Milksnake help

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lynn fussner

New Member
Jan 15, 2020
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Hello All. My milksnake died last night. I want help to understand what went wrong if anything. She was my first snake and I bought a couple books when I bought her so I was doing snake right and consulted the snake guys regularly to make sure im doing snake right.

So she was roughly 15 years old. She was 5 to 6 feet long and round the size of a half dollar. She put herself on a diet 2 years ago. She was a fat happy snake. She fit into the section of the snake book that said signs ur snake is too fat. But then she went on a diet. The snake ppl said she was older for a snake and this is what they do. I could bring her in if I wanted to. We visited the snake guys twice and they said she was fine and she was old for a snake.

So she put her self on a big diet. She used to eat every week, then every other week, then once a month. then lately she ate once in november. before that it was last spring the last time she ate. The snake ppl kept telling me she was getting old and this is what they do and I could bring her in if i wanted. So she was really skinny but still looked happy and healthy in her environment. nothing odd going on other then the skinny.

I bought her 2 small mice sunday and put them in her environment. I give her the option to eat once a month. I know she wont eat more than that. the mice will die. I even switched the place i buy the mice. She decided she didnt like mice from a certain store. I can agree with her they didnt smell the best. The new stores mice didnt smell and she liked them. I also asked the pet store person to pick out the smaller sized mice for her.

I thought she ate them. But she didnt. They made a spot under one of the rocks. I always check back to make sure she eats them because they will die in the environment if she doesnt eat them. So monday morning I saw one. Monday at lunch I didnt see any. Monday after school, she was laying belly up and I thought she was dead at first. then I thought she was digesting her food. I read that they can do the belly up thing to digest. So I touched her to see if she was ok. she was alive but not right. so i put her back down the way she was.

She later moved into a coil right side up. I also noticed one of the mice picking on her (thats when I realized she didnt eat them). So I picked them out of her environment. She was coiled up on the heating pad end of the environment which is her happy place. she did look off but was moving. I adjusted the humidity for her like I do so it stays the right temp and humidity. I thought maybe she was tired? or stressed from the mice? Maybe she needed a nap? maybe I need to get her smaller food?

This morning I got up to check on her and see how she was doing and she was dead. She hadnt moved from her last coil. Sorry this is long, I just want to understand what happened. any thoughts would be great!!


Almost Legendary
Jun 28, 2004
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15 years old is a ripe old age for a snake. What you are describing sounds like a normal procedure for an old animal going through senescence. Many old animals reduce their appetite and lose weight in their final years, humans included. Sounds like she lived a long life with a doting owner.

Keep in mind some people will probably berate you for live feeding. I'm a big believer in 'your snake your choice' but I'd suggest going for a thawed thawed if you get another snake, and if you must live feed I'd very strongly recommend not leaving live mice unsupervised with your snake. You can do whatever you want with your own animals but it's highly likely that one day you'll have a mouse chew your snake up, which won't be pleasant. I'm glad this didn't happen with your milk snake and she had a good long life :)