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Old 06-09-2015, 05:42 PM
Egg
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Location: Glasgow
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Default Hog nose not eating...

Hi,

We've had a look through all the previous threads on this topic, and we can't find anything that matches our circumstances, so if someone can give us advice we'd be very grateful.

The snake: Albino Western Hog Nose, gender unknown (assuming male for naming purposes), age unknown but not fully adult (too young to be sexed easily anyway, according to the shop). 40cm (16") long and 35g (1.25oz), very approximately.

The situation: We bought the snake on 16/07 this year. The shop had fed him that morning, and we have a feeding record showing that he was fed roughly every seven days, four times previously. Following advice, we got him settled but did not attempt to handle him.

About four days later he produced a poo, which he proceeded to smear up one side of his tank (a territory-marking tactic, according to advice from the shop). We cleaned this out, restored his environment, and let him settle in for a couple of days again, giving him a smallish fuzzy on the 23rd, literally just plonking it on a flat surface in his vivarium. He ate that quite happily after ignoring it for a while. He produced a small poo a few days later.

However, he hasn't eaten since that day. We've offered him food roughly every week, starting with fuzzies similar to his first one, but he's ignored them all. Various tactics we have tried:

- Waggling the mouse in front of his nose. He strikes at it very enthusiastically, but that's all.
- Scenting the mouse with tuna can water. He definitely showed interest when he caught the scent, but still ignored the mouse.
- Braining the mouse (ick). No reaction.
- The first batch of fuzzies we had were all larger than the one he ate, so we've tried him on smaller ones, and pinkies as well.

He has produced a couple of tiny poos over the last few weeks, most recently on 30/08. The one previous to that ended up smeared a bit as well.

Not having fed for more than six weeks, he is starting to worry us a bit. He doesn't appear to be preparing to shed (although since he's albino the visual cues I've seen in other snakes aren't going to be as apparent).

He spends a fair amount of time asleep, but is pretty lively when awake, attempting to dig his way through the corners of his vivarium, striking at things he thinks are threatening (shadows mainly), hissing like a broken kettle when getting his water changed, and so on. He's putting effort into regulating his own temperature, spending time at the warm and cool ends of his vivarium, occasionally wrapping around his water dish for extra cooling. He also likes to clear the aspen shavings out from one corner, and often dumps them in his water dish .

After letting him settle in for about four weeks, we started handling him, and he has taken to it very well, being highly inquisitive and active at the start of any session, but eventually settling down to rest coiled around a few fingers. This has allowed us to examine him quite closely, and we are sure that there are no odd lumps in his body anywhere, nor any damage to his scales.

When he did his most recent poo-smearing (around 23/08 ), we gave him a chance to actually bathe rather than just cleaning him manually. Following advice we filled the bath with enough tepid water to allow him to bathe, but leaving a wide section at the end completely dry, where we placed him. He happily went into the water and swam up and down a few times, then parked with his head propped against the side but his body in the water. After letting him soak for a while we took him out and let him play on a soft towel for a while, making sure he was dry before putting him back in his vivarium. His behaviour gave us the notion that he might be close to shedding, so we prepared a small dish for him to soak in... which he ignored completely.

So, we're at a complete loss as to what may be wrong with him -- if anything. On the one hand, he's active, inquisitive, showing no signs of distress, and generally appears to be in good health; his in-vivarium behaviour hasn't changed noticeably since he settled in, a couple of days after we got him. On the other hand... it's been over six weeks now, and he's been burning calories the entire time.

So if anyone can offer us any suggestions to get him to eat, we'd be most grateful. Or if there's a reason why he's choosing not to at the moment, knowing how much longer we should wait before getting worried would be nice... some relatives with snakes say theirs can go for months on end without eating, but I'd like independent confirmation of that.

Thanks in advance!
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 07-09-2015, 07:16 PM
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Aww mate I hope you get him sorted soon. I had a baby royal do this to me last year. Nothing worse than the little dude not eating. I just couldn't get him to eat and he ended up dying
Hopefully someone helpful will come along soon
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Old 07-09-2015, 08:20 PM
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As is always the case with grow on hogs not feeding, this is down to husbandry.
How exactly is he being kept?
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Old 07-09-2015, 08:38 PM
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My hoggie recently went on a random hunger strike, I was told to turn his basking area up to 95, he spends a lot less time on the hot side but he is eating again. He still refused rat pups for a while but I offered him a day old chick thigh, which he ate with great enthusiasm and he then started eating rats again, takes some encouragement but he will eat them. It's only been three feeds since his fasting but I'm happy with the results.
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Old 07-09-2015, 08:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ian14 View Post
As is always the case with grow on hogs not feeding, this is down to husbandry.
How exactly is he being kept?

wouldn't say 'always'
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Old 07-09-2015, 10:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iulia View Post
wouldn't say 'always'
I would, in my experience. Once a hognose is feeding, it will carry on unless it is ill, if the husbandry (most commonly too cool) isn't spot on, or its getting ready to brumate.
There is no need at all to start manipulating scents.

