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Old 10-11-2021, 07:38 PM   #1
Feeding Issues After New Snake in the Room

Hey all!
I've got a couple baby cal kings (a few months old at this point) that are in a temporary rack system in my "reptile room" (essentially a large walk-in closet). They have fed for me three times on frozen pinkies so far with no issues. However, I recently picked up a few Amazon Tree Boas and they are kept in the same room. The day I set them up was also feeding day for the kings, however one didn't eat. I tried again a few days later, no luck. Several days later, I fed both of them again. I placed the picky eater in a small tub with the pinkie and left it for a while in a dark heated room and it eventually ate it, however now the other is not feeding. I tried the same method with this NEW picky eater and he isn't interested in the mouse at all.

It should be noted that nothing has changed in their heating, humidity, or other aside from a few new snakes being in the room. I'm not overly concerned at this point as they were originally fed on live pinkies and I expected the adjustment to be a lot more work, but I was curious if anyone has had any experience with snakes changing their behavior after a new addition is within "smelling distance".

It should be noted that it is entirely possible the previous frozen feedings were total flukes of good luck and they are just finicky with frozen, but I figured I would check if anyone has had any similar issues.
Old 10-11-2021, 09:25 PM   #2
I keep both species and both are generally really good feeders (although my king will only feed when I am not in the room but she's always been like that, very shy feeder).

It is possible they could smell the new additions/species and it has made them a bit shy otherwise I would say it's a fluke. I have an adult female corn for over 15 years, when a rescue male corn was moved into the snake room, she laid eggs for the very first time, the only thing I could surmise was that she smelled the new male pheromones and it triggered it (it hasn't happened again in the last 5 years, just that first month when the male was first brought in).

Hopefully they get back on track with regular feedings for you soon, I would suspect if it is the change due to the new additions, they will adjust and get used to it quickly.
Old 10-11-2021, 09:40 PM   #3
Ok first off, newly-acquired snakes shouldn't be in the same room with your established snakes until they've cleared quarantine (minimum 90 days). After a scare with crypto I had a friend with no snakes do quarantine for me at his place. ATB's can be a particular concern since many on the market are wild-caught imports.

This time of year my adult colubrids do back off eating a bit as the seasons change, but when they were young they were little garbage disposals.

I would continue to offer weekly feedings and monitor their weight. Fortunately - or maybe unfortunately? - most captive snakes are overfed and they will survive just fine eating less than the typical weekly meal.
Old 10-12-2021, 03:36 AM   #4
Originally Posted by bcr229 View Post
Ok first off, newly-acquired snakes shouldn't be in the same room with your established snakes until they've cleared quarantine (minimum 90 days).
I usually do quarantine however these were healthy animals that I took on from someone I knew personally, so I wasn't concerned with any health issues, however thanks for the concern!

Like you mentioned, I'm not really worried at this point as they're both still acting/look healthy, I was more curious if anyone else had any issues similar.
Old 10-12-2021, 09:44 AM   #5
If your baby kings are the same age, any chance they might be starting to go through a shed cycle?
Old 10-18-2021, 01:36 AM   #6
Originally Posted by WebSlave View Post
If your baby kings are the same age, any chance they might be starting to go through a shed cycle?
So a little update: I originally thought that might be the case, however it has been about a month of sketchy feedings and they still don't look like they're shedding soon. I wouldn't be surprised if they are, but it has been quite a while without any signs other than not eating (no blue hue eyes, etc.). They are the same age, so they totally could be.

Tried feeding both again this evening, no luck with either. I might try scenting as I've heard people have great success with picky eaters, especially using fence lizards. Anyone have tips on this? I've seen videos where people "juice" the lizard and dip the pinkie in it, though that doesn't seem like the easiest or most humane way of getting the snakes eating.

I was also considering moving them into enclosures outside of the room with the ATBs but I would have to put them in new enclosures because the tubs don't have tops and I'm nervous that might just add more stress.

Any advice or ideas are more than welcome, getting a little worried. They're still maintaining weight and look/act healthy, but one will be going onto its third week without eating which is not exactly ideal.
Old 10-18-2021, 08:32 AM   #7
Socratic Monologue
Scenting is used to convince -- or trick -- non-rodent eating species that rodents are actually food. Once the snakes have realized that mice are indeed edible, that should be the end of it. Scenting does have pathogen transmission risks.

If anything, the reasonable food change should be back to live -- I've had one or two snakes that backtracked that way. Snakes can be unusually sensitive to the quality/size/taste of frozen rodents, so if you got a new batch of frozen that could be the issue, or even if you need to air out your freezer.

Honestly, though, if it is both snakes with the same symptoms it seems like there's something else going on, maybe with the ATB proximity which would be relatively easy to troubleshoot (move the snakes apart).

I agree 100% with the quarantine suggestion, even in your case (in every case, in fact). A move or other change can trigger a symptomatic episode of some underlying infection that's been dormant. Many people's animals have transmissible health issues that are undetected.
Old 10-18-2021, 01:24 PM   #8
Heck, I remember a long time ago when I decided I wanted to put hide boxes in with the corn snakes. That was a LONG LONG time ago before I got the huge numbers I eventually was working with.

Anyway, I put hide boxes in with them, and the next feeding I noticed several of them refused to feed. Same thing next feeding. On a hunch, I removed those hide boxes, and sure enough, those ones that went off feed started feeding again. Really minor changes to us can be really major to snakes, apparently.

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