Reptile Forums banner

1 - 20 of 30 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey up everyone :D

Just finished writing up my post to help deal with belly/scale rot and thought I'd also post up this little tip, which I found to work rather successfully...

Briefly, I didn't have any problems when I initially got my Royal Python, Lola, with regards to feeding. She has been captive bred, and often these are far less picky eaters than wild-caught or otherwise. But unfortunately, during (and after) a spell of belly rot, she went off her food for nearly 2 months in total, and did lose some weight.

Firstly, it's worth mentioning that snakes can go off food for one reason or another (there are plenty of threads which offer explanations already), but it's generally accepted that they can survive without eating for getting on for 6 months. SO DON'T PANIC TOO MUCH!!!!

Should you find you snake has stopped eating, and yet nothing has really changed and it seems healthy, there are a few tricks to try: feeding/rubbing prey on a gerbil (they smell more than rats/mice); defrosting and re-freezing the prey (to break down its cells more so it smells more pungeant); putting the prey in overnight in the warm area; making sure the prey is offered warm; putting both snake and prey in a paper bag inside its viv (not personally fond of this one); braining the prey i.e. smashing its head open - again for smell purposes (a bit messy and gross if you think too hard about it). Some Royals can also be fussy about the sex and/or colour of the prey you are feeding it...

However, one further trick, which I discovered kind of by accident, involves the regular prey (species and size) which you offer your snake... and a hairdryer...

  1. Defrost the prey, in whatever manner you normally use*, perhaps refreezing it and defrosting it again to make it smell more
  2. Place the prey on something suitable, very very close to the viv where your snake resides
  3. Take the hairdryer, and proceed to warm the prey up (on a low heat setting, and with minimum 'blowing' force!)
  4. The prey starts to smell very sweet, and of course, it is getting very warm
  5. Once warmed through (and warm or even verging on hot) to the touch, dangle into the viv - maybe using tongs if you usually do) and see if there is a reaction!
I found that after Lola's belly rot, this was the only way I could get her to eat. Before attempting this method, I was running the defrosted prey under the hot tap (in a plastic bag so as not to get the prey wet). She would have a good smell of it, but then just turn away. On a couple of occasions, she struck the prey and constricted it, then just let go and left it. My guess there was the prey was going cold too quickly, so she knew it was already dead. In fact on one occasion, she dropped the mouse and struck at my hand because it must have smelled of the mouse and was warmer then what she had hold of!

Now, the hairdryer method did make the whole room stink, but it really got her going and made her want to eat. It completely altered her behaviour, from being completely disinterested, to coming out and trembling near where I was warming the mouse up. She just launched at it as soon as I put it in the viv and didn't let go!!!

I guess the lasting heat (which is how Royals sense their prey) combined with the smell did trick!

Hope this helps!
-Emma

N.B:

* Prey should never be offered wet to a snake. Should you run the prey under the tap in order to defrost/heat it up, place it in a plastic bag first. Wet prey can cause it not to be digested properly, or can cause issues with it easily passing through a snake's digestive system.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35,069 Posts
N.B:

* Prey should never be offered wet to a snake. Should you run the prey under the tap in order to defrost/heat it up, place it in a plastic bag first. Wet prey can cause it not to be digested properly, or can cause issues with it easily passing through a snake's digestive system.
Where on earth did you get that from?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
92 Posts
N.B:

* Prey should never be offered wet to a snake. Should you run the prey under the tap in order to defrost/heat it up, place it in a plastic bag first. Wet prey can cause it not to be digested properly, or can cause issues with it easily passing through a snake's digestive system.
I always offer wet rodents without any problems
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,669 Posts
N.B:

* Prey should never be offered wet to a snake. Should you run the prey under the tap in order to defrost/heat it up, place it in a plastic bag first. Wet prey can cause it not to be digested properly, or can cause issues with it easily passing through a snake's digestive system.
Yes, I'd be quite interested in finding out where this piece of advice came from also.
Although feeding wet food can "wash off the scent" I have occasionally fed wet prey and never had any refusals...
Physically, I do not understand WHY feeding wet prey would "not to be digested properly, or can cause issues with it easily passing through a snake's digestive system." It genuinely does not make any sense what so ever to me, so if you could please clarify this for me I would be greatful. : victory:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
:gasp:

Initially got it the 'not feeding wet prey' part from a book I have (if you wish to know which, please PM me as I don't want to be accused of slandering anybody's work!!!). Asked a breeder I got to know about this later, as I too gave her wet prey, and he went crazy at me saying I should never do it!! He told me the part about it being digested incorrectly.

