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Old 11-04-18, 03:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Baby rainbow boa will not eat

Hi all, I have recently (about 3 weeks ago) acquired a baby Brazilian rainbow boa who will not take any food. I'm getting worried as I don't know how long ago she last ate and don't know how long she can go before I should take her to a vet. If she's not eating because of stress I don't want to take her to a vet just to stress her more...

I've been trying to feed her thawed fuzzy mice as that's what she's been eating since birth. I first tried a week after I got her, then when she didn't take it I tried again 4 or 5 days later. When she didn't take that one I left it in her enclosure overnight but she still didn't take it. A few nights ago I tried again, this time braining the mouse first, then leaving it overnight again but still no interest from her. I'm not sure what else to try. Should I move her from her enclosure into a smaller space to feed her? I've seen that recommended a few times but others seem avidly against it.

For reference, I haven't handled her at all since bringing her home, her humidity is above 90% always, she has a lot of substrate to bury herself and two hides, one on each side of the enclosure. Her ambient temp is ~72 and her hot spot is ~83. She moves around at night sometimes like she wants food but won't take it when it's offered.

I really appreciate any advice!
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Old 11-05-18, 09:27 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Baby rainbow boa will not eat

I'm sorry you're having trouble with your baby. Some questions:

How are you measuring your temperatures? Are you using an IR heat gun to check the surface temperature?

What heat source are you using and is it regulated by a thermostat?

These guys are very sensitive to husbandry issues and not very forgiving of mistakes. Baby BRBs need lower warm spot temperatures than most snakes. Warm spot temperature should be closer to 80-82 degrees. As for humidity, it's pretty much impossible to have the humidity too high for a baby BRB.

Are you warming up the fuzzies or just feeding them at thawed/room temperature? If they're at room temperature it's possible that your baby can't "see" it or doesn't recognize it as food. I like to thaw Jerkface's fuzzies in half cup of 120 degree (lukewarm) water for about 10 minutes. You can try placing the warm fuzzy and the baby snake in a deli container with holes in the lid or in a paper lunch bag overnight with the prey item. Feeding in a separate container isn't recommended for the long term, but it can help to get a stubborn feeder established.

What does your baby look like? Is his belly pink? Are his eyes cloudy? Do his colors look hazy or dull and muddy? All of those things are indicators that a snake is in a shed cycle and many snakes will refuse food while they're in shed. The first sign you'll see is the pink belly. After that, it's usually around 10 days until the shed is complete and you find a skin.

It's also possible that your baby is still settling into his new environment. Don't offer food more often than once a week. If he skips a meal, then wait until the following week to offer food again. Snakes are built to go weeks or months without food. If you got the baby from a reputable breeder, they should be able to tell you when the baby last ate. I highly recommend you get a scale like this one. As long as your baby isn't losing weight, missing a few meals won't hurt.
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Old 11-05-18, 09:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Baby rainbow boa will not eat

I would also recommend that you consider trying live pinkies for a couple of feedings and one he/she is feeding well, transition it over to frozen thawed. It would make the process less stressful for your new baby.
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Old 11-06-18, 12:15 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Baby rainbow boa will not eat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Smith View Post
I would also recommend that you consider trying live pinkies for a couple of feedings and one he/she is feeding well, transition it over to frozen thawed. It would make the process less stressful for your new baby.

I can't agree with you here. She said the baby was raised on f/t from birth. If she goes to live now, she'll just have to switch back which may be difficult. If the baby is already used to f/t then she should stick with it.
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