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  • Regurgitation

    I have a baby boa, I don't know how old, I have had him for a little over a month, I dont really know how long they wait before they put these guys on the market at the pet store. I was feeding him small mice once every 5-7 days, and had no problems with the first 2 or 3 feedings. Pretty much as soon as he saw the mouse he went after them. Then a couple of weeks ago I fed him a mouse and came home later that day and he had regurgitated it. I figured that it was because I was feeding him too often and he got backed up, not that the mouse was too big, because there were no problems before. I have read a bunch on this sight and in the newbie area and now see that I was also handling him too soon after feeding so that also could have contibuted to it. I now know that I should have waited 15 days, but at the time I was ignorant and fed him again a week later. He ate the mouse right away, no problems. 2-3 days later, he regurgitated again. Now it looks like it was probably just because I fed him again too soon, but at the time I thought it must be because the prey was too large, so I waited a week and tried feeding him a fuzzy rat that was a little smaller than the mice I was trying before. When he first saw the rat he struck at it, but didnt wrap up on it, and basically just scared it back, then just ignored it. So I tried feeding him the rat once a day for 3 days after, and he just ignored it everytime after the first day, which brings me to present. After reading, it looks like I should now wait 2 weeks and feed him a pinky. Is this correct? I am also worried now that he wont even go after the pinky when I feed it to him. But maybe after a month of not eating he will be pretty hungry. Any comments or suggestions would be welcomed. I'm a newbie, but eager and willing to learn.
    P.S. I am attaching a picture with my snake and the rat, is this too big to be feeding him?

  • #2

    Hi Asutherland,

    Welcome to the forums..

    Now lets see if we can help..
    Its hard to tell from the pic, but do you have a BCC boa or a BCI. If your not sure, count the saddles on the boas back. If 22 or over its a BCI.. The reason this may be important is because BCC boas need to be fed a little smaller meals then their BCI counter parts..

    Regurg could be caused by several potential problems ranging from too big of a prey item, handling the snake too soon after he ate, cage condition not good like no hide, not warm enough, etc, and another possible problem would be protozoa levels too high in the snake. Lets try to work on the easier problems first and see if it helps.

    First make sure the cage temps are correct. It should be 83 on the cool side and 92 on the hot side the temp should be measured about an inch about the bedding. It is fine for the floor temp on the hot side to reach 100. Also you need to make sure the humidity is 60-70% all the time.

    Now with that said. Do you have a hide on the cool side. if not, get one. A small simple box is fine.

    Now we have his cage perfect, let move on to the next part. When he regurged last time. Did it appear the rat was semi digested or just gooey wet. If it was just gooey wet my guess is because of his recient regurges his flora level in his belly didn't not build up enough.

    OK, wait 10 days from his last regurg to try any food.

    Now you didn't mention if you are feeding live prey, fresh killed or frozen thawed. I suggest before you feed him again, get your self a rat pinkie, pre-kill it and freeze it in a freezer bag. The night of the 11th day, take the pinkie out, thaw it and warm it real good, not hot, just good and warm.

    Take your snake out, put him right into a feed bin. Dangle the rat pink in front of him till he straikes and takes it. As soon as he does, cover the whole bin with a blanket and put it away from alot of walking traffic. Leave the snake alone (no peeking) for an hour. After the hour peek in and make sure he finished eating. If he did walk the feed box over to his cage and pick him up very varefully and put him back in his home. Now leave him alone except to give fresh water. Do not disturb for 3 full days. After that you can start holding him in short times, like 15 mins every other day. This is only to get him back on track and keeping the food down.

    Now if you get another regurge in the next three days, you should really get him to a vet. My guess is he may need to be wormed and treated with Flagil.

    Give this a try. Its hard, but take it slow and let him relax. Some snakes need more time to calm down in a new home. Let the snake build up its own security in its own time.

    Keep us posted on how things work out.. Ask any questions you may have, thats what the forum is here for..

