Spotted python will not eat, advice wanted please

Discussion in 'Herp Help' started by Louise Kelly, Jan 14, 2019.

  1. Louise Kelly

    Louise Kelly New Member

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    Hi,

    This is my first post and I am after some advice as we are having an issue with our young spotted python refusing to eat. We have had her for 5 months and during this time she has not eaten anything. She is approx 13 months old and was purchased through a breeder with a well established feeding pattern. However, since getting her she has not eaten anything.

    We have taken her to a reptile vet numerous times who have tube fed her and shown me how to tube feed her at home which we are doing when she refuses to eat. We always offer her a proper meal first before resorting to this. We have had her bloodwork done and all is fine asides from some minor vitamin/mineral issues from not eating. We have tried most things e.g pinkies, brained and unbrained, pinkie rats, small fuzzy's, bits of quail, even lizards but she is not interested in eating anything. We have tried feeding her in her enclosure, out of her enclosure in a separate tub, leaving them in overnight, different times of the day and night.

    Her setup is fine, temps are all good. She has hides in the cool and warm sides and the humidity is kept right. She is in a glass and melamine enclosure. The vets have checked our setup and assure me it is fine.

    Another weird thing is that she keeps shedding, like she will finish a shed and then a couple of days later she begins to shed again. Obviously she does not want to eat when she is shedding. Is there a reason for continuous shedding? She has minimal handling, but she is a lovely little thing, she is quite happy to come out and has never shown any aggression. She is active, not lethargic at all and apart from the not eating she seems extremely happy. We are just hoping to get some advice as this is getting worrying. The vets have told me to just keep trying and we will go back down to re-evaluate the situation again soon, but any advice/tips/experiences would be super helpful.

    Thankyou for reading!
     
  2. Herptology

    Herptology Not so new Member

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    Did they tell you to tube feed the snake the first time you visited? If so - that’s a bit worrying as tube feeding should indeed be a final resort as it is extremely stressful for the snake and hopefully is not done weekly

    Multiple sheds in short succession are signs of 1) illness 2) bad temps 3) mites or other parasites

    What are your hot end and cold end temps?

    What size feed are you offering her and HOW are you offering? Methods of thawing etc

    Do you have any pictures of her? And the setup?
     
  3. Louise Kelly

    Louise Kelly New Member

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    We had a few visits before tube feeding commenced and we are only doing it as a short term solution as advised. I understand it is very stressful hence why my concern to get her to actually eat. My closest vet is 2.5 hours away which is why they have shown me how to tube feed her.

    Temps are 32-34 hot end and 24-28 on the cool end.

    We started trying with pinkie rats as this is what she was being fed on and hoppers, but due to her losing some size the vet recommended nothing bigger than a pinkie. I thaw the food in hot (not boiling) water and make sure it is warm before offering. Use small tongs, try and wriggle it/leave it close to her/move it around, try and get her to smell it. Nothing ever seems to work, she never seems interested at all. I have a diamond also and as soon as I put food in, he takes it from the tongs before I even put it down.

    We checked for RI and all her organ functions were checked by the vet. No underlying issues that they could find. No parasites.

    No substrate in her enclosure, only some newspaper, fresh water (she still drinks) and the heating is a heat lamp on a thermostat.
     
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  4. Blighty

    Blighty Not so new Member

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    Your husbandry is sounding alright, but any chance of a full enclosure photo? Just in case anything might stand out to anyone. I take it there are suitable hides and the sorts? On a similar train of thought, the snake isn't kept near anything that may be causing it stress such as speakers/TV and so on?

    I presume surface temps are monitored with an IR gun? The digital thermometers with probes can be quite hit and miss, especially if their sleeve warms a bit.

    Is your python bathing a lot at all?
     
  5. cagey

    cagey Subscriber Subscriber

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    One thing I did to encourage feeding with one of my snakes at one stage when it was much younger was to pierce the head of the rat /mouse with a needle to allow some brain tissue to be exposed to help create a scent. Others on her have reported dipping the feed in a small amount of chicken broth before offering to help create a scent.
     
