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bestblondeboy 03-17-18 11:45 PM

Carpet python won't eat

I've had my carpet python for about 2 years. He's about 4 or 5 years old but he was living with a friend for like 2 years straight. Now I have him back and for the first 3 or 4 months I had him he was eating fine, instantly going for like medium rats. That was like August. Now he hasn't eaten anything since then, except I took him to the vet once and we force fed him a mouse. I have tried at least 10 live rats and mice and he didn't eat any of those. The last time he ate a rat it kind of made him bleed on his body near his face from scratching him but he had no complications, it didn't get infected or anything. He also used to try to escape his cage a lot before I made it a new lid. At one point, he had a decent sized infection on his face from scratching his face when he escaped but it didn't go to the bone or anything so I don't think he had osteomyelitis (I'm a medical student so I know some things about infections). Either way, I changed the cage's lid and he was on a course of oral antibiotics and cream antibiotics for like 2 weeks and that's gone now. He just has a small scar on his face now from where it was. No damage to his eyes.

He's been to the vet three times in the past year, both for the infection and because he wasn't eating and the vet can't find anything wrong with him. I note he still sometimes acts like he wants to escape the cage, however, he definitely can't and now there are no edges on which he can scratch himself. I feel like he isn't comfortable in the cage for a reason I cannot figure out and that's why he isn't eating. I do have a cat and dog and I'm wondering if he is smelling them and thinking they're predators and it's freaking him out. I have cleaned his cage very thoroughly and replaced the flooring and still he did not eat. I also made a makeshift cardboard cage and put him in a closet where the animals don't go for 24 hours in case it was a smell issue and that also didn't help. Idk what else to do at this point and I'm going insane worrying he's gonna starve himself to death.

I need tips on a next sssssssssstep (snake pun). Thanks! I'm including pics of him in his enclosure.


EL Ziggy 03-18-18 12:40 AM

Re: Carpet python won't eat
What are your temps like Cody and has he lost much weight? His body condition looks pretty good in the pictures. A couple of my carpets will go off feed for a month or two during the winter but 7 months is quite a stretch. Have you always fed live? Your guy looks like mediums wouldn't be a problem but maybe try offering a smaller prey item. Also, how often are you trying to feed him? If you trust the vet and they can't find anything wrong I'd just keep offering food every 2-3 weeks. He's gotta eat eventually. I have yet to see a healthy snake starve itself to death. Best wishes and I hope he eats soon. Definitely keep us posted.

TRD 03-18-18 06:15 AM

Re: Carpet python won't eat
Maybe he feels too much exposed in there... would it hurt to put 2 larger plants in pots in there with him so that those branches are covered? That room seems bright enough to maintain indoor plants.

TeamSlitherin 03-18-18 03:47 PM

Re: Carpet python won't eat
Agreed with TRD. I think he could use more cover.

bestblondeboy 03-18-18 05:22 PM

Re: Carpet python won't eat
I liked the plants idea so I bought some. The vines should only continue to grow and cover more with time.

The temperature is usually around 75 to 80 on the floor in the cool end and I think the light puts up around 90 F underneath it. It's hard to measure cuz he always knocks the thermometer off the glass. I don't know how much he's lost exactly but I will ask next time I take him to the vet, which I plan to do soon if he doesn't eat this next mouse. I have tried multiple different sizes of rats and large mice, which are definitely small enough for him to eat. I was trying to feed him every 2 weeks but now it's closer to once every 3 weeks since he isn't going for anything I get him.

TRD 03-18-18 05:58 PM

Re: Carpet python won't eat
Plants look great, lets see how he responds to that.

Try and feed him just after or during sunset, when it gets darker... You can always get a multiple of fuzzies (rats or mice, with still closed eyes) that are just unable to cause any harm to a snake and see if he gobbles those down overnight. Not ideal, but better something in him than nothing at all.

TRD 03-18-18 06:18 PM

Re: Carpet python won't eat
Another idea for feeding may be a bit unorthodox...

