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Old 01-27-22, 10:13 AM   #1
ThatOneSpazz2
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Exclamation Baby Refusing Food, Help!

So, to preface:

Sunny has already eaten two meals for me. The first one went without a hitch, second one she got mad at but still ate.

Since she shed two weeks ago though, she has refused to eat for me.
She is a tiny little hatchling corn, so I know for a fact even ONE week without food is a no-no, but so far I have tried quite a few things with no luck!

- I simply put her in a small container with the meal and left her for a few hours. That did not work.
- I annoyed her with it by constantly, gently poking and touching her with it in hopes she'd do a repeat of the second feeding: strike it, then go "oh it's food!" and eat it. That also didn't work.
- Today I attempted to carefully assist feed her, kind of? (Gently held her just behind the head and kept poking her mouth with it to try and get her to bite and hold it.) ...That also didn't work.

As of now, I have "bleed" the pinky/squeezed a tiny bit of brain matter out of the head, and simply left it in the cage with her in front of the hide she's in, to which I will wait a few hours.
If this doesn't work though, what on earth should I do other than take her to a vet??

She was eating for me just fine before she shed, had a perfect shed, but now refuses to eat.
I have researched it, tried a few of the tried-and-true methods to get her to eat, and am getting nowhere! I am stumped!

-- She isn't underweight thankfully. She's a healthy little baby noodle. But again: Baby noodle. I don't want her going too long without eating!

Any ideas?
Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-27-22, 06:20 PM   #2
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Re: Baby Refusing Food, Help!

UPDATE: She yet again refused the pinky. She wouldn't even open her mouth when I tried to assist feed. Then absolutely avoided it entirely when I set a new one in her cage.

Imma try again in a few days after she settles again, but...Good lord how and why is this happening. She was eating well for me before, dang it!
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Old 01-28-22, 09:57 AM   #3
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Re: Baby Refusing Food, Help!

I don't know if this will make you feel better or not, but corn snakes are typically brumating right now. Some breeders even brumate hatchlings for the winter. So, while you really should feed a small corn every five days, they can go for months without food in the right conditions.

But you obviously want your snake to eat and I don't blame you. Something for you to consider is that we had weird weather blow in recently, accompanied by a barometric pressure change. That change may have triggered your snake to refuse food. You may not need to do anything more special than wait for a low pressure front to move in to offer food. While waiting, just make sure the snake has access to a warm hide, a cold hide, and clean water.

If you really need to do something to entice the snake then:

a) Don't bother with cutting the head to expose blood/brain,
everyone talks about it but I've never heard of it actually working.

b)You can scent a pinky with low sodium chicken broth.

c) You can scent a pinky with lizard scent (rub the mouse on a live anole or Mediterranean gecko).

I'd wait until a low pressure front or 7 days from your last attempt before trying to feed again. Try feeding normally, don't stress the snake too much doing unusual things. If that doesn't work then wait 5-7 days and try a scented mouse.

As a last resort you can assist feed, but if you've never done it before then cut the head of the mouse and only feed the head to the snake. The head is more easily swallowed then the whole body.
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Old 01-28-22, 01:56 PM   #4
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Re: Baby Refusing Food, Help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by chairman View Post
I don't know if this will make you feel better or not, but corn snakes are typically brumating right now. Some breeders even brumate hatchlings for the winter. So, while you really should feed a small corn every five days, they can go for months without food in the right conditions.

But you obviously want your snake to eat and I don't blame you. Something for you to consider is that we had weird weather blow in recently, accompanied by a barometric pressure change. That change may have triggered your snake to refuse food. You may not need to do anything more special than wait for a low pressure front to move in to offer food. While waiting, just make sure the snake has access to a warm hide, a cold hide, and clean water.

If you really need to do something to entice the snake then:

a) Don't bother with cutting the head to expose blood/brain,
everyone talks about it but I've never heard of it actually working.

b)You can scent a pinky with low sodium chicken broth.

c) You can scent a pinky with lizard scent (rub the mouse on a live anole or Mediterranean gecko).

I'd wait until a low pressure front or 7 days from your last attempt before trying to feed again. Try feeding normally, don't stress the snake too much doing unusual things. If that doesn't work then wait 5-7 days and try a scented mouse.

As a last resort you can assist feed, but if you've never done it before then cut the head of the mouse and only feed the head to the snake. The head is more easily swallowed then the whole body.
Ah that does...Kind of make me feel better?

As you mentioned, brumation is a common thing I saw other than shedding & health issues when I researched why could this be happening. But in my head, a brumating baby corn just...Did not make sense. "Only adults who are breeding and/or have been bred would do that" was my automatic thought process. So that does ease me a little!

Also the cold front. That has absolutely been happening here in SC, too. We're known for incredibly bipolar weather to begin with, but it's been even more weird and back-and-forth than normal lately.

Since she isn't in bad body condition and I am...Very ritualistic about misting + water changes & overall cage maintenance, I'll go with the recommended and just try again in about a week. Thaw and warm, offer food, rinse and repeat until it works.

She is quite a wriggly and flighty girl though; I've only had her about a month and she is definitely a teeny, sassy little thing! It's hilarious, but at the moment also a teeny bit frustrating. So I feel limiting handling until this eating strike is over is probably a good idea too, yea?

Either way, I appreciate your reply!
I am just a nervous snake mom. X'D
With my bad luck-track record (which I posted about previously) I am just worried about waking up to her just...No longer being in the realm of the living, and yet again having no clue why it happened.
She is far too young for that.

