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Worried about Monty

Discussion in 'Herp Health' started by BlackJack, Oct 31, 2004.

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  1. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Help! Our new BP, little Monty, isn't eating... I know this isn't earth-shaking news to experienced BP owners. He's about 4-5 months old, 52cm (20") long and weighed 116 grams when we got him. We've had him for 1 week and unfortunately he was due to be fed the day after we bought him. (I suppose I should've insisted he be fed before I took him home, but my BRB is such an easy eater, that I didn't expect any problems.)
    Now it's been 2 weeks since his last meal and he's starting to look skinny and he's lost 2 grams (from 116 to 114) His skin is sagging a bit and his spine is very prominent. He has not defecated and has only urinated once since we got him. I saw him drink once.
    He seems alert and calm -- not stressed out at all. I know he's had a lot to adjust to (including converting from live to F/T) but I really don't want to feed him live: he's already been bit!
    I've even put down a sheet over his substrate so that I could feed him inside his terrarium as I thought moving him to a feeding box might already stress him out too much.

    He seems healthy, but I've noticed something else: some of his scales seemed to be getting damaged. I'm not sure if that's normal, from climbing all over his new grapevine branch or if there's something really wrong with him. I've looked at them closely (for mites or ticks, but couldn't see anything.)They just seemed pushed up in places with a bump underneath them and some on the belly side seemed a bit tattered. They seem tender: when I run my finger over them, he pulls away.

    I don't know if there is a connection here between this and his not eating. We haven't really left him alone as much as we probably should have, with the feeding attempts and new terrarium move, etc. But how long can such a little guy go without food?
    If it were Talyn, I wouldn't worry for at least 3 months, but this is really frustrating!
    Any tips, ideas????
     
  2. Jay DeMore

    Jay DeMore Elite Member

    Start by checking the cage temps. If the temp drops even a few degrees he could not want to eat. Also time of day may be important. Try feeding later at night since that's when bps are most active.
     
  3. venus

    venus Founding Member

    I would probably suggest leaving him alone for at least a week, he may still under great stress. What are your temps in the tank? I normally dont worry either, but if he continues to lose weight, you should consult a vet to check for illness. I hope he eats soon. Please keep us posted.
     
  4. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    temps

    Thanks for the quick replies.
    We've been really careful about getting his temps right and constant. This is what they are: Warm side 82.4 F (28 C) Cool side 75.2 F (24 C) Basking spot 87.8 F (31 C) and Humidity is between 50 and 65%
    He has a photo-period of 12 hours on/12 hours off.

    We've tried feeding a bit later, and even left the F/T mouse in overnight with him in his hidebox.

    I'll try leaving him alone and try feeding again next weekend; any ideas about the scales???
     
  5. Jay DeMore

    Jay DeMore Elite Member

    My younger bps always look like they have rougn skin around the neck area. I think this is just a trait with them since they all have it. The scale, although very tough, are not impermeable, he may have just scratched it. Take the bgrapevine out and run you hands over all the surface area. You may find a sharp spot.
     
  6. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    He ate!

    Our little Monty FINALLY ate! Unfortunately, I had to give in and feed him a live hopper mouse. He took it so fast, the poor thing didn't know what hit it. I tried offering him an F/T right afterwards, but he refused it...
    I really want to convert him from live food, but how?! The little bugger is just SOOOOOOO stubborn!!! (It seems to have had nothing to do with his "adjustment" or being fed in a separate container, he just wanted to hunt and kill something!)
    Should I feed him live for the next few times and then try again... I need to get some of his weight back... he lost 5% of his body weight during the last 3 weeks.
    PS -- Thanks Jay, the tree did have some rough spots, so I took it out and sanded it down completely!
     
  7. Bitis Gabonica

    Bitis Gabonica Elite Member

    Blackjack, great news! I'm so glad he ate for you, it's such a relief. And don't worry about giving in to feeding live prey - moving home was a huge adjustment for the little guy, changing feed would be equally as big a deal.. let him settle in for a little while longer then concentrate on switching him to f/t.. there are a few tricks that you can do, but I have never experienced a live feeder yet, so i'll let someone with more experience in that area go into it. :)

    Just a couple of points to note - your temps need to go up a little,. the basking spot needs to be 90-92f, warm end 85-88f, and cool side 80f -ish. I know it's only altering by a couple of degrees but it can make all the difference.

    Also, I am a little concerned by the bumps you mentioned -- the bumps under the scales did make me immediately think of mites. Not to worry you, but just keep a close eye on him/her - mites like to gather inparticularly around the eyes and under the chin scales, and the snake may be seen soaking more, becoming a abnormally aggressive or hissy, and may go off feed.

    -- the bumps may be nothing to worry about,. they could just simply be some marks from rubbing his scales or something. Just prepare for all situations.

    Good luck with him from now on. :)
     
  8. Jay DeMore

    Jay DeMore Elite Member

    If they are mites HC recommends repti-relief. Congrats on him eating.
     
