It's been about six weeks since I got Juju. In that time, he has about tripled in size. When I first got him, I had posted a question asking about his skin problem. His neck was crinkly; his head had bits of skin sticking to it. He was not shedding correctly either.
At the time, I had also inquired about a feeding issue. The first time Juju ate after I got him, he balled up around his live pinkie mouse in a way I did not expect to see. He was lying on his back with his eyes closed and he looked like he was dead. It took him about an hour to kill and consume a live pinkie mouse (and a small one at that). It appeared that it took every ounce of strength he possessed for him to kill and eat his prey. When I posted my first blog entry, I incorrectly referred to his prey as a rat pup. I was new to the world of snakes and had not yet gotten a handle on the vocabulary. It was not a rat pup; it was indeed a pinkie mouse.
The next time I fed Juju, he did not react that way. He seemed to have more strength, but his neck was still crinkly, and there was still skin stuck to his head. I had used Shed Ease to try to help him but to no avail. I did notice that his eyes had a bluish tint to them, but I did not fully understand (through experience, not reading) that this was a retained shed.
One day I was in Petco, buying some supplies when I happened to run into an employee who was cleaning out the snake tanks. I stopped and chatted with her and told her about my snake. She seemed concerned about his skin. She asked what I was feeding him. When I told her that he was eating live pinkies, she explained to me that for Juju's age and size, he should be eating adult mice.
The next time I fed him, I gave him a live full-sized mouse. A few days later, I gave him another. Within a few weeks, this emaciated-looking snake had an ordinary shed and nearly doubled in size. His neck was no longer crinkly, and all of the retained shed came off of his head. In retrospect, I think the first time I fed Juju, it did take all of his strength to kill and eat the pinkie; it was not my imagination. He was six to seven months old being fed one pinkie mouse a week. His previous owner had been told that that was all the food he needed.
Juju looks fabulous now and is eating two adult mice per week. His eyes are a nice jet black (no more bluish tint) and now he has nearly tripled in size. Not trying to be tongue-in-cheek here, but wow, what a difference food makes! I cannot thank that Petco employee enough. I think she saved his life!