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Q: Switching to F/T - Heating
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In Relation To:

Coal Chamber [0.1.HP.BP]

I asked this question in my other post, but I want to get as much feedback as possible, so it gets its own page

I recently aquired a female het pied to go with my male. 

 shes doing great.  the breeder before me had her on live.  i personally dont like to feed live, i much prefer f/t.  when i offered her f/t she didnt even give it a second tongue flick.  with live, actually having a live mous in the container with her, after 3 weeks of not eating, it took her near an hour to just become interested in it and kill it.  any suggestions to get her to f/t?  

I like to keep my snakes cages clean, without using a bunch of chemicals, because im paranoid about chemicals.  i found a product that claims its animal friendly.  

it contains water, coconut-based cleaning agent, corn-based cleaning agent, glycerin, preservative, silicon antifoaming agent, fragerance and 100% wood based fibers,  contains no phosphorus or bleach.  -reads the ingredients

I started heating my room when winter came because my house was so cold to help keep temps up.  the heat probe tells my my room, nearest to the snake cages is 86 degrees. i keep bps, rtbs, corns, and a burm.  balls temps are around 80-85 and 90 basking.  corns being 75-85.  boas being 82-90 and burms being 85-88.  do you think maintaining the temps at 86 is a good idea, or should i lower/raise it?

Points: 100
Topics: Feeding , Heating
Tags: Ballpython, Feeding, FT, Heating
Species: Pythons > Pythons > Python regius
Administrative: Show/Hide

Author Comment 2/11/2010 12:21:29 PM

sorry, i didnt even finish my question.  what do you think about each of the above listed?
Accepted Answer 2/11/2010 12:48:20 PM

hmmm...the chemical? probably ok, but I'd run it by a licensed vet for sure. the switching...this can be a big PIA, but usually it's a matter of who's more stubborn. I've fostered a lot of bps in the last 3 1/2 years and I've only ever had one that was terribly difficult to switch over. (he required a long, slow weaning with fresh-killed mice, and that really sucked) mostly, they'll get hungry and they'll eat. one of the most important tricks to remember is that a bp with good body condition can go a good long time before suffering from lack of food. get a weight on her and monitor it every other week - as long as it doesn't drop, keep being stubborn about f/t. when offering, do the over-the-river-and-through-the-woods tease on the end of the tongs. make sure it's good and warm, but dont' get it so hot the innards start to cook, yuck. aside from dangling around and teasing, maybe tap the mouse lightly against her tail a couple times (this sometimes induces an instinctive response to turn and strike). if this doesn't work, lay the mouse in the enclosure and leave it overnight. if she doesn't take it, remove the mouse. wait at least 10 days before offering again (a rule of thumb for me is about twice as long as I usually go between feedings). this will ensure that she's probably hungry. go with this routine for a few months. keep an eye on her weight. she'll most likely eat when she gets hungry. oh, and it's also advisable to handle her very little during this period of change, so as to cause her as little stress as possible. just leave her alone and offer her food from time to time. the only other thing to keep in mind - if she has retained eyecaps or any stuck shed in her nostrils, this can affect her ability to detect prey, especially if it's f/t. so, make sure she has all the proper humidity so this isn't affecting her appetite. good luck! she's a pretty girl
Member Comment 2/11/2010 12:51:42 PM

I dont usually worry about keeping a steady temperature, I have a lamp on him and the underheaters, I also have a hide that he can hang out and be warm in. He doesn't seem to mind the temperature, I've never had him over 80 degrees and he's never skipped a meal.. I fead f/t, I heat the mouse up in hot water, hotttttt, so it is the temperature of a live one, then I hold it's tail with tongs and make it move around like it's alive. my snake doesn't bother with the mouse if I dont move the thing around. I guess he likes the thrill of the kill.. Maybe you should try that? just shake it around like a real mouse, and make sure it's really warm :D
Member Comment 2/11/2010 1:23:08 PM

Switching takes patience especially with BP's there are a million tricks, try them all.

I like simple cleaning products...bleach or nolvasan works for me. Then again I have a LOT of animals and one of those little containers wouldn't clean one room here.

The winter time is the toughest for heat. There is no easy way to keep a balance of good heat and good humidity. Do your best to keep it around 86 warm and 82 cool and offer that nice moist hide you were talking about earlier. If you notice them hugging the heat bump the temps a couple degrees.
Member Comment 2/11/2010 2:04:36 PM

Sonja K. Reptiles
Not only is it important to keep a clean cage, but you also want to disinfect.

A 5% bleach solution is the best and cheapest disinfectant (1 tsp bleach per 16 oz of water) This will be what vets recommend, and what the state requires me to use in my daycare to disinfect things like a highchair tray, food prep area, diaper changing surface, etc. - simply stated, it is the only product that meets their standards. Clorox wipes, etc. didn't.

