Topics Forums Snakes Hognose not eating

This topic contains 19 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Avatar Zoodulcis 3 weeks, 2 days ago.

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  • #10700
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    Elly
    Participant

    My 1 1/2 year old western hognose had been eating well, a pinkie twice a week. About two+ months ago, after a shed, I started him on fuzzies. That went well for 3 weeks, then he stopped eating. I’ve tried going back to pinkies, a special food that contains frog, frog juice on pinkies, nothing works. He now hasn’t eaten for 2 months. He’s in a 20 gal tank, warm side at about 90-92 degrees, cool side at 78-80. I was using a red basking light that was on all the time. When he stopped eating, I tried a white light on a timer that goes off at night. Since that didn’t seem to help I’ve gone back to the red light. I’m open to any suggestions, not quite sure what to do at this point. I haven’t been handling him except to weigh him and clean the tank this past weekend. He’s lost 9 grams in the two months and is at 76 grams, about 20” long.

  • #10803
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    Zoodulcis
    Moderator

    Sounds like cause for concern. What sort of substrate do you have him on?

  • #10804
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    Elly
    Participant

    Coconut fiber Reptichip

    • #10805
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      Zoodulcis
      Moderator

      Sounds like a safe substrate with minimal concerns for compaction. When is the last time he pooped?

      • #10806
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        Elly
        Participant

        I cleaned his tank Sunday and there were two poops but I’m not sure from when since I clean once a month. They were at the bottom so I didn’t see when he did it.

      • #10807
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        Elly
        Participant

        I bought an under tank heat mat and was going to install that today. Also added a UVB light yesterday although I know there’s disagreement on whether that’s needed or not for these snakes.

      • #10813
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        Zoodulcis
        Moderator

        So there is no way to know whether he has eliminated in the last 30 days? What is his energy level like?

      • #10818
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        Elly
        Participant

        He has eliminated in the past 30 days, I just don’t know if it was last week or three weeks ago. He’s as active as he usually is.

      • #10833
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        Zoodulcis
        Moderator

        Being active is an excellent sign! May I assume that your snake was not wild-caught originally and that you have never fed wild-caught amphibians?

      • #10837
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        Elly
        Participant

        Correct. Got him from a breeder at several months old and he’s only had thawed frozen pinkies up to now.

      • #10865
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        Zoodulcis
        Moderator

        As I suspected, so virtually no chance of parasites. In that case, I think it may be digestion. After surveying some other forums, I noticed that other keepers have had trouble feeding fuzzies. The problems went away when they returned to feeding pinkies. The consensus seemed to be that since these snakes evolved eating hairless prey such as amphibians and small lizards, that hair is really troublesome for them. Yet some owners reported no problems. It seems to be very individual. But hair is exceedingly hard for animals to digest, which is why cats and owls barf it back up. I do not have any further suggestions other than a vet check, and offering only pinkies to see if you can get him to take those. However, if he has a hairball he may not feel like eating. Snakes can vomit up a hairball, but you would know because the smell would make you want to vomit. But they can also, eventually, eliminate the hair a little at a time in feces mixed with more solid matter. Occasionally, one may even eliminate one solid hairball that is only that and no regular excrement at all.

        Given what you have described, my guess is that he has retained hair internally. I do not know what course of treatment a vet would prescribe for this to ease the substance through the digestive system and out the back end. If he doesn’t eat in the next 30 days, you may have to take him to the vet to see if there is some sort of safe oil or other lubricant that can be used in this instance.

      • #10868
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        Elly
        Participant

        Thank you for the information. I hadn’t come across that in my research or talking to people. I’m going to try one more time tomorrow and if he doesn’t eat take him to the vet. I will mention about the hair to her. I really appreciate all your help

      • #10884
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        Zoodulcis
        Moderator

        No problem!! I would like to know whether he starts eating today, and if not, what the vet says is the likely cause.

      • #11001
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        Zoodulcis
        Moderator

        How’s your hognose doing? Any progress on eating? Did he end up with the vet?

      • #11002
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        Elly
        Participant

        Still hasn’t eaten. We have a vet appointment on Friday. Still active though.

      • #11102
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        Zoodulcis
        Moderator

        Active is good. Please let us know what the vet says.

      • #11232
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        Elly
        Participant

        Hi, saw the vet. She said Dexter’s in very good condition but it’s not good he’s losing weight of course. She didn’t see any problems based on the physical exam. Force fed him a little to see if that stimulates his appetite. I’ve gone back to the red basking light 24 hrs a day and will try to get him to eat small pinkies again. If he doesn’t in the next two weeks she’ll do xrays although she did not feel anything like a lump and xrays on such a small snake are often inconclusive.

      • #11262
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        Zoodulcis
        Moderator

        Interesting. Reassuring that he is still in good condition. Thank you for the update and let us know if and when he accepts a pinkie. Hopefully, that will be soon!

      • #11280
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        Elly
        Participant

        Just fed him and it took less than 30 seconds for him to find the pinkie and eat. Hopefully he’s back on track now. I’m going to keep with pinkies and the red light, not messing with success! Thanks again for the help.

      • #11322
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        Zoodulcis
        Moderator

        What a relief!! I am so happy I was able to help.