I apologise if I have offended anybody, and will happily remove this from my post (if I can?). Was only going on what information I had - and after that guy's reaction to me I thought I had been the one in the wrong previously!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,922 Posts
:gasp:

Initially got it the 'not feeding wet prey' part from a book I have (if you wish to know which, please PM me as I don't want to be accused of slandering anybody's work!!!). Asked a breeder I got to know about this later, as I too gave her wet prey, and he went crazy at me saying I should never do it!! He told me the part about it being digested incorrectly.

I apologise if I have offended anybody, and will happily remove this from my post (if I can?). Was only going on what information I had - and after that guy's reaction to me I thought I had been the one in the wrong previously!
Dont apologise for posting up information. You have had it from two 'reputable' sources, so why would you think it wasn't correct?

Its good for discussion :)

You can post the name of the book up as you are mearly quoting from it :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,865 Posts
Another tip to get snakes eating is to remove the water dish for a couple of days and then offer a wet rodent... the fact that they need a drink will help the wet rodent seem more appealing.
I wouldn't have thought that feeding a wet rodent would be any different to feeding a dry one and then the snake having a long drink afterwards.
So I think that maybe somebody was telling you old wives tales?

EDIT: Though there's certainly nothing to apologise for, as Crownan said. : victory:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,215 Posts
N.B:

* Prey should never be offered wet to a snake. Should you run the prey under the tap in order to defrost/heat it up, place it in a plastic bag first. Wet prey can cause it not to be digested properly, or can cause issues with it easily passing through a snake's digestive system.
I'm not bothered where it came from, it's wrong!

A large component of a rodent is water, and there will also be water based fluid in a snakes stomach. What if the snake eats the rat and then has a drink, or in the wild what if it was raining when the rodent was caught? Wet prey will be digested properly and will not cause issues passing through a snakes digestive system.

One of the best methods of getting a snake to feed, is to remove its water for a few days, and then offer it a dripping wet rodent. Pretty pointless if it won't be digested properly!

No need to apologise though, we're all here to learn! : victory:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,865 Posts
I'm not bothered where it came from, it's wrong! :bash:

A large component of a rodent is water, and there will also be water based fluid in a snakes stomach. What if the snake eats the rat and then has a drink, or in the wild what if it was raining when the rodent was caught? Wet prey will be digested properly and will not cause issues passing through a snakes digestive system.

One of the best methods of getting a snake to feed, is to remove its water for a few days, and then offer it a dripping wet rodent. Pretty pointless if it won't be digested properly!

:lol2: That's almost exactly what I said.

Although there's no need for the ":bash:". It wasn't the OP's fault.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Dont apologise for posting up information. You have had it from two 'reputable' sources, so why would you think it wasn't correct?

Its good for discussion :)

You can post the name of the book up as you are mearly quoting from it :)
The book is called 'Ball Python in Captivity', by Kevin McCurley - part of the 'Professional Breeders Series'.

In Chapter Three: Feeding, is where I originally read that prey should always be offered dry (it mentions it a few times).

As I mentioned above, when I questionned the breeder about it and said I always fed wet prey, he then said the book was right and you should never feed wet prey, and went on to say the rest.

Feel a bit embarassed about writing it now :blush:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,922 Posts
The book is called 'Ball Python in Captivity', by Kevin McCurley - part of the 'Professional Breeders Series'.

In Chapter Three: Feeding, is where I originally read that prey should always be offered dry (it mentions it a few times).

As I mentioned above, when I questionned the breeder about it and said I always fed wet prey, he then said the book was right and you should never feed wet prey, and went on to say the rest.