    Good Luck


    • #3

      Thanks for the help.
      I counted the saddles and he has 24, 25 if you count the tip of his tail, so I guess he's a BCI . When I fed him the adult mice, I was killing them right before I fed them to him. The pinkies I was feeding him live. I will start killing them for now on. When you say feed it to him warm after I take it out of the freezer, do you mean room temp, or do I need to actually do something to heat it up a little?
      I keep the temperature on the cool side of the cage at 82, but I dont have a thermometer on the hot side. I don't have a humidity guage either, but I know its too dry in there because he had a really crappy shed. Since then I have been spraying down the cage once a day or so to try and help with the humidity. I know Ideally I need to get a humidity guage. I have also tried covering more of the top of the aquarium with a towel (I currently cover only a third or less) but then the temperature on the cool side gets up into the 88 range.
      I would say that the second regurge was definitely partially digested. It didnt really resemble a mouse at all. It just looked like a sac full of fluid, black on one side white on the other. I forgot to say that he also pooped both times he regurged, I assumed that was normal.
      I have one more question that just hit me that is kinda unrelated. I have the light for the cage and my ceramic bulb on a timer, so they are on from 7 to 7 every day. Then I have a heat pad under the tank that is always on, and a black light I trun on when I go to bed. Often I will have the light on in my room till 12 or even 2 AM. Is this light late at night adding extra stress to my snake?
      Thanks again for all your help,


      • #4

        What are you using to measure the temperatures? The stick on dials are inaccurate. I would recommend a digital thermometer. You can get them at Walmart for only around $10 and one with a humidity gauge for around $15. I would also prefer to keep the temperature on the warm end around 86-88. Offering prey items everyday is likely causing stress to your boa. Wait 7-10 days before offering another prey item. As Steve stated, after regurgitation, you should wait at least 10 or more days before offering prey again. Prey items should be a little warmer than room temperature. The extra light at night could be adding stress, it's best for their health to give them a proper photo period. If your boa continues to regurg it's prey, a vet check would be in need as it could be caused by internal parasites. Hope that helps and welcome to the site.


        • #5

          [quote author=Asutherland link=board=3;threadid=2559;start=msg16478#msg16478 date=1056219471]

          When you say feed it to him warm after I take it out of the freezer, do you mean room temp, or do I need to actually do something to heat it up a little?
          [/quote] what i did is place the frozen pinkie in a zip lock bag and placed it in warm water for a few mins.just make sure its kinda luke warm when you touch it before offering it.i would open my feed box and drop it in out of the bag and close the lid. this worked well for me and hope this info helped


          • #6

            Hello Asutherland,

            I should have mentioed what Xzylum said about the temp and humidity guage,.. The ones at Wal-Mart seem to work well for the situation and are pretty cheap.. I would invest in one, may be your whole regurg problem, temps too cool.

            I have never had a Boa poop when they regurge, I wouldn't worry too much about that..

            Also, i would find a way to ditch the night lights. Get a Ceramic Heating bulb. All the heat, no light. I have to admit I am not the best with keeping proper lighting times to 100%. Ikeep late hours alot, so their night starts later, and day begins later.. No problems yet..

            Hope that helped and keep us posted..



            • #7

              when I have feeding problems I try and find a slightly smaller food item, maybe he was having problems due to size of the food item.
              That rat pup looks almost to large for the boa. ???
              Be sure to review the care sheets for feeding cycles.
              Heat is usally the problem with regurge in a snake not handled post feeding. If the warm side is perfect be sure the cool side isn't to cool.
              My snake love belly heat after feeding large meals and will lay half on and half off the UTH.. I use thermostat with all heat in cages.
              Good luck..

              psps I had a forty critter that was 86-90 warm side and 68-70 cool side this will cause regurge in a boa, temp gradients are huge in glass tanks..

              psps most problem feeder are fine after acouple months if you keep the temps up and try and prevent that regurge from re-occuring..


              • #8

                I finally fed him last night, and didn't have any problems, so hopefully this thing is fixed.
                Thanks all for the help


                • #9

                  Wish you the best of luck with him.


                  • #10

                    Great Asutherland..,

                    Thanks for the update.. Glad all seemed to work out... Hope he keeps it down..