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Sonoran Acting Strangely, Sitting Still With Open Mouth

Discussion in 'Pituophis (Pines, Bulls, Gophers)' started by Osito75, May 18, 2017.

  1. Osito75

    Osito75 New Member

    I have a Sonoran gopher snake of unknown age that was given to me three years ago. She has seemed healthy until recently, has eaten regularly until recently, and from what I can tell has been in all respects fine. Food source is frozen or fresh-kill rats from a reputable local supplier. She lives in my classroom and my students help me to keep her tank clean, fresh water, etc. She has always allowed me to take her out of the tank for up-close encounters with my students and while a very high-energy snake, has been great. About eight weeks ago she violently discharged a quantity of fluid (sprayed all over the tank) from her vent along with a bowel movement twice within a week, but then seemed to be normal again for a few weeks, eating and acting as I have come to expect. Four weeks ago ago she ate as usual, but then two or three days later started behaving as she does when hungry, lifting her body up against the tank glass. I offered her another rat a couple of days later, but she refused it - wouldn't even look at it - but continued to act as if hungry (at least that's how I interpret her behavior based on past observations). I waited a few more days and tried again to offer her a rat but again she wouldn't touch it. Curious, I tried offering her a live rat (I know, I know - don't grouch at me about the dangers of offering a live rat - I knew she wouldn't refuse it if she were really hungry) but once again she wouldn't even look at it. The day after the live rat attempt, one of my students found her lying still with her mouth open, her lower jaw slightly crooked. I wondered if she might be dead, but when I went to remove the tank cover she closed her mouth and looked at me like "what?" and started moving around her tank. A few minutes later she resumed the same position, lying still with her mouth open. A few minutes later she started acting "hungry" again. I contacted the herpetologist friend who gave her to me, and his thought was that the open mouth and liquid discharge wasn't a good sign - that she might have cryptosporidiosis and recommended I remove her from the classroom and quarantine her for observation. That was a little more than a week ago. I have her in my store room and have checked on her daily and sometimes have found her lying with an open mouth, sometimes found her acting "normal." I have tried to feed her twice, but she refused both times. This morning I decided to try feeding her one more time, and she didn't hesitate - she took the thawed rat immediately. Then again this afternoon I found her lying with her mouth open. Later this evening I found her acting "hungry" again. I'm not sure what to do now - from what I have read crypto is usually fatal to the animal. Input would be appreciated very much.

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