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Help With A Northern Redbelly - Feeding

Discussion in 'Snakes - General' started by JYL, Dec 19, 2015.

  1. JYL

    JYL Member

    Hello, I have a small snake, a northern red belly, which I believe may be about a year old. My son found him about 2 months ago and we decided to try to keep him. Things seem to have gone well so far. The snake is very active, very calm and very friendly toward being held. Since the beginning we have fed him several earthworms, about once a week (tried slugs at first but he did not take). He has eaten probably 4 to 5 times since we started, after not eating anything for the first couple weeks. However, recently he stopped eating, and hasn't for about the past two weeks (last feed was end of November). We have tried cutting the worms into smaller pieces but that did not work. We have left him alone for a few days at a time between attempts. He seems interested in the worms but is not "going for it". In one recent attempt he actually struck at the worm, but gave up after not getting a good hold. Any similar experience with this type of snake or other small worm eaters, like dekays brown snake? any suggestions?
     
  2. Brianne

    Brianne Member

    Given that he is wild, it's not entirely surprising. It takes time for them to acclimate to captive life, and I think they can be a bit more picky about their enclosures. Ensuring that his environment is in alignment with the outside world, may be of greater importance. Perhaps even the temperature of his prey will make a difference, as well. I.e, too warm, might put him off. My guy noticed changes in his prey and would need to take another go after releasing it.

    But anyway, even if his enclosure is accurately set up, temps, etc, many snakes won't as readily feed during winter months; depending on your location, he may have been getting ready to hibernate when your son found him.

    Do you have a UVA bulb? There is some debate as to the necessity of UVA, however, it is important for snakes, even nocturnal species. This visible light allows them to see properly, gives them a sense of day/night cycles, and encourages normal behaviors and feeding. If you don't a UVA bulb. I do recommend getting one.

    Anyway, this is all I got, I hope it's helpful.
     
  3. JYL

    JYL Member

    Thank you. I appreciate what you have said. But the conditions have not changed at all versus the first 4-5 times he ate. Same worm supply, same temps, same worm temps, even. Other people I have asked have suggested he may be aware of the time of year and refusing food as part of the effort to shut down for winter. I'm going to gradually bring him to 45 to 50degrees and see if he makes it to spring, then hopefully he will be hungry... Anyone else have any suggestions on that idea or any others?

    Here are a couple pics.

    IMAG0166.jpg IMAG0144_1.jpg
     
    Brianne likes this.
  4. Qwerty3159

    Qwerty3159 Elite Member

    The problem with brumation is that if the animal isn't in top shape it could easily die.
    I wouldn't keep him down for too long.
     
  5. JYL

    JYL Member

    Thanks. How long world you recommend? Hasn't eaten in 3 weeks now. When should I cool him, when should I warm him back up? FYI, this animal is from Chicago. By this time of year, it's usually in the 30s or below and maybe snow covered.
     
  6. Brianne

    Brianne Member

    Ok, These snakes are generally active from April or May until about November, depending on location. Your little buddy is thinking hibernation. During the month of October, you would stop feeding. Allowing any good to completely digest and be expelled. (Cooling with remaining food in the digestive system of snakes can lead to serious problems and death.)

    November, begin cooling. Find him a quiet place, turn lights out, and gradually begin cooling the enclosure. To perhaps 50°F (but please double check this temperature)

    Check on him daily and keep changing his water.

    Then maybe February - March, gradually start warming his enclosure again over the span of a couple few weeks.

    This is what I can offer. Perhaps others can offer their thoughts, as well. For instance, someone who has actually cooled Northern Redbellies. ;) Hehe

    G'luck!
     
  7. Brianne

    Brianne Member

    Or even Garter snakes, I imagine, the same methodology would apply.
     
  8. Brianne

    Brianne Member

    Oh, hehe, I just noticed the other posts. He's a cutie, btw!
     
  9. JYL

    JYL Member

    Thanks! Ok. I got a winefrige that goes from 66 to 45 degrees. Right now he is about 70 to 72. I'm going to put him in there soon and drop the temp from 66 to 50. See how it goes
     
    Brianne likes this.
  10. Brianne

    Brianne Member

    Oh, that's perfect! Maybe post some updates, eh!? :)
     
  11. JYL

    JYL Member

    ok. will do. hope he makes it! thanks
     
    Brianne likes this.
  12. Brianne

    Brianne Member

    Great stuff I hope so, too! You could try not cooling him and deal with a bit of a fussy eater..or bring him back up if you start getting worried.
     
  13. JYL

    JYL Member

    Now I am not sure what to do! He has not eaten in like 3 weeks. But he does seem active and calm. Once we got him to eat, he ate really well for like 4 weekly feedings. I was really thinking that he needs to be cooled, but now I don't know!
     
  14. Brianne

    Brianne Member

     
  15. Brianne

    Brianne Member

    His instincts are telling him that it's winter. He looks healthy and I think he could do alright being cooled. That's exactly what he'd be doing if he were still outside.

    My gut says cool him. Just check on him daily
     
  16. Brianne

    Brianne Member

    You could message Qwerty and see what he thinks, he's more experienced with keeping than I am.
     

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