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Health Issues/Feeding Problems Anything related to general or specific health problems. Issues having to do with feeding problems or tips.

3 year old corn died and I feel terrible
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Old 10-13-2017, 06:06 PM   #31
angelcornsnake
I have been thinking about this post a lot. OP I can really feel for you. I'm really sorry. I also agree that it is easy to make mistakes and that we need to do our research.

I have bought one of the books and I listen to advice from enthusiasts that have 20-25 years experience. I didn't buy Daisy from a pet shop but from a snake lover with tons of experience. Everything he's told me has worked, although not 100% sure about the Aspen yet but also what he says might conflict with other people's advice. As other people have said here there are a few different right ways of looking after a snake but there are definitely some absolute no no's which will make your snake sick.

I personally don't think that you had wrong temperatures or basic husbandry mistakes especially because your snake had been thriving for 3 years. I would love yo hear an expert's opinion of what it could have been...

Daisy June 17, a butter motley corn snake
 
Old 10-14-2017, 09:47 AM   #32
Twolunger
First let me say that pet shops get a bad rap, but there are reptile pet shops with people qualified to give good advice. The second thing is that vets are not miracle workers. If you get your corn to a vet when abnormal behavior is first noticed, the chances of recovery are good. That doesn't mean every snake will be saved.

I can only guess why the OP's corn died. Many things point to a respiratory infection. Breathing noises, low temperatures, lethargy added to the stress of shedding. The OP was away at college most of the time, and wouldn't have noticed a change in behavior early enough to take him to a vet. The last agonizing moments suggest a neurological explanation, however, it may have been just a snake fighting for breath.

Corns can survive on lower temps, but need warmth for digestion. Most of my corns stay on the cool side of their enclosures, except after feeding. Then they move to the warm side. I have never had a corn with a discernable breathing noise, unless something was blocking its nostrils, like a shard of aspen. The OP described the breathing noise as a hiss. That is most unusual, and may have been the first sign that her corn had a low level respiratory infection that became worse until the eventual death of her corn.
 
Old 10-14-2017, 12:31 PM   #33
angelcornsnake
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twolunger View Post
First let me say that pet shops get a bad rap, but there are reptile pet shops with people qualified to give good advice. The second thing is that vets are not miracle workers. If you get your corn to a vet when abnormal behavior is first noticed, the chances of recovery are good. That doesn't mean every snake will be saved.

I can only guess why the OP's corn died. Many things point to a respiratory infection. Breathing noises, low temperatures, lethargy added to the stress of shedding. The OP was away at college most of the time, and wouldn't have noticed a change in behavior early enough to take him to a vet. The last agonizing moments suggest a neurological explanation, however, it may have been just a snake fighting for breath.

Corns can survive on lower temps, but need warmth for digestion. Most of my corns stay on the cool side of their enclosures, except after feeding. Then they move to the warm side. I have never had a corn with a discernable breathing noise, unless something was blocking its nostrils, like a shard of aspen. The OP described the breathing noise as a hiss. That is most unusual, and may have been the first sign that her corn had a low level respiratory infection that became worse until the eventual death of her corn.
Good point. I think this is the exact answer the OP was looking for

Daisy June 17, a butter motley corn snake
 
Old 10-15-2017, 08:25 AM   #34
Strikealight
We new snakekeepers should only seek advice from reliable sources and “true experts”. Can’t really argue against that proposition.

Problem is: what is a reliable source how can you tell if someone is a “true expert”?

For many long-time snake keepers and snake breeders, this is no problem. They know the good from the bad due to their long-term immersion into the snake world. But how does the newcomer determine this?

Example. I recently bought my son’s corn snake from a local reptile shop (OK, yes – it is my son’s snake, but in the deepest recesses of my mind I like to think he is mine, and a deep, dark part of me hopes that my son will lose interest one day!). This reptile shop is very well-known locally and they do educational programmes and events. Their livestock is very well cared for and everything looks to be very healthy. They have a government licence to keep poisonous species (very hard to get over here). The shop has been trading for many years. They give out care sheets and their staff publish guides on the internet and they breed some of the snakes themselves. They will talk for hours about their experiences and knowledge of all things snakey. They will direct you in very firm and certain terms about how you should care for your snake, and what equipment you need and don’t need, and roll their eyes if you even try to question their omnipotent authority by citing any other sources. They will make it very plain that if you do not follow their guidance to the letter, your snake will suffer and eventually die.

I suggest that in all of these circumstances, most beginners would find it pretty hard not to trust and follow what these people tell them to do with their snakes.

Trouble is, they ordered me to stick the heat mat onto the side of our snake’s faunarium, and without a thermostat or a thermometer (bizarrely even though they sold them). I had the temerity to suggest that I might put the mat under the faunarium with a stat and thermometer. They flatly rejected this as being wrong and dangerous to the snake, stating that (and I quote as accurately as my recollection allows) “no snake heats up from underneath” and that "the snake is the best one to determine what the right temperature is". The Munsford Plan is apparently a load of codswallop, even for breeders trying to force their breeding stock on. I kid you not.

