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 #2080326


Houdina mom
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 Baby Fox Snake Won’t Eat - Help?

Hi guys,

A friend of mine caught a baby fox snake and gave it to us because the fox snake we did have died last winter (we’d had the guy for 14 years, and he was over 4 1/2 feet long when he passed).

My friend gave us this snake September 9, and he ate a small fuzzy on the 12. We tried feeding him a slightly larger fuzzy on the 23rd, but he wouldn’t eat it. I dropper fed the fuzzy some warmed milk, and kept it warm over night, then tried feeding him to the snake again, and he (temporarily Otis until we come up with something my family and the friend that gave him to us can agree on) still wouldn’t eat. Mom brought the fuzzy back to the reptile store, and bought a pinky, we tried for 3 days to get him to eat the the pinky that I kept alive as long as I could by dropper feeding it and keeping it warm. Yesterday Mom went to get another pinky, and Otis still hasn’t eaten him.

Last night we put a little chicken broth on the mouse (I found that mentioned on another site last evening), but that hasn’t worked. Tonight we’re going to try putting some tuna juice (Mom found that at another site today). We also tried crickets and night crawlers, but Otis wouldn’t eat those either.

How long can a 13-14 inch fox snake go without eating before it’s too weak to eat? Does anyone have any other tips for getting him to eat?

Thanks for any help you can give.



10/04/09  08:39pm

 #2080331


Houdina mom
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  Message To: Houdina mom   In reference to Message Id: 2080326


 Baby Fox Snake Won’t Eat - Help?

I forgot to mention that I’m in Minnesota, and it has been getting colder the last week or so. Could he be getting ready to hibernate?



10/04/09  08:46pm

 #2080444


Reptilefreak23
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  Message To: Houdina mom   In reference to Message Id: 2080331


 Baby Fox Snake Won’t Eat - Help?

Yes he probably is. I wouldn’t mess around to much with him. Hes a wild snake he knows hibernation is close at hand. Just offer him a mouse every two weeks or so.



10/05/09  08:05am

 #2080445


Reptilefreak23
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  Message To: Houdina mom   In reference to Message Id: 2080331


 Baby Fox Snake Won’t Eat - Help?

Also, never offer him food every day. Wait a while before trying again. That can be really stressful and actually cause the snake not to eat. Have you tried cupping, split head, or gecko scenting?



10/05/09  08:08am

 #2080775


Houdina mom
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  Message To: Reptilefreak23   In reference to Message Id: 2080445


 Baby Fox Snake Won’t Eat - Help?

We have not tried these 3 techniques. What is ’split head’? How do we gecko scent without a gecko? Would we be able to get some kind of scent from a reptile store? Like a spray? Or gecko droppings?

Thanks for your help!



10/05/09  11:17pm

 #2081066


Reptilefreak23
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  Message To: Houdina mom   In reference to Message Id: 2080775


 Baby Fox Snake Won’t Eat - Help?

Split head is when you split open the head of a f/t pinky. I just poke a nale into it and try to get some of it on the outside.
No, I don’t believe there are any products. Any lizard or lizard tail you can find outside do well. I like to use geckos because they are so common and the tails are easy to use.



10/06/09  06:21pm

 #2081971


JackAsp
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  Message To: Reptilefreak23   In reference to Message Id: 2081066


 Baby Fox Snake Won’t Eat - Help?

Forget about tuna/lizards/frogs/worms/any of that stuff. Egg yolk might help, but mice ought to be fine. Fox snakes don’t normally eat anything except birs or mammal products.
They’re very sesitive to seasonal changes, so it’s about environment, not scenting. Here are some ideas to minimize the seasonal change.
1. Make sure there’s summer lighting. That means a bright, natural-looking light with a timer that’s set to run for 16 hours a day. I suggest using a striplight rather than a heat-bulb, and using a pad for heat.
2. A humid hide, with some damp sphagnum moss in it.
3. Deep burrowable substrate, with a small heatpad under one end. Substrate depth allows him to find a resting level that’s just right.
4. Throw a towel over the whole top. One of the nice things about fluorecent striplighting is it won’t set the towel on fire.
5. Tape some cardboard onto three sides of the tank, to insulate against night-time drafts.

Also, diurnal snakes eat best in the morning. If you already have the mouse in there right before his light clicks on, odds aren’t bad he’ll eat it before he remembers he wanted to hibernate. Another quirk of some snakes is that they eat better if you put them in a deli cup or something with the mouse for about half an hour. I don’t know if it simulates being in the burrow, or if having to coil up with it makes them feel like they’ve just constricted it, or WHAT the schpiel is. Just know that, with many individual snakes, it works.