Also, at times, I will use a 50/50 solution of the original (brown-colored) listerine or generic equivalent - works pretty good for the more stubborn stuff, and it also disinfects. Plus, not a bad idea to have a bottle of it in the herp room for safety sake since it contains alcohol.

My '09 female het. pied "Piper" was my most stubborn to switch from live, but she did. You'll probably be able to see what I did with her if you check her tracking. If you have any questions, let me know. You may also want to try putting her in a smaller shoebox sized tote - or medium sized deli cup - like what she may have been shipped in, with the f/t prey and leaving her in there overnight.

As far as the temp.of your room... I would drop it a few degrees - 78 to 80 should be more than enough - I'm assuming you provide them with a hot spot within their enclosure?
Author Comment 2/11/2010 2:44:33 PM


aimee: She is pretty =)  shes due for shed here pretty soon, too.  i love those humidity boxes, they work wonders.  she has no retained eyecaps (she has some aspen dust on her face, she was active and burrowing when i took her out)  tho i will still bump up the humidity.

thestef:  oh yea.  some of my snakes, i dont even have to shake the mouse around.  its a smell.attack thing, minus the period, expecially with hurricane, blaize and shakayloh.  i have a huge heating pad (probably meant for people) that i warm the snake buffet up on (theres alot of them, tho not NEAR as much as sonja and shell boa) to a warm to the touch feel.  never had a problem with any of my snakes, minus coal chamber.

shellboa: ((i want your levi)) I have NO problem turning the heat down.  they are in my bedroom with me, so i practically die in the day when i have to go in there.  its hot. (for me)  (fyi at night *not sure of the exact temp, will have to do a check on that* i turn the fan on and it drops a bit.  im guessing around 78-80)

sonja:  ((lol, pied piper gets me every time)) ive always been scared to use bleach because of *probably old wives** tales ive heard about residue and fumes.  as for  hot spots i dont for the corns, i let them "bask" in the ambient temp, tho the enclosure they all are in *i keep the small snakes in their tubs, in an aquarium with a sliding top *ty sparkle* for extra security* has a back heat pad.  as for the others, its copmlicated to explain.  pm

Member Comment 2/11/2010 5:46:39 PM

We have had success a couple of different ways switching them over f/t from live mice-rats. You can if you have a live rat , rub the thawed one on the live one to pick up a better scent. Once they are froze-thawed, they lose that original scent. The best way we get a stubborn python or any snake to take thawed is let it thaw overnite in a bag in the fridge, then heat it under a basking bulb fixture, turning it frequently every 5-10 minutes until it feels warm to your touch... if it does.. heat sensor pits that your python has will identify  it as a warm blooded prey and hopefully he will grab it.    Your temps seem okay but they need a hot side and cool side to thermoregulate. Check to see if he has eyecaps that mat have stuck on during the last shed or two. This will make them not eat also.  Bleach and water combo has worked for everybody for disinfecting enclosures.  Make sure you rinse thoroughly. Just the fumes from leftover bleach or any chemical can make a reptile sick or die.  Going back to feeding... if he doesn't eat this time.. wait for 3-4 weeks until he is definitely hungry...good luck and I hope this will help along with all of the other great responses that you received..
Member Comment 2/11/2010 10:19:11 PM

For the disenfectant, we use plain white vinegar for spot cleanings (it cleans and disinfects) and a 5% bleach solution for bad spots (or once a month for the mammals). We have used this setup for a long time for snakes, lizards, bird, rats, mice, chinchilla, opossum, chipmunk, hamsters and gerbils with no ill effects what-so-ever! And most of these are animals with severely sensitive respiratory tracts.
Member Comment 2/11/2010 10:27:45 PM

In regards to that specific cleaner- I have the spray version for my counters and whatnot and this evening I decided to test it out on cleaning snake tubs. They get aspen bedding, so what I've been doing is dump out the old shavings, spray the tub, wipe, spray a squirt of water and wipe to dry- then put new shavings in.  I highly doubt its harmful since everything is all natural.. I can get it on my skin and not be irritated by it.
Member Comment 2/12/2010 2:22:40 AM


what i do with my male carpets they were PIA to get on rats but once i finally did ... i now take the rat on the tongs and kind of try to put the rat in the fold of there body about mid way then i giggle it and next thing i know the rat is going down:) it

or you can try the chicken broth trick:) i did it with my baby corn snakes and it work ... i also tried with with my baby burm cuz for a while he was being a big PIA about eating f/t and sure enough the chicken broth trick worked on him too:)

Author Comment 2/12/2010 12:06:09 PM

EandJReps:  no eyecaps stuck on  she had dust on her eyes, so it looks like caps.  tho i do need to bump up my humidity.  its world war III over at my place against humidity and i.  ive been hearing a ton about bleach and water.  its a bit inconvienient for me *i dont have a sink in my apartment so i have to drag the tubