View Full Version : More feeding problems

April Homich
06-04-2002, 08:08 PM
At what point would you begin force-feeding a hatchling snake?  I have a pair of bloods - one eating, one not.  I've tried feeding different size, type of prey, different times, different methods, but I can't seem to get the smaller one to eat.  They've had a couple weeks to settle in and have been left alone for the most part.  I know that force-feeding is stressful and should only be used as a last resort, but I don't think this snake has ever eaten yet and is starting to show folds along its body because it's so thin. Any info or suggestions would be appreciated.

06-04-2002, 08:26 PM
bloods as in blood corns or blood pythons? If it's a corn, shove the smallest pinkie you can find down it's throat ASAP. If it's that small and showing wrinkles, it needs to eat now. I have a pair of last year's kids that I refused to give up on...I was shoving meals down their throat for 5 months before they finally got the idea and started eating on their own. Sometimes all it takes is getting a food item halfway into their mouth and holding it there, then they get the idea. Use something like Jump Start to lubricate the pink and provide further nutrients. A pinkie press would also be a worthwhile investment...nasty stuff but it works. Blood corns can be enticed to eat lizards too...so a small gecko might work with the bait n switch method, or for scenting.

Glenn Bartley
06-04-2002, 09:38 PM
If that is a blood corn you are talking about, please don't shove a pinky down its throat. You and the snake would be better off with an adult mouse tail or part of one. Do this a few times to bulk the snake up a bit, then use the smallest pinkies that you can. Before force feeding it, try to assist feed it, this is much less stressful for the snake. I also suggest lubricating the food item, but I use water.

If it is a blood python, I would imagine it is a bit bigger than a baby blood corn. Try a food item about 1/4 to 1/3 the diameter of the snakes neck just behind the head. Also try to assist feed first.

Let us know th exact methods you have used to try and feed this guy, and then maybe we can tell you another that will work. Make sure there is also plenty of water available for these snakes, and that the skinny one is not dehydrated. It seems to me that the snake should not have gone from a healthy look girth to sagging skin in only two weeks time, assuming that when you bought it, it looked healthy. Have you considered that it may be infected with parasites?

If you do force feed, be gentle. Yes you do have to push the item down the snakes throat but I stress be gentle and do it carefully. Sorry but that word 'shove' scares me when talking about force feeding. Use a blunt ended instrument such as a wide sexing probe to push the item all the way passed the teeth and throat. After that the swallowing reflex should kick inif it has not already. If the snake is very weak, it may take a long time for it to push it down itself.

One of the best things to do is ask someone who has successful experience to help you.
Good luck.

06-04-2002, 11:48 PM
If it is a corn your talking about before you decide to force feed it. First try just putting the pinky head in there mouth and if the snake grabs it then genttly put it back in it's cage. This has worked a few times with some of mine. If that doesn't work. Then yes completely oput the pinky all the way in. You really should see if there is someone that has done this before to show you. Because you can harm the animal if you do it wrong. Frank

06-05-2002, 01:16 PM
have you tried "braining"the rodent you are trying to feed???I know it sounds gross,but if you take a needle or probe and pop a hole in the head of the f/t rodent,and expose a part of the brain,the scent will realy entice a strong feeding response in most snakes.again it sounds gross but i swear by this method and 90 % of the time you wont have to stress the snake by force feeding.
                                  Jason Kiper

06-05-2002, 01:49 PM
sorry..."gently assist"...that better?

06-05-2002, 03:41 PM
If it is a bloodred corn I agree with Glenn, a piece of adult mouse tail is the thing. I lubricate them with vegetable oil. I used this method last year with a corn that refused to eat for three months. After two pieces of mouse tail it ate a F/T pinkie on its own and continued to eat twice a week after that. If it's a blood python I'd try dipping a mouse in chicken broth. Chicken broth to pythons is like lizard to corns and kings. I've seen pythons that wouldn't eat literally jump at a mouse dipped in chicken broth. IMHO

April Homich
06-06-2002, 01:02 PM
Sorry, I meant a blood python.  They have large water dishes damp moss in parts of the enclosures.  It was thin when I got it, but after almost 3 weeks, it's much more noticeable. I've tried fuzzies, hoppers (alive & dead), a small mouse, and a rat pup.  Yes, I've also brained one of the hoppers.  I've tried feeding in the enclosure and in a separate small box.  The snake just shows absolutely no interest in eating.  If I dangle or drag the prey by it, or if the prey gets too close, it will try to get away.  Even if I just leave a dead prey item in the box, it tries to stay away from it.  I am really getting worried.  
I've had ball pythons for 5 yrs, but these are my first bloods. If it didn't look so thin, I would just wait it out. My ball pythons have went on fasts before so I'm used to that...
Thanks for the responses

06-06-2002, 01:42 PM
I'd go with Tim's suggestion of dipping in chicken broth, or try a chick or quail then.

chicken broth...man, that kills me...thanks for the tip Tim &nbsp;<img src="http://www.faunaclassifieds.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=':)'>

April Homich
06-07-2002, 03:07 PM
Well, nothing else worked so I force fed a couple pinkies. &nbsp;It actually went okay. &nbsp;Once I got one pinkie partly down, the snake tried to spit it out for a short time, then stopped fighting and just swallowed it instead. &nbsp;While it was finishing that one, I just snuck the second one in its mouth while it was open and it swallowed both no problem at all. Thanks again for all the suggestions. &nbsp;Hopefully since it went so easy this time, it'll eat the next time I feed it.

06-07-2002, 04:06 PM
You may have to assist with the feeding several times. &nbsp;My blood had almost no muscle tone in his throat muscles when I started feeding him now he fights it all the way. &nbsp;I'm trying the chicken broth next, thanks for that hint.