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Boa refusing to eat rat for weeks

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  • [Feeding Issue] Boa refusing to eat rat for weeks

    I've had my boa for over 10 years now and have never had an issue with feeding. I've fed both live and frozen rats without issue but my snake prefers live. It's also easier to get live around here. Never had issues with the rat trying to injure the snake...usually it strikes within a few seconds of putting the rat in the cage...until now. I have an unusual problem on my hands. I put a live rat in the tank a few WEEKS ago, and the snake has refused to feed. I've read the dangers of keeping a rat in there with the snake for extended periods of time but I keep hoping that it will wise up and feed. I've been feeding the rat too so he doesn't get hungry and turn on the snake. They've been cohabiting quite peacefully. The snake seems more annoyed at the rat than anything...they've been face to face and the snake just turns away....almost as it's afraid. Killing the rat myself is out of the question...I don't think I can do it. I'm thinking about returning it to the pet store, but I don't want to get another rat and have this happen again. Any ideas?

    Thanks for any advice!

  • #2
    Re: Boa refusing to eat rat for weeks

    First thing: get the rat OUT of the snake's cage immediately! A snake that doesn't want to eat will not kill...it may instead be injured or killed by it's intended meal. In the wild, the snake would just instinctively go it's
    own way, but in a cage with a rodent, those instincts do not work in the snake's favor. Leaving the rodent in the cage does STRESS the snake (& probably the rodent as well). You are very lucky if the snake has no
    physical damage so far...please don't let this continue until it's too late. They are NOT buddies!

    Many possible reasons a snake won't eat: winter time, temps. in cage too cool, being fed too much or too often (remember that older snakes should be fed with a longer interval between meals); maybe the way you
    offered frozen-thawed previously could be improved upon? -most boas take f/t readily. Your snake actually MAY be afraid...you've been feeding live and snakes DO get hurt...your snake may have been bitten in the past
    (and you didn't notice) so now he hesitates to take on the live rat. Please get the rat OUT of the snakes cage NOW...find someone who can kill it for you or return it to the store, but get it out of the cage with the snake.

    IF your snake now refuses to eat rats you might try offering a pre-killed adult mouse at the next feeding instead, just to see if that helps. I'd wait at least a week or 2 before offering food again though...your snake
    needs some time to settle down.

    Another reason snakes won't eat is either they are going into a shed (as I'm sure you know) or they are actually sick. Suppose your snake IS sick? Piling food next to him won't help, any more than it would help you to
    eat if you were sick. But that rat can kill him or do more damage than any snake deserves...DO NOT DELAY- GET THE RAT OUT NOW.

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    • #3
      Re: Boa refusing to eat rat for weeks

      I am still pretty new here, but I can't imagine the stress levels your boa has right now with the rat in it's cage. That alone will shut him down from everything I have read. I questioned whether or not I could kill a rodent for my boa. All I had to do was look at my boa and the next minute there was his dinner. I chose the my new family member over what I now call an insurgent

      I have a few deployments with the U.S Army. It gets real easy to send the "Insurgents to allah" lol

      -Zach

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      • #4
        Re: Boa refusing to eat rat for weeks

        Thanks for the replies guys! I will see what I can do about removing the rat ASAP. I've read quite a few posts here about killing the rat and freezing for later. I really DON'T want to do this but it may be what I have to. If I become too much of a sissy and can't go through with the rodent murder I might have a new pet rat on my hands for a few weeks, lol.

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        • #5
          Re: Boa refusing to eat rat for weeks

          Originally posted by ealt1122 View Post
          Thanks for the replies guys! I will see what I can do about removing the rat ASAP. I've read quite a few posts here about killing the rat and freezing for later. I really DON'T want to do this but it may be what I have to. If I become too much of a sissy and can't go through with the rodent murder I might have a new pet rat on my hands for a few weeks, lol.
          The kindest method for killing a rat is with CO2...I recommend that you look into that...I do NOT advocate some of the other (more violent) methods used by some. Before I ever got into pet snakes, I kept pet rats.
          They do have intelligence & don't deserve cruelty. It honestly took me a while to learn to consider them snake-food...& then to become a "rat-farmer" for the sake of my snakes, whose company I came to prefer.
          I'm sure the CO2 method is described here in the 'sticky' posts. If you have questions, just ask...we're here to help. All the best...& thank you.

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          • #6
            Re: Boa refusing to eat rat for weeks

            I find that the most amazing part of this thread , is that a human can not kill a rat . For centuries , it hasn't been a remote thought to kill for - food, sport, or profit. Then within the last 2 generations , people can't hurt a fly. I'm not picking on the OP , I just find it surprising.
            I raise all of my, many Boas food, and each week, I have to "murder" a bucket of rats, and rabbits to freeze. I recently had a co-worker say that they were taking their old dog into the vet to have it "put down" . I was just shocked that someone would pay to have that done. Since I was a child, I have always known of just doing it ourselves.
            I hope that you are not offended. I also hope that your Boa goes back to eating again . F/t is always the best method. Young chicks will often snap a Boa out of fasting. That is about the only live meals that I serve .

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            • #7
              Re: Boa refusing to eat rat for weeks

              I used to raise rats as pets too. They were my favorite pet as a child and young adult . But blunt trauma is no more "cruel" than the co method.

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              • #8
                Re: Boa refusing to eat rat for weeks

                Originally posted by Morgans Boas View Post
                .... But blunt trauma is no more "cruel" than the co method.
                It is if you are squeamish about doing it & don't do it correctly...I suspect that would apply to the OP here. It's a bit like learning to give injections to patients by first having a chance to practice on your fellow classmates;
                and your partner, who doesn't want to "hurt" you, does it very very slowly....hahahahaha!

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                • #9
                  Re: Boa refusing to eat rat for weeks

                  Originally posted by Morgans Boas View Post
                  I find that the most amazing part of this thread , is that a human can not kill a rat . For centuries , it hasn't been a remote thought to kill for - food, sport, or profit. Then within the last 2 generations , people can't hurt a fly. I'm not picking on the OP , I just find it surprising.
                  I raise all of my, many Boas food, and each week, I have to "murder" a bucket of rats, and rabbits to freeze. I recently had a co-worker say that they were taking their old dog into the vet to have it "put down" . I was just shocked that someone would pay to have that done. Since I was a child, I have always known of just doing it ourselves.
                  I hope that you are not offended. I also hope that your Boa goes back to eating again . F/t is always the best method. Young chicks will often snap a Boa out of fasting. That is about the only live meals that I serve .
                  No, your post doesn't offend me, lol. It's just reading through some of the posts on here, I can see that there are some people that truly enjoy it and seem to get off on bludgeoning a rat to death. Sorry, not my thing. Seems like there are at least one or two serial killers in the making here lol. I know that a rat, no matter how insignificant we think it may be, has feelings...can feel pain...etc. I have compassion for all living things. I used to hunt and fish when I was younger and didn't have an issue...but as I got older I guess I put a higher value on life in general? I dunno...late night ramblings

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