Even babies usually take months (and I mean like 8, not like 2) to actually die of starvation, so in all probability you’re not facing death, just a very unhappy winter and some loss of growth, followed by a noraml appetit in the spring. I’m not saying that because you shouldn’t worry and try to keep him happy and eating, I’m just saying it because a lot of people panic and start thinking about force-feeding way sooner than they need to, and the snake suffers for it.

Hibernating him is an option, too, if you’ve got a room that stays about 55 degreees. But if the temperature’s all over the place, that could do more harm than good.



10/08/09  07:55pm

 #2082014


Houdina mom
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  Message To: JackAsp   In reference to Message Id: 2081971


 Baby Fox Snake Won’t Eat - Help?

THANK YOU !!!!



10/08/09  09:46pm

 #2082016


Houdina mom
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  Message To: JackAsp   In reference to Message Id: 2081971


 Baby Fox Snake Won’t Eat - Help?

THANK YOU !!!!!!!



10/08/09  09:47pm

 #2088098


JackAsp
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  Message To: Houdina mom   In reference to Message Id: 2082016


 Baby Fox Snake Won’t Eat - Help?

So how’s he doing?



10/24/09  12:53am

 #2103399


Houdina mom
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  Message To: JackAsp   In reference to Message Id: 2088098


 Baby Fox Snake Won’t Eat - Help?

Otis shed in the last few days of October. We measured the skin at 16 inches. He’s eaten 2 frozen mice since he shed, without hesitation. We fed him about every 2 - 3 weeks and were going to feed him again this weekend.

Last night when I checked on him before turning his lights over (turning off the UV/heat light and turning on a black light for heat - like I do for my iguana and beardies), he had gotten himself into a knot. He didn’t move, so I poked him gently with my finger to see if he was still alive, and he was, he went under the paper.

This afternoon when I was going to clean his cage and hold him for a bit, I discovered that he’d passed sometime between 10pm last night and 4pm this afternoon.

Rigor is only in about half his body at the moment, and he has not begun to smell yet.

We had him in a small cage for the winter, to keep it warmer for him. We kept his cage pretty clean. I gave him fresh water every other day whether his bowl was almost empty or not.

He was fine and active a couple of days ago. He was far less active yesterday, but we thought maybe he was getting ready to shed again. As I said above, he had tied his mid-section into a knot. He moved slowly when untying himself and going under the paper.

Does anyone have any idea what could have killed him? If it was something we did, please tell us so we don’t do it again!

Otis is the 2nd Fox Snake we’ve had, the 1st (Floydini the escape snake) died last December at 4ft 1in long, we’d had him for 14 yrs, we’d gotten him from a friend who had caught him wild about a year before he gave him to us.

This is the first time we’ve had a problem with any of the reptiles. the only other animals we’ve had that didn’t have a good record with us were 4 gold fish and a walking stick, everything else has outlasted the typical life expectancy or is close to it but doing fine.

Thanks for any thoughts on this topic.



12/10/09  06:03pm

 #2105451


JackAsp
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  Message To: Houdina mom   In reference to Message Id: 2103399


 Baby Fox Snake Won’t Eat - Help?

One thing worth mentioning for the other animals, though: red lights are safer than blacklights. Longterm use of blacklights has been strongly associated with eye problems. Oh, I used blacks on my carpet python when she was a baby because I didn’t know any better and her vision was still fine over two decades later, but statistically, the risks have been established. There are supposedly certain blue-tinted reptile lights that are safer, but I take those guarantees with a grain of salt and use red when I use any nocturnal lighting at all. Kind of off-topic. But, you’re obviously trying to do right by all your pets, so I thought I’d mention it. However, Otis’ health problem certainly was not caused by a black light.
The only environmental possibility I’m wondering about is heat. Too much can cause organ problems, but if he was acting normal then I don’t actually think that was it. Trying to escape a lot, soaking excessively, or "slumping" a lot would be suspicious, although all of those could also mean other things.
I would feed a hatchling more often that every 2-3 weeks (more like every 5-7 days) but that wasn’t the problem. It usually takes months of NOTHING for them to even lose much weight. Honestly, I only mention that as a future reference thing, since you may someday have another snake that age.
What’s left is... some biological issue that you had no reason to suspect. With wildcaught animals, the possibilities are endless. An initial stool check is always a very good idea, to see if there’s a problem buidling that can be treated with simple meds, but some stuff won’t even show up in that. And a REALLY thorough live exam... just isn’t even feasible. With a snake that tiny, they can’t even get a decent blood sample without really hurting the animal. Since you got him at a time of year when they usually stop eating, and he continued to eat and grow while you had him, I’d guess that most of the time he probably felt okay while you had him. But extenuating circumstances do have a way of stepping in sometimes and ruining things.



12/16/09  12:22am


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