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Old 10-10-18, 03:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Live prey issues

So I have a 10 going on 11 year old Male ball python, he will only eat live feeders. I'm the third owner, as the two previous owners could not get him to switch over to F.T or F.K so they chose to re-home due to difficulties getting a steady feeder supply.

I've never had any issues or concerns until I fed him yesterday, i feed him in his tank so that's how he's always been fed i always start by giving him fresh water and doing a quick tank check. Then I will place the rat in his tank in front of him so he can line up a good strike and has room to constrict his prey, I then always stay and observe until he's got the prey down or at least is far enough along to know he's not going to have any issues.

This last feeding however I realized that tho I'm watching to make sure he's safe, I have no idea what to do if something goes wrong. All seemed to be normal until he started to uncoil himself and it looked as tho the dead rat had bitten into the snake before he died and stayed latched on. Instantly I was in a panic as I had no idea what to do, thankfully before I could make up my mind the snake reached down and removed the prey and it seems the rat didn't manage to actually sink in his teeth because there was no visible damage aside from a small mark on the scales no scratch or cut.

All this said what should be done if God forbid something like this happens and the prey is actually latched onto the snake. I assume removal is the most obvious course but is there a way to do so minimizing stress and injury to the animal?
And is there any way to reduce the risk of this happening aside from the obvious of switching over as that seems to be less than possible, maybe holding the prey with tongs until the snake constricts would lower the chances?
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Old 10-11-18, 07:33 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Live prey issues

I would look into whether or not you can get ASF in your area. They are considered like candy to most snakes so an FT ASF might work. My supplier has them over 120g.
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Old 10-11-18, 12:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Live prey issues

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Originally Posted by trailblazer295 View Post
I would look into whether or not you can get ASF in your area. They are considered like candy to most snakes so an FT ASF might work. My supplier has them over 120g.
Sadly most places local to me only carry basic fancy rats weather frozen or live, the previous owner has tried multiple breeds of frozen thawed with no success from the information I was given. I've looked online but most of the places that ship frozen to my area only do so in larger orders, unfortunately I don't have the space to store any large number of frozen rats nor does it seem wise to buy 5 or more rats when he more than likely won't take any of them.

I will definitely be sure to ask around tho if l can manage to find a shop that has them locally I'll give it a try I just can't bring myself to order 5 frozen rats after all the thawed out rats that have been tossed in the trash because they went untouched.
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Old 10-11-18, 07:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Live prey issues

Where abouts do you live? You could try asking on local groups, not all stores carry asf but some breeders without a traditional storefront have them. That's how I get mine.
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Old 10-12-18, 04:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Live prey issues

I'm in the oshawa area, I currently have to go to ajax or bowmanville for live feeders. They are the closest I could find that carries live and is open late enough for me to get there after work. Most of the reptile shops in the area have closed up and the smaller shops are closed by time im done work. Sadly reptile keeping has become more difficult since one of the largest shops in the area was shut down and had their lisence revoked. Since this happened its become more difficult to find people who carry and find people willing to share there supplier it took a week of posting on local pages and inboxing people before someone told me what shops to call.
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Old 10-15-18, 07:28 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Live prey issues

Look up "my Canadian herps", they are brothers out of Colburne. They do drive throughs on Sundays through the GTA. They have rats, mice and asf. Been getting my feeders from them for awhile. I buy frozen but I'm sure you could talk to them about live.
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Old 10-18-18, 04:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Live prey issues

I have a heck of a time finding ASF. Individual breeders are your best bet. I finally drove 3hrs to get my own breeding group but it's possible it's not even legal without a USDA license due to blanket restrictions on African rodents. I couldn't actually confirm a law on it for the state or county. I know a state over a ton of people breed them but the most consistent sources would be a 4hr drive to keep stocking up and the online sites sell out fast. I bred gerbils for awhile but smaller and usually only breed in pairs with inconsistent litters so I ended that and my wall of individual little cages it took.

You can get ASF scent from some places like reptilinks, which also sometimes carries ASF but I don't know shipping to Canada. I also found the vids on getting reptiles to take reptilinks useful for getting reptiles to take other prey sometimes. I did have a few of my colubrids eating links but now I just use the company for some of the lowest cost shipping and smallest minimum quantities of regular rodents when they aren't sold out. It proved a useful resource beyond their unique links that many snakes won't take.

I underfed size and increased frequency for live prey to reduce issues. That way it was less likely a bite would be serious and collecting a smaller rat if the snake doesn't kill it to dispatch yourself is less difficult and painful. Scared rats do deliver a nasty bite... Holding live rodents tends to just have them climbing back up their tails on to your tongs or hand in my experience. If the snake takes them practically instantly it might work and I know many that live feed numerous snakes like ball pythons generally have them snatching the rodents midair before they fully get them in the rack. Not so much for my snakes and sometimes they had to watch a rodent for several minutes before they'd take it. I'm glad after some fresh kill ASF everything is taking at least fresh kill and usually frozen of even rats or mice now.
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