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feeding brown snake

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by cap77442000, Jul 14, 2005.

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  1. cap77442000

    cap77442000 Elite Member

    Hi. I'm having a problem with feeding my snake. What I want to know is how many times a week should I feed him? The pet store said twice a week is that to often? What he did was I gave him a earthworm and he killed it by running it over about a hundred times and then he threw it into his water bowl and drowned it. (The poor worm I felt so sorry for it.) That was on saturday, now last night I gave him one and he didn't touch it. It just dried up and died. Should I put him in a empty tank with it? I have never had a snake before so I'm not sure what to do with him. I read alot about snakes but can't find anything about that kind of snake. I'm going to check on amazon for books. If you know of any books I would be grateful. Thanks in advance for all your help.
  2. furryscaly

    furryscaly Elite Member

    Brown snakes are not a very common species in the pet trade. If they're native to your area, chances are that one was WC nearby and brough to the store. In the wild they feed primarily on slugs, worms, and insects.

    Stress is often a cause for appetite loss. Could you give a rundown of the temperature, humidity, tank size, substrate, etc? Care for brown snakes is very similar to that of garter snakes.
  3. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Did you buy the snake or did you catch it. How long have you had it?
    As Matt asked please give us a rundown of the specifcs in its housing. There may be something there that is causing the problem.
  4. cap77442000

    cap77442000 Elite Member

    Hi. The temp is around 85 degrees, the humidity I'm not sure of. The tank is a ten gallon. The substrate is a mix of aspen shaving and bark chips. In one corner I have potting soil and a little house for him to hide in. I have a big water bowl and a heating rock. That's about it. I give him bottled spring water. I am not sure where he came from. Kids from the neighborhood were torturing him so I took him home. They even hurt his tail he had a cut on it. It has healed up. I never had a snake before so I don't know much about them. I have a lid with a light like that of a fish tank which I leave on all night. I don't think it is the right kind of light but the pet stores try to get you to buy everything instead of trying to help. That is the reason that I looked for this kind of site, for help and knowledge. Thanks in advance, cheryl also how do I make it humid in the tank? I had the snake for 2 in a half months. And he has only eaten one worm that is why I am so concerned. He has strength and doesn't look sick. I had crickets for him and I think that he had to have eaten some of them. I'm not sure because I had him in another cage and the crickets could get out.
  5. Jay DeMore

    Jay DeMore Elite Member

    Believe it or not slugs are best nutritionally. Try a local bait and tackle store to get them.
  6. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    It sounds like something that the kids found. You need to unplug the heat rock, its a burn danger. Turn the lights off at night and give the snake a normal light dark cycle. You can up the humidity by spraying the tank down with a plant mister bottle.
    Not trying to be smart but are you sure its a brown snake by species or is it just a brown colored snake? Could make a big difference. Can you post a picture of it?
    By the way if it is a "Brown Snake" and you are in Iowa you are breaking the law even having it in your house. It is illegal to kill or collect.
  7. furryscaly

    furryscaly Elite Member

    Yeah, Jay's right. Slugs make up the majority of a brown snake's diet in the wild too.

    As for the housing, I think I found a few of your problems. For starters, its a bit toasty in there. Although one end of the tank should be about that temperature, the opposite end should be cooler, about 65-70. This lets him thermoregulate his body temperature. Also provide places to hide, like broken flower pots, live or fake plants, etc. Pure potting soil will actually make a better substrate than the aspen/bark mix, although the mix isnt bad itself.

    The big water dish is a good idea. Although its good that you're giving him dechlorinated water, there's a cheaper option than buying bottled water. Most pet stores will carry water dechlorinators that you can add to tap water to make it safe. Reptisafe is a good one, made by ZooMed, but Stress Coat will also work if you can't find that. Having the water dish and a screen lid should be enough to keep the humidity levels right. They don't require high humidity.

    Also, although you meant well, by leaving the light on all night you're really messing up his photoperiod. When the light's on all the time, he can't tell day from night, and it messes up his mind. Leave the light on during the day, but turn it off at night so its dark in there. He should have about 12-14 hours of daylight each day, and the rest darkness. Try and make it the same hours each day too. An automatic timer can assist you in that, and they're only about $5 at hardware stores.

    Most snakes don't require any special lighting. However, since brown snakes are insectivores, it may be a good idea to get a UVB light. Since you already have a fluorescent fixture from the fish light, I'd just get a fluorescent UVB light. Full spectrum is NOT the same, and neither is just UV, as it could be UVA. ZooMed's Reptisun 7.0 should suit you well. He needs the UVB rays so that his body can absorb any calcium in his diet. Most snakes eat whole prey items, like mice, so they don't require the UVB light, but for an insectivorous snake, its better safe than sorry. You also need a screen lid for the tank. This is to allow for proper air circulation, but also because UVB can't pass through glass or plastic.

    You also ought to pick up a vitamin supplement and a calcium supplement. Make sure they're seperate. The calcium supplement should be pure calcium carbonate. No added phosphorous, and preferrably no D3 either if you can find it. Dust the prey lightly with calcium once every other feeding or so, and use vitamin powder once a week. Also, if you can find slugs, you can feed them collard greens for a day prior to offering them to your snake. If you find wild slugs, make sure they're from a safe area free of chemicals like pesticides, fertilizers, etc. Earthworms, crickets, leeches, etc may also be taken.
  8. cap77442000

    cap77442000 Elite Member

    Thanks for all the info. I'm very grateful. He is a brown snake. I took him to the vets today. He told him almost the same things that you wrote down so I guess I'm on my way to the pet store. I would rather buy the bottled water for fear that I might put to much of the reptisafe and cause harm to him. I'll try to find slugs for him to eat. And get the light etc. later on tonight. Thanks again.
  9. furryscaly

    furryscaly Elite Member

    Reptisafe has instructions on the bottle telling you how much to put in. Its only a few drops each time. However, there's really no risk of overdosing. Its also used for aquatic habitats, in which case you put in a lot more. Reptisafe contains added electrolytes as well, adding some energy to your snake that may help him gain back his appetite. I've used it in emergencies to help sick frogs by just increasing the amount I put in their water. Its harmless.
  10. jmherp

    jmherp Elite Member

    caught one in the yard once... fiesty little fella he was... didnt want much to do with but good luck with yours...
  11. Jay DeMore

    Jay DeMore Elite Member

    You can also dechlorinate your water by letting it sit out in an unoped container for at least 24 hours. I use this for my animals. I run the tap water through a brita filter and then put it in 2 quart rubbermaind iced tea containers, the next day I snap on the lids, if you have 3-4 you have a never ending supply.
  12. smallgrayfox

    smallgrayfox Contributing Member

    Reptisafe is really easy to use, and you really don't have to worry about overdosing. I've used it since we first got our snakes, and not had any problems at all. Oh, and it lasts forever :)
  13. cap77442000

    cap77442000 Elite Member

    Hi I didn't make it to the pet store yet so I'm glad to hear that the reptisafe is really safe to use. I will have to pick some up. Your right about brown snakes not wanting anything to do with you. He hides from me whenever I go near him. I guess they are just scared little snakes, but that's ok I love him anyway and maybe just maybe he will get used to me. I'll have to see how he responds to the light, soil,vitamins etc. The vet said if he doesn't start to eat right that he can give him a shot to help make him hungry. I hope he doesn't need to get the shot but if he does I'll make sure that he does get it. Has anyone ever heard of them getting a shot to help them want to eat? I'll let you know how he is doing after I try all the changes you think will help.
    Thanks for all your help, cheryl
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