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Old 08-03-18, 11:33 AM   #1 (permalink)
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RIP Mittens.

Well, my first and only snake, Mittens the BCI, has died. Found him this morning. Iím not sure what couldíve caused it. His humidity and temps were where they should be. He was about 5 months old, I he had him for 4. He had one regurg in the first couple weeks but ate just fine after that. Had a bout with mites but I treated him (no, I didnít use anything with pyrethrine) according to instructions and it seemed to work. All the time he was always very active, lively, and social until 2 weeks ago, he got less active (started a few days after a feeding), I moved him out of his viv and into a Rubbermaid to keep a closer eye on him. A few days ago he refused a meal. And this morning, when I checked him, he was dead. I am absolutely heartbroken. Iíve wanted a snake all my life. I also did YEARS of research on how to care for them before getting one, and apparently that meant exactly nothing. I even have neighbors who have kept boss for 20 years who gave me advice which I always followed. All that and he died anyway. Clearly I am not cut out for this and this poor guy who was nothing but a sweetheart suffered for it. Even the losers who buy a snake and release it into the wild as soon as they realize itís growing larger manage too keep them alive longer than this. He deserved better, Iím done. Sorry for the rant, Iím really upset right now.
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Old 08-03-18, 11:50 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: RIP Mittens.

I'm so sorry for your loss. Please don't blame yourself. I'm a herp newbie myself, but over the years I've learned that animals, not just reptiles, can fail to thrive or die for all sorts of reasons, not all of them husbandry related. Sometimes you do all you can and it's just not enough. Even experienced keepers lose animals.

Do you have a reptile vet nearby? A necropsy could tell you why he died and help you with your grief and guilt. You mentioned this started after a feed. Did you feed frozen/thawed? It could very well have been spoiled rodent that wasn't properly processed by the distributor and that is not your fault.

I know you're hurting right now, but please don't compare yourself, clearly a responsible keeper, to "losers who buy a snake and release it into the wild..." You provided Mittens with a home, food and love and had made a commitment to being his forever keeper.
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Old 08-03-18, 12:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: RIP Mittens.

I'm sorry for your loss. I also agree with Phenyx that some animals will fail to thrive no matter what we do. If your husbandry was dialed in, and you saw no obvious signs of illness, you should just chalk it up to the circle of life and try again when you're ready. It's a very fun and rewarding hobby but unfortunately things don't always go perfectly.
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Old 08-03-18, 03:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: RIP Mittens.

So sorry for your loss.

Please don't beat yourself up, you don't know you did anything wrong, and chances are, you didn't. The only way of knowing for sure what happened would be to have a necropsy done. If you choose to go that route it may give you closure, but obviously that's your call.

I certainly understand that you're heartbroken, but don't give up on yourself or on snakes as pets. Chances are pretty good that animal had something wrong before it came to you and there was nothing you could have done.
Take your time, mourne however you need to and collect your thoughts. I hope you decide to give another snake a home when you're ready.

Best wishes sent your way.
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Old 08-03-18, 09:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: RIP Mittens.

So sorry to hear about this! It hurts to lose a pet....I have lost a few snakes over the years and they were unexpected as well. Reptiles don't tend to show when they are ill. So you could think everything is fine and bam - the animal suddenly takes a turn and then passes on. It sounds like you were a great owner for the snake and there was just something wrong with Mittens that you couldn't have known.

Take some time until you feel ready for a snake again. Snakes need good owners and it sounds like you are one!
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Old 08-04-18, 02:56 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: RIP Mittens.

Sorry for your loss.
Perhaps the snake had any congenital defects.
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Old 08-04-18, 11:38 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: RIP Mittens.

Thanks for your kind words and thoughts everyone, it really does help, thanks. Others have also said it sounds like it may have been a congenital defect or some other issue he had before I got him, especially since he wasnít growing despite eating regularly . As to getting a new one...right now it feels like I could never do it, but I know that might be a knee jerk reaction so Iím not going to make any definite decisions right now. Iíll maybe consider it again in a few months time. One thing I know is if I do get one, it will be one a little older, at least 6 months, I figure if heís made it that far eating and shedding normally he probably doesnít have existing problems. We will see I guess. Thanks again and best wishes to you and your snakes.
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Old 08-04-18, 03:13 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: RIP Mittens.

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Originally Posted by JessterK View Post
Thanks for your kind words and thoughts everyone, it really does help, thanks. Others have also said it sounds like it may have been a congenital defect or some other issue he had before I got him, especially since he wasnít growing despite eating regularly . As to getting a new one...right now it feels like I could never do it, but I know that might be a knee jerk reaction so Iím not going to make any definite decisions right now. Iíll maybe consider it again in a few months time. One thing I know is if I do get one, it will be one a little older, at least 6 months, I figure if heís made it that far eating and shedding normally he probably doesnít have existing problems. We will see I guess. Thanks again and best wishes to you and your snakes.
Sounds like a good plan. Take your time, you'll know wehn/if the time is right.
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Old 08-05-18, 08:07 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: RIP Mittens.

