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Young Malnourished Pastel

Discussion in 'Ball Pythons' started by afulghum, Oct 25, 2014.

  1. afulghum

    afulghum New Member

    Hello all,
    So I work as a pet care associate at Petsmart, and about a month ago we received this baby pastel ball python from wherever this corporation gets their animals. I decided to adopt the poor thing, because obviously no one at the store is a professional or anything (myself included) and it seriously deserves some extra care. I've read several different forms of advice on how to care for a malnourished/dehydrated ball, but nothing is consistent. Some say not to take it to a vet, because I will just waste my money and it will only stress the snake out. So, here I am, asking for advice on what to do with this poor skinny snake. I should add that it WON'T eat. At the store, we tried to feed it f/t pinkie mice about twice a week, but it just won't take. We've tried leaving the pinkie in the cage for a couple hours with the lights off in a quiet room. I've tried splitting the skull of the pinkie, and have tried different sized mice/rats, and nothing is seeming to peak his interest. It seems that now it's almost too late for the little guy.


    Some info about his PREVIOUS habitat:
    20 gal glass aquarium with a heat lamp, no mat
    aspen bedding
    temperature stayed around 90F
    humidity unknown

    CURRENT HABITAT (recieved him yesterday):
    5 gal tub
    heat mat, no lighting
    paper towels
    temperature on warm side: 89F
    cool side: around 70F
    humidity: about 60%
    He is currently laying on the cool side. This is actually the first time I have seen him not curled up.

    I'm going to try to tube-feed him Pedialyte-diluted chicken baby food. Does anyone have any extra advice for me?

    Please no hate, I adopted him to try to save him, not to receive rude comments. Also, I'm new to this site, so, sorry if I don't know how to do something on here. Thank you in advance!
  2. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    Hello, and welcome to the forum. Definitely needs some feeding up but not the worst I've ever seen. Unless you have some experience tube feeding, DO NOT DO IT. It's very easy to seriously injure a snake this way. Now the first question, have you tried live prey? And pinkies are going to be useless for that snake, even pinkie rats. It probably isn't seeing them as a viable food source. I would try a live fuzzy rat, or maybe a live small mouse. If those don't work and you can find some in your area, try a live african soft furred rat of about the same size. And if you can find a vet that is actually familiar with treating reptiles, then they can absolutely help.
  3. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I'll chime in. What he said, but adding this:

    Leave the snake in it's cage in a quiet, low-traffic room of your house, with water, several hides to choose from, and good temps. Resist the urge to handle, touch, or bother the snake in any way. Leave him alone for a week to settle in. Don't open the cage except for necessary maintenance. If possible, cover the cage with a sheet, or tape paper to the sides to block his view.

    Snakes will sometimes go off their food due to stress. Hatchlings especially. Try the live prey item. Most Ball Pythons come out of the egg ready to tackle adult mice or small rats - as stated, a pinky is hardly more than an appetizer for a snake that size.

    Normally, we don't advocate feeding live, but right now, getting the snake to eat is of utmost importance. Converting it to pre-killed prey can wait. You can stun the prey animal if necessary. You can also try scenting it with other appealing scents that might catch his interest, by using bedding from other animal cages (gerbils, for example) to help give the prey animal a new scent.

    Hope you can get this little guy to perk up.

    If you have the resources, by all means take him to a good reptile vet. In a worst case scenario, A decent vet can tube the snake, and get some calories into him. If he thinks the snake will perk up on his own, he may offer a liquid with some vitamins and some appetite stimulants instead - which work fairly well.

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