Worried new snake owner

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Mack86

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Hello all,

This is my first post on this forum. I am a brand new snake owner purchasing a 4 month old Stimson's Python 2 weeks ago.

After a fair bit of research I decided to make the decision to buy my scaly friend and it has been a very exciting /anxious / worrying time for me (so many emotions)

A bit of background, the snake started off being a little bit of a fussy eater after hatching, going in quite irregular intervals between feeding and even apparently having to be force fed twice I believe.

Prior to me purchasing him he was eating every week for a month like clockwork. He was eating pinkies until the fourth week where he was given a fuzzy and ate it.

I was provided with fuzzies and have tried feeding a week after his last feed with no success and twice more since then with no success. It has now been 3 weeks since his last meal. Should I be worried? Is he still settling in? I was told it was fine to handle him for short periods daily until I noticed him shedding 5 days ago (totally missed the signs this was imminent) so I have left him be the last few days and I think he is almost finished the process. Unfortunately he has shed in peices but I am told that's quite common for young snakes? I have him in the click clack enclosure he was kept in when I bought him with a heat mat attached to the underside of one end. He has a hide, plenty of water etc.

Long story short, will he eat eventually? Or am I destined to watch him starve to death 😔

Thank you,

Worried first timer.
 

Sdaji

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Firstly, don't panic. It's not as bad as you think.

After that, the first thing is to make sure the environment is good. You haven't mentioned temperatures, this is the overwhelmingly most important part of keeping snakes.

The humidity is too low, given that the snake shed in pieces. If all the skin is now off, that's fine, if not, get on to it. Either way, increase the humidity. Young snakes are more susceptible to low humidity causing shedding problems but that doesn't make it 'normal' or okay. Don't stress, it's not the end of the world, just something to fix.

It's currently winter. They often stop feeding for months. Don't stress. Keep an eye on his condition, but if he doesn't look skinny he'll be fine until spring.

Erratic feeders are often the ones which will stop for winter. They're seasonal animals, it's normal to fast in winter. Even if they have access to a warm spot, if they're getting the off cold breeze when the door or window opens, they'll pick up on what season it is. You need to put in a lot of work to fool them about the season and while the piggy ones will eat all year, some will want to play it safe and not risk eating during winter.

Don't handle until you've established a good feeding routine. You can pick him up to inspect him if needed, there's no need to fanatically avoid any contact at all, but don't get him out to play for an hour.

Generally speaking, they'll eat when they're hungry. Snakes can go months without eating (adults can go years). Don't continually offer feed if it's consistently being refused. You'll both just find it stressful and establish a pattern of feed refusal. Be patient. If you see cake every day you won't want to eat it, but even someone like me who doesn't much like cake will usually want a slice if I haven't seen any for a very long time. Humans typically eat multiple times per day so often freak out if their snake doesn't want to eat all the time, but pythons naturally only eat a few times per year (literally only about 10-20 times per year).
 

Mack86

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Thank you so much for responding Sdaji!
Your response has helped greatly.

Now don't come at me when I say this next bit ..... But, I don't know the temperatures. I was assured that the heat mat would provide enough heat for him (he quite likes hanging out at that end). I am unsure how cold the other end is but I can feel that it is colder over there. We had a few chilly nights in which I ran the heating in the house overnight but mostly we have had the heating off as it hasn't felt too cold in the house. I am seeing that people are measuring their temps and I guess I need to look into this 🤦‍♀️

As for humidity, I did ask but was advised not to worry too much. I had an extra water dish in the warm end to try and raise humidity for him. I even gave him a couple of warm baths to help with the shed.

So many opinions it can be hard to know what's right or wrong. Thanks so much for responding.

EDIT: I remeasured (first time very rushed) it's 35 degrees on hot side in the top corner of the enclosure, 27 degrees on other end of hot side in the corner 🤷‍♀️ and 23.5 degrees in the middle of the cool side. I'm putting the probe down under the substrate each time.


Ok I measured temps. 30 deg at hot side and 22.6 cool side using a 5w heat mat which was supplied with the hatchling kit. He's a Stimson so likes to bury himself and is often on the warm side buried under substrate. In saying that I have seen him bury himself in the cool side for periods as well.


I much appreciate the help given. There's a lot of useful info on this forum. I've learnt a lot already.
 

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