I've lost several snakes for no apparent reason over the last 4-5 years (since I started keeping them again.) One was a BCI, one was a milk snake, and one was a garter. All were CBB, housed and fed properly. Not every snake is completely healthy at birth, and it seems some simply aren't destined to survive.
I agree with your 6 month idea, the ones I lost were all within a time frame less than that after I'd brought them home.
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Old 08-05-18, 08:08 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: RIP Mittens.

The seller we had gotten the BCI from did give us another of similar lineage. He has bred thousands of them, and also told us that sometimes one dies for some unknown reason. If you got yours directly from a breeder you might try contacting them.
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Old 08-08-18, 11:00 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: RIP Mittens.

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Originally Posted by toddnbecka View Post
I've lost several snakes for no apparent reason over the last 4-5 years (since I started keeping them again.) One was a BCI, one was a milk snake, and one was a garter. All were CBB, housed and fed properly. Not every snake is completely healthy at birth, and it seems some simply aren't destined to survive.
I agree with your 6 month idea, the ones I lost were all within a time frame less than that after I'd brought them home.

The seller we had gotten the BCI from did give us another of similar lineage. He has bred thousands of them, and also told us that sometimes one dies for some unknown reason. If you got yours directly from a breeder you might try contacting them.
Sorry to hear about your snakes as well. It does help to know I'm not the only one who's experienced this sort of thing. I might try contacting the breeder, though I'm not sure how exactly how I'd word it. I guess just relay to them exactly what happened and see what they say? Even if they did offer another one, I'd be slightly apprehensive about getting one from the same source. I know it almost certainly wasn't in any way their fault either, but an experience like this tends to make one cautious. I guess it's good to make them aware either way.
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Old 08-10-18, 10:16 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: RIP Mittens.

really sorry to hear the loss of your little boa,it really is heart breaking .fingers crossed for you if you decide on trying again later on
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Old 08-10-18, 12:02 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: RIP Mittens.

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Originally Posted by JessterK View Post
Sorry to hear about your snakes as well. It does help to know I'm not the only one who's experienced this sort of thing. I might try contacting the breeder, though I'm not sure how exactly how I'd word it. I guess just relay to them exactly what happened and see what they say? Even if they did offer another one, I'd be slightly apprehensive about getting one from the same source. I know it almost certainly wasn't in any way their fault either, but an experience like this tends to make one cautious. I guess it's good to make them aware either way.
These things are certainly unfortunate and they happen to all of us. I myself in the early 00's (2004ish) had to have a boa euthanized due to cancer, and of course breeding comes with it's challenges as well. Keep your head up.

After having the snake for 4 months, absolutely no blame can be placed on the breeder in this kind of situation. Saying that, I think it would be good to let them know so they are aware. As far as wording is concerned, make sure you're clear that you're not looking for a free replacement or compensation as that isn't something owed to you. If they offer it, that would be very kind, but don't expect or demand it. It's a shame that no cause of death or necropsy was done as I am sure a breeder (as well as you of course) would appreciate knowing the cause.
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Old 08-10-18, 12:42 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: RIP Mittens.

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These things are certainly unfortunate and they happen to all of us. I myself in the early 00's (2004ish) had to have a boa euthanized due to cancer, and of course breeding comes with it's challenges as well. Keep your head up.

After having the snake for 4 months, absolutely no blame can be placed on the breeder in this kind of situation. Saying that, I think it would be good to let them know so they are aware. As far as wording is concerned, make sure you're clear that you're not looking for a free replacement or compensation as that isn't something owed to you. If they offer it, that would be very kind, but don't expect or demand it. It's a shame that no cause of death or necropsy was done as I am sure a breeder (as well as you of course) would appreciate knowing the cause.
Thanks. Yeah, I figure it couldnít be any fault of the breederís after that long. Like I said, he seemed healthy when I got him. I simply emailed them informing them of what happened, described my husbandry practices, and asked if they could think of anything that might have gone wrong. I donít expect any sort of compensation, like you said, long past that point. As for a necropsy, I see what you mean, but Iíve heard itís quite expensive, like $300. Iíd spend that kind of money or more to save a snake that still has a chance, but for a necropsy that would be quite a hit to my finances. I hope you understand. Thanks again for your thoughts.
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Old 08-10-18, 01:29 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: RIP Mittens.

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Thanks. Yeah, I figure it couldn’t be any fault of the breeder’s after that long. Like I said, he seemed healthy when I got him. I simply emailed them informing them of what happened, described my husbandry practices, and asked if they could think of anything that might have gone wrong. I don’t expect any sort of compensation, like you said, long past that point. As for a necropsy, I see what you mean, but I’ve heard it’s quite expensive, like $300. I’d spend that kind of money or more to save a snake that still has a chance, but for a necropsy that would be quite a hit to my finances. I hope you understand. Thanks again for your thoughts.
Necropsies are usually really good for closure, insight and answers (what, why, possible prevention, assessing risk of housing another snake in the same cage even after thorough cleaning) but sometimes they offer very little answer, and I totally 100% understand where you're coming from, you don't have to justify yourself.
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