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Mud Snake Diet Question.

Discussion in 'Garter & Water snakes' started by Dragoness, Oct 15, 2010.

  1. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    An acquaintance of mine had some CB Eastern Muds (Farancia abacura abacura) and has given me a pair of hatchlings. In the wild, these guys normally eat frogs, mud puppies, sirens, amphiumas, etc.

    This is going to be a trip for me, because I have not had to deal with converting specialist amphibian eaters yet. I have access to tadpoles and frogs. Worms and minnows are easy enough to get. I am hoping to convert it so I can feed it rodents. I know it has been done.

    If anyone has any tips or advice on converting an amphibian eater to pinkies, it would be much appreciated.

    Pics will be coming soon.
  2. David McConley

    David McConley Elite Member

    Sorry Jen, as much as I would love to help, I have no experience with them. I am anxiously awaiting photos though. ;)
  3. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    They are itty-bitty babies right now, easily dwarfed by a nightcrawler. I doubt they could eat a whole pinky right now, so it looks like they will have to eat tadpoles for the time being, and I can switch them once they are a little bigger. I have tracked down numerous places online where I can order live tadpoles, and numerous places locally where I can obtain wild ones from closed pond systems that are not treated with anything at all. Not to mention, if I absolutely needed to, I could get some stuff at the next herp show, which is next weekend. You usually see tadpoles and bullfrogs there as well.

    I'll try to get pics today, but no guarantee. These guys hardly come topside and show their faces, and I don't really want to traumatize them by digging them up when they are trying to settle in, lol.

    They are beautiful though!
  4. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    I am so excited for you, they sound awesome, and like David I can't wait for pictures of these cute little guys. Did you say that they are smaller than a night crawler? :cool:
  5. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    right now they are TINY! probably 3-4 inches long. I was hoping to just scent some pinkies and get them going, but I don't think they will be eating pinkies just yet. I'll be setting them up in a starter tank later today. They are small enough to get through the ventilation holes in the permanent cages I have for them, so I have to wait until they are a little bigger. Currently, they are back in the clear plastic deli container they came home in, because I didn't want to risk an escape. I had to make a run to get another storage bin, and put window screen over the small vents they come with (1/4" hole).

    So...tadpoles it is for now. I have read from other people with mud snakes that have used tadpoles to scent mice, and successfully converted them to pinkies (and even have pictures of the snake eating pinkies) so I know it can be done. These are beautiful snakes, I really hope I'm successful with this!
  6. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Here they are:


    I'm still debating how I want to set up their cages -

    -mostly mud with a few dry spots, and a water dish with clean non-muddy water.

    -Mostly dry with a large pan of mud for them to use, and a clean water dish.

    Quarantine is going to be fun, because these guys do need the mud and moisture. Not sure how to go about preventative mite treatment in a semi-aquatic snake.

    Attached Files:

  7. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Since they are a semi aquatic species, I would set up with a large water area. Sort of like you would for aquatic turtles.
    Have they fed at all yet?
    Judging from the pictures they look like they could take a newborn pinkie.
  8. T-rex

    T-rex Elite Member

    These guys are highly aquatic. I have been on many trips just to find these. All have been unsuccessful. They aren't easy to find because they are constantly IN the water. Unless it is raining, the area is drying up, or they are going to lay eggs.

    So, I too would give them more than just a bowl of water.

    I know someone that keeps them, and I can ask if he has any tips on switching them over to rodents. Although I have never heard of anyone doing that..

    Edit: Just got off the phone with my friend that keeps them. He has gotten his to take rodents by scenting them with tadpoles. He said that his won't take them unless they are scented so they have never been completely switched over.
    He also said that many will just plain refuse anything you put in front of them..

    His tips are to get them feeding on tadpoles and then start scenting the pinkies. He said to cut the legs off of the pinkies too, because they will make it hard for the muds to get them down..

    Not sure where you would get tad poles. My friend breeds frogs for them, and to raise them for his other frog eating species.
  9. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    There are numerous online suppliers where I can order live tadpoles of various locally native species (bullfrog, green tree) and there are closed system ponds at work that have tadpoles (though I do not know what species) that I am allowed to use. I know the pond is not treated with ANYTHING at all - no pesticides or herbicides, etc.

    Apparently, you can also pre-kill and freeze frogs or tadpoles with the pinkies in order to scent them while they chill in your freezer.

