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 #2131818


LuncaicanLady
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 Need Help

I have a supposedly 8-11 year old 6 foot Common Boa Constrictor. He was a rescue, bad rat bite on his face, scars all over, and a huge lump from when a cage fell on him before I got him, and he was given away for the fact that the guy who owned him went out of town and his girlfriend didn’t feed the snake for a month. And he has mites.

I’ve had him for a year and a half, in that time he’s gone off his food three seperate times. I took him to the vet the first time. There was nothing physically wrong with him, and I force fed him until he ate again. I did this the second time he went off his food. This time however, he’s lost more than half his body weight.

He’s on towels as a substrate, has a huge water dish, undertank heater and a heat lamp.

The reason I’m posting is to ask for advice. It’s getting to the point where his quality of life is starting to suffer, but I’m running out of tricks to try to get him to eat. And for the first time since I’ve owned him he’s gotten defesive and threatening to actually bite, not just ’s’ position.

If anyone has any ideas, even if its just time to let the poor thing go I’d be glad to hear it. I’ll post pictures if anyone wants them.



03/10/10  08:18pm

 #2131830


ReptileJay
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  Message To: LuncaicanLady   In reference to Message Id: 2131818


 Need Help

It really depends on what you want to do, and what you feel comfortable doing. If you don’t think you can handle a 6’ snake that is becoming aggressive and won’t eat regularly, then you may want to think about finding him a new home. I’m not for euthanasia, but that is always an option that your vet can do. You just have to decide if you want to deal with this snake for another 10+ years, if he lives that long. If you don’t think you can, then try to find him a new home with someone who is willing to do it. I’m sure you could find him a new home before it got to the point of euthanasia. Good luck.



03/10/10  08:33pm

 #2131858


CAM95
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  Message To: ReptileJay   In reference to Message Id: 2131830


 Need Help

how is his feces, when he does eat? get him checked for parasites. I hope he gets better. This is just in my limited expirience with snakes, but they don’t usually just wake up one morning and be aggressive. there has to be a cause. the challenge is finding the cause, but to me, it sounds like he may have some parasites of sorts, but as I said, my expirience with snakes is not nearly as much as a lot of other people on this site.



03/10/10  09:18pm

 #2131912


ReptileJay
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  Message To: CAM95   In reference to Message Id: 2131858


 Need Help

The snake already went to the vet. If it didn’t have parasites the first time, its very unlikely its developed them since.

Some snakes are just difficult.



03/11/10  01:10am

 #2131950


Bciaddict
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  Message To: LuncaicanLady   In reference to Message Id: 2131818


 Need Help

When did you take him to the vet? What did the vet tell you? What type of tests did they run on him? Did they recommend force feeding or did you choose this on your own? What were you force feeding him and how much? Was he defecating normally?

When did he go off feed the first time...was it spring, summer, fall, or winter?

If he’s being force fed and still losing weight, then he’s not being fed enough.

How often were offering food before he went off feed this time? What were you attempting to feed him?

What are the temps he’s being kept at? What is his cage humidity? Has he had problems shedding? When you say his substrate is "towels" I’m assuming paper towels, not bath towels...is that correct?

You said that he has a lump from an injury...where is that lump on his body? If he has a lump then there is something physically wrong with him.

Also you said he "has" mites...did you mean "had?"

Anorexia in reptiles is a symptom, not a disease itself...so there must be something causing him to refuse to feed.

Amie



03/11/10  07:14am

 #2132092


LuncaicanLady
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  Message To: Bciaddict   In reference to Message Id: 2131950


 Need Help

I just realized that my first post made it sound like I was looking for reasons to euth him...eep. Quite the opposite actually.

Handling him isn’t a problem, he just hissed. A very thretening and angry sounding hiss but no striking or anything, I still feel entierly safe handling him.

I took him to the vet shortly after I got him, the first time he stopped eating. Vet said that snakes will just occasionally go off food and to force feed him pedialyte and then meat baby food and then raw chicken or something untill he ate of his own. So I did and he ate on his own after a few weeks of that. He defecates normally, normal consistancy etc.

