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need help with blind old rat snake

Discussion in 'Ratsnakes' started by nicole, Feb 17, 2007.

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  1. DarkMagician207

    DarkMagician207 Elite Member

    glad to hear things are improving with him. keep up the good work. :)
  2. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member


    As Merlin mentioned, he hasn't "seen" any tests that conclude that UV is beneficial. As I type this, there IS a study being done and Bob has informed me of some of the benefits already seen by his experience as well as insider info he is privy too. Up until I spoke with Bob regarding many things, such as this, I too had never heard of this.

    The 5.0 would be fine. You could go stronger without ill effect if you have something stronger. You are only supplying 2-3 hours worth of UV exposure in the tank. This is not a 12 on and 12 off scenario.

    So long as the snake has a retreat where it can escape the bright lighting, any high output UV would be beneficial.

    I will take a moment to explain one aspect of why the lighting is adequate for use and one of the benefits.

    EVERY animal has the ability to create the vitamin D3 through UV exposure. This is a fact that is already documented. Many animals, including snakes, can absorb D3 through their food. (Including humans.) While this is a beneficial technique to acquire this needed vitamin, studies have shown that UV exposure is FAR more beneficial at producing the D3 and works extremely fast compared to oral ingestion.

    By supplying the animal with a solid source of high dose D3, they are able to use the nutrients to increase the speed of the process that run within their bodies. This is ideal for aiding in the rehabilitation of animals that have been injured or sick.

    It has also shown other benefits. In Russia, there is a breeding program that is done for a specific type of viper. Russia is well know for this breeding project as they are the only ones that have been able to get this viper to procreate in captive enclosures. Care to guess what they provide to these snakes that no other breeding program had done? Thats right, these snake receive natural UV for their D3 opposed to just absorbing it through their prey. (Which needs to be noted is a very slow process and doesn't include large quantities of the nutrient itself.)

    One of the things Bob and i discussed was how the Ball python is notorious for going off feed and how some people have had extreme difficulty breeding their pairs without any actual explanation. A trick to try would be to subject these animals to UV exposure for a couple of hours each day. This has already shown that it has brought snakes back into feeding mode and has also triggered the breeding response that people are looking for.

    We need to remember that every animal in the wild has some sort of access to UV throughout the day. Some receive very low doses and others require extremely large doses. It is there though, and we don't always provide it. I am actually setting up my snake enclosures with the 5.0 tubes. There is no harm that can come from providing the UV, and benefits have already been seen. When the study is complete, I am certain that a lot more information will be made available.
  3. nicole

    nicole Elite Member

    Hello Rich,
    I did take your advice and put on the 5.0 uv light on him yesterday as I figure it cannot hurt anything. I am aware the studies are all controversial as some people say yes and others say no. I do not have the experience that you have in snake keeping as I have already stated that they are not here for more than a week,.... usually.LOL The one experience I did have with uv lighting for a snake was for a large red tail boa that came in and would not eat. Someone suggested that I try the uv, Long story short, she did eat, however she turned very aggressive and would strike at her enclosure if you so much as walked by it, forget walking in the thing to maintain it, it took three people to go in and hold a huge piece of plywood in the corner so I could clean. Now I do not know if this is relevant to the uv light, however the only thing I can say is when the man who takes the snakes that come in here came to pick her up he asked why I had the uv on her and that was probably the culprit of the aggression. In talking back and forth with him, he took the uv off her at his home and has no problems with her. Who knows maybe she just didnt like me, and that is ok as the feeling was mutual! LOL.
    King Arthur has shown absolutely no signs of agrression with the uv, but time will tell. I am not sure if the light had anything at all to do with it, as I usually dont keep them very long, however i cannot wait to see the results of some of the studies, it seems like with reptiles that things are always changing as time and technology progress.
    So what is your opinion on the uv and aggression with the snake? Am I totally off key here?
    Thanks so much for all the info!!
  4. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member


    The truth is, I don't honestly know. I am looking at this through biased eyes. I respect the man who gave me the information as he is extremely educated in UV. (His name is Bob mac. He designed the entire Mega Ray line.)

    It is very possible you had an aggressive snake before the light was introduced, but since the animal wasn't actually metabolizing every bit of food it ingested, it just didn't have the "go power" it should have.

    Look at it like this. If you have an iguana, and you keep him at low temperatures, he will likely be very lethargic and passive as he isn't at his optimal health. If you were to raise the temps, and he started to act "normal", he could easily become an animal you once thought was so "nice". lol

    UV plays a role in many different things. It doesn't just take care of the D3 requirements, but plays a significant role in reproduction, activity, behavior, etc.

    Is it possible the light brought out the bad in the snake, possibly. It didn't actually bring it out though if that were the case. It simply provided the snake with what it needed so it wasn't "lethargic" anymore. ;)
  5. nicole

    nicole Elite Member

    Hello Rich,
    I think you have an excellent point on the fact that she was not her normal self when she came in as she was cold (very cold), she was found in an empty apt complex in the middle of winter with no heat, by the new tenants. Needless to say they were not very impressed! LOL! The habitat she was put in was kept at 88 degrees with an area to bask at 95 (which she hardly ever used) For the first few days she was a little active, no interest in food, then the uv came in and within 36 hours no problem eating and out came the "Hag" in her!! (Still laughing) and the rest I already told above. So that does make sense as to bring out the natural behaviour in the snake as she had been on her own for so long. Then again it could also have been that she was finally warmed up. You are absolutely correct in the get a cold Iguana and warm him up and Blam out comes the Lochness monster LOL, so possibly same theory.