Feel a bit embarassed about writing it now :blush:

Now thats very interesting as he is a world renowned, well respected large scale breeder. :hmm:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,215 Posts
:lol2: That's almost exactly what I said.

Although there's no need for the ":bash:". It wasn't the OP's fault.
Your post wasn't there when I started typing! Got distracted mid post(damn those kids).

I just get frustrated that things get posted as fact whent they clearly aren't!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,922 Posts
Your post wasn't there when I started typing! Got distracted mid post(damn those kids).

I just get frustrated that things get posted as fact whent they clearly aren't!
But it wasn't 'clear' to the OP, his research had turned up the information from reputable breeders ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
It's ok guys. I know I get irritated myself when people write things as 'fact', when actually there is much debate over a subject, and I imagine I would have replied in a much similar way!

I just feel a bit of a fool for doing exactly what I hate, myself, and pretty much undermining the validity of sharing the point of my initial post... :rant2:Bah!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,669 Posts
Does it happen to say (or can you ask the breeder friend) exactly WHY feeding wet is supposed to cause problems? ("Why" always was my favourite word when I was younger :) )
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,215 Posts
But it wasn't 'clear' to the OP, his research had turned up the information from reputable breeders ;)
True, but if something is posted which is incorrect, it is beneficial to point this out as otherwise you end up with the incorrect fact being repeatedly quoted on here as 'gospel'!

I amazed at the source of this information, but I still think it's incorrect. Water on the outside of a rat, would make no difference, as as soon as the snakes digestive process started to break down the rodent, a large amount of water would be present anyway.

I have heard this mentioned before, with people suggesting that damp rodents shouldn't be fed, but there is no logical explanation or research to back it up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Does it happen to say (or can you ask the breeder friend) exactly WHY feeding wet is supposed to cause problems? ("Why" always was my favourite word when I was younger :) )
The book firstly says on page 32:

'Always offer defrosted rodents that are dry and warm'
and then again later on page 33:

'Hot water can also be used to thaw rodents, but it is suggested that the rodents be placed into a plastic bag first, to avoid them becoming too soggy.'
From quickly scanning through again, the book itself doesn't explain why wet/soggy prey should be avoided, which is why I went on to ask the breeder, and it was he who said it can cause them not to digest it properly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,890 Posts
Many snakes seem to PREFER dry-thawed prey (which has a stronger scent than wet-thawed) .... which might be why the book said it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,669 Posts
The book firstly says on page 32:
'Always offer defrosted rodents that are dry and warm'
and then again later on page 33:
'Hot water can also be used to thaw rodents, but it is suggested that the rodents be placed into a plastic bag first, to avoid them becoming too soggy.'
From quickly scanning through again, the book itself doesn't explain why wet/soggy prey should be avoided, which is why I went on to ask the breeder, and it was he who said it can cause them not to digest it properly.
But....but...*stamps foot* I wanna know WHY! lol.
Are you still in contact with the breeder? I'm not trying to be deliberately awkward, and I'm not having a go at you for stating something that has come from two reputable people...but if you are still in contact with him, can you please ask him why he made this statement? (as it's probably easier to ask him than try to contact the author of the book!)

Personally, I think it's incorrect information...BUT, until a few hundred years ago we all knew the earth was flat; so I would be quite interested, from a biological point of view, to find out why this statement was made at all and what research has been done to prove it.

Edit: aside from the scent issues of course.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,215 Posts
The book firstly says on page 32:
'Always offer defrosted rodents that are dry and warm'
and then again later on page 33:
'Hot water can also be used to thaw rodents, but it is suggested that the rodents be placed into a plastic bag first, to avoid them becoming too soggy.'
From quickly scanning through again, the book itself doesn't explain why wet/soggy prey should be avoided, which is why I went on to ask the breeder, and it was he who said it can cause them not to digest it properly.
The books advice is not wrong then, as I usually offer my rodents dry and warm, and the plastic bag helps avoid the rodents becoming sodden, I think it's the breeder who has confused the issue.

Thinking logically about the biological process of digestion, the addition of a little water can have no detrimental effect on the absorption of nutrients that I can see.

It's interesting, and not often that I'm made to think this early in the morning! :2thumb:
 
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Top