red tail boa not eating

Discussion in 'Boas' started by willb, Jan 29, 2009.

  1. willb Embryo

    Message Count:
    5
    Looking for some input,i have a albino redtail boa that does not eat on any regular schedule whatsoever.
    It is about 7 months old,female has eaten in 4+ weeks.The breeder i purchased her from says its ok to
    not be concerned unless it doesnt eat for up to 8 weeks.I've received mixed input from other people....
    and information as far as there eating habits go.Will or do females stop eating in the winter time?I'm sure
    its not a husbandry issue.Anyone have any help/input on this subject???
  2. bruno Moderator

    Message Count:
    1,677
    Hi,
    At 7 months old it should be eating, it wouldn't normally slow down in winter.
    I've had boas that have been irregular feeders and on the whole it shouldn't be a problem.
    I would have a fecal check done as soon as you get a "deposit" just to be on the safe side.
    Can you post details of your setup, temps etc including any changes in ambient room temperatures.
    This would help us rule out any husbandry issues.
  3. jeepnphreak Embryo

    Message Count:
    585
    Yes winter can and will effect the regularity that any snake eats. the colder it is out side the more likly it is for the snake the to refuse meals because it means cooler house temperatures.

    and by no means is 4 - 8 weeks a long time for a boa. Our big female WILL only eat once every 6 weeks, her choice, durning the winter months evan though there cage temperaure are still at 88-90 warm side and 78 cool side, basking spot is about 95. Durnging the summer she will start to eat more frequently to once a month. I have tryed to feed her more often but she will not.
    Same goes for our young male, he is just a few years old and his like to eat about once every other week to three weeks.
    Those two were rescure animals that were under feed and they seem to like to keep to a more infrequent feeding schedule,
    but our youngest that we got from a breeder likes like clockweark, once a week, and very rarely has missed a meal (except shedding)

    keep track if its body weight, once it has lost about 10% that it time to seek a vet, assuming you do not notice other issues.
    for example we have a ball python at 9 monthes old decided to go and a feeding fast that lasted 8 months, he lost only 4% of his body weight and then decides it was time to eat again.

    here are a few feeding tips


    There could be several reasons your snake is refusing to eat. Stress, mites, an illness or infection, not enough hiding spaces or heat, too high or too low of humidity, etc. First, examine your snake. Does it look healthy? Is it shedding? Also, examine your snakes enclosure. Do you have the proper number of hides? Are your temperature and humidity levels correct? If you're not sure then please refer to a care sheet for your animal or ask around here on these message forums.

    So, you've examined your snake and its enlclosure and everything seems fine. In the wild it is not uncommon for a snake to go off feed for months at a time. Some snakes have been known to do that in captivity as well (most notable ball pythons but others as well). Don't worry. If your snake is healthy and its cage is set up properly your snake should be fine. Just monitor your animals weight, if it loses more than 10-15% of its body weight a vet check will be in order, otherwise just keep attempting to feed every week.

    Here are some tricks that should help you get your snake eating again:
    Dangle the prey item about 2-4 inches from the snakes face using forceps.

    If you're feeding frozen/thawed prey, defrost the feeder then immediately refreeze, defrost again and attempt to feed your snake. The process of freezing breaks the cell walls down therfor increasing the scent of the feeder.

    Dip the prey item into chicken broth, then attempt to feed.

    If you're trying frozen/thawed, try a live or stunned prey item

    Obtain a live pinkie mouse and a paper bag large enough to hold your snake. Place the snake and the pinkie into the bag then place the bag into the snakes enclosure and secure the enclosure. Leave your snake alone for a few hours to overnight, by morning the pinkie should have been consumed by your snake

    Try scenting the feeder. You can use commercially available products for this or you can ask your local petstore for soiled gerbil bedding or a live gerbil to rub around your feeder. After scenting the feeder attempt to feed your snake.

    Try a different sex of feeder. Some show a preference for males or females

    Offer a different color. In the wild snakes will come across mice and rats that have more color than the typical white that you'll find most commonly sold. Ask around to try and obtain one with more color.

    Braining.. This is not for the faint at heart. Take the dead feeder and make an incision from the shoulders up acorss the head, exposing the brain, then attempt to feed your snake.
  4. willb Embryo

    Message Count:
    5
    Yes,

    The boa hasnt had a history since it was born of "regular" feedings,say like my other
    boa eats like clockwork...same time/day all the time.It's in a enclosure that has an
    ambiant temp of bout 84 with a hot spot on floor(heating pad),the humidity is kept
    around 60,it has 3 hide areas..same set-up as my other boa.The breeder i purchased
    her from said its normal this time of year...but i dont buy that.!It doesnt seem like
    it has any health problems looking at her.The other person who replied said they
    will slow down/stop eating in winter.......thats why i'm finding it a little confusing.
    Any more advice/suggestions??
  5. jeepnphreak Embryo

    Message Count:
    585

    This slowing or stopping during winter is well...very location biased. where I live the summer months are in the 90-100s than fall drops to the low40 for about two months than winter is generaly in the -20-0 F range for 5-6 months. Many people so not see the same typ of temps extreams, which really effect the house/appartment climate as well. Durning the sumer months the humidity outside in useally in the 20-30% range, and winter the humidity can easly drop to less than 10% so keeping proper humidity is a big chalenge. So I do see feeding patternes in my animals change.
    But for many people that live in milder climates, there snake may not a change there feeding patterns.
  6. willb Embryo

    Message Count:
    5
    Yes,

    I agree,the climate here in Pa,USA is somewhat moderate,but its not that extreme as to change
    the inside temps of a living place.I've tried all my options,i'll try feeding her a few more times,if
    she doesnt feed-my next step is to take her to a vet-her eating schedule (when she did eat)wasnt
    consistant at all.....eat/not eat for 3 weeks/eat/not eat 2/3 weeks-just doesnt seem right.I dont
    want to lose her-she cost $500.I'll keep trying.
  7. bruno Moderator

    Message Count:
    1,677
    Hi,
    I must admit this is very unusual for a boa to be a "picky" feeder, as you say the others you have are OK.
    Obviously getting a sample is difficult to say the least when it doesn't eat regular but the next sample you get, have it checked. A trip to vet would also be good to make sure there is nothing physically wrong.
    Had this been in the Ball python section, I wouldnt have been surprized as they are renowned for being picky. In the mean time try keep a check on it's weight, any significant loss would indicate problems.
    I've run out of ideas now, so I guess you will just have to keep plugging away and see how it goes, but please keep posting on any progress.

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