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  • [Feeding-General] Inside or Outside the Enclosure?

    I've heard and seen so many conflicting arguments regarding feeding snakes (in general) either inside or outside of their enclosure. The shop I got dolly from fed in paper bags in the enclosure, the owner that bought and returned her fed her live inside her enclosure, I feed her in a 5 gallon bucket. Is it safe to feed in the enclosure or do you recommend doing it out?

    Thank you in advance!
    Ox

  • #2
    Re: Inside or Outside the Enclosure?

    Ah, this question again. If this were Facebook, there would be much anger, rending of garments, and gnashing of teeth. Much vitriol would be spewed, and harsh words would lead to hurt feelings. But, thankfully this is not.

    The best answer I can give you is to say that I feed all of mine in their cages. I have too many to move them all and wrestling an 8 foot, 30 pound female out of a feeding tub isn't my idea of a good time.
    Originally posted by OxMaiden View Post
    I feed her in a 5 gallon bucket.
    Even if you choose to feed outside of the cage, that won't work long, anyway. I always used a separate Rubbermaid tub when I fed outside the cage.
    At the end of the day, you have to do what works best for you and, more importantly, your snake. There really isn't any answer that's all that wrong.


    -Sean in NoCal
    “Americanism means the virtues of courage, honor, justice, truth, sincerity, and hardihood – the virtues that made America.”
    -Teddy Roosevelt.

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    • #3
      Re: Inside or Outside the Enclosure?

      Imagine this: a 40 pound female who is 8'-10' in feed mode who has to be moved back to her cage because she was fed outside...

      It is a debate here as well, but I think the slight majority of us would recommend feeding in cage and hook training. Feeding in the cage, you don't have to worry about moving a boa in feed mode where they will bite pretty much anything that moves. You also do not risk causing a regurge right after feeding. Some think that feeding in the cage might train them to think that anything coming into the cage is food. I guess that is possible, but that is why we have hook training. Hook training is pretty much lightly rubbing the boa before reaching your hand near them. Getting touched tends to make them less interested in food. When you do this any time you reach in near the boa, that will train it that it will not be receiving food at that time.

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      • #4
        Re: Inside or Outside the Enclosure?

        Feeding IN the normal enclosure is best, because:
        When she gets bigger, it will be challenging if not dangerous to deal with handling her in 'feed mode'. Our snakes learn when food is coming, & many stay hyped up for over a day, way too long to leave in temporary quarters.
        I have snakes that are calm enough to eat from my hands without nailing me, & many that can be handled right after feeding without them mistaking me for food, but they are NOT BOAS, lol!

        Some shyer snakes will not feed if handled first (no matter how briefly) though not usually the case with boas.

        Just make sure to use tongs (and dead prey); most snakes will grab right from tongs, but if you need to lay it in the cage, feed on a "plate" of some sort (like a shoe box lid works great) so substrate is not ingested. You
        could even use a clean bucket to feed in, though your 5 gal. is probably too big to use inside the cage. Pet stores do "what they must" under the circumstances...don't copy them.

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        • #5
          Re: Inside or Outside the Enclosure?

          I'll have to look into purchasing a snake hook, then. I can say that Dolly is NOT fond of the new feeding schedule. I took her out for a bath and by the time we made it to the tub she was on the ground and I was left with this -


          I feel horrible for dropping her but my daughter was next to me and rather than a rational reptile keeper's reaction, I had a mommy mode reaction. She's still active and flicking her tongue so I don't think I hurt her but I do feel horrible. We did have a 15 minute soak in 85* water with no poop, though. I'm hoping she goes in the cage soon.
          Attached Files

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          • #6
            Re: Inside or Outside the Enclosure?

            It's all been said... It's my opinion that removing your snake to feed trains it to go into feed mode when it is handled. Returning the snake to it's enclosure after feeding will likely increase your chances of regurgitation or bite. Thus, I feed in the enclosure.

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            • #7
              Re: Inside or Outside the Enclosure?

              Welcome to the snake bite club! I'm not a member (yet), but now you can say you're a real snake owner. Snake hooks are pretty easy to find. I wouldn't buy the cheap ones they sell at petco or pet supermarket because those are made for corn snakes. The one I have is a short golf club with the head replaced with a snake hook. Has great balance. I plastic dipped the hook so it has a little better traction for Buddy when he wants to climb it.

              Also, that will hopefully encourage her to poop soon. She might be waiting for you to change the bedding so she can make you do double the work.

