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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So yeah, I know there's tons about this online, and I feel I've tried most things by now. Sorry for the long post.
So he's 7 months old who I received over a month ago. He has not eaten once since I got him. Some details about the enclosure:
  • 18l RUB
  • warm side approx. 32 degrees celsius
  • cool side approx. 26 degrees celsius
  • both warm and cool sides have a hide (not identical tho, I've read this may be an issue?)
  • humidity around 60%
  • some leaves as added clutter
  • watter dish
Usually when feeding I let the mouse defrost in the fridge, then reach room temperature and then heat it in warm water in a plastic bag. Then finally steam the head a little.
When trying to feed, he'll lock on the mouse / stare at it and follow it around. His tongue is flicking fast. Last week was the first time he actually struck at the mouse (when I accidently dropped it) However he just dragged it about a bit until it burst and then left it. I try feeding at midnight with dimmed lights.
Before I got him he was eating f/t mice. He's lost 8g in the last month. I only take him out to clean the rub, however he seems super relaxed when I take him out...
I've been trying to feed once a week.

So I tried a different approach last night as per the breeders advice, which was just letting it thaw to room temp and then steaming the head and now all he did was stare at it. He even stuck his face into it at one point and then backed off again. I left him be for a couple hours, came back and he was still just sat there staring at it...

Thanks for any help/advice :)
 

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Have you tried feeding a different prey item? Perhaps try multis.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Have you tried feeding a different prey item? Perhaps try multis.

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So far I have only tried using the same prey as the breeder (M mice). Maybe I should give multis a try 🤔
 

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Give multis a go, some royals go crazy for them. If not you could try rats, chicks, gerbils etc etc. Once you find out what she likes, you can work on getting her on the correct prey by scenting.

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There are sticky posts at the top of this section that cover the basics including feeding suggestions and techniques. To be honest, for a 7 month old hatchling to go off feeding (ruling out shedding etc) is strange and would suggest that the issue might be environmental. I'm guessing the rub is on a mat and as such these don't heat the air. Room temperatures over the past week, even in an insulated house with central heating will still drop to 18 - 19c, especially given the cold snap the UK has experienced this week.

I've put 4mth old hatchlings in 100cm vivs without issue - I would look at getting a 100-120cm x 35cm x 45cm viv, ceramic heater and guard, shade dweller UV, pulse proportional stat and move the snake into a better environment.

Switching supplier of food items is another thing to try, as is food size and type. Multis are great, but it can be difficult to make the switch to rats long term, as large multis are not always easy to get hold of. But for hatchlings they are an ideal food source. Like all food items they need to be warmed in luke warm water or using a hairdryer and offered as thermal triggers are key for royals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
There are sticky posts at the top of this section that cover the basics including feeding suggestions and techniques. To be honest, for a 7 month old hatchling to go off feeding (ruling out shedding etc) is strange and would suggest that the issue might be environmental. I'm guessing the rub is on a mat and as such these don't heat the air. Room temperatures over the past week, even in an insulated house with central heating will still drop to 18 - 19c, especially given the cold snap the UK has experienced this week.

I've put 4mth old hatchlings in 100cm vivs without issue - I would look at getting a 100-120cm x 35cm x 45cm viv, ceramic heater and guard, shade dweller UV, pulse proportional stat and move the snake into a better environment.

Switching supplier of food items is another thing to try, as is food size and type. Multis are great, but it can be difficult to make the switch to rats long term, as large multis are not always easy to get hold of. But for hatchlings they are an ideal food source. Like all food items they need to be warmed in luke warm water or using a hairdryer and offered as thermal triggers are key for royals.
Yes, and I have read all of those stickies and feel like I've tried almost everything in regards to techniques and dont think anything is wrong with the setup?
Anyways, yes I use a heat mat, however also have a ceramic heater above it set to 26 degrees. This way I have been able to keep the overall temp at least 26.

So I got a vivarium already (which the rub is currently in) but the breeder said he needs a small space (and has been suggesting I put him into a smaller rub since he is not eating), which is why my plan was to have him in the rub until he's grown more and then move him into the vivarium. I've seen that RUB vs. Vivarium is a heated topic in general haha.

