View Full Version : Desperately Trying to Avoid Forcing

Desperately Trying to Avoid Forcing

08-21-2005, 04:41 PM
I fear I am running out of options and time with a hatchling. I have offered f/t small pinks, live day old pinks, brained, sliced pinks, anole scented pinks and even a head of a small pink, ..... still he refuses everything and is desperately thin and becoming more lethargic every day. His full sibling is easily 4 times his size and eating 2 pinks at a feeding. He has had minimal outside contact, just left undisturbed.

All other 15 hatchlings are eating well so I am inclined to rule out "habitat" as a cause. The breeder said he was eating, all though I am seriously starting to wonder. That was 8 weeks ago, nothing since.

If I must resort to force feeding (I desperately want to keep him alive) I would greatly appreciate anyones methods and "mixtures".

Please help. I seriously doubt he will survive another week. :cry:

08-21-2005, 04:56 PM
If he needs a little encouragement (or at least just a little sustenance to keep him alive), gently pry his mouth open and slide in an adult mouses tail rump end first. The little hairs on the tail prevent the snake easily spitting it out. Just gently slide the tail down the throat and let the snake eat the last little bit of it down. repeat every 4 days until your snake has a little more 'condition' on him and then try offering normal food again.

08-21-2005, 05:07 PM
Day old chick legs.

Worked on my worst ever non feeder.

08-21-2005, 05:10 PM
I'm curious here. How often are you offering food? By your discription, there also appears to be a different type of meal being offered at each feeding. Can you provide more details?

08-21-2005, 05:29 PM
The mouse tail is thawing as I type.

Chicks were ordered a week ago through a local store that said they would order them and "forgot", so that will be at least another week. (I know, I should have just ordered them from an on line supplier) :bang:

CAV, here is his "chart";

6/23 Arrived
7/01 refused f/t pinky
7/08 refused f/t pinky
7/15 refused live pinky
7/22 refused brained/sliced pinky
7/29 refused anole scented pinky
8/05 refused anole scented pinky
8/12 food not offered
8/16 refused pinky head

As you can see, he is only offered food once a week. My feeding method is to place each snake in its own deli cup with the pinky right before "lights out" and leave them over night.

08-21-2005, 06:07 PM
Have you tried placing the deli cup inside a cabinet and closing the door? Sometimes the privacy helps.

It is hard to offer suggestions with little ones, especially when you don't know if it was actually eating before you got him. My general experience with force feeding is that it is extremely stressful for both of you. As for non-feeders, they may or may not ever eat on their own and force feeding just prolongs the ordeal.

Anything else I can offer will solely based upon personal values, opinion, and experience.

08-21-2005, 06:30 PM
Have you tried placing the deli cup inside a cabinet and closing the door? Sometimes the privacy helps.

Anything else I can offer will solely based upon personal values, opinion, and experience.

CAV, That is exactly what I was asking for, personal values, opinion, and experience. Thank you !

I did forget to mention when I feed, they are placed back into their tubs (rack system), inside the deli cups, the lights go out and there are no disturbances. (I go postal if the door even gets open on feeding night) They are not disturbed until about 8am the next morning. I put them back into the tubs so;
1; I cant mix them up,
2; They are still warm over night
3; Familiar "smells" are present.

Princess; Thank you !

I did go ahead and feed him the mouse tail. Time will tell if it worked, but he did voluntarily swallow the last half inch of tail. However, he did initially try to refuse it, understandable though.

That was a technique I had not heard of before. :cheers:

08-21-2005, 06:43 PM
It is just a necessity when you have a large collection and hatch out several clutches each year. I long ago accepted the fact that not all snakes are going to survive their time as a hatchling. That is simply how Mother Nature intended it.

Subsequently, I have a certain routine I follow with non-feeders. If a hatchling still isn't eating on their own once that list of options has run its course, they are humanely euthanized. I refuse to simply watch an an animal slowly starve itself to death.

I know this isn't the kind of info you were looking for, but it is an important topic none-the-less. :)

I do wish you the best. Sometimes they do start back up even after months of not eating.

08-21-2005, 07:31 PM
Cav, this sounds to me more like a young hatchling that she got from a breeder and evidently couldn't get to eat once it arrived. Has the breeder offered any suggestions or offered to replace the animal if it won't feed?

08-21-2005, 07:36 PM
I have been in regular contact with the breeder and have duplicated the hatchlings feeding conditions before arrival. This little guy has decided not to eat, I was told it was an eater and I believe it was as I have no problems at all with any other hatchlings from them. :shrugs:

08-21-2005, 11:54 PM
Cav, this sounds to me more like a young hatchling that she got from a breeder and evidently couldn't get to eat once it arrived.

That makes no difference to me. The process is the same. :)

08-22-2005, 12:40 AM
Keep trying for a while. It bothers me when they don't eat, but I agree with Gary to, sometimes that is nature, and as much as we want the little fellows to make it, they just don't.. I didn't read the whole thread, but did you try the anole scenting? It worked for us, but the new born pinkie was in with the Anole for a few hours.. That was two weeks ago, the little one didn't wanna eat last week, but last night it took the day old pinkie fairly quick. Hopefully you will get some positive results soon! Good luck..


