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HELP with feeding a large boa with cataracts

Discussion in 'Common/Red Tail Boa' started by nuzak, Jan 23, 2015.

  1. nuzak

    nuzak Member

    He's 25 yrs old n just over 8'. He hasn't eaten in over 6 months n is looking very skinny n weak. He tries to eat so I know he's hungry but he can't seem to figure it out on his own. After constricting he tries to position himself to swallow but ends up biting himself every pass he takes. After awhile of this he eventually gives up n just coils in the opposite corner. I'm worried because I don't want him to die but am afraid to force feed him because I don't want to hurt or traumatize him in his old age. Any suggestions or recommendations n safe methods or ideas would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    Have you tried using tongs to direct the rat to his mouth once he's constricted it?
     
  3. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi, I think you need to see a decent vet.
    Just because the snake has cataracts it shouldn`t stop it feeding successfully, because it can still use chemoreception to locate the prey item (even if it tried to swallow it tail first).
     
  4. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    Can you give a rundown of the conditions inside the enclosure? Temperature, humidity and bedding, also what type of thermometer are you using to measure the temperature?
     
  5. nuzak

    nuzak Member

    The temp is between 80-85 F humidity is usually about 40% it's a zoo med combo that measures both. Bedding is the typical light weight wood shavings
     
  6. nuzak

    nuzak Member

    When he does find the head n begin swallowing he can't seem to work it down more than half way. I've tried holding the rat in place for him both while in his mouth and while he's trying to find it but every time he senses it n pulls away.
     
  7. nuzak

    nuzak Member

    That's what I thought n it has in the past because he's had the vision issues for longer than the period he hasn't eaten but now it seems like after constricting n moving around in the bin with the rat he can't seem to sense the difference between the rat n himself n that's when he bites himself, usually in the mid section
     
  8. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Is it a digital or an analog dial? If its a digital, try bringing the temperatures up a few degrees. I give my boas a 90 degree basking area.
     
  9. nuzak

    nuzak Member

    Just cheap analog wall adhering kind. He's been kept in the same conditions for years only reaching above 90 on extremely hot summer days
     
  10. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member


    Hi again, the analogue type can be as much as 15% + out, you really need a digital hygrometer with probes.
    Just because the snake has survived in those conditions for years doesn`t necessarily mean they are supportive, these animals are adapted to live in quite harsh conditions at times in the wild (not suggesting the conditions are that bad), but just a few degrees below means they won`t function at their most efficient. It`s worth remembering that if their core body temp is constantly just 2 or 3c below "preferred activity level" their immune system is compromised.

    Edit: Do you warm the prey up before offering? I`m not sure if this species of Boa has heat detection pits but if yes, again the lack of vision shouldn`t make much difference?
     
  11. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    They don't have heat detecting pits, but they don't need them, they can rely on smell and vision.
    I think he could be one of two things, or a combination of both:
    How are you thawing the rat? Are you heating it up at all? If it's not fully thawed, or cold, then the snake won't accept it.
    The second thing is obviously going to be the conditions inside of the enclosure. It might not be hot enough, you should get a $12 digital probe from wal-mart, I believe the brand is accurite. Do you have an undertank heater?
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
  12. TamJam

    TamJam Elite Member

    I would up the humidity a bit as it should be around 60% at least. Also, try him with smaller size rats or even full grown mice, to see if he can manage these better, what with his age and other problems.
     

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