I'll just keep trudging along and see if she fixes this herself!
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Old 01-29-22, 08:34 PM   #5
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Re: Baby Refusing Food, Help!

It is always frustrating when you think you're doing everything right but the snake isn't doing something it should be. It is even more frustrating when you keep multiple snakes in identical conditions but, say, one decides it doesn't want to eat for a couple months. But, it happens.

I would stop trying to handle the snake until it is eating. Corns generally get more laid back as they reach adulthood and I doubt there'll be anything that you could consider regression from delaying handling.
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Old 01-30-22, 10:22 AM   #6
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Re: Baby Refusing Food, Help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by chairman View Post
It is always frustrating when you think you're doing everything right but the snake isn't doing something it should be. It is even more frustrating when you keep multiple snakes in identical conditions but, say, one decides it doesn't want to eat for a couple months. But, it happens.

I would stop trying to handle the snake until it is eating. Corns generally get more laid back as they reach adulthood and I doubt there'll be anything that you could consider regression from delaying handling.
Yea, just about every snake I've had has gone in basically the same way, and it's...Very much disheartening, especially as with what everyone says; you are basically doing everything right. I've had confirmation time-and-time again that my husbandry was quite good...I just have horrible luck. X'3

-- That's what I figured I'd try, yea. Stop handling almost all together until she's reliably eating.
The one thing I worry about is she is a burrower, and in order to actually try and feed her I've had to search through the cage and "unearth" her in the first place. I am quite sure that doesn't help the problem. Even when I simply tried to offer her food without handling, I've still had to search through the substrate until I found her.
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Old 01-30-22, 02:44 PM   #7
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Re: Baby Refusing Food, Help!

You don't need to unbury the snake to feed it. You can just set the mouse in the cage after dark, possibly just before everyone goes to bed for the night, and then check to see if the mouse is gone in the morning.

Another option is to wait until you see the snake cruising before you feed it. My corn snakes poke their heads out of their hides when hungry.

Yet another possibility is that you need a better hide on the surface. A nice, tight hide where the snake can feel the hide on all sides of its body. This can be done by adding a couple magnolia leaves or bark flats. Even a piece of cardboard laid straight on the dirt will work. The snake will dig out a little hollow underneath it but will be more or less on the surface in its "burrow."
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Old 01-30-22, 05:42 PM   #8
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Re: Baby Refusing Food, Help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by chairman View Post
You don't need to unbury the snake to feed it. You can just set the mouse in the cage after dark, possibly just before everyone goes to bed for the night, and then check to see if the mouse is gone in the morning.

Another option is to wait until you see the snake cruising before you feed it. My corn snakes poke their heads out of their hides when hungry.

Yet another possibility is that you need a better hide on the surface. A nice, tight hide where the snake can feel the hide on all sides of its body. This can be done by adding a couple magnolia leaves or bark flats. Even a piece of cardboard laid straight on the dirt will work. The snake will dig out a little hollow underneath it but will be more or less on the surface in its "burrow."
Ah all right, I'll try that, then!
It just worries me because she well. She's special. Like I said, the very first feeding was more or less her just staring at it and *sniffing* it for maybe 2 minutes straight before finally eating it-- like she had no clue what it was. I worry she just won't entirely understand that there's food chillen' out there for her. I could be wrong though; she is the first snake I've had who is this "against" food.

I'll consider that hiding spot thing! She already has a "normal" hide, then like two others made out of cork bark flats-- she loves said bark flats more than the other round hide. I also have some flat slate rocks saved from previous builds i could add in there, too. I never thought of the size of the hide being the problem, but that is an interesting thought!
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Old 02-03-22, 08:09 AM   #9
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Re: Baby Refusing Food, Help!

Also, stop trying to assist feed the snake. It's a really stressful process on snakes and since she has eaten meals she has energy and such so she will refuse.
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Old 02-03-22, 09:32 AM   #10
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Re: Baby Refusing Food, Help!

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Also, stop trying to assist feed the snake. It's a really stressful process on snakes and since she has eaten meals she has energy and such so she will refuse.
I definitely have decided against assist-feeding, yes. Both due to the absolute fail the first attempt was, and the fact that she's in good body condition.

I'm now trying the "try to offer food and see if she takes it overnight" route. She is fed on a "every Sunday" schedule, so we'll see if she eats this coming weekend!
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Old 02-03-22, 07:54 PM   #11
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Re: Baby Refusing Food, Help!

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Originally Posted by ThatOneSpazz2 View Post
I definitely have decided against assist-feeding, yes. Both due to the absolute fail the first attempt was, and the fact that she's in good body condition.

I'm now trying the "try to offer food and see if she takes it overnight" route. She is fed on a "every Sunday" schedule, so we'll see if she eats this coming weekend!
Sounds good. I would also feel comfortable going to every 5 days instead of every 7. Just offer the same prey item, the same way every 5 days. They eventually take it.
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Old 02-07-22, 06:58 AM   #12
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Re: Baby Refusing Food, Help!

Final Update to This:

It worked!!
She took the food overnight, so I am a whole lot less anxious now. XD
I'll continue with this for a few more weeks, to let her "re-situate" I guess, before I dare to try and start handling her again. Thanks all for the suggestions!
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Old 02-08-22, 05:53 PM   #13
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Re: Baby Refusing Food, Help!

Glad things worked out for you.
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