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Sunbeam Not Eating..

Discussion in 'Snakes - General' started by Flint, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. Flint

    Flint Elite Member

    Hey all,

    Last friday I got Flapjack (my WC Sunbeam Snake) to the vet for the first time. I've had him for two weeks as of last saturday. He checked out pretty well at the vet. They gave him some fluids (LLLReptile told me to keep him at 60% humidity >.< I'm lucky he wasn't a dried up husk when I got him!) and gave me some Baytril to administer every other day for 10 days. I've heard him sneeze a few times when I pulled him out over the past week, so I think the stress and low humidity he had before I got him lead to a slight respiratory infection. However I haven't given him any of the anti-biotic yet, I wanted to get him eating first.

    So last night I tried to feed him. At first I tried the least stressful, most natural way possible. I got a good sized hopper (about the size of his head, they aren't as elastic in the jaw as boas and pythons) and put it straight into his tank. It was alive, but I figured that was the best way to at least get one meal in him before trying to convert him to p/k or f/t. I was hoping he would sense the vibrations of the mouse running around and ambush it like they do in the wild. However this was at about 6pm, so he might have still been asleep. I then pulled him out, and pointed his head right to the mouse, he showed no interest. I dangled the mouse right in front of him, he showed no interest. I put him and the mouse in a smaller carrier container, and put just enough substrate so he could be concealed. He still just buried himself and wanted nothing to do with the mouse. I finally killed the mouse myself, and left it in his tank for most of the night. It was still there when I returned.

    From what I have read, these are voracious feeders. They will eat anything from small mammals, to birds, lizards, and other snakes. So what do you think my next step should be? I have another vet appointment scheduled for this coming friday. The plan was to feed him this weekend, and have a fresh fecal ready by the time I take him back to the vet. However he did not eat, so there is no way for me to get a fecal. Should I try feeding again? Or should I go ahead with the medicine? I know that will cause him a great deal of stress, and will most likely make him less likely to eat freely. I also have considered getting a feeder anole? Perhaps he is more interested in eating lizards. If that is the case I can gradually scent mice with an anole and convert him that way. I just want to at least get one meal in him, I will feel much better once he eats!

    His temperatures are 87 warm side, 83 cool side, 90% humidity at all times. 6 inches of coconut husk substrate that is kept damp.

    Thanks for reading,
  2. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I wouldn't be surprised if ti takes a few weeks, between being moved around (from wherever you got him, then to the vets and back, etc) he might be a little stressed. As long as he is of a healthy weight. he'll be fine for a week. I would give him a week of solitude before attempting to feed again. Once everything's done, let him chill a bit, then feed him.

    I saw one Sunbeam baby at the Daytona show last weekend - and was tempted.
  3. Flint

    Flint Elite Member

    Yeah I know that so long as he maintains weight I shouldn't worry. I just gave him his medicine and weighed him, 206 grams. I'll leave him alone until wednesday, then another round of medicine and weigh-in. I must say giving him oral medicine is much different than it was with my boa lol. Flapjack's head is so flat (hence the name lol) it's difficult to open his lips enough to squirt his gum line.

    I'm just paranoid that he has some kind of really nasty intestinal parasite that we won't know about until he gives me a good fecal, and that won't happen until he eats. If that parasite is the type that makes him not want to eat... Well you see my worry.

    I'll keep a good eye on his weight, and probably a week after I'm done with the medicine and his RI is completely gone (still hearing some faint pops and cracks as he breaths) I'll try feeding again.

    When I do feed him again, should I just drop in a live hopper around 9pm and sit in front of the cage for the night waiting for him to naturally go hunt it down? I can do that certainly, I just don't know the best way to get him to eat. I feel like if I dig him out and put him face to face with it, he will already be so stressed out he will want nothing to do with it. But if I simply drop a mouse in, how can I be sure he is awake and aware of the presence of food? I've watched videos of people feeding their sunbeams this way, simply letting a mouse wander the surface. They ambush like trapdoor spiders almost. My other worry is if I can only get him to eat by enticing him with the sounds of a mouse scampering around, how will I ever alert him to the presence of a p/k meal without stressing him out too much? Well, I will worry about that once he is eating period.
  4. missabrat

    missabrat Elite Member

    I would just continue with the meds, he is stressed and most likely will not eat until the meds are done with and he is left alone. Remember he is a high stress guy, and wc at that, so he has undergone a HUGE amount of stress. good luck!
  5. Flint

    Flint Elite Member

    Thanks guys, I'm just worried about the whole "WC=lots of nasty parasites" thing. I will continue the meds and see what the vet says on friday.
  6. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Give him the medication!
    If the snake is sick it may be the source of the not feeding.
  7. David McConley

    David McConley Elite Member

    Merlin, I was going to say exactly the same thing. If he is not 100%, he may not feel like eating. I guess I need to get on a bit earlier next time ;)
  8. Flint

    Flint Elite Member

    You know merlin, reading those 2 phrases together like that made me want to slap myself lol. I should have known, Snakey went through the same thing when he was sick. I was just so anxious to get a fecal sample in.

    So it's been a week since he finished his medication. Last time I saw him (a week ago lol) he felt great, no sounds while breathing, no sneezing, skin hydration was great, and his substrate was nice and damp. I'm going to try feeding him again this weekend. I haven't even touched his cage all week, thanks to the damp coco husk his humidity is still doing great, especially down where he spends his time.

    How should I feed him? Being that he is such a high-stress snake, I don't think I will have much luck digging him out and putting him in a separate container, or even if I just dangle the mouse over him. I think he will want to get back underground before even thinking about the mouse over his head. So should I get a live fuzzy and just put it in his cage? I'm planning on doing this well after the sun goes down so he will more likely be awake. I just don't know the best way to entice a burrowing snake. If I need to sit a few feet away from the cage and watch a fuzzy crawl around the cage until he feels it I will. So long as that is in fact the best way to go.

    Thanks all!

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