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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.

Hunger strike
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Old 09-08-2017, 04:29 PM   #1
Hunger strike

Phoenix has always been a good eater for me, but he seems to have gone on a hunger strike since his last shed. It's been over a month now since he last ate, and while I know that's not necessarily unusual, I want to make sure there's not something wrong...

He's been very active lately as well, plus sleeping outside of his hides, which sounds a bit like descriptions I've heard of male corns during breeding season, but he's only a year old - is that old enough to be going on breeding-related hunger strikes? I'm not sure if it's the right time of year, either, but I suppose being indoors all the time with artificial sources of heat and lighting may confuse them?

The warm side of his viv is the same temp it's always been but the temperature of the room in general has been cooler as our summer winds down - could that be a factor?

Finally, when corns aren't eating is there a rule of thumb for how often to offer food?
Old 09-08-2017, 07:56 PM   #2
A "healthy" corn snake can live a very long time without food. I've heard of several going without food for 5 months and being ok.

A snake might quit eating for various reasons - About to shed, Illness, Intestinal Blockage, Incorrect cage temps, and Mating season are among the most prevalent.

You stated your snake is a male and about a year old. It's unlikely he's thinking about Mating, although I can't say for sure. Also, technically it's not even mating season.

And if I read your post right, you are saying he shed about a month ago and has not eaten since?

I'm wondering if anything has changed? Have you relocated the cage, changed the environment, is there a new pet or other animal now introduced into the household, has the temperature in the cage changed? Are you sure your heat pad and thermostat are working correctly?

If nothing has changed and temps are correct, you might want to visit a vet just as a precautionary measure. They can check for intestinal parasites, blockages and respiratory infections, all of which might make a snake stop eating.

My snake typically refuses food before a shed. He once went 5 weeks without food, but usually it's only 2 to 3 weeks. In fact he's in the process of shedding right now and has not eaten in almost 3 weeks.

If I know he's about to shed, I don't bother to offer food. I just wait until he sheds and then resume feeding. If you don't think it's a shed issue with your snake, you might wait a week or two and try again. If he's not eaten by then, like I said a trip to the vet might be a good idea.
Old 09-08-2017, 10:05 PM   #3
To add one thing to Karl's very excellent post, you may want to weigh your snake just to keep track of any loss. Keeping track of weight is one of many tools you can use to help monitor your snake's health. Best wishes.
Old 09-10-2017, 01:21 PM   #4
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
Finally, when corns aren't eating is there a rule of thumb for how often to offer food?
Once per week is fine. I know, if you're like me, it feels like you're starving him by not offering food, but the snake's metabolism only runs at about 20% the rate of a human's. Your healthy yearling can easily go several weeks without feeding. Hunger strikes appear to be much more worrying for us people than for the snakes!
Old 09-18-2017, 01:26 PM   #5
Thanks, guys! I'm going to try feeding him next weekend and see how that goes, and I'll weigh him when I get home tonight.

As far as weight loss goes, how much would be considered worrying?
Old 09-18-2017, 05:44 PM   #6
if he's not acting sick and not overly skinny I wouldn't worry.
Old 10-29-2017, 10:14 PM   #7
It's been a three-month hunger strike but Phoenix finally ate! Thank you guys for your help + advice.
Old 10-30-2017, 02:00 PM   #8
Congrats. Happy to hear the good news!

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