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Q: midget Lampropeltis pyromelana hates food - ideas?
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I've always been a lizard person, but grew to love snakes and have a bunch of my own that are super healthy, super happy, and always hungry. 

Except this one.

I've never had a snake this tiny before (she's a bitty little thing), and she has zero interest in food whatsoever. She was sold to me as "feeding", and silly me, I took their word for it. She's an Arizona Mountain king, about 12" long, and has the girth of a ballpoint pen. I got the smallest pinkies I could find, and she is seriously not interested, and looks at me with disdain then burrows back under her water bowl.

I've only had her for around a week, so perhaps I'm being overly impatient and paranoid (again, I'm lucky, I've never had a snake with a feeding problem, and I have 12 snakes, all different species) - but I have never had a snake, let alone a COLUBRID that was completely disinterested in food. I was told she was eating frozen/thawed day-old pinkies, and I've tried several times to no avail. She escaped for a few days last week and turned up under the paw of my cat in my bedroom doorway, so I suppose it's completely plausible that she's still settling in and stressed beyond belief.

My big question is (sorry for all of the back story) - how long is *too* long for a baby snake to go without eating? I haven't been handling her, I've left her alone in her tub to heat up on the rack, but again, I've never seen a kingsnake SO disinterested in eating. 

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Feel free to tell me I'm being paranoid and crazy and to STFU and leave her alone for a while and try again next week, that's fine too.

...I want to avoid live at all possible costs, I don't have any snakes (save one crappy ball python) that eat live, and I would really like to keep it that way. I suppose I'm just nervous because she's so tiny - - - she didn't look that tiny in the deli cup -_- 

Thank you, my iHerp loves <3 

Points: 150
Topics: Feeding
Species: Kings and Milks > Kingsnakes > Lampropeltis pyromelana pyromelana
Administrative: Show/Hide

Member Comment 9/10/2012 9:21:35 PM

joe farah
Two words: Sceloporus undulatus
Author Comment 9/10/2012 9:25:34 PM

She's WAY too tiny for fence lizards, haha. Or were you suggesting I feed HER to the lizard?
Assisted Answer 9/10/2012 9:35:35 PM

Sonja K. Reptiles

You've only had her a week and within that time, she escaped for a few days... I think she's still pouting about getting caught... and it's too early to be concerned. Only try once per week, not daily... that's too stressful. 

Pieces of lizard aren't too big...  ; )

Try feeding her in the deli cup? Even leaving her there overnight with the F/T.

Author Comment 9/10/2012 9:50:34 PM

Sonja, you're so smart :-) ...I think I'm just super paranoid because she's so little, and all of my other snakes were well started "toddlers" or juvies when I got them, and, garbage disposals. Sometimes you just need to hear it from someone with more experience and insight than yourself. I'll pretend that I didn't read the part hinting at dismembering lizards ;-) ...speaking of lizards, my little juvie savannah monitor certainly enjoyed the rejected rodentia.
Assisted Answer 9/10/2012 10:26:50 PM

joe farah
Who said anything about pieces? The babies are hatching now. That's a last resort of course but it will work. Even scenting a pinky with one
Member Comment 9/10/2012 11:30:30 PM


She could also be in preshed. I don't know about others, but it seems new snakes always shed within a week or two of arriving for me.

And seconding scenting.

Accepted Answer 9/11/2012 12:14:56 AM

I've found ground skinks more readily available where I am, and often of adequate size for feeding whole to small snakes even as adults. But in any case, if you've exhausted all the usual tricks, Joe and Sonja have the right idea. As an additional side note, I had one young pyro that took to F/T mice right away, but only on one condition: they had to be completely bloodied and mutilated. Not just "brained," but brained, cut, gutted, smashed, and verbally insulted. It was the weirdest thing, but it worked! She took mice exclusively this way for her first few years. As vulnerable young snakes in the wild I suspect they probably take carrion opportunistically. Maybe this simulated such a food item?
Author Comment 9/12/2012 10:00:04 PM


update: she is, in fact, heading into shed... she's all cloudy and milky today, so perhaps, just perhaps, I was mildly crazy. :-)

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