    Some things that make you go Hmmmmmm...............

    oh by the way in talking to the snake guy she is not a rtb as she is too big too be one, so he informed me this afternoon as we talked about another one that came in. Definately time for me to do some serious studying on snakes!!

    Do you know of any good books that you suggest (not the ones that have the basics you get at the pet store, someting a little more advanced) I would greatly appreciate it

    thanks so much again
  6. nicole

    nicole Elite Member

    excellent news!!!!

    Hey I have excellent news with King Arthur, as most of you know, yesterday was my dreaded day at the rep vet which turned out so wonderful!! King Arthur is definately 100 percent blind which is ok, the tumor cannot be removed, however does not need to be, the only thing I need to watch for is that it does not get bigger to cause him any pain, which the vet does not think that will happen anytime soon. Just watch to make sure the eyes do not "bug out" and that he is not always rubbing them, which is a sign of pain. the burns now just need to air dry and heal, there is no infection!! YEAH! He is of course very skinny which he said just keep feeding and that will certainly change. The only thing different I have to do is take out the big soaking water tub and put in a small drinking dish so the burns can remain dry and heal. King arthur was kind enough to leave a small poo poo sample in his carrier so we got the fecal exam which they found over 12 pinworm eggs. No problem as he got his first dose of Panacur paste at the vet and i give him another one in three weeks. Oh also he is definately a boy!!, or should i say MAN, I do not want to hurt his manly ego! LOL
    Here is the funny part, I told the vet how he ate and apparently he did not believe me so he brings in 3 small f/t mice put them where he can smell them and Arthur just opens his mouth like a baby bird as the vet places them in head first and he eats them all. The vet said he is the most well mannered snake he has ever seen. I thought for a minute that I was going to have to "box" the vet to get my baby back LOL!! So Arthur will be OK! I am so happy! Arthur is also going to stay here for the rest of his life, I cannot give him up.
    Thank you all so much for the help you gave me ! Now that things have slowed down a bit I will be trying today to figure out how to get my camera to take smaller pics and I will start a new thread with my whole herd of misfits so you all can put a face to a name, bear with me as I am technically challenged LOL, and look for it by hopefully tonight!!
    Thanks again,
  7. The D

    The D Mango Empress

    that's WONDERFUL Nicole! thank goodness you came into his life so he can live to be a old man in peace! Great Job!
  8. Colleen

    Colleen Elite Member

    Great news! He sure has someone who cares about him now and for the rest of his life.
  9. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Pinworms are easily treated with Panacur. You should see a quick improvement in his weight once they're gone!
    Congratulations on the rest!!! You'll be surprised how well the burns and wounds heal up over several sheds.
    Good job with him... he sounds like a keeper! :D
  10. DarkMagician207

    DarkMagician207 Elite Member

    thats awesome news i'm so happy! hope he recovers fast for you and good luck. :)
  11. nicole

    nicole Elite Member

    Yes blackjack, he is most definately a keeper!! What a sweetie!! Most definately a lot different from some of the other bigger ones I get in here on occassion that have the personality of Jack The Ripper! LOL. As you all know my experience with snakes on the long term is not that great but I figure with all of you, the vet, and just some old fashioned studying I will soon figure it out!
    One question I have is all the pet stores I go in on occassion do not sell Ratsnakes, how do people get them let alone come into a rescue? Are they not spendy? I do not know this because I do not buy animals, well minus the frog and hermit crabs I bought my son and my very first iggy.
  12. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    I'm guessing the petshops don't sell them because they are not an "exotic" species of snake. If I'm not mistaken, ratsnakes are indigenous to the USA. I imagine that a lot of them are wild-caught and then captive bred.
    Over here in Switzerland, we have to pay a fair amount for a Leucistic Texas Ratsnake... because it's "exotic".
    I remember when I was 11 and living in California, I wanted a western garter snake, but none of the petstores sold them. Then one day after school one just slithered across my path! I caught him, took him home & begged my mother to let me keep him. That was my first snake, Perseus.
    It sounds like you're doing a fabulous job as a snake keeper... you're a natural! :) I think snakes are much easier to care for than most other animals... well, when they are healthy, at least.
    King Arthur is lucky to have you. :D
    Good luck with him!
    Andrea (aka Blackjack)
  13. nicole

    nicole Elite Member

    Yes it seem s they are easier to care for than the iguanas thats for sure I catch myself feeling like I have forgotten to do something with them because they dont take as much time out of my day like the igs! I just have to remember not to make things seem more complicated than they are!
  14. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Ratsnakes are available, it just depends on the store. A herp specialty store is more likely to carry them. I also see them at reptile expos where you have the opportunity to see and purchase species that are not normally seen in shops due to a lack of high demand.
    The low maintainance factor is one of the things that appeals to snake keepers. They are basically very simple animals to keep, particularly compared to something like an iguana!
    I am glad that King Arthur has found a home with you!
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