t at this point make anything hard to get the snake out of, because that just makes things unnecessarily stressful. They do seem to enjoy meandering from hiding place to hiding place when upgraded into a larger enclosure, as opposed to just constantly testing out the perimeter when they have too much empty space. Start out a new cage with too many easy-t-remove hiding areas. Then, as time goes by, remove whatever seems like a great idea to humans but not to snakes.

4.Low humidity. The dimensions of your cage make me assume it’s an enclosed box-style front-opener. Which is fine, but they do get muggy sometimes. Drilling more ventilation holes or uaing a more absorbtive substrate (wood pulps are better in that regard than wood shavings) will help alleviate that problem.

5. Feed during the day, preferably early. Babies don’t care, they always eat. But as the snake ages you will sometimes see preferences pop up about feeding time, shed cycles, seasons, and all kinds of other stuff.

6. You also might try egg-scenting. You remember that finicky old carpet python I mentioned? Well, she was an ’80s hatching, so due to lack of good information I made a lot of mistakes with her, and she didn’t even live to age 22. When she died, I had a bunch of rabbits in the freezer. (Huge female coastal carpet. 8’11" and big-boned enough to look scrawny at over 20 pounds, normal at 22-23 pounds.) When my bull turned out to be a WAY larger individual than I had planned on, I figured the silver lining was I could at least finaly use up all those frozen adult rabbits I had in the fridge. My bull, Winkle, is about seven feet long and quite heftily structured, but a rat a week would still be more appropriate. Rabbits are lean, though, so one every two weeks until they’re gone seems within reason. I had trouble convincing him to make the jump up to them, though, until it occurred to me to simply cook myself an omellette, rub the thawed, warmed-up prey items snout into the fresh eggshell, and then offer it. If he smells that egg yolk, he goes CRAZY! Even though he’s never eaten live prey in his life, and usually just finds a skinny end and starts the food down his gullet, when he smells that egg yolk he grabs whatever he can reach and goes nuts on the rabbit. One time he grabbed it by the mid-back and wrenched it out of my hand, then started constricting. Anothet time, he just chomped on and wrapped around and through himself foreward out of the tank, thumping rabbit and all right onto my bed. I had to lift him up and roll him back into the cage, where he proceeded to actually swallow an adult rabbit BACKWARDS! And while Winkle IS a very large bull, he’s still far from any kind of record setter. Any smell that makes a Pit swallow a large prey item 9that it was previously hesitant to accept) backwards is probably a plus when it comes to appetite stimulus.

They tend to be such good eaters that I doubt all of these factors will matter. It could have been as simple as just needing another week to settle in. But you’re asking a legitimate question, and one that does come up a lot this time of year with hypothetically perfect-eating snakes, so I might as well try an answer. Meanwhile, if we get bored we can always keep bickering in that other thread.

09/06/11  02:32am

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