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Dumeril's Boa baby hasn't eaten yet

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  • [Feeding Issue] Dumeril's Boa baby hasn't eaten yet

    I got a baby dum from LLL, they said it was 7 weeks or so and would have had 4 feedings by the time i got her (she is absolutely stunning). snake seems active and healthy, but will just kill any mice that i put in the tank, but wont swallow them. I have tried various sizes, etc.. she has been with me for 2 to 3 weeks or so now.

    is this normal?

  • #2
    Re: Dumeril's Boa baby hasn't eaten yet

    First off, ANY new snake should not be fed for a week or two after being brought home. How long did you wait before you first tried to feed this snake? Did you buy her locally? or was she shipped?

    They should also not be handled AT ALL until they have fed easily for several times at normal intervals (about a week to 10 days apart each time for a baby snake): have you been handling this snake?

    Cage set-up: they must have plenty hiding places on both the warm & cool side of their cage...they all need time to settle in. It might help if we see your cage set up and temps. She is nervous & afraid.

    Feeding: why did you give this snake live food? Is that what she was fed before? Are you sure??? Try offering dead's way safer & might be exactly what your snake wants and needs.
    (I hope that when she killed the mice you tucked them in the freezer quickly, to offer as frozen-thawed?) Also, snakes often refuse prey that is TOO BIG for them...might that be part of the problem???

    Frequency: ****If a new snake refuses food, do NOT keep offering food in an attempt to get it to eat. It further stresses out the snake each time you do that, making it LESS likely to eat.****
    ***When you offer food that is rejected, do not offer food again for AT LEAST another week to 10 days. Otherwise you are making things worse.****

    To be successful at keeping snakes requires patience, sometimes lots of it! Since you said you've only had her for 2-3 weeks so far but have tried many times to feed her, it sounds like you've been pushing
    things too fast. It may also help to feed her at night & then keep away from her cage...most new snakes are shy! To them, we are big ugly predators lurking nearby, ok?

    Right now, I'd wait at least a week (& leave her alone!) after you make sure her cage is absolutely set up correctly with temps & secure hides that she uses. Only watch from a distance...I know, "torture", LOL!
    Then wait until dark, & using tongs, offer (with a slight wiggle) a smaller mouse that is already dead (either frozen/thawed/warmed OR freshly killed by YOU). ***Do not "approach" the snake with the prey!***
    Real live mice don't go up to predators and volunteer to be dinner, lol...they run past & slightly away from predators, so using the tongs (& not too much motion) try to imitate that with the mouse. If the
    snake doesn't seem interested or grab the mouse from the tongs, put it on a paper plate (or small cardboard box lid etc) and leave it overnight...NO PEEKING! Check in the morning to see if it's gone & hope!
    **(if it's still there, throw it out and try this again IN A WEEK- not before!)**

    You might also put a towel over most of the cage, so the snake has more privacy until she gets used to the new surroundings. What kind of cage are you using? If it's a glass tank, you can also tape paper
    to the outsides, again, for privacy. I also don't know how "busy" your household is...or if the cage is in a prominent place w/ people & pets walking by all the time, or bass from TV & stereo? You may need
    to move the cage to a quiet location. Good luck, let us know how it goes?


    • #3
      Re: Dumeril's Boa baby hasn't eaten yet

      Like what was said above, being offered food should only be weekly. More frequently and they feel like we are attacking them with food. Think of it this way: You're Jack from the tale Jack and the Beanstalk. You get to the top and the giant throws pizza at you unexpectedly. Would you eat it? What if you didn't eat it that they threw more? Baby snakes are scared little creatures.

      I don't know much about Dumeril's boas and their growing/feeding schedules. If they are similar in size to common red tails, it should be on hopper mice/pinkie rats. Boas are usually not picky and will take dead just as happily as if it were live. Frozen/Thawed or Fresh Killed is really all that should be fed to them because live feeding is stressful for the snake and a pretty bad death for the rodent. In the wild snakes eat live because the snakes are able to ambush the prey on their own terms. Feeding in captivity is usually closer to a gladiator match because you remove the ambush element. Usually the big guy will win, but eventually the little guy will get lucky and land a hit or two or even kill the big guy.

      Frozen/Thawed and Fresh Killed are both more humane than live feeding and it eliminates risk of injury to the snake.


      • #4
        Re: Dumeril's Boa baby hasn't eaten yet

        I will add that I've never personally kept a Dumeril's boa, just many many other kinds of snakes, so my advice here is general. From what I've read, Dumeril's are more easily stressed than common boas & may
        appreciate substrate that allows burrowing. (what substrate are you using? You might consider Carefresh?) They also don't need such high humidity.

        I don't know if this is your first snake, but if that's the case, please keep things 'low-key' while your new 'baby' settles in. I know there are members here who keep Dumerils...hopefully they can add more insight.
        Dumeril's are really beautiful snakes & well worth a little "TLC" to get them going.


        • #5
          Re: Dumeril's Boa baby hasn't eaten yet

          I have several Dumerils boas. Typically they are little garbage disposals, babies more so than adults. That said, there are a few things that can throw them off food.

          First, enclosure temperatures. These guys don't like it too hot. I run mine at 75*F cool/85*F warm. What are you using for heat and how are you regulating the heat source?

          Second, the enclosure. Dums are heavy-bodied ground boas, in the wild they burrow and wait to ambush prey as it walks by. You will rarely see one "begging" like a BCI does. Your baby is hunting when it is burrowed with only the tip of its nose showing.

          New snakes are typically kept on newspaper or paper towels during the quarantine period, until they're cleared of harboring snake mites. If you aren't treating for mites then go ahead and switch to aspen or cypress mulch. Put enough in the enclosure so your snake can completely bury itself.


          • #6
            Re: Dumeril's Boa baby hasn't eaten yet

            The dum ate last night!!! whooo hoooo. perhaps things will be smoother from now on. thanks everyone!


            • #7
              Re: Dumeril's Boa baby hasn't eaten yet

              Happy Dance! Just curious...are you still offering live? or did she take pre-killed? (I hope?) If not, please work toward switching A.S.A.P. All the best!


              • #8
                Re: Dumeril's Boa baby hasn't eaten yet

                Originally posted by Noelle7206 View Post
                Happy Dance! Just curious...are you still offering live? or did she take pre-killed? (I hope?) If not, please work toward switching A.S.A.P. All the best!
                Hasn't stuck at thawed yet. i hear they transition pretty easily, my plan is to try to get three feedings under my belt with live, and then start trying thawed.