Would you say that since feeding in the rub has not been working, I should scrap that and just upgrade to the vivarium now? Obviously ensuring there is tons of hiding space etc.
 

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I have no idea why breeders suggest that animals need smaller spaces, but just think about in the wild how much space would they get/use. As long as you set up the vivarium with suitable cover you'll be fine to upgrade him.

TM
 

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Would you say that since feeding in the rub has not been working, I should scrap that and just upgrade to the vivarium now? Obviously ensuring there is tons of hiding space etc.
I can't say that placing him in a traditional vivarium will resolve this issue, but I would certainly try it, along with changing the food item to either multis of suitable size, or small hamsters, or small rats. I personally wouldn't go overboard and go full bio or anything like that, but add a decent depth of substrate, provide cover throughout the enclosure using natural items like cork bark, branches and use decorative plastic vines and leaves in corners to give additional cover.

To put things into context - out of a clutch of 10 hatchlings, some will feed straight away after their first shed, some a few weeks later, and a couple can require assist feed / live feeds to kick start them. Sometimes the ones that were difficult to get started turn out to be the best feeders and never refuse a meal from then on, and vice versa. Royals will go off food for any reason. They can be feeding regularly and then refuse. You can try anything and everything and they seem to show interest but never actually take the item. Then just when you are either totally bald from pulling your hair out, or what hair you have has gone grey due to the stress it takes a meal. This can also happen at any stage and is not just associated with maturity and breeding. The trick is that when you have a Royal that is switched on to food, then feed it. Don't over feed, but offer a decent sized meal weekly rather than every 10 or 14 days, or offer two slightly smaller food items per sitting rather than one big one, as it's kinder to the snake. One one thing.... just when you think you've tried everything, try offering a different colour mouse. I had a mature male who would refuse and show no interest in a white rat, but offer him a grey, brown or black and bingo... I could repeat this each week, so after that he was offered just black rats...

Like I said, placing the snake in a viv, with cover, ideal thermal environment and a day night cycle and offering differing food items etc may not work for you, but it worked for me with all my hatchlings. Most of my hatchlings from the 2019 clutch (pre covid) went to a local retailer when they were three months old, with all feeding records. One of those then went on a hunger strike, which caused the shop owner to question how they were kept. I explained that they had all been in tubs in a rack, but its siblings had been put into larger vivs than those the shop were using, and they were all feeding fine. When asked he confirmed that all the other siblings he had placed in similar enclosures were doing fine and feeding well, it was just this one snake that was causing him concern. It was one that fed by its own volition two weeks after its first shed and had never refused a weekly meal. He phoned me a few weeks later saying all was well, and it just needed more time to settle in.

Anyway, good luck with whatever you try, and keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ok I think I'll try putting him in the vivarium and see if I can get some multis. Thanks for all the advice! and I shall keep you posted!

One more question tho (sorry) I know they can go a long time without eating, but since he is so young, at what stage should I be concerned?
 

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Ok I think I'll try putting him in the vivarium and see if I can get some multis. Thanks for all the advice! and I shall keep you posted!

One more question tho (sorry) I know they can go a long time without eating, but since he is so young, at what stage should I be concerned?
Wherever you decide to have him .. small or large .. just make certain there’s loads of clutter .. hides , branches, bark pieces , fake foliage etc . They hate wide open spaces as it makes them nervous.I get branches and bark pieces from the local woods /

May I ask what type of thermometer you are using to check the surface temps ??

Finally if the mouse ‘burst’ that’s quite often the result of getting them too hot ..
I’ve done it myself many times over the years by leaving them on radiators for too long to thaw them out fast ..

I swear by the hairdryer method .. I’ll send it to you now by PM





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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Wherever you decide to have him .. small or large .. just make certain there’s loads of clutter .. hides , branches, bark pieces , fake foliage etc . They hate wide open spaces as it makes them nervous.I get branches and bark pieces from the local woods /

May I ask what type of thermometer you are using to check the surface temps ??

Finally if the mouse ‘burst’ that’s quite often the result of getting them too hot ..
I’ve done it myself many times over the years by leaving them on radiators for too long to thaw them out fast ..

