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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.

Poorly Corn Snake
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Old 01-23-2008, 09:38 AM   #1
Poorly Corn Snake

Hi I know this might sound like an obvious question but I really am at my wits end with regards to my snake. He has eaten 2 small mice in the past 12 months. He just is not interested!

My question is, is there anything else I can give him to entice him to eat?

Thanks for the help
Old 01-23-2008, 09:48 AM   #2
Crikey! Sounds like you've done well to keep him going this long.

A few questions:
- Are you putting a supplement in his water?
- Have you bought him from someone else, or have you had him from hatching?
- If you haven't owned him all his life, was he eating reliably before you got him?
- Could you describe his tank setup and tell us the temperatures at the warm and cool sides?
- Also, do you own any other Corns?

Sorry for the questions, but it all helps build a picture of what might be going on.

How old/big is he at the moment? I'm guessing he's lost a lot of weight, so you might try offering fuzzies or even pinkies rather than older mice, as an easier-to-swallow option. Some Corns decide that they won't eat anything with fur on, and can survive on larger quantities of fuzzies if that's all they'll take.

Some Corns also have an odd hatred of particular-coloured mice; if you've only been offering white ones, try brown or black and see what happens.

You could try alternative rodents like rat pups or hamsters, although these are going to be more expensive if he then decides to stick to them.

Most reptile shops also stock chicks which are worth a try, but remember to trim off the feet & beak to avoid internal injuries from the sharp bits as they're being swallowed.

A really exotic alternative in the UK is anoles - but that really would cost you. See if you can get your local reptile shop to give you some shed anole shin and see if wiping that on the food item perks up his appetite.
Old 01-23-2008, 10:08 AM   #3
1) No I'm not putting a supplement in his water but such I?
2) He was a rescue snake not even really sure how old he is. We got him about 3 years ago and at the rescue centre and the 2 years before that he ate a larger mouse once every 2 weeks.
3) Heat mat and house at one end temp about 35c then a bathing area then the cool side with the UV light at about 24c. Logs are dotted about hie enclosure.
4) He is our only corn snake or actually our only snake. He lives in the school where I work and I take care of him.

He has lost quite a bit of weight but you can't see bones or anything like that. We have tried different coloured mice but he had one then decided he didn't want anymore.
Old 01-23-2008, 10:38 AM   #4
Those temperatures are a tad high. 21 degrees celscious for the cold side and 30-31 degrees celscious on the warm side is the recommended temperatures
Old 01-23-2008, 10:42 AM   #5
ok I'll put his temps down. Will that help? He's the only snake I've ever taken care of so I'm just trying to do the best by him.
Old 01-23-2008, 10:47 AM   #6
1) No I'm not putting a supplement in his water but such I?
With eating so little, his gut flora will be low so even if he does eat, he may have trouble digesting (it's like the snake equivalent of our "good bacteria" that we hear so much about in the UK!). A supplement like Nutribac will help boost this.

Also, a general pick-me-up supplement like Critical Care Formula would be an idea - that'll provide some basic nutrients, vitamins etc.

Don't put them in his water both at the same time as you don't want to tax his kidneys. Try Nutribac one week, CCF the next week and plain water the third week (then keep repeating). The dosing instructions will come on the bottle/tub.

2) He was a rescue snake not even really sure how old he is. We got him about 3 years ago and at the rescue centre and the 2 years before that he ate a larger mouse once every 2 weeks.
Well that poitns to him being an adult and a large mouse every two weeks sounds about right (that's what my adults eat).

However, the fact that he was eating reliably before you got him and isn't now, does seem to indicate that he's taken exception to some aspect of the setup or husbandry. Loss of appetite is one of the first indicators of stress in a Corn.

3) Heat mat and house at one end temp about 35c then a bathing area then the cool side with the UV light at about 24c. Logs are dotted about hie enclosure.
You need to have hides on both the warm and cool sides, so he can move between them and thermoregulate. If he isn't able to get to his preferred temperature and stay hidden, this might be affecting his ability to digest and so put him off eating. You can boost ground cover with plastic plants and foliage and cardboard cereal boxes make cheap disposable hides (at this stage I think aesthetics are the last thing on your mind!).

UV light is not necessary for Corn Snakes as they are not basking reptiles and get all their Vitamin D from their food instead of sunlight. My "quick fix" idea would be to switch it off. It shouldn't be contributing to heat in a major way and it might be stressing him to the point of putting him off his food.

Having the water bowl on the cool side is the best position for it, so that's good. They don't need "bathing facilities" per se as they rarely sit in the water. The bowl should be primarily for drinking water but big enough for them to sit in if he wants (if he spends a lot of time in the water bowl, this is generally an indication of a problem such as over-heating or mites).

35 degrees C (about 95 degrees F for our American colleagues), is really too high. try to get it down around 30 degrees C. 25 degrees C is about 75.2 degrees F, which is about right for the cool side.

4) He is our only corn snake or actually our only snake. He lives in the school where I work and I take care of him.
I think there are others here who look after Corns kept in public places, so that shouldn't be a problem in itself. However, Corns are individuals, so it could be that he's more of a peace-loving guy and the noise and bustle are stressing him. Is there any chance you could take him home for a couple of months and see if he does better in a quieter environment? I know that schools spend a lot of their time empty and silent, but sudden bursts of sound and movement can sometimes be as disruptive as the constant type.

My only other idea would be to find a knowledgable reptile vet (please note - this isn't necessarily the same thing as a vet that tells you they can treat reptiles!) in your area and take him in for an overhaul. You might want to consider getting him tested for internal parasites.

Oh and another off-the-wall idea - do you know what happens with the school cleaners? Most domestic or industrial cleaning products are poisonous to Corns and if they're spraying the Mr Sheen or floor polish around near him (or even if it's just used close enough to be blown into the room where he is), then this might be a factor. Also considr the other types of fumes that can be wafting round a school, like chemicals from the labs, industrial glue from flooring or paint fumes from decorating work. Things that are innocuous to us might affect a Corn.
Old 01-23-2008, 10:49 AM   #7
Don't think it will really help with the getting it to eat in the first place, but it would help after you've gotten it to eat, with digestion.

Have you tried scenting your mice? Some people use anoles or mouse bedding to scent their mice, others try washing their mice before they're given to the snake. Others try offering dry mice, and wet mice. How long do you leave between feeding attempts? A few days at the least is best. Have you tried offering rat pups? Fuzzies or pinkies? erm.... im about of ideas sorry

Old 01-23-2008, 10:50 AM   #8
tried to rep you Bitsy, but i have to spread it around first
Old 01-23-2008, 10:57 AM   #9
He is actually much happier when he's around the hustle and bustle. He's really a social snake which you may think is weird but that's Moose for you. I will turn the temp down on the hot end and put a hide in the cold end to see if this helps. I will also add the vitamins to his water.
I will let you know in a few days after I've attempted to feed him if it works.

Thanks for all the advice.
Old 01-23-2008, 11:05 AM   #10
Good luck - keep us posted. Sometimes it can take them a few weeks to adjust to changes, so don't be worried if you don't see an immediate improvement.

[Thanks TW!]

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