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Old 02-23-18, 10:41 AM   #1 (permalink)
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3mo boa vomited and now in water bowl

Hi all,
2 days ago I picked up a female boa from a guy who had 3 that were 3 months old. All were active, handled well, and looked healthy. They'd all eaten 2 days prior. One of them was starting shed and so I assume mine is not far behind.
When I brought her home, I should have let her acclimate to her new home, but my kids were very excited and spent some time holding her. And to make things worse, it was a fairly cold day.
She later vomited up the mouse from 2 days prior. It wasn't just regurg I believe because half of it looked and smelled like feces.
I put her in her enclosure - the temps on each end are 88° & 78°, humidity at 30% (I spray water on the heated rock to raise it from the current 20% humidity).
She's been camped out in the water bowl for 2 days. Waters clean; no sign of mites. Eyes are still clear but I do believe a shed is imminent.
I don't want to over think this and I don't see other signs of concern - she is alert and tracks my hand when I reach in. She does move around in the bowl. But the vomiting has me concerned.
First, how long should I wait before trying to feed her, considering she vomited 2 days ago, which means her last meal prior was about 12 days ago?
Second, if she's just hanging in the water because of the shed, should I move the bowl over to (or closer to) the warm end? She feels so cold and when I move her to the warm side she waits about 10 minutes and then returns to the bowl.
Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.
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Old 02-24-18, 11:41 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: 3mo boa vomited and now in water bowl

Some boas like to soak, but can be mites so keep an eye out or if its too warm in there, temps look fine you posted, the regurg could of been traveling with a full stomach to yours as well as the extra handling , could of really done with putting her straight away but easier said than done with young kids, try leave her a week before another feed with no handling if possible and hope she Will settle down
Good luck and don’t forget the pics
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Old 02-24-18, 02:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: 3mo boa vomited and now in water bowl

A) the regurge came from the stress of moving, but primarily the handling once moved. It is VERY important to not feed for 2 weeks after a regurge. It can be very harsh on the snakes insides and feeding again too soon can be detrimental and dangerous.

B) if you're talking about a heat rock inside the enclosure PLEASE for the love of all reptiles remove it IMMEDIATELY. Those things are almost the worst thing you can use for snakes. They can spike to temps of upwards of 120 degrees and cause very serious burns or even kill the snake.

C) How are you heating the enclosure? ALL heat sources should be regulated by a thermostat to prevent dangerous heat spikes.

D) your humidity is definitely low, especially for a young snake who is probably coming into shed. That's probably the reason the snake is soaking.

E) I seriously suggest holding off on handling until the snake has eaten three consecutive meals without refusal. Your snake's health should be top priority. You will have 20+ years to handle the snake if kept properly, let it get acclimated and eating properly.
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Old 02-24-18, 09:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: 3mo boa vomited and now in water bowl

Fantastic advice from you both, thank you so much.
Rock is now unplugged. I had heard mixed info re: digestion and other benefits, but it's not compelling enough to ignore such emphatic advice from you here. I'm only leaving it in so I have a surface to spray with water to get the humidity up from 20-25% to around 45-55%. But it's no longer generating any heat. Once I get a humidifier I'll yank it and never put it back in!
Overhead lamp is actually providing good heat. It's a exo terra night bulb, and I've got an led lamp which is on during the day, but that doesn't add any heat. I've got the thermostat ordered, but the gauges show it steady at 85-88 degrees and I'm checking it multiple times per day just to be safe.
She shat in the water, and I thoroughly cleaned the bowl and replaced the water but she hasn't returned since.
She's alert, moves around well, and by all indications seems to be ok, but I will wait a couple weeks, and let her settle in before trying to feed. And for sure she'll stay undisturbed until after your suggested three meals. Great advice.
Very glad to have found this site! I really appreciate the fast response. It definitely helps calm the nerves.
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Old 02-24-18, 10:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: 3mo boa vomited and now in water bowl

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Originally Posted by Bradisa View Post
Fantastic advice from you both, thank you so much.
Rock is now unplugged. I had heard mixed info re: digestion and other benefits, but it's not compelling enough to ignore such emphatic advice from you here. I'm only leaving it in so I have a surface to spray with water to get the humidity up from 20-25% to around 45-55%. But it's no longer generating any heat. Once I get a humidifier I'll yank it and never put it back in!
Overhead lamp is actually providing good heat. It's a exo terra night bulb, and I've got an led lamp which is on during the day, but that doesn't add any heat. I've got the thermostat ordered, but the gauges show it steady at 85-88 degrees and I'm checking it multiple times per day just to be safe.
She shat in the water, and I thoroughly cleaned the bowl and replaced the water but she hasn't returned since.
She's alert, moves around well, and by all indications seems to be ok, but I will wait a couple weeks, and let her settle in before trying to feed. And for sure she'll stay undisturbed until after your suggested three meals. Great advice.
Very glad to have found this site! I really appreciate the fast response. It definitely helps calm the nerves.
Sounds Good! Not to nitpick, just trying to make keeping your snake easier and more enjoyable...
When you say gauges are you referring to the stick on analogs? If so, I suggest replacing those as well because they are wildly inaccurate. I use Accurite brand digital thermometer and hygrometer combos. They're around $10 @ Wal-Mart and far more accurate.

And I promise, once you get all your equipment dialed in it gets super easy. Just check equipment daily to ensure it's functioning properly and then basic spot cleaning, water changes and monthly enclosure cleanings.
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Old 02-26-18, 06:35 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: 3mo boa vomited and now in water bowl

In addition to what everyone else said, I raise humidity by using a high humidity bedding like EcoEarth (or really any coco product), sphagnum moss, etc. and just pouring water directly into it. You can spray until your arm goes numb and a hand sprayer won't do much for your humidity. You could get a pump sprayer, but why waste time waiting for it to empty? I have a video I can link if you want a visual. It's not very good, just meant as a demonstration, I've never been good at videos. XD

I have not had luck with aspen, cypress mulch, or ReptiBark when it comes to humidity. Cypress actively repels water once it dries, and I believe much the same happens with ReptiBark as I've even soaked it in a bucket of water overnight without any luck. Aspen just molds too easily and needs to be changed often because of that, and it tends to suck the moisture from the air.

