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Old 11-14-2014, 09:20 AM   #11
Alright, some good news this morning.

The anole-eater ate with no issues. In retrospect, that adult male anole was probably a little larger than is to be recommended. The snake is too fat right now to climb up into the branches, so he's just curled up on the ground looking like a reticulated python that just finished off an adult pig. Future feedings will need to be a little more moderate until he gets up to size. I will make it a point to freeze most, if not all, of the extra large male anoles.

The really good news is that one of the non-feeders ate an anole last night. It is the one that was given the "small" anole. The one that was offered the medium anole declined to eat. There are three notable differences here. First, let me give some quick background on the housing situation for the troublemakers, in case it is unclear.

All three of the troublemakers are housed in arboreal, screen cages that I normally use for small geckos (mourning geckos, lygodactylus, hemidactylus, etc.) The cages are furnished with hanging, fake plants and numerous branches. They are also misted several times per day (automatically) and heated with 50 watt halogen lamps (temp range 75-85 with a 100 degree hotspot). The original theory behind putting the non-feeders into these cages was that the "escapees", who were originally in screen cages out of space necessity, all ate at statistically higher and faster rates than the average, which led me to believe that the extra exercise of roaming the reptile room and climbing the branches led to a stronger appetite. I have since learned that this was likely not true. I believe that I was assuming a reversed causation. Instead of assuming that escape promoted appetite, I should have considered that both escape and appetite would be linked, due to both being caused by higher energy, strength, alertness, etc. Bottom line, the Escapees were always destined to be good eaters, regardless of whether they managed to find their way out of the birthing cage and go walkabout.

Anyway, back to the troublemaker group. At this time, the reliable feeder and the former non-feeder are currently in a cage that is divided in half with a divider, so their space is approximately 9x12x20h. The remaining non-feeder is in a whole cage, which is 18x12x20h. This makes the differences between the former and current non-feeders as such:

1) the former non-feeder was offered a smaller anole, so offering a smaller anole to the other non-feeder could prove productive

2) the current non-feeder is in a larger cage than the other. This could prove to make seeking and catching the anole at night more difficult for the snake.

3) yesterday, when I was sorting out the anoles, an extra large adult anole got loose and ran into the cage with the former non-feeder. Knowing that I had already struck out with adult anoles on this guy, I opted to simply switch him over to the cage with the reliable anole eater (which had no anoles in it yet) and move the reliable one to the cage that already had an adult anole in it. I believed this would be less stressful to everyone than tearing the cage up trying to catch the adult anole. The possible theory here is that being placed into a new environment may have encouraged exploration, which in turn may have encouraged the seeking out and consumption of food.

The best way I can think of to test this theory is by first adding a smaller anole to the cage with the non-feeder and seeing if that does the trick. If it does, we know it was just a food size issue. If, after several days, this smaller anole has still not been eaten, I will move the non-feeder to one of the smaller cages (most likely the one that houses the reliable anole-eater) and see if that helps. If this prompts a feeding, it will be hard to determine if it is the cage size or simply the cage change that helps, but the important thing is to get them eating.

The other nice thing about all of this is that it goes back to the earlier discussion we had regarding picky eaters vs non-eaters. This shows that at least 2 of the 3 that would not take chick thighs were in fact "picky" and not somehow lacking in the ability to eat. The former non-feeder, it turns out, was just even more picky than the reliable anole-eater. Not only did he insist on live anoles, but they had to be small ones to boot. I'm hoping the last remaining non-eater feels the same way. I will add a small anole to the non-feeder's cage and update if it disappears.

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