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New Snake Owner- feeding issues


New member
Hello everyone! I am hoping to get some assistance with my new snake buddy- a female red corn snake, about 5ft long (suspected around 8-10 years old). I am caring for the snake while my sister is serving her military tour and I am new to the snake side of reptiles, having been a bearded dragon owner for many years, therefore hoping to get some input from y'all here at the snake forum!

I will explain the problem: Samantha the Snake arrived at my house June 29th, she ate the first week of July, had a complete shed, ate again the first week of August, shed a second complete shed and hasn't eaten since then. She came from a large converted aquarium 200gal I believe, however she had ship via mail and left her old house behind. Her house now is a DIY cabinet, 5' tall x4' long x3' deep with two levels connected by a ridged ramp and some climbing branches. There is aspen substrate about 4 inches deep in the bottom section (she has lovely tunnels rn), the upper basking level has a repti-liner floor + moss plus a fleece blanket she hides under. There is a 100w basking light 2.5' above her head, I also have a 50w moon-light bulb- both are on a timer for day/night cycles, 9hours of daylight. The heat is around 75-80degrees F during the day dropping to 70-75degrees F at night, I keep the moss misted so the humidity stays around 60.

I've been giving her a medium size thawed rat once a week in the evening around 7p- I drag it around the cage some, then leave it in the middle of the floor for her to find. The rats are thawed overnight in the fridge then I run them in ziplock under hot water for about 15mins before I give it to her. I also try to give her alone time in the house, like two hours alone to eat. I plan to try feeding a large thawed rat AND a medium this Sunday, give her options and see if she wants the larger size (my sister had always fed the medium size).

I saw her drink from her bowl about a week ago, haven't seen that since. She is still active, doing her little routines everyday of going up to bask in the mornings and then downstairs into her cave for bedtime. She is responsive when I open the cage and gently touch her (she hates it and scoots away once she realizes she can't trick me by playing dead Lol). There's been no stargazing or odd behavior, her movements are very normal. I am however wondering if she is losing her sight, some of her movements indicate she isn't able to see but her eyes don't look cloudy. She's active in the evenings before "the sun sets" in her cage, I see her exploring and climbing around. Should I be feeding her later perhaps? I tried to follow the behavior of rats in general and feed her as close to "dusk" as I can. Does she need to be pulled out for feeding and put into a smaller enclosure?

The only other bit of info: I keep two pet rats in the back room, out of eye-site but potentially within smelling range? Not sure how far she can hear/smell/sense. Is she perhaps angry I am giving her thawed, dead rats when she can sense the rats in the next room? Should I swap her to live rats? (I have no clue how to do that, I fear it might be dangerous for her? IDK) the rats sometimes play loudly with each other in the evenings, not sure if she can tell she's missing out on the fun Haha.

I will cut it there, stop infodumping. I can post pics of her and the setup if it would help, I really appreciate anyone who might have any ideas! I can't afford to take her to a exotic vet rn and am hoping I can figure out what the problem is. Thank you in advance!
Can you weigh her with a gram scale? A medium rat is a huge meal for most corns. I would absolutely not be feeding her more than once a month if you continue to use that size feeder. Most adult corns do well with nothing larger than an adult mouse. If you could also post a picture, that would help determine her general body condition.
Reply Regarding Sam the Snake

Hello there, thank you for responding. I have attached a photo of her next to a ruler, I don't have a gram scale. I had been following what my sister told me to feed (medium rat once a week) but should I switch her to adult mouse once a week? Thank you again for all of y'all's assistance!


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She looks very overweight to me. I would recommend picking up a cheap digital gram scale to start tracking her weight. And then I'd be switching her diet to a large adult mouse every 2 to 3 weeks. If she's been on rats, she may not want mice, but it's what I would start with anyway. You can also try heating up the mouse using very hot water and then putting her in a smaller container, like a shoebox sized tub, with her meal so that she won't get distracted. At her size and age, she can go quite a long time without food, so I wouldn't be too worried yet. If she refuses the next meal, just give her another week before you try again. It helps if you have another snake or creature that can eat the leftovers so you don't have to waste them if she refuses.
Oh wow ok! I was so concerned she was going to starve to death- I see now that is the opposite problem! I will get her some adult mice and warm them thoroughly like you suggest, thank you so much for your ideas and tips/suggestions! I have ordered a gram scale, hopefully be able to weigh her soon. Thank you again! I am really hopeful that this works, I will update here regarding how it goes.
It does sound like your snake isn't eating because she isn't hungry. She'll will definitely benefit from the reducing plan suggested by @hypnoctopus. I'm curious about your temps. How and where are you measuring them? Those 70s are slightly low for digestion. Obviously, she's not suffering from lack of digestion in the past, lol, but just wondering for the future.

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Hey all! Once again, I so appreciate everyone's input, Sam and I are both so grateful!

Updates: The gram scale apparently got lost in the mail, should be here next week, I will figure out how to weigh her and post it then.

I added a 24/7 small ceramic heating element to her cage (it has a wood base and I am scared of her burning herself with a heating pad). With the addition of the element above her, the cage is staying around 85/90F during the day and dropping to around 75/80F at night on the basking shelf, the lower/covered section of the enclosure stays a little cooler. I have one thermometer that I have been moving around to test various sections. Hopefully this is a better warmth for her now?

She has eaten! I got her a single adult mouse, warmed it well and she ate it without hesitation this past Thursday.
Glad she ate for you. What is the plan going forward?

By the way, than you again for taking on this challenge while your sister is deployed. I know it means a great deal to her. It does to me, too.

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