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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone, I've been having some problems getting my new carpet python to feed. He's a male reduced pattern Irian Jaya, slightly under one year old, and he's very nervous. He's my first snake; I have been researching keeping snakes for a few years (I was forbidden from keeping them under my previous tenancy agreement) but always thought I would get a spotted or royal python first so didn't know quite as much about the species as I would have liked when I bought him.

I was told when I bought him that carpets are generally much easier to get feeding than royals even though the youngsters tend to be more fractious and difficult to handle, and when I put a deposit on him I did ask to see him feed before I picked him up the next day. The manager tried to feed him a fuzzy mouse but he didn't appear interested in it, which I figured at the time was probably due to arriving in the shop a few days previously and then being handled and moved again when I bought him.

I have tried to feed him three times (every weekend since I bought him). Initially I tried defrosting the mouse in cold water for a few hours and then putting it in hot water for a few minutes to warm it up, and when that didn't work I put it in a bag submerged in water to defrost it and heated it up using a hairdryer (I wondered if the water could have removed some of the mouse scent). I move him to a separate feeding tub, which is sometimes difficult because he's quite insistent on holding tightly to his branch when I try to get him out of the vivarium; maybe this could be distressing him? I've tried waggling the mouse in front of him, both above him and on the floor and then leaving it in the tub inside the vivarium overnight, but he doesn't seem to show any interest in eating - sometimes he even sits on it. I know three weeks isn't a particularly long time for a python to go without feeding, but I'm wondering if I'm doing something wrong, and I only have the word of the guy I bought him from that he last fed three weeks ago.

His temperament seems to be improving ever since I started covering the screen doors with a cloth and using a snake hook to get him off his branch, and he doesn't adopt a striking posture or open his mouth wide anymore (I've never heard of snakes doing this but since he did it whilst I was trying to get him out I assumed it was defensive). The shop manager told me to handle him every night even when he wasn't feeding to help to calm him down. I thought that sounded slightly suspect and since he seemed to be getting more fractious the more frequently I handled him I decided not to handle him except for feeding until he's eating more regularly, is this wise?

There is one other thing I'm a little worried about: I have never seen him flick his tongue out. Is this normal? I guess it's possible he doesn't do it whilst I'm present because of fear, but I'm still rather concerned about it. Also, the shop manager (who had kept and bred carpets before) told me to keep his heat lamp at 84 degrees F in the day and drop it to 66 at night (I think the ambient temperature of the room might be higher than this), and these temperatures sounded a little low compared to some I'd read in various care sheets.

I have found this forum amazingly informative when researching snake species and husbandry in the past and I wondered if anyone with carpet python experience would be able to help?
 

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Firstly thanks for a really informative post, always easier giving advice to someone with all the details.

http://www.reptileforums.co.uk/forums/snakes/29768-feeding-tips.html

Look through the thread above on feeding, there are numerous tips to try such as braining, leaving in over night, alternative prey items. If you've not done it already ive leave it another week, some snakes can take a while to settle in and then leave a defrosted warmed mouse in the viv overnight.

In terms of temps id be inclined to up the warm end to 88-90, low temps can inhibit appetite so this might also help
 

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As above would defo increase temps a little bit, our carpet python (juvenile) likes to strike feed from above, dangling the little fuzzy over its head usually has the desired effect and she eats every 5-7 days
Good Luck, give it time to settle into viv too, they can be a bit snappy and fiesty as babies but ours now knows our smell and no longer strikes at us when we get her out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well, he's still not eating. :(

I've increased the temperature up to 88 and tried braining the fuzzies - once he struck at one and coiled around it but then dropped it within an hour. I assumed this was because it was too big so I've now been trying pinkies instead, but he hasn't shown any interest since. He seems terrified whenever I move him into his feeding tub, even if I put a little coconut husk hide in there (which he occasionally sits on top of but never actually goes into), and especially scared of the forceps holding the mouse (but he won't show any interest if I just drop it in the tub either).

I don't really see any alternative but to try feeding him inside his vivarium, but he's now so docile (in the sense that he doesn't strike when I try to remove him but is still afraid of everything) I don't want to encourage him to bite me. If that doesn't work I don't know what I'll do next. I'm also a little worried about impaction (he's kept on shredded aspen) so am reluctant to leave food in the main vivarium overnight. Any ideas?
 

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Try feeding in viv moving him could be stressing him.If worried about substrate put a sheet of paper over it while feeding.
I feed all my snakes in viv not had a problem.The carpets tend to strike feed from the branches
 

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It may sound cruel but leave him for at least two weeks, just check water and poops. Feed him in the viv an ensure food is warm, even use a hairdryer to get it up to temp.
 

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If it reassures you slightly, our ccp is on aspen as well , thats when she is actually on the ground, she mostly hovers between on top of her hide or up the sides of the viv, hanging off the temperature probe or her fake aloe vera (came with her not my choice but she loves it)

we have fed her inside and out side the viv and she strikes for the food.
warm up and brain a small fuzzy, use forceps and hold it above his/her head inside the viv, if it strikes and eats then you will have to consider not feeding outside the viv until it is more settled.
Wilton had her first 2 feeds in the viv and then the rest out.
 

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Feeding

It may sound cruel but leave him for at least two weeks, just check water and poops. Feed him in the viv an ensure food is warm, even use a hairdryer to get it up to temp.
This is good advice. Morelia come from seasonal environments. Making a change, so long as not too severe, might trigger feeding. Far more problems are caused by people over feeding or needlessly force feeding, in my view, than letting the animal eat when hungry. The initial strike is a good sign. I would stick with what it has shown interest in. So, warm and humid and wait a fortnight. I've even done this with Elaphe.

And don't worry!
 

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Most feeding problems are to do with the environment. Getting the heat up is a great start. A hotspot of 88-90 is fine. Also it's important to leave the snake alone. No disturbance at all (except to change water and maybe spot clean). 2 weeks (as above) would be ideal. Then try feeding in situ. I couldn't find if you stated what viv he's in, but a smallish (9L - 64L) rub would be fine for a baby carpet. They aren't usually too fussy about space (unlike royals), but a smaller container is better IMO for getting a picky eater to start.

There are lots of tricks you can try but getting the environment right is a pre-requisite for all of them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I've also been cycling the temperature, dropping down to 76 by night and back up to 88 during the day (8am-8pm). Should I continue doing this, and what is the ideal nighttime temperature for a carpet? (Most caresheets I've read specify daytime but not nighttime temperatures).

Could humidity be a factor? I keep the water bowl full and in the cool part of the viv so as not to encourage disease, and spray every other day or so - but this seems to stress him too so I'm hesitant to continue spraying unless he needs it.

Thanks for all your help; it's been invaluable. Hopefully he will eat at some point soon - I just hope it happens before October because then he'll have to be transported again.
 
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