As far as her being cold, she will feel cold to the touch since our body temp is much higher than her's, so long as her temps are good, she's good.
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Old 02-26-18, 01:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: 3mo boa vomited and now in water bowl

Again, just blown away with the helpfulness and great advice. I returned the rock to Petco, and they guy helping me started asking a bunch of questions. To my surprise he started making suggestions 100% consistent with what you've stated here. He told me to get rid of the aspen, and to get a bag each of cypress mulch and coconut fiber, and create a 50/50 mixture, and to add water to it, which I did. So bigsnakegirl785, you were right with the EcoEarth, and if I encounter the same water repelling issue you describe with the cypress, I'll just stop using it and go with straight EcoEarth. But now the humidity is around 70%. Please post the video - I am sure it will be educational for me!
craigafrechette, to answer your questions, I have the dual analog gauges but I will definitely get what you recommended.

The rock, although unplugged, must have been absorbing and holding some of the heat, because after removing it, the temp dropped to around 80; So, to ensure proper heat, should I use a UTH, and have both the UTH and overhead lamp thermostatically controlled?
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Old 02-26-18, 02:11 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: 3mo boa vomited and now in water bowl

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Originally Posted by Bradisa View Post
Again, just blown away with the helpfulness and great advice. I returned the rock to Petco, and they guy helping me started asking a bunch of questions. To my surprise he started making suggestions 100% consistent with what you've stated here. He told me to get rid of the aspen, and to get a bag each of cypress mulch and coconut fiber, and create a 50/50 mixture, and to add water to it, which I did.
my petco has a "reptile person" that seemed to know a lot more about them than I expected. My Petsmart does not. Guess it is a policy.

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So, to ensure proper heat, should I use a UTH, and have both the UTH and overhead lamp thermostatically controlled?
that is a pretty popular setup. Some use the UTH only. Just be sure it is all on a thermostat like you said.
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Old 02-26-18, 03:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: 3mo boa vomited and now in water bowl

Here's the video. The close up bit is to show you oversaturated bedding vs properly dampened bedding.

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Old 02-26-18, 04:01 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: 3mo boa vomited and now in water bowl

I like using a UTH & heat bulb setup for my glass enclosures. The UTH is there solely to provide a hot spot and isn't there for ambient temps. I set my UTH to provide a hot spot of 89-90 measured with a temp gun DIRECTLY on the glass, because your snake can and will burrow to the glass. Substrate is only 1/4" thick over UTH. Then I use the heat lamp to achieve ambient temps and a heat gradient.

Both pieces of heating equipment are controlled by thermostats. It takes a little yrial and error to get everything dialed in, but once you've got it set up and dialed in the equipment does the work for you. Then just check equipment daily and check temps with your temp gun, clean as needed and you're good to go. Less time worrying, more time enjoying your pet. The equipment maintains the temps even as the room temps fluctuate, no worrying about burns, and you've got a healthy, climate controlled enclosure.
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Old 02-26-18, 05:04 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: 3mo boa vomited and now in water bowl

awesome, thanks!
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Old 03-01-18, 07:12 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: 3mo boa vomited and now in water bowl

OK, I made a temporary opaque hide for her. I noticed she would pop her head out whenever she saw movement in front of the glass. Encouraged by this, and interpreting it as hunger or at least feeling better, I gave it another try. She ate!
I'm so relieved, and I know I was probably overly concerned. But thank you to you all for your advice. I look forward to spending more time on this site with all of the valuable input. Hopefully one day I'll be able to help someone else like I've been helped.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1g-w...ew?usp=sharing
Oh, and yes, I am replacing the gauges with digital, and the entire setup - including the hide and that lovely wallpaper wrap - is just temporary!
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Old 03-02-18, 04:19 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: 3mo boa vomited and now in water bowl

Awesome!!! Keep up the good work!!
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Old 03-02-18, 03:47 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: 3mo boa vomited and now in water bowl

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Originally Posted by Bradisa View Post
OK, I made a temporary opaque hide for her. I noticed she would pop her head out whenever she saw movement in front of the glass. Encouraged by this, and interpreting it as hunger or at least feeling better, I gave it another try. She ate!
I'm so relieved, and I know I was probably overly concerned. But thank you to you all for your advice. I look forward to spending more time on this site with all of the valuable input. Hopefully one day I'll be able to help someone else like I've been helped.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1g-w...ew?usp=sharing
Oh, and yes, I am replacing the gauges with digital, and the entire setup - including the hide and that lovely wallpaper wrap - is just temporary!
That's a rather large meal, especially for a boa that recently regurgitated, I might try stepping down a size or two next time you feed her, you want something roughly equal to their girth that leaves little to no discernible difference in girth immediately after swallowing. Keep us updated on how she does! I'm a little worried she may regurgitate again, considering the size of meal you gave her. Normally, you want to feed something half the size of a normal meal for the first meal or two after a regurge (I thought someone had already recommended that, but looking back that isn't the case), and that mouse is already larger than what I'd normally feed my boas.
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Last edited by bigsnakegirl785; 03-02-18 at 03:53 PM..
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Old 03-02-18, 04:49 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: 3mo boa vomited and now in water bowl

I agree with BSG. That meal does look a little large for your snake especially after a regurge. I'd also offer a smaller feeder. I'm glad he ate for you though.
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