The first time he went off food it was spring, then in the middle of summer and now this worst time was when we had that cold....and I would have thought he was just trying to brumate and not worry about it, but he dropped weight and continued moving around.

I offered food at two week intervals, freshly killed or thawed rats.

The ambient temp on the hot side is high 80’s low 90’s the cooler side is low 80’s high 70’s. Don’t know what the humidity is but he’s never had any problems at all shedding. He’s on a bath towel, which gets changed out and sanitary cleaned every other day....unless he defecates and then it gets changed out immediately. Pic of his setup is below.


He has a knot in his spine from a cage lid dropping on him before I got him. Pic is below.


Another of the back and his head.


And here’s that scar on his face that I suspect is a rat bite, the one on top is from when he rubbed his nose on the screen when I first got him.


He’s nearly rid of the mites. I’ve been battling the nasty things since I got him and nothing I do seems to work for long, but in the last week I’ve only seen two during my handlings and cleanings so here’s hoping they’re gone.

And one last pic of him where the lump scar is visible and you can see how skinny he is.


If anyone has tricks for getting a picky and difficult eater to eat I’d love to hear them. He’s going to go back to the vet next week sometime.



03/11/10  07:02pm

 #2132096


CAM95
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  Message To: LuncaicanLady   In reference to Message Id: 2132092


 Need Help

get him some hides, cover, etc. I hope that you and your vet figure out what is wrong with him though. looks like he’s had it rough. poor guy.



03/11/10  07:10pm

 #2132104


ReptileJay
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  Message To: CAM95   In reference to Message Id: 2132096


 Need Help

To get rid of the mites, order a can of provent-a-mite from pro-products. You’ll be rid of the mites right away. Those things are parasites and cause the snake a great deal of discomfort. This could be the sole reason for the problems with feeding. Towel is not the best substrate. I would suggest a switch to paper-towels, newspaper, or some eco-earth.



03/11/10  07:52pm

 #2132139


Bciaddict
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  Message To: ReptileJay   In reference to Message Id: 2132104


 Need Help

Ok, first if the snake has mites, they will have to be taken care of. A severe mite infestation can cause life threatening anemia. Since he’s has mites for over a year, they have most likely taken a toll on the snakes overall health. And they have most likely have spread throughout the room by now. Everything in the room should be treated for mites. Here’s an informative link on the life cycles of mites:

www.vpi.com/publications/the_life_history_of_snake_mites

Mites also carry their own nasty little parasites and can transmit certain pathogens that can be detrimental. For example, IBD.

Second, your boa is very emaciated. I highly doubt that he’s gone off feed for the winter. You said that the first time he went off feed was in the spring and again in summer? That’s not normal. That signifies a problem. Yes, a healthy sexually mature male can/will refuse to feed in the winter months and occasionally they will perish because of this, but ever case that I’m aware of where this has happened, the male was actively copulating a female (or two or three). I have yet to see a non-breeding male starve himself to death due to seasonality changes.

Do you warm the F/T rats before offering them? Do you offer the food at night or during the day. Have you tried offering live (supervised)?

How much baby food and raw chicken was he being fed? I have a feeling he wasn’t getting enough to fill his caloric needs.

If he’s not eating, then how can he be defecating normally?

Did the vet do any blood tests, check for internal parasites, etc? I’d also have the vet take a better look at that lump. Depending on the size/weight of the cage lid that fell on him, I would suspect that he might have incurred some internal damage...maybe that’s why he doesn’t eat???

Also I’d warm the hot side to 86-90 degrees.

What do you have covering the screen top to keep the humidity in? If it’s completely uncovered than I doubt his humidity needs are being met.

I also agree that a towel is not the best substrate. Although it’s not very common, I do know of boas that have ingested towels, blankets, and paper towels.

Amie



03/11/10  10:07pm

 #2143864


LuncaicanLady
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  Message To: Bciaddict   In reference to Message Id: 2132139


 Need Help

CHARLIE HAS EATEN ON HIS OWN!! Last week I gave him a live black rat....he pwned it. Today I gave him a just killed brown one....he hissed and I poked its nose in his mouth and he took it an ate it.

Apparently he just hated the color white as far as food went.