In most cases, hogs will take unscented defrost pinks as soon as they hatch.
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Old 07-09-2015, 10:48 PM
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I had a girl hoglet (originally mis-sexed as a boy) that was a divil to feed from the start - seemed to get it together for a while, then stopped -

it went to live with a friend also an experienced reptile keeper, who also had endless problems with it no matter what they tried

I take your point - it may be husbandry and its always the best place to start, I just don't like unnerving newbies with that kind of remark ...
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Old 07-09-2015, 11:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ian14 View Post
As is always the case with grow on hogs not feeding, this is down to husbandry.
How exactly is he being kept?
Just to check as above, let us know his temps, and the set up, a pic might help incase there might not be enough cover just as an example
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Old 08-09-2015, 09:24 PM
Egg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ian14 View Post
As is always the case with grow on hogs not feeding, this is down to husbandry.
How exactly is he being kept?
We're using the "starter kit" the pet shop sold us along with him. He's in a 44cm plastic tank with ventilation slits around the top edge, and a snap-on ventilated lid. He has a small (5ml?) ceramic water bowl in one corner, and a single-temperature Komodo heat mat occupying about a quarter of the tank's area, in the opposite corner from the bowl.

He has between 3 and 5cm depth of aspen shavings (depending on how much he's excavated) and bit of cork bark for a hide, about a quarter of the tank's footprint but centred. I have to change the aspen immediately around his bowl every day or so, because as noted he just loves to dump the water everywhere. (I got home from work today to find him curled up smugly (sic) in a big pile of damp shavings. Two large handfuls of the stuff had to be changed... It looked so deliberate on his part that I'm wondering if I should just leave it like that next time, even though my instincts are to avoid any chance of mould or rot.)

The tank sits in my daughter's bedroom, on top of a chest of drawers, with a good 10cm clearance between it and the (internal) wall behind it, and a similar distance to the wardrobe on one side. There's a good 1.5m between the other side and the external wall, which has a window in it: it gets good daylight (when the weather cooperates) but no direct sunlight. At night the windows are closed by very heavy curtains, with no draft. (I'd send you a picture, but I should get my daughter's permission first...) She has stopped using anything like aerosols, candles or incense in her room since we got him.

As for the tank temperature... I'm not very happy with the Komodo gauge that came with the tank (any recommendations, and suggestions on where to get in Glasgow?), but according to it the air half-way up the side opposite the heat mat is 20C (right in the middle of the green zone). A more sensitive thermometer says that the aspen above the heat mat is 28C - 33C depending on depth; the other corners are 26C, 24C, and 22C (right by the water bowl) in the top layer.

When he's not digging up the aspen around the edges, balancing on the lip of the tank (there's almost enough space for him to lie comfortably there when the lid is on), or hugging his water bowl, he spends most of his time curled up under the bark, in the centre of the tank.

If the problem is that his tank is too cold, I'm going to need suggestions on how to get it warmer. I'm worried that a more powerful mat will just make the bottom layer uncomfortably (or even dangerously) warm without actually affecting the air above much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ian14 View Post
Once a hognose is feeding, it will carry on unless it is ill, if the husbandry (most commonly too cool) isn't spot on, or its getting ready to brumate.
That's the thing: he was eating fine, and he doesn't appear to be ill. That leaves his environment, or brumation, which I haven't been able to find any clear description of beyond "they sometimes do this...".


Thanks to everyone for getting back to me so quickly. Hopefully there's enough information above to go on.
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Old 11-09-2015, 12:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ian14 View Post
I would, in my experience. Once a hognose is feeding, it will carry on unless it is ill, if the husbandry (most commonly too cool) isn't spot on, or its getting ready to brumate.
There is no need at all to start manipulating scents.

In most cases, hogs will take unscented defrost pinks as soon as they hatch.
as often as not, they won't- many breeders & keepers of hatchling hogs say they are total sods to get feeding, & have to resort to scenting, braining or heating pinks for weeks before they will feed. & that was also my experience when i bred them.
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