              Last night Buddy was in his paper towel roll. I put my hand in front of it on the ground, palm up at an angle to where if he tried to bite me it wouldn't do much damage if any. Because I couldn't touch him with the snake hook, I knew there was a risk of getting hit thinking I was food. In retrospect, that was the last place he ate so I was being extra dumb. My mom (terrified of snakes) walked by and said how cute he looked in the tube. He picked that moment to strike at my hand -- realized I wasn't food before hitting me-- and retreated back into his tube. My mom screamed so loud I think he heard it and he temporarily turned into a ball python trying to hide his head in his tube.
              I wasn't phased because I knew the risk, but my mom went from "That's cute" to "It's attacking my baby!" in a split second. So I understand that part.

              It is kinda hard to tell if she did take any injuries because snake's bodies can take a lot of damage before visible signs of injury.

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              • #8
                Re: Inside or Outside the Enclosure?

                Should I attempt changing the bedding? It's only 2 weeks old. Or maybe just add a little fresh on top?

                I thought hook training wasn't for picking them up, just making them aware of your presence? I haven't read into it in some time, though.

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                • #9
                  Re: Inside or Outside the Enclosure?

                  The hook is not for picking up large snakes because it can hurt their ribs. You use it to let them know that you are there. The reason I have a bigger hook is that if you need to turn an adult's head, a little flimsy thing won't do it. You would have to have a bigger hook to turn an adult's head. Snake hooks are made to turn a snake's head and neck to change it's direction. Snakes have a tenancy to go where they are facing so you can control their motion partially with a hook if you use it properly.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Inside or Outside the Enclosure?

                    I hope there are no internal injuries, you may not know for sure for some time. And she really didn't need the bath anyway...
                    Now that you've had a quick defensive bite, can you imagine the joy of a feeding bite where they hang on tightly? Best avoided, feed inside the cage.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Inside or Outside the Enclosure?

                      Originally posted by OxMaiden View Post
                      Should I attempt changing the bedding? It's only 2 weeks old. Or maybe just add a little fresh on top?

                      I thought hook training wasn't for picking them up, just making them aware of your presence? I haven't read into it in some time, though.
                      Unless the bedding has gotten wet or otherwise soiled, I wouldn't worry about it.

                      Hook training is using he hook to touch them before you intend handle them or work with them. That way, they will know you're not feeding them.


                      -Sean in NoCal
                      “Americanism means the virtues of courage, honor, justice, truth, sincerity, and hardihood – the virtues that made America.”
                      -Teddy Roosevelt.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Inside or Outside the Enclosure?

                        Thank you for the input everyone. I may get a cheap hook next weekend to tide me over until I get paid again.

                        Noelle, the bath was advised because she hasn't eliminated in a few weeks. Just trying to help things along.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Inside or Outside the Enclosure?

                          Originally posted by OxMaiden View Post
                          ... she hasn't eliminated in a few weeks. Just trying to help things along.
                          That's normal...at least for a boa. They maximize digestion, conserve water & only go when they need to; and for a younger snake that's eating younger rodents, keep in mind they are
                          more completely digested since they don't have as much hair ('fiber') & have smaller bones, so it takes longer for the need to eliminate wastes.

                          I'm not saying snakes are never constipated but normally there's other signs of trouble: the lower third or fourth of the snake's body may start to resemble an over-stuffed sausage, or
                          you may feel a hard lump (mass) in the snakes cloacal region that is blocking the passage of fecal material. -That's rare but does need skilled intervention...sometimes called a cloacalith
                          ("cloaca stone") it's hard compacted minerals that the snake cannot pass without help. In either of these cases a mildly warm bath (about 82*) may help, in part because snakes absorb
                          some water thru the skin & tend to drink while in the 'bath' as well. Constipated snakes are fairly rare, happily.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Inside or Outside the Enclosure?

                            Originally posted by OxMaiden View Post
                            Should I attempt changing the bedding? It's only 2 weeks old. Or maybe just add a little fresh on top?.....
                            It only needs changing if it's dirty...if the snake has eliminated just urates, you can often get by with spot-cleaning (remove just the soiled area). If a snake has defecated in the cage, you can also spot-clean, but
                            if the snake has crawled thru it (as they sometimes do) it might be best to change it all. It's a judgement call. Sometimes they defecate in their water bowl & you can get by just cleaning that out.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Inside or Outside the Enclosure?

                              I was joking about changing the bedding because a lot of boas I've known like to wait until you change the bedding only to go poop and or urinate again right where you just cleaned.

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