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Force feeding help please.

Discussion in 'Ratsnakes' started by replover, Sep 4, 2006.

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  1. replover

    replover Elite Member

    I keep many snakes and for the most part I am lucky that they are feisty eaters. However, I have two snakes which are problem feeders. A twin spotted rat snake and a red chain snake.

    Both were captive born and given to me by a friend who claimed they ate once before. The temperatures are all correct and they have every luxury a snake in captivity could have. Big enclosure, lots of hides, fresh spring water, aspen bedding, humidity box etc.

    Now, the twin spot ate once about a week after I got it, a pinky, but has since refused every feeding attempt thereafter. The red chain has NEVER eaten under my care. I have grown quite find of these snakes and don't want them to die. They were getting thinner and thinner and one was getting less active and I think if they don't eat they will soon die.

    I have tried everything else, cup feeding, braining, scenting, leaving them in a feeding box with prey overnight, feeding live prey, leaving the prey in the enclosure overnight, live and dead, feeding smaller prey, cutting up bigger prey. For the red chain that eats more than just mice, I have tried fish and frogs too. It just won't eat a darn thing.

    So as a last resort, I tried force feeding. I read instructions and also consulted two expert friends, one is well know internationally and is a snake expert (who shall remain nameless here). Tonight, I tried it. I opened the snake's mouths with a small toothpick and put the pinky head in there, clamped it shut and pulled the pinky back a little to lock it in the teeth.

    For the twin spot, I got the mouse head in its mouth, let it calm down and set him down. He spat it out a few times but I got it in finally and locked it. He just lay there with the mouse in his mouth! He didn't swallow. After about 30 mins I took the mouse back and tried doing the same with a severed pinky head. Same thing. It is strange because after a few tries, he actually OPENED his mouth and let me put the pinky in when I put it in front of his nose, but he won't swallow it. And this is a snake that voluntarily ate before once.

    The red chain was a little different. He's smaller than average, probably was prematurely bred parents. I force fed it a pinky's head only. Spat it out. I then tried a smaller prey, a tiny frog, and after working it down his throat a bit, he did the "left and right" biting thing that snakes do when moving stuff down when eating (you know what I mean). So it would seem as if it worked. But I strongly suspect that the frog is still there in his throat and not swallowed as I saw a little bump there. The frog is small and there is no real way to massage any "bump" down to 1/3 the snake's body.

    So I now can put the mouse in the snakes' mouths. Just how to get them to swallow and move it down?

    I know they are pretty stressed now from this. Should I just wait a month or so before trying to feed again? I have asked my herp friends everything I can ask, and the last solution is to just give him the snake and let him deal with it, although he seems very reluctant to do that, citing a busy schedule (he does have a full time job plus 4 businesses that he runs). So I hope he'll do it but if he don't I am at a loss and want to ask here before giving up and trying to rehome the snakes to someone who can get them to eat.
  2. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    IMO, a snake will eat when its ready, they can go months-even up to a year without eating. I wouldnt try forcefeeding until you get a better technique, I had to force feed before but the snake swallowed its prey. If the frog is indeed still "stuck in his throat" he would have prolly still regurged it by now..if not then its decaying in his throat and will eventually regurg. If you feel you must force feed only do it once a month
  3. replover

    replover Elite Member

    I don't wanna do it but they are losing weight now and I have tried everything else.
  4. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    Understandable. As Long as they swallow the food, and dont regurg it youre doing fine.
  5. replover

    replover Elite Member

    The one with the frog seemed to have gone down. No more bump in throat and no frog in enclosure.
    The other one is still same I guess.
  6. aiden_punx

    aiden_punx Elite Member

    Antony you should not try force feeding if you don´t know reading about it isn´t much help you need a pro to help show you a vet or big breeder.If you must force feed the snakes with out help mayb get a pinky pump to try and save your snakes some stress and harm.
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