Put snake in a small holding container (so, dark - should have some airholes though), barely enough for him to fit on the bottom. Leave it there for 20-30 minutes. After that open it and offer a mouse. See if he takes it. If he does, offer another one after.

EL Ziggy 03-18-18 06:49 PM

Re: Carpet python won't eat
I do agree that adding more cover is a good idea. Other than that, I don't really go through a lot of hoops when it comes to feeding my snakes. If the temps are right and the animal isn't ill I just continue to offer food until they decide they want to eat again. I had a BP that went a year without eating and he was just fine. I guess I'm more of a eat or starve kinda keeper. I've had a few animals take food breaks but haven't had one starve yet. These animals have managed to survive for millennia so I trust nature to take its course. Best wishes with your critter. I'm confident he'll eat again. Hopefully sooner than later. ;)

TeamSlitherin 03-19-18 03:42 AM

Re: Carpet python won't eat
The plants look great! Hope it works.

Bradisa 03-19-18 09:22 AM

Re: Carpet python won't eat
bestblondeboy did raise a good issue that I have been curious about: having other pets in the home. I too have a cat and a dog, and they jump up to get a closer look when the snake is out of her hide (the viv is high enough so neither pet is visible from within the viv).
Would the snake strike my hand if there were any scent on it from the cat or dog? Or would it see (and over time recognize) that it's not food, and not be guided only by smell?
Luckily for me, I'm not dealing with a feed issue, so I don't think there's any stress because of the cat and dog, but I did wonder about their scent when I do reach in.
And look, I'm sure the best advice will be "just wash your hands beforehand every time you are going into the viv" but I hope that with me and the kids handling the snake outside of her viv from time to time, I would hope that the scent of the pets, which would be impossible to remove from the entire home, would be something the snake would just become accustomed to, much like they would with our own scent.

kudzu 03-19-18 10:08 AM

Re: Carpet python won't eat
Badisa, when I first got my snake, I intended to wash my hands before and after each time I handled him. In practice, while I absolutely wash my hands after handling any of my reptiles I just never think to wash my hands before putting my hands into their enclosures. Since I'm constantly petting my dogs and cats, , my hands would almost assuredly smell of cats & dogs each time I reach into a reptile cage. It has never been a problem.

I don't think the smell of the cats & dogs are a problem at all. My pet problem has been that our cats are fascinated by the snakes & now the gecko. It seems to me that having a predator with nose pressed to the glass wall or sitting on top of the cage would almost certainly inhibit normal behavior. Have had to change the setup several times to keep them away from, and especially off the top of, the snake cages. (The cats are the primary reason I'm moving to plastic cages with solid tops.) Ultimately, we managed to arrange things so that my cats don't come in contact with the cage but can still get up on a piece of furniture a few feet away with an adequate view of the front panel of the cage. This arrangement was still a concern for me. My kingsnake, though, seems fine having cats sitting a few feet away & staring, staring, staring... Other snakes might not be okay with this.

Bradisa 03-19-18 10:53 AM

Re: Carpet python won't eat
Kudzu, sounds like you got it all figured out. And thanks for the info - I didn't want to have to be so stringent/sterile for the next 20+ years!
In my case, my cat may think he's the predator for the time being, but I'd say in the next year those tables will turn, and so I too will be making sure that my top is secure enough keep either of them from injury or worse, becoming a meal!

Derek Roddy 03-19-18 11:02 AM

Re: Carpet python won't eat
It's been breeding season for the past several months. Males will go off feed and cruise the cage looking for a girl. Nothing to worry about and he'll come back on line any week now.


bestblondeboy 03-23-18 05:58 PM

Re: Carpet python won't eat
Good news everyone! He finally ate today w ahoo! I wonder if the plants made the difference. I've noticed he hasn't been trying to escape really anymore so maybe!

Thanks again!

TeamSlitherin 03-24-18 08:24 AM

Re: Carpet python won't eat
Congrats!! That was a long diet. Glad to see you had a successful feed.

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