I swear by the hairdryer method .. I’ll send it to you now by PM





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Yup I know about open space being bad.
I use 2, I have one digital on the hot end and then use a temp gun to check both hot and cold sides. He does however always stay in the cold side hide during the day.

I've read about too hot or too quick thawing making them burst. I usually leave it next to the rub when thawing

I'll have a look at your message now :)
 

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One more question tho (sorry) I know they can go a long time without eating, but since he is so young, at what stage should I be concerned?
Hard to say, I would weigh him the day you move him into the viv, and if he's not eaten after 4 weeks of trying all the suggested options with weekly feeds then weigh him again. If say he weighed 400g and after 4 weeks weighed 395g there would be nothing much to worry about, buty if he's lost 50+ grams then its time to get concerned. When you do move him, post up his weight

Record keeping is a key aspect of the hobby in my opinion, its so easy to compare things week by week, month by month and year by year...You don't have to use a powerful app like Reptiware, a simple spreadsheet or notepad and pencil will do... Looking at my records, the three holdbacks when aged 7 months weighed 438g, 597g and 407g so you can see almost 200g difference between the three.

Also, when it comes to food items go by weight. When we say feed a small mouse, a small mouse from one supplier might be the equivalent of a hopper from another. A 30g mouse is a 30g mouse from any supplier. These three holdbacks were on 25g-30g "Exl" Mice from TSM when they were 7 months old. Maybe you are offering too smaller food item ?

Once you have set the viv up, weighed the snake then placed it in the new viv, leave it alone. Only disturb it to change the water, which I would do every other day (unless the water looks to have a film on it). Next Friday evening, using tongs, offer it a meal, say a 20g multi or adult mouse, fully defrosted, dry and warmed (mainly the head and shoulders). Grip the mouse with the tongs by the scruff of its neck and slowly move it towards the snake. Sometimes the warming using a hairdryer wafts scent into the room so the snake is already interested, If he still shows no interest then place the mouse near the snake, but away from the heat and leave it overnight. Check first thing and if it's still there remove it to prevent it smelling and bin it. Then leave the snake alone until the following friday and repeat, this time try a multi if last week it was a mouse or vice versa.

Naturally keep an eye on the snake. If you don't see him move around, then turn the lights out in the room, and leave it an hour or so before going back in and turn on the lights. You'll probably find you catch him out exploring thinking you have gone to bed !
 

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As regards the ‘hairdryer’ I have one plugged in the snake room next to the vivs .. I feed at night , low/dim lighting and wait for the Royal to be settled under a hide . I then have the glass door open and blast the mouse/rat for 5 seconds or so with the hairdryer and then INSTANTLY dangle it in front of the hide entrance... it has to be warm for the heat pits to kick in.
They usually hit it immediately but if there’s even the slightest interest just repeat until it’s grabbed.

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Give multis a go, some royals go crazy for them. If not you could try rats, chicks, gerbils etc etc. Once you find out what she likes, you can work on getting her on the correct prey by scenting.

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American white footed/deer mice also help to make fussy feeders eat if you can find any- you sometimes find them among random consignments of frozen brown mice.
 

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When you present the mouse on the tongs move it across the floor rather than dangling from above , pull the mosue back and forth in jerky movements to simulate live mouse. good luck.
 

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Just remember that Royals are nocturnal so feed evenings ... they are also, generally speaking rather nervous, so prefer to ambush their prey from within a safe place ( a hide )

They also use heat-pits to lock onto the food so feed a WARM mouse/rat in a dimly lit room ..


Of course there’s thx occasional Royal that will break all of the above rules :)


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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Ok so he has migrated, I weighed him and he has lost 1g this week.
... Looking at my records, the three holdbacks when aged 7 months weighed 438g, 597g and 407g so you can see almost 200g difference between the three.
well I guess my royal is very underweight then... He is 272 now and was 300 as I got him :| The breeder gave me feeding records and said he was eating well. From the records it seems like he was eating well. Approx every 5 days, small mice for the first 2 months an then always medium.

