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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
my russian rat snake is looking a bit deflated. when he relaxes over an edge (rock/branch etc) he has a bit of a flat tyre look. he looks normal when moving or coiled up and still has plenty of strength when in hand. doesnt show any spine. he is eating once a week and i have recently started feeding him two mice in a sitting which he is taking with gusto. i have seen him drinking and he gets fresh water every other day. he had his brumation and didnt have any problems with it and been eating happily since coming out of it. environmental stuff is all good, lots of ventilation, 30c hot spot, room temp cool end, large viv, got dry/cool/humid hides and uvb. he is about 18 months (i think) 745g and is putting weight on, 116g since he woke up.
do i need to up his food or is it just a normal thing?
 

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I have no experience with brumating so I’ve nothing really to offer ... just wondering if it’s just a little dehydrated in which case it maybe worth giving it a 20 minute soak ...

Message me if you want info on soaking ...


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
i thought about dehydration but his skin is still nice and springy and he has definitely been drinking. he hasnt been trying to climb in his water. i spray his humid hide regularly so he always has somewhere damp to go, he does use it occasionally. he doesnt really use hides much in general, never has, he prefers to sprawl out on his rocks or in his branches.

i have been varying the food size a little. he has a had a couple of xl mouse meals but they have been an xl mouse and a few rat pinks or mouse hoppers, the last feed was 2 large mice which he had no problems with. i think he can probably take 2 xl mice. i did get some chicks but i'm not quite sure if they are just a little too big yet, but its borderline. i just get wary of giving him too big of an item as he remains pretty active, from what i read it sounded like multiple smaller items were a better choice. perhaps go up to small rats, but that would put more fat into the diet right?

the mice i have been getting lately dont seem very different from each other. the difference between the large and extra large is very little.

i have been watching him all day trying to get a photo to show what i mean but it looks like he going into shed now and has been coiled up. its not always there, its almost like he really relaxes and the muscle spreads.
 

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You need to post some photos. Your idea of deflated might be quite normal.
Chicks would be a good idea, they are a fairly natural prey for Russsian rats and are very nutritious.
You will be surprised what a snake can eat. If yours is taking xl mice then a chick is no issue.
I have had a female hognose that often took day old chicks, and even a Lake Zacapu garter.
I do wonder if this is a quantity issue. If he can take xl mice easily, why on earth are you also giving rat pups and hoppers???
A male Russian should be easily taking big mice if not small rat weaners.
Knowing his size, and seeing photos, will I am sure, answer this for you.
 

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If you could post photo of what you mean, it would help - but it might be difficult if he only does that some times.

I did notice that when my corn snakes are resting and hanging over branch, or part of the body draped over something, that part looks slightly "deflated", because they are relaxed - is that what you mean ?

On another note - if he is only 18 months old or so, and already weighs 745g - that's certainly not underfed! I don't have Russian rat snake, so l'm not familiar with how fast they grow, but my fully adult corns are that weight at 10 years old and almost 5 feet, so l'd say he's not wasting away :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
i am keeping watch to get a photo, but he is not being obliging. it may well be that its just when he is completely relaxed, i just wanted to check with those who have more experience. like i said when he is up and about is not there, perhaps when is is casually roaming and goes over a particularly thin branch, but its definitely not constant.

he is definitely not wasting away but he is certainly not fat. he is roughly 50 inches, havent tried to measure him for a while, but he is still a slender snake. i am guessing at 18 months, i got him last february and the chap said he was 12 months. so as he wouldnt have hatched in feb he was either born the previous year or the year before. i know i should have asked but i didnt think at the time. from what he was saying it was sounding like the previous year. i may well have gone the wrong way with that assumption, happy to be corrected.
this is him this morning. for size reference the hide is a celebrations tub and roughly 9" across. he was just over 36 inches when i got him so he is definitely still growing.
GEDC1353.JPG


as for the small prey, its not a staple. i just use them for enrichment and variety. he likes a hunt so a couple of times i have dotted around 3-4 babies for him to hunt out and then he gets a bigger item. certainly not in every feed.
 

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He looks lovely, and in perfect condition. I think the fact that the "deflated" look is not there all the time probably means he was just relaxed and spread out over an edge or bump. They can sometimes look really funny when asleep - squashed heads, eyes rolled or pointing in different directions etc.

My hognose is terrible at changing shape, he can flatten not just his neck, but his entire body when angry, then looks quite lean when moving along, then goes squashed and fat looking again, so if l want to see his real shape, l have to watch him when he doesn't see me :)

Regarding feeding- It's actually not bad that you are giving him different kinds and sizes of prey, variety is good.
 
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I dont see anything to worry about, he has a good body shape and is not under weight. All I would say is to carry on as you are, he's growing very well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
ok, thanks folks. its good to know i havent missed something. it just looked weird and its better to know about these little quirks so i know for next time.
i will try him on a chick next time if he will be ok on it. i got them for him but they looked fairly chunky. i thawed one out to see how big they actually are but still wasnt too sure so i decided to wait a bit. i was probably being over cautious. i would like to get him on a mixed diet, maybe get some quail eggs and frog legs if i can find some.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
yeah he is in blue now but its not a brand new thing. i have noticed it before and been keeping an eye on it the last few weeks trying to decide if its something to worry about. not been noticeable at all since he went into blue as he has just sat on the flat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
ah ok. i hadnt noticed that before but i will make a note of it in future and see if it lines up. it would be a cool extra way to read things.
 

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Many snakes appear to gain excess skin when they are approaching a shed
That is true, some of mine will sometimes get very saggy neck just before shed , this disappears once they've shed. I wonder whether it's because they tend to retend water before shed.
 

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Sorry, it was suppose to read "retain water" :)
 

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Possibly, or the skin becomes loose to aid with the shedding process. There is fluid build up between the old scales and new scales so maybe this increases the thickness which in turn increases the 'size' of the skin which makes it baggier. Their skin is obviously very stretchy anyway to allow them to eat such large things.

I've never really looked into the science behind it, i have just looked at a lot of snakes. A lot.
 
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