Jason B.
08-22-2005, 02:08 AM
I had a few eat pinkies scented with chicken broth and a few other eat pinkies scented with tuna juice. I can't remember who suggested the tuna juice , but thanks if you read this.

08-22-2005, 12:03 PM
Gary; I do totally agree with what you are saying, the only difference I have is that I do believe it was an eater before it arrived and it frustrates the poop out of me that "I" may be the cause for the change , thus reversing mother natures plan. (personal peeve, I didn't want to fail)

MegF; ummmm .... "she is a well ..... he" :nyah:

Thanx to EVERYONE for the replies, I genuinely do appreciate the willingness to share techniques.

I did give him the mouse tail and I can report that he swallowed the last quarter voluntarily and this morning has kept it down (feeew!) and is curled up in the warm spot. All appears to be fine.

Again, thank you all(or as I'm learning to say ..... thanx y'all!)

(lol, "y'all" didn't get picked up on spell check ..... too funny) :roflmao:

08-22-2005, 12:40 PM
Glad it's working for you! I've tried the mouse tail thing on one that never wanted to eat and after 3 tails at 4 days intervals, he seemed to get the idea that those smelly little pink lumps with the oozing head were food!

Sometimes I think they don't realise they're hungry until they've actually had a couple of meals!

I think I got the mouse tail idea from a method for feeding very small (or twin) hatchlings that seem to frail to eat a pinkie. stuffing a pinkie into a snakes mouth is hard work if they're not co-operating but a tail is rather sleek and easy to slide down and the hairs help keep it down. With my little toughie who was a slow starter, I gave him all of the first tail and let him take the last inch hiself and then with the next I gave him and he took the rest himself and then I just put it a third of the way in, the next meal I offered him a brained pink in a small, dark tub and he took it in less than 2 minutes. Tails are a lot of bone and not a lot of meat so the snake isn't getting much nutrition but it's most deffinately better than nothing in his belly.

I hope you have the same luck with your little guy,

A :cheers:

08-22-2005, 01:02 PM
Thank you !

I did not want to give up on this guy without knowing I did everything I could. I will keep going with this method and then the rest is up to him. His fate is in his own hands now (metaphorically speaking of course).

:cheers: A !

08-22-2005, 03:21 PM
When we have force-fed, we have given 2-3 mouse tails (I use just the 'meaty part' near the base of the tail - about 2 inches) at about 4 day intervals, I use fuzzy mouse legs - take a hind leg off a thawed fuzzy or small hopper - force feed it foot first - more meat than a tail, but easier to get into the snake than a whole pinky mouse. Have had fair success with them starting once they have a few meals in them - but there are some that we didn't get to take on their own even after brumation and they were euthanized,

best of luck with him,

mary v.

08-22-2005, 03:37 PM
That's a good point your brought up there Mary that I hadn't thought to suggest earlier. Often enough if you have a difficult feeder that just doesn't catch on, you can try to give it a short brumation and that seems to kick it into eaqting mose. I haven't had to do that myself but I would suggest trying it if all else fails.

09-07-2005, 01:02 PM
Just to update and maybe give someone else with a similar situation hope info.

Last night the hatchling in question took his first non provoked meal. Mind you it was a live day old pinky.

Here was the process I followed after taking the many suggestions into account;

Day 1 of the "force feeding" schedule; Cut an adult mouse tail off and thawed it. Gently preyed the hatchlings mouth open with the meaty end of the tail and slowly slid it down his throat until there was about half an inch protruding. As I am sure you understand he did not like this at all, but when placed back into the tub settled for a moment and then swallowed the rest of the tail.

Day 5 repeated the above process except I left about an inch of tail for him to swallow.

Day 9 I switched from mouse tail to a dissected adult mouse leg. This is a little more difficult to get started, but the patience and persistence worked as he swallowed the last half of it when left alone.

Day 13, I left the mouse leg with him over night, only to wake the next morning to a hatchling curled up with a hairy mouse leg. I cut a fresh leg (from a f/t mouse, don't worry) and got him started on that and he swallowed over 2/3 of it himself.

Then last night I had a mouse give birth so I stole a pinky, dropped both that and the hatchling in a cup and 3 hours later when I peeked in the pinky was gone and the hatchling had a fat belly. WOOHOO !!! :cool:

Well that was my process from advice given and all I can say is a huge THANK YOU !! :cheers:

09-07-2005, 03:50 PM
Yaaaay :crazy02:

Sooo happy for you! I also had a difficult baby take her first voluntary meal last night but I hadn't gotten as hands on as you...yet.

I was just negotiating selling her as a non-feeder for pretty much pocket change and thought I'd check on her progress before agreeing to anything...and the pinkie was gone. This one was an F/T but it took her 6 weeks to take her first meal...urgh.

Congratz on getting the littlie to eat :cheers:

09-07-2005, 04:20 PM
So glad to hear he is feeding on his own. A few meals of live tiny pinks and he will be on his way. It is such a relief when they take the first one on their own,

mary v.

09-09-2005, 11:35 AM
The stubborn little bugger has finally had enough in his belly that he decided now it's time to shed, well, at least he is blue. So I figure he is doing OK now and he definitely is looking a LOT better with even these relatively few meals.

I just wanted to say THANK YOU again to all that replied to this initial thread.