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  6. Louise Kelly

    Louise Kelly New Member

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    Thankyou, I will upload a photo when I get home today. Yes measure with a laser gun. Her enclosure is in the living room, it might be worth trying to move her to a less active area although she is tucked away from the foot traffic. We very rarely have tv on although we have 4 kids so it can get noisy. She has a hide rock in the cool end, a grassy hide that is in the hot end that she likes to hide behind and she also has a brick in the middle where she likes to sit when she is in between. She likes hiding in the holes. We do bathe her before her shed is ready to come off, just to help with getting it off. She has had a few incomplete sheds so the vet recommended to bathe her to assist with it coming off. Even with humidity sitting at around 50/60% (what I was told to keep it at)
    --- Automatic Post Merged, Jan 15, 2019, Original Post Date: Jan 15, 2019 ---
    Thankyou, have tried braining but not the chicken broth method. Will give that a go.
     
  7. Pauls_Pythons

    Pauls_Pythons Power Seller Power Seller

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    Some Antaresia can be painful when it comes to feeding.
    I have a childrens python here that has just started eating after 26months so firstly don't stress too much, you will be surprised how long they can go with minimal sustinance.

    From your description I believe the not feeding problem is a symptom of whatever is creating the constant shedding. Unfortunately other than injury or infestations Im not able to give you a better idea of the solution. I had a BHP a few years ago that would go into this shedding frenzy you describe but it would last 2-3 months then he would go back to normal.

    Couple of things that are important, how are you measuring your temps? Dont rely on stick on aquarium gauges or thermostat readings, buy an IR device, they cost $20-30 so its not a rediculous outlay and worth every penny.
    Throw some more hides in there, it could be stress related. Have hides at both Hot & Cold end and even inbetween. (Of course make sure the hides are not rediculously oversized for the size of the animal. You will be surprised the amount of household items people use as hides so dont be afraid to experiment with it.

    Does your snake spend most of its time close to the heat source or plastered up against the wall at the cool end?
    Are you running heat 24/7.

    Stop all unnecesary handling.

    Just seen your recent post. High activity zones are probably not the best place, particularly where there is loud noise. Animals have been known to go off food for extended periods when subjected to loud music for example.
     
  8. Louise Kelly

    Louise Kelly New Member

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    Thankyou, wow that is a long time without feeding, I thought we were going rough but that is crazy. How did you keep it going? Did you have to tube feed?

    She spends her time between the hot and cold ends as one would expect, she does not favour one over the other and I have been checking because obviously if they are always in the hot you need to make it hotter right? She seems to have pretty normal behaviour regarding that. So strange, my husband thinks she is a vegetarian, she always seems repulsed by food when you try and offer it, like she hates it. I think we will move her into a less active area and see how we go.
     
  9. Pauls_Pythons

    Pauls_Pythons Power Seller Power Seller

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    I have never resorted to tube feeding. Its fairly extreme to say the least and Im surprised that a vet resorted to this so readily though I have known someone take babies to the vet to have them force fed!
    We tried assist feeding her but she always spat it out so she ate nothing at all in 26 months.
     
  10. Gears

    Gears New Member

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    If she was well established with feeds at the Breeder & she hasn't eaten anything at all with you I would ask what you're doing different than what the breeder did with the feed pattern she had established before.
    The breeder should be more than happy to help in this regard.
    * Are you feeding a different food item (is it larger or smaller, or even a different colour?)
    * Are you feeding at a different time of day/night
    * Are you feeding in a different location (tank or tub, in the left hand corner instead of the right hand, up a tree or on the ground)
    I'm not saying that anything you're doing is wrong at all, but she might have been inadvertently "conditioned" to a specific feeding routine with the breeder & if she isn't getting the same "triggers" from you then that could affect her feeding response.
    Behavioural (Trigger/Response) conditioning is a thing that can apply to any animal with a brain & snakes are smart.
    Ask the breeder specifics about when, what & how she was feeding before & then replicate this for a number of attempts to see if follow the same routine will get a response :)
     

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