    I'm thinking of doing their enclosures 1/2 water (large 'pond') and 1/2 moist land, with a few dry basking spots, and floating logs, or partially submerged pieces of rock and wood in the pond itself. For now, I'm thinking of just putting a tadpole or two in each tank's pond, and watching to see if they get eaten or not.

    Since I'm changing my original plans, I think I can fabricate a small rock-lined pond. I don't want a smooth, steep plastic they can't get out of.
  10. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I also got a live toad, and am hoping that just a little handling will scare him enough to pee, and maybe scent pinkies with that. I could also rub them on his belly... I really don't want to feed herps if I can avoid it.

    I think tomorrow, I'll try to cut the legs off a frozen pink (ease of swallowing) and scent it with the toad. see if I have any luck.

    They have not yet eaten. Only in the last few days have they completed their first shed, so they should be hungry.
  11. David McConley

    David McConley Elite Member

    Wow, another one for "THE LIST", lol. Great looking guys Jen and I agree if you snip the legs off, they should have no problem swallowing new born pinkies.
  12. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    well, I put the toad in a dish with thawed, rinsed pinkies, thinking I'd have to prod him a little to get him to pee. No such problem - he sat right down, and peed for me. (First time he has peed for me while handling in a week plus of ownership.). Rolled the clean pinks around in it (found some really small ones in my bag of 100, they might work.) Leaving them overnight to see if I have any luck, but not holding my breath for much. I have not heard much about mud snakes liking toads, as they seem to prefer more aquatic amphibians.

    I think, if they don't eat pinkies here soon, that I will order some tadpoles, and pick up some tadpoles, and small aquatic frogs, or even a large bullfrog or other aquatic amphibian that is native to N. America at the next show (a week away) and use them to try and scent pinkies. If I get a large amphibian, it is likely going in the freezer (advice on human euthanasia for amphibians?) and I would store pinkies in the bag with it to acquire the scent. Same for excess tadpoles that are too big to eat (apparently, these guys take F/T amphibians well too...)

    How does one go about scenting a mouse like a tadpole? Put rinsed pinkies in a dish with some tadpoles for a few minutes (no water)? Store them with frozen tadpoles? put the pinks in the tadpole tank to thaw? I am kinda new to this part.
  13. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    toad-pee pinkies were not a hit. There is a herp show this weekend, I'm going to see if I can get my hands on young bullfrog tadpoles. If that fails, I'll go ahead and order them online. Already found a site where I can order them in batches of 50. Hopefully, that will suffice to get them switched over.
  14. David McConley

    David McConley Elite Member

    I have faith in you Jen, it it can be done- you will get them to feed. ;)
  15. MadDog

    MadDog Elite Member

    Those are amazing!! I wish I could either see a few of those in my backyard (Wooded/swampy area of course). Then again, I also wish it was legal to own them in Georgia.
  16. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I managed to get my hands on some live tadpoles today (from work) and have them set up in a land/water tank that I intend to put the snakes in tomorrow. I tried feeding them in a bin, no luck. Shallow water (1/4") a snake and 2 tadpoles. nothing happened.

    Kind of debating how to go about feeding them? Try feeding in a bin? or put the tadpoles straight into the pond section, and wait to see if any go missing?

    The downside is, the pond section is dark gravel. Makes tadpoles hard to see. I could take the gravel out, and have a bare tank, easier to keep track of things, but far less natural for the snakes.
  17. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I have been checking on the snakes and their tadpoles daily, and most mornings resulted in disappointment. The pond was still pristine, and had 2 live tadpoles in it. This morning, the pond had some mud, and NO tadpoles (One of the snakes got into it and ate the tadpoles). The setup right now it a rubbermaid with about 1.5" of wet soil, with a small plastic dish set into the soil, in which I put 2 live tadpoles. If and when the snakes get into it, they inevitably haul in some dirt too. Since it's a clear plastic dish, I can see them hiding beneath it.

    I'm just glad they are eating.

    My next dilemma is going to be how to get them adjusted to handling so I can feed them outside their cages (and thus start the process of switching them to scented pinkies.)

    I have enough tadpoles for the meantime, and can order more online, though they are a bit expensive, so I might hold off on the switch until the snakes are big enough that I don't feel like I might accidentally squish them while handling them.

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