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Old 02-15-2018, 10:05 AM   #11
Today was feeding day and the one that's been eating took the pinky no problem the other one again no feeding response at all and since it had been a while since it had anything to eat I decided to assist feed a pinky head. It wasn't easy and the snake wanted nothing to do with it but I finally at least got something in it... I probably stressed the animal out beyond what I should have but I'm hoping if I leave it alone now for a little while it will be ok

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Old 04-16-2018, 08:46 PM   #12
Believe me, I feel your pain! After 5 seasons of breeding Rhinos, I've tried a lot of things to get them to feed. Nothing works every time, and sometimes nothing works. But there are a lot of tricks.

It sounds like you are on the right track, simply be patient. They can go much longer without food than they look and if you need to go down the force-feeding road (and sometime you just have to) mouse tails are easier to feed them than pinky heads.

I've had success pushing a wet mouse tail halfway down their throat and letting them finish the rest of it, while having a pinkie ready to go so while they are willingly eating the tail, they end up eating the pinkie as well. I call it "train feeding" there are youTube videos illustrating the idea.

Don't underestimate the power of water in getting a juvenile rhino to eat. I hope one day to learn about their natural history enough to understand their relationship with water and aquatic prey, but there's a reason they take to fish and tadpoles much more aggressively than mammalian prey. I like to wait until I find the snake in the water bowl for this technique. Then offer it a pinky mouse on tongs/tweezers/hemostats/whatever and wiggle it around like a fish. I start by wiggling it just in the water, not touching the snake. Then I'll gently tap the snake and judge by its response how to proceed. If the snake leaves the water, generally the gig is up and you may as well try another day. But if you can illicit a strike, you probably have found the chink in its armor that will turn it into a confident feeder.

I have a video I made of me doing this very thing. [url=[/URL]

I've also found placing a pinky in the water with a couple fish or tadpoles may result in some feeding behavior, either eating the fish or the pinky or everything. Beyond that, just placing a pinky in the water and then pouring a small stream of water in the water bowl around it can really get them fired up and ready to hunt too. (The key I believe is finding them in their water bowl already, as opposed to putting them in the bowl.)

Patience, patience, patience. And several days between feeding trials. You'll get there.


Terry Burwell
TB Snakes
Old 04-16-2018, 09:23 PM   #13
Thank you for the reply !!! I have one feeding regularly now, he'll take thawed pinkies off hemostats no problem. The other one I've made absolutely no progress with, as soon as she sees me or a tweezer she bolts out of the tub like lighting and I have to grab her while she musks and spins and shakes her head like a lunatic, she never strikes tho. I've been force feeding her frozen thawed pieces of rat tail weekly but if I don't get it all the way in her throat she kicks it right back out. This is by far the biggest pain in the ass snake I've ever had to work with. I'm hoping that with time and size she'll start taking food on her own

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Old 04-16-2018, 10:16 PM   #14
I've had to assist feed some really tiny babies in the past. The long, thin ones like BRB's and rat snakes seem to be the trickiest as they're the hardest to hold on to, plus they usually make a run for it at the worst possible moment.

One trick I've found that makes life easier is to cut the hind leg off of a f/t mouse and feed that instead of a mouse pinky, which falls apart into a yucky mess, or a rodent tail, which is much like pushing string down the snake's throat. Pick a hind leg that's an appropriate size meal, bend it at the hock, and put the hock into the snake's mouth/throat first with the cut end and foot following it. It's fairly easy to get it far back in the snake's throat by pushing gently on the long leg bone. The snake also can't spit it out easily since the leg wants to unfold, so it gets caught up in or behind the snake's teeth.

Once the snake starts to swallow it you can often sneak a mouse pinky in behind it, assuming the snake is big enough to eat both food items at once.

The remainder of the one-legged f/t mouse just gets fed off to one of my king snakes.
Old 04-16-2018, 10:18 PM   #15
Originally Posted by Mec23 View Post
...This is by far the biggest pain in the ass snake I've ever had to work with. I'm hoping that with time and size she'll start taking food on her own...
That's quite a sales pitch, lol... I feel your pain, I hope your efforts pay off (sooner rather than later).
Old 04-16-2018, 10:23 PM   #16
For what it's worth, I think it's easier to tube-feed Gerber's chicken matter what their normal diet is, they start liking the feeling of food & decide to eat. (I've not had the "pleasure" of working with rhino rat snakes though, to be fair...but had my share of difficult snakes such as getting Western longnose snakes to eat mice instead of their usual lizards...also, newly hatched desert glossy snakes.)

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