  9. Bitis Gabonica

    Bitis Gabonica Elite Member

    I would also recommend a product called frontline for getting rid of mites, originally designed for treatment of cat and dog fleas - we have used this several times with brilliant results. I don't know if you can get it over there??
     
  10. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Thanks Bitis, Thanks Jay
    We've checked Monty repeatedly and thoroughly for mites... I haven't seen anything. He doesn't soak at all. I really think his scales were damaged from all his climbing on the branch... Those grapevine things are great and look fabulous, but everyone should always check for rough spots!! I spent 2 hours with a tiny electric sander smoothing it out.
    I'll keep checking for mites, but hopefully it was just the branch.
    Thanks too for the tips on the temps Bitis.
     
  11. Bitis Gabonica

    Bitis Gabonica Elite Member

    I'm glad it's not mites - they are the meanest, most evil critter in the world and every herper should hate them!! :p

    Good luck with Monty's feeding - hopefully you'll have him on f/t in no time.. when you try switching try the following things with the f/t item to encourage feeding; let the mouse/rat defrost in the room by Monty's tank, where he will taste and smell it as it defrosts.. You could try braining or slitting the mouse/rat to expose blood or the brain, which often gets reluctant snakes feeding,.. Did he eat a mouse or a rat this time? - try the same kind of rodent when you try f/t. Or alternatively perhaps a change to a diff rodent might help.. some snakes prefer the taste of one over the other, and sometimes even colour can have a factor! .. Dangle the prey item to immitate live food.. Warm the food item up before feeding..

    You'll soon get him feeding f/t I'm sure, and when you do you will learn about his individual personal preferences and what works best for him. Good luck,. :)
     
  12. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    He ate a mouse... the same kind and size he was being fed before we got him. I had bought frozen ones too and tried them first... I've tried all those tricks, except "braining" the mouse... although the last one burst open (yuck) at the belly... he still didn't go for it.
    I think I'll feed him live weekly for a few weeks and then try the f/t again... he WILL convert! I'm determined... but I think he's had enough things to adjust to, so I'll give him some more time.
     
  13. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Andrea you might try this. When the snake is swallowing the first rodent have a frozen/thawed one ready and with tongs gently lead the nose into his mouth as the other one is going down. Many times since they are already swallowing they just continue with the second one. That way he will get used to the smell/taste of the pre-killed.
     
  14. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Thanks Merlin, I'll have to try that... My BP is about 20" long: can I feed him two mice at once? He's used to being fed one 14 gr. mouse each week, but like I said, he went 3 weeks without anything. I'd like to try out your trick next time, but I don't want him regurgitating.... ?????
     
  15. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    At that size there shouldn't be any problem with giving him 2 at a time for a couple of feedings and then trying just the prekilled.
     
  16. Microscope Jockey

    Microscope Jockey Elite Member

    Your description of scales sticking up with lumps or bumps under them worries me a little. If any new bumps occur and he doesn't gain weight take him to a vet ASAP. I'm really glad he ate for you :)
     
  17. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Spoke too soon-- MITES!

    Well, I checked Monty AGAIN for mites and finally decided to give him a good soaking (which he didn't enjoy) Sure enough -- mites! After the soak, I checked the bumps again and one of the mites was now sticking part way out from under the scales... I was able to press it all the way out and since dirt specks don't have legs and move, it's definitely mites... WAAAAHHHH!
    Well, we've spent the morning waging war. First on Monty ... good soaks and one with some betadine. A lot seemed to come off of him. Everything is closed on Sundays in Switzerland, so getting some of the treatments will have to wait till tomorrow. :mad:
    He's in a plastic box now with just paper towel, a water dish and a hidebox. Everything else in his terrarium has been either thrown out or sterilized with bleach water and the smaller stuff has also been put in the freezer. When we can make some more room, his branch is going in there too.
    Martin's downloaded and read just about everything he could find on reptile mites, in both English and German. So I think we know what to do... Just wish us luck!!!
    We've been really good about the quarantine, so I hope that Talyn and her terrarium have not been infested. She'll have to be checked... so when she digests those rats, in the bath she goes!!!
     
  18. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    YUCK! YUCK! YUCK! YUCK! :( :( :(
    Nasty little buggers! Keep a very close eye on Talyn. They are sneaky little nasties!
     
  19. Bitis Gabonica

    Bitis Gabonica Elite Member

    :mad: HATE MITES!!!! :D Don't worry too much - I've found them quite easy to get rid of,.. only thing is you become majorly paranoid about every black speckle you see in the future!! Good luck - you're doing everything right, i hope you get rid of them quickly.
     
  20. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Already paranoid

    I've been vacuuming, mopping and cleaning all day... every speck of dirt is suspect and sends me into a new cleaning fit!
    I'm going to post a response to the "A good read on mites" thread. Have any of you tried predatory mites (Hypoaspis miles) as a treatment for reptile mites? The British site listed in that article: www.defenders.co.uk makes it sound pretty interesting... especially since the same bugs could take care of my black fly/gnat problem in my house plants.
    It seems like a good preventive treatment to try in Talyn's terrarium, which I don't think has been infested, but I'm not sure.
     
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