Once you have set the viv up, weighed the snake then placed it in the new viv, leave it alone. Only disturb it to change the water, which I would do every other day (unless the water looks to have a film on it). Next Friday evening, using tongs, offer it a meal, say a 20g multi or adult mouse, fully defrosted, dry and warmed (mainly the head and shoulders). Grip the mouse with the tongs by the scruff of its neck and slowly move it towards the snake. Sometimes the warming using a hairdryer wafts scent into the room so the snake is already interested, If he still shows no interest then place the mouse near the snake, but away from the heat and leave it overnight. Check first thing and if it's still there remove it to prevent it smelling and bin it. Then leave the snake alone until the following friday and repeat, this time try a multi if last week it was a mouse or vice versa.
Lets see how friday goes.

When you present the mouse on the tongs move it across the floor rather than dangling from above , pull the mosue back and forth in jerky movements to simulate live mouse. good luck.
Yeah I usually grab it between the shoulder blades and "walk" the body towards the hide on the ground.

Thanks all of you for the help!
 

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Ok so he has migrated, I weighed him and he has lost 1g this week.

well I guess my royal is very underweight then... He is 272 now and was 300 as I got him :| The breeder gave me feeding records and said he was eating well. From the records it seems like he was eating well. Approx every 5 days, small mice for the first 2 months an then always medium.


Lets see how friday goes.


Yeah I usually grab it between the shoulder blades and "walk" the body towards the hide on the ground.

Thanks all of you for the help!



Do yourself a favour ...try waiting until it’s evening , settled under a hide , dim lighting and dangle a WARM mouse in front of the hide entrance... don’t blink :)


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Ok so he has migrated, I weighed him and he has lost 1g this week.

well I guess my royal is very underweight then... He is 272 now and was 300 as I got him :| The breeder gave me feeding records and said he was eating well. From the records it seems like he was eating well. Approx every 5 days, small mice for the first 2 months an then always medium.
Looking back at the records for the hatchlings in that clutch I may have miscalculated the age.
All hatched 20-10-2019. The weights I have for the holdbacks on 28-02-2020 - so all were four months old
146g, 198g, 155g, 193g. They were all taking small mice at the time, but you can see a large variation with two being approx 25% less than their siblings. The weights I stated above were for July 2020, so the snakes would have been 9 months old and not 7. I have records for the three holdbacks ( my eldest daughter had taken the fourth by then) for 23-05-2020, so this is when the snakes were 7 months old and they were 318g, 319g, 365g. So on reflection at 300g your snake is in the same area as mine were. If you do the math, you'll see that mine were averaging around a 100g per month increase, but they are all individuals and in the same way some people can eat a lot and not put on weight, whilst others balloon, the same can happen with snakes.

I would say that the breeder was spot on with the feeding, although I still retained a 7 day period with my hatchlings.

Now his moved, leave him be, try to resist the urge to constantly watch the enclosure for movement etc. The only disturbance should be to change the water, which I would do every other day to reduce the disturbance. Then offer the mouse Friday evening as per previous advice and hopefully you'll be reporting some good news. If he doesn't take, don't despair, just continue again for the following week and try the following week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
So, last week he did not eat. Last night when I tried again he stuck his head out a little, but then went into hiding again. I just took him out to weigh him, but then noticed his eyes have gone blue so he is shedding! (had also not seen him out for a couple days, explains why) It seems so soon tho... he was shedding when I got him and fully shed on the 2nd of Jan. So only 2 months later (not having eaten once) and he is back in shed again? :O
Anyways, I'm going to leave him be and boost the humidity up to 70% and hope for a clean shed, he was a bit shaky when I put him back in but quickly went back into the same hide he's always in :p
But I'm guessing this explains why he did not eat last night! (Or could at least be 1 reason) I'm hoping that once he has shed he will be extra hungry (even tho he probably already is) He is currently on 271g but guess he will loose some weight once that extra layer of skin is gone. (dont actually know how much that weighs 🤔)

One last question, in the smallest hide (where he spends most of his time) he fits pretty snug, but I noticed as I took him out that the edge of the entrance had kind of imprinted on him a little, not like deep, just you could tell the edge was there. Should I remove that hide and replace it with a bigger one? Even tho I dont really want to disturb him right now...
 
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