Regardless, I bought the snake and the bundled kit they demanded I took. This was because the snake was extremely nice in all respects (best decision I ever made IMHO!) and because I would have bought all of the bits in the bundled kit anyway, and it was at a keen price and I don’t have many alternative sources where I live. I nodded and agreed to exactly as I was told, and then ordered a stat and a probe-on-a-wire thermometer when I got home, and he was noticeably happier and more sociable once these were fitted and the heat mat went under then faunarium.

I knew their advice was not very good. This is because I have been obsessed by snakes all of my life (ownership possibilities were curbed though most of my life to living with ophidiophobes and other practical problems) and I knew a lot about their habits, including how different species thermoregulate. I also have quite a bit of experience with animal husbandry in general (fish in particular). I spent a good chunk of my life in the US and I have seen at first hand snakes on the road at night soaking up the sun-generated stored heat. Lucky me, eh?

The OP would ideally have had the right care information from the start – but she didn’t, and IMHO it is hardly surprising given the many fundamental inconsistencies between what seem to be reliable sources. Had the OP gone to the corn snake care sheet and YouTube video from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA – a pretty much self-proclaimed authority on animal welfare here in the UK) she would have been told that she must have a UV lamp and that she should turn off the heating at night. And let me tell you something else – unlike in the US, UK snakes in the wild (adders and grass snakes in the main) can only dream of summers reaching 28 degrees C – the extent that snakes need heat is not as self-intuitive over here.

This forum is a fantastic resource, and for those of us who have kept other animals and who thereby have already found out what nonsense can be spouted, we tend to research extensively and are far more ready to question the logic of some apparently authoritative sources. It would seem likely that the OP as a first-time snake keeper didn’t have the benefit of this. Her snake seems to have done well for some three years before it died, which would suggest to most folks that “if the machine ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. It does seem from what she says that she was perhaps keeping the high end temperatures a little low, and that she may not have been using a thermostat Correct me if I am wrong). Well, I suspect she was doing a lot better by her snake than many of the folks who buy baby corn snakes from my local reptile shop. Would the more experienced keepers and breeders on here expect symptoms and death from the husbandry methods described by the OP? I am of no authority to say, but I doubt it, especially after three years of pretty much trouble-free keeping.

She has taken the time and trouble to come onto this forum to find out what the problem could have been. She clearly cares and is upset. Even if she had materially contributed to the problems (and again I personally doubt that she did), what is the point of giving her a hard time for not being lucky enough to stumble upon the right guidance? First, she could surely use a bit of human kindness and understanding at a time like this. The snake is dead – the horse has bolted. Posters cannot shock / push her into a better course of action that will help this particular snake. Secondly, it will surely put her off from snakekeeping in the future and also it may have the effect of stopping others from raising questions when they suspect they might be on the wrong track. I have seen this effect many times on other forums, animal-based ones and otherwise. Being kind, respectful and setting out persuasive arguments is I would suggest a far more productive and helpful approach.

LucyJane1611 - really sorry to read about what you went through. It seems like you were pretty fond of Steve, even though he started off as an unwanted present. I hope that you will think about getting another in the future – you will have learned a lot from all of this, even if the health problem might have occurred in any event. If nothing else, would-be new snake owners reading these posts will have gained a valuable insight. Take care.
 
Old 10-15-2017, 09:04 AM   #35
DollysMom
Thank you Strikealight. I’ve always liked being part of this community because it is generally thoughtful and kind. Even if she never posts again, I hope the OP has read some of the other posts that have both attempted to answer her questions and gave some moral support. I always look at the poster’s location and realize the status quo for care and equipment available varies by country.

And no matter how hard you study there is always something to learn. I just learned about PTFE non-stick cookware and birds, as well as it’s possible implications for reptiles. Just when you think you know...

I actually had the first vet I saw with one of my snakes tell me to put the heat pad on the side to avoid burns. I told her I had a thermostat on the UTH but she didn’t care. With the pad on the side, well you might as well have nothing because it heats nothing. My current vet and I are on the same page.

There is an old saying: you win more flies with honey than with vinegar. It holds true here as well.
 
Old 10-15-2017, 01:13 PM   #36
Nanci
At least here you can tell how long a person has been a member, and maybe deduce that they have been keeping snakes that long. On Facebook, everyone thinks they're the expert, and you don't have a way to verify.
 
Old 10-15-2017, 02:50 PM   #37
Strikealight
Quote:
Originally Posted by DollysMom View Post
There is an old saying: you win more flies with honey than with vinegar. It holds true here as well.
That's the nub of it. To be frank, personally I think that testy reply posts to well-meaning noobies (like me) actually cause quite a bit of harm, because it is likely to drive others away into the arms of less reliable sources and / or dissuade them from putting questions forward. No good for noobies, and no good for their snakes.

I appreciate that sometimes you have to be blunt in an attempt to head off disaster, but I think you have to approach such situations with a bit of wisdom and tact.
 
Old 10-15-2017, 03:40 PM   #38
DollysMom
Thank you, Strikealight. You may consider yourself a novice, but your personal study effort is evident. I too try to make up for a lack of years of experience through careful observation of my snakes, and lots and lots of reading and study.
 

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