04/27/10  10:30pm

 #2143906


Bciaddict
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  Message To: LuncaicanLady   In reference to Message Id: 2143864


 Need Help

WooHoo!! Let’s hope he continues to eat.

Some are picky about what color there food is.

Mice and rats in the wild aren’t white...they are dark colored.

Amie



04/28/10  06:51am

 #2144045


Fairy Frog Mother
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  Message To: Bciaddict   In reference to Message Id: 2143906


 Need Help

Looking at pictures of him, he looks very dehydrated to me. Do you have a thermometer on both ends (Preferably with a probe) or a temp gun to measure temps, and a hydrometer in its tank? Pedialyte in his water, and a larger bowl ( or new, never used cat pan) works.
A good soak in tepid (Room temperature, you don’t want it feeling hot or too cold on your wrist...like a baby bottle) water is good. 20 minutes once a day or a couple times a week til its hydrated back up and eating well, but not right after it eats.

Baby food meat is a bad idea. (I know your vet told you to do it) as the meat is COOKED and they cant digest cooked meat. Chicken is OK if you know your source is not contaminated (as most meat in the USA is) with Salmonella.



04/28/10  03:42pm

 #2164468


LuncaicanLady
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  Message To: Fairy Frog Mother   In reference to Message Id: 2144045


 Need Help

Okay......Charlie stopped eating again......You all may think I’m a horrible person but does anyone know a good reptile rescue in Georgia, USA? Or someone in said state that could take care of a boa that needs forcefeeding and the kind of attention that this guy does?

I’ve been doing this for two years, I can’t afford the vet bills and its not fair to him for me to keep him if I can’t give him the care he needs.



07/22/10  10:00pm

 #2164471


ReptileJay
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  Message To: LuncaicanLady   In reference to Message Id: 2164468


 Need Help

Did you ever cure the mite problem?



07/22/10  10:07pm

 #2164474


LuncaicanLady
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  Message To: ReptileJay   In reference to Message Id: 2164471


 Need Help

Yes. Got rid of the mites, changed the bedding to shredded aspen, water bowl always filled and he does drink. Cool side of his tank is about 75-80 warm side 90-100, take him outside to let him get real sun, which did help the respiratory infection. Refuses food, no matter what I offer or how I offer it.



07/22/10  10:15pm

 #2164485


ReptileJay
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  Message To: LuncaicanLady   In reference to Message Id: 2164474


 Need Help

100??? Wow. Do you like your boa medium rare, or well-done? LoL

Lower that hot side temp. And good luck finding him a home. Try your local craigslist.



07/22/10  10:44pm

 #2164602


Fairy Frog Mother
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  Message To: ReptileJay   In reference to Message Id: 2164485


 Need Help

You are definately not a horrible person. A horrible person wouldnt take it to the vet, ask questions and make changes...Then realize a situation is too much for them to deal with and attempt to find a better place for a very difficult snake.

The only other thing I can think of is that your snake does not have any hides there, and you upped the temps on the hot side a bit too much. Lower em back down a bit. A cardboard box with some damp Spaghnem moss for humidity will be a nice hide, help it feel more secure while you wait for a rescue that will take him.

Horrible person no. Responcible. Yes. Its a hard decision to make, especially after all the hard work you’ve put into trying to get him well and getting rid of the mite infestation. Its clear he has had a better life with you than the previous owner! Good luck- and hope this does not completely discourage you from keeping a healthy snake!



07/23/10  03:19pm

 #2167150


LuncaicanLady
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  Message To: Fairy Frog Mother   In reference to Message Id: 2164602


 Need Help

Last update on this thread.

Thank you to everyone who tried to help me out with Charlie. He has a new home with perople who breed and do the occasional rescue and they do thier own vet care. They think that the rat bite to his nose never healed and then got infected, which is why he wasn’t eating. And it turns out he is a Type 2 Anery Nicuraguan boa......go figure. But he’s getting the care he needs and they’re keeping me updated.

As for the worry that this might put me off snakes, have no fear of that, theres five more heathly snake and another five healthy lizards in my menagerie. ^.^



08/04/10  07:04pm


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