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Thread: I made a mistake- western hognose won't eat.

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    Default I made a mistake- western hognose won't eat.

    Hello, I am a new snake owner and I have a 4 month old western hognose. (warning- this gets gross)

    The last time my hognose ate it got rather messy. He started to eat the frozen-thawed pinkie from the butt first (it took him a few hours before he started to eat, te previous 2 feedings were instant). Because the pinkie's leg was sticking out awkwardly, the snake couldn't get his mouth around it. He dug and dug at it for 30 minutes until his nose popped the belly and he started burrowing inside of the pinkies stomach.. and it just got messy and gross. Obviously he can't swallow something he is inside. Chunks of guts were spilling out and onto his face. He was eyeballs deep inside of the pinkie's guts..gross. I got him to spit out out and replaced it with a fresh one, which he ate immediately and quickly.

    A week later is when I feel as if i made my mistake. I gave him his frozen-thawed pinkie, like usual, and he instantly went at it- sideways. He was chomping on the pinkie's side instead of its head or butt. I let him continue for a while, but he was getting no where. I had flash backs on the chunks of guts and intestines and his nose scraping the inside of the pinkie from last week. I decided to take this one out of his mouth (I used my "snake" chopsticks) and turn it around for him, to prevent that nasty situation form reoccuring. Unfortunately, he didn't eat it... or the one I gave him a couple days later, or the one after that, or after that, or the one I had just set in his cage, scented with tuna juice. I feel like I gave him some sort of anxiety when it comes to eating. His eyes haven't gone blue to indicate a future shed, his cage is kept at high 80s in a gradient. I'm not sure what to do. Its been about 2 weeks since his last pinkie. I really shouldn't have messed with his feeding. Any advice?

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    I don't have experience with Hognoses, but we do have several different species of snakes. Many of our snakes have attacked their mice/rats from the side, but if you leave them alone, they eventually figure out how to eat it.

    The answers to some questions may help. How often do you try feeding him? And how do you feed him (i.e. lay it in front of him, dangle it from tongs, etc.)? Do you feed him in his enclosure or move him to feed? Have you tried puncturing the mouse's head before offering it? And how warm is the mouse when you offer it?

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    Don't know much about snakes period but I do know that sometimes like lizards and geckos they prefer live food. and since this particular suggestion physically makes me sick (vegetarian) you could try live feeder mice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cassicat4 View Post
    I don't have experience with Hognoses, but we do have several different species of snakes. Many of our snakes have attacked their mice/rats from the side, but if you leave them alone, they eventually figure out how to eat it.

    The answers to some questions may help. How often do you try feeding him? And how do you feed him (i.e. lay it in front of him, dangle it from tongs, etc.)? Do you feed him in his enclosure or move him to feed? Have you tried puncturing the mouse's head before offering it? And how warm is the mouse when you offer it?
    Initially, I try feeding him once a week. If he failed to eat the pinkie within 12 hours, I wait a day, then try again. I use chopsticks to dangle the mouse to get his attention, but usually he eats it without me even needing to do that. I feed him in his enclosure. I thaw the mouse out in warm water inside of a baggie, so the mouse is warm when i give it to him. I have not tried to puncture its head.

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    I have always thawed out the mice in hot water and then feel for cold spots in the gut. Have you tried putting it in a cardboard box to feed? I have noticed with most snake species that they eat better when it is completely dark.


    Mandi-feeding snakes pre-killed is better. Live rats and mice can bite them and cause infections while they are trying to suffocate it and if they fail to even catch the rat/mouse.

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    Good to know. I don't own or want to own snakes but I do think they are pretty cool and fun to hold. Like I said I don't know a lot about them.

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    My guess is that it could be a combination of things: stress, possibly inadequate heat, and a lack of interest in the food offered.

    If he refuses food, I would wait at least a few days before attempting to feed again, especially if the refusal is stress-related. A few days won't hurt, but too many repeated feeding attempts can.

    When you feed (since you said he used to just take it when it was laying in front of him), try just leaving the mouse in front of him in his enclosure, and then close it up and leave the room. Leave him alone for awhile and see if he'll take it that way. Check on him again in a half hour or so.

    Thawing the mouse the way you do is fine, but try increasing the temp you thaw it at. This is often how keepers convert their live feeders into f/t feeders; by ensuring the temp of the mouse closely resembles a live one.

    Puncturing or squeezing/breaking the head can also sometimes entice stubborn feeders.

    Finally, try bumping up your temps a bit; aim for a basking spot of about 90. Do you provide lighting as well?

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    Quote Originally Posted by cassicat4 View Post
    My guess is that it could be a combination of things: stress, possibly inadequate heat, and a lack of interest in the food offered.

    If he refuses food, I would wait at least a few days before attempting to feed again, especially if the refusal is stress-related. A few days won't hurt, but too many repeated feeding attempts can.

    When you feed (since you said he used to just take it when it was laying in front of him), try just leaving the mouse in front of him in his enclosure, and then close it up and leave the room. Leave him alone for awhile and see if he'll take it that way. Check on him again in a half hour or so.

    Thawing the mouse the way you do is fine, but try increasing the temp you thaw it at. This is often how keepers convert their live feeders into f/t feeders; by ensuring the temp of the mouse closely resembles a live one.

    Puncturing or squeezing/breaking the head can also sometimes entice stubborn feeders.

    Finally, try bumping up your temps a bit; aim for a basking spot of about 90. Do you provide lighting as well?

    I got him at a reptile expo and they said he was feeding on f-t mice already. Today, I crushed its head trying to get him to eat it, but nothing. I Even chopped the entire thing in half since it was a pretty big pinkie, but still nothing.

    I have a heat lamp for the day time and a Heat pad for the night time. Its always around 86-88 degrees, the only control over the temp I have is a piece of cardboard I use to block/allow the light in and also help regulate a "heat gradient". I believe i should be able to reach 90 if i take off the cardboard completely, though.

    I have left him alone with his pinkie for 12 hours straight previously, but he hasn't eaten it.

    How long would a baby hognose be able to go without food? Its already been about 2 weeks.

    As for stress, what would be causing it in my situation? He is in a 5 gallon tank (he himself is only about 8 inches long) he has newspaper to hide under, he has an aquarium tunnel rock to hide in, he has some toilet paper tubes to hide in, he always has water. I keep his temp above 75, always. Its generally over 85 during the day with his heat lamp. I handled him way more when he was eating regularly(when he was new). Now only a couple times a week. I make sure to not handle him before or after feedings. My room is generally quiet. Its my pet/computer room, haha. Any other factors to consider for stress?

    He HAS been constantly trying to escape his cage during his not-eating period. :/ I'm not sure if he is just bored, or there is something wrong with his enclosure. The cage is secured enough so that he can't get out.

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    Snakes in general can go a while without food. How are outside temperatures where you live? Sometimes cold outdoor temperatures can mess with their eating, my mom had a ball python that would go a month without food in the winter.


    Try switching the pinkie mouse up with a pinkie rat, maybe it just isn't interested in the mice.

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    I took the nature background off of one of my old aquariums and put it around 3 sides of his tank to make it a bit more private for him.

    It is currently winter here, the outside temp is 30s-high 50s depending on the day.

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