Strange Locomotion

Discussion in 'Herp Help' started by Nero Egernia, Aug 7, 2018.

  1. Nero Egernia

    Nero Egernia Subscriber Subscriber

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    Hey everyone.

    A while back I took on two sick carpet pythons. One of them is just coming out of a nasty case of respiratory infection. She shed not long ago and took her first feed after eight or so months. She appears to be quite hungry, but prefers to take small items that are left on the floor of her enclosure. Doesn't care much for rodents, but loves chicken.

    I took her out for some sunshine today and I noticed that her locomotion's quite strange. When she stretches out she'll curve the middle part of her body off the ground. Her neck also appears to be quite weak. It's hard to explain, but its movement seems to be somewhat restricted, even rigid. She can lift her head up while on the ground, but when you're holding her she can't stretch out and move to another obstacle. She'll try, but it looks as though she doesn't have the strength to keep it up for long. I hope this makes sense.

    My contact with the two unwell pythons has been kept to a bare minimum, so I haven't had as much opportunity to observe them as I'd like. They're in a separate room that I don't usually go in. I've been cleaning, treating, and watering them, and that's the extent of my contact with them. They're kept on heat 24/7 at the moment, 38-40°C hot spot and 25°C for the cool end.

    Yes, I am planning on taking her to the vet. I was hoping to do it today actually, but the local reptile vet doesn't get back until next week.

    Any ideas what this could possibly be?
     
  2. Pauls_Pythons

    Pauls_Pythons Power Seller Power Seller

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    Difficult to be accurate without observation Kayla, (a video might help someone to give you a better diagnosis), and I dont have vast amounts of experience dealing with recovered animals so please take my thoughts as suggestion/open discussion more than anything else.
    Could it be, as you suggest, muscle weakness or damage, it can take a while to get an animal back to 'full fitness' after an extended period of fasting.
    The other thing that comes to mind from your observation is possible skeletal damage.
     
  3. Sdaji

    Sdaji Almost Legendary

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    Sounds like a behaviour I've seen in snakes which have never been exposed to surfaces like grass, having always lived on a flat floor. Nothing to worry about... if that's what it is. As Paul says, it's a pretty vague description and very difficult to diagnose from what you've said.

    Lifting the body off the ground doesn't sound like weakness or an injury, it sounds like she's deliberately putting extra effort into holding her body off the ground, but again, you haven't given enough information for us to be sure.
     
  4. Nero Egernia

    Nero Egernia Subscriber Subscriber

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    Thanks for the input. Sorry I could not explain it better. Here's a video that displays her curving her midsection off the ground. Couldn't really get any footage that displays her neck weakness. I'd need to hold her for that to happen and it's too difficult to film and hold her at the same time. Please excuse the quality of the video. Hope it helps anyway.

     
  5. Sdaji

    Sdaji Almost Legendary

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    Yeah, it's similar to what I thought, but in some of the snips it is more extreme than I've ever seen it before. I've never known it to be a problem, but if it's always in the same part of the body and never anywhere else it would be worth checking that spot for any sign of injury, which she may be trying to keep off the ground. Does she do it in the enclosure or just when out on the grass (which is what I'm guessing, which would add to me thinking it's not a problem).

    She looks like a bit of a rough old snake, looks like a mudblood jag project biproduct with Murray Darling, Coastal and probably other stuff in the mix. There are many of them going around these days.

    A hot spot of 38-40 is okay if you have a large enclosure and the opportunity to get down below 25, but in typical enclosures those temperatures are a bit high. If you have a large area she can reliably get to 25 in it's probably okay.

    She doesn't look underweight, and while a few feeds after an 8 month fast will be welcome, I wouldn't be trying to put extra weight on.
     
  6. Bl69aze

    Bl69aze Very Well-Known Member

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    you even take nice videos haha (apart from the wind )
     
  7. Nero Egernia

    Nero Egernia Subscriber Subscriber

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    It seems to be restricted to the middle part of her body. Not sure if I'm imagining it, but it looks as though that the longer she was outside the less she was lifting her body off the ground.

    In regards to her behaviour in the enclosure, she spends most of her time coiled, resting on the hot spot or close to. Sometimes she will rest curving her mid section off the ground, however it's not as extreme as it was outside on the grass. She's in a simple setup at the moment. Newspaper substrate and a hide. But now that she seems to be getting better and eating consistently I'll redo the setup more naturally with a normal heating regime.

    What is this condition you're referring to? Is it permanent? Can it be cured?

    She's neither of those. She's a south western carpet python. They're the only type of carpet python available in WA.

    Thanks, it's been fairly windy and cold here this side of Australia.
     
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  8. Pauls_Pythons

    Pauls_Pythons Power Seller Power Seller

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    Im leaning more towards pain response.
    It appears to be always the same region of the body but if it is pain response I would expect similar behaviour in the enclosure or when being handled.
     
  9. Sdaji

    Sdaji Almost Legendary

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    If it's always in the same place and she also does it in the enclosure, then yes, I'd be suspecting there is some sort of a problem. I'm not really sure what it might be, especially without knowing the history of the snake.
     
  10. Bl69aze

    Bl69aze Very Well-Known Member

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    Does she do it when she goes over your hand or any body partwhile handling?
     
  11. Stuart

    Stuart Site Admin Staff Member

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    Paul and Sdaji have a lot more experience and better advice than I do Nero but I have an Olive that exibits the same behaviour on grass but not on substrate or smooth surfaces.

    I have never figured it out but since it hasnt affected her eating or normal behaviour and its happened over 7 years, its not something I have worried about too much further.

    My gut feel is that its purely a sensory behaviour from your animal reacting to a certain stimuli rather than anything to worry about but again, there are many others out there with different opinions and experiences.
     
  12. Buggster

    Buggster Well-Known Member

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    Does she do this on all surfaces, or just the grass? My Woma once had a 'mini freakout' as I called it the first time I put him on grass where he did a similar thing in that he was trying to keep his body off the grass as much as possible. However he only ever did it that first time and is otherwise 'normal'.

    If she's doing it all the time and it's happening in the same area, pain in that area could be an issue. I wonder if that area may be rigid? I do remember a couple years back seeing video of a snake who had abnormal bone growth (or calcium deposits- can't remember but the skeleton of the snake was extremely odd with abnormal fusion of the spine preventing normal movement). From memory the snake moved in a similar fashion as part of its back was unable to bend normally and it would arch into the air. I'll see if i can find what i'm talking about.
     
  13. Nero Egernia

    Nero Egernia Subscriber Subscriber

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    Thanks for the input everyone. I haven't handled her much, but I don't think I've noticed her arching her body when I've held her. Funnily enough, yesterday when I took her outside to defecate she didn't display any strange movement at all. It was a little odd, as I was trying to show a friend her peculiar movement and then she decided to move like a normal python. Whatever it is, I don't think it appears to be bothering her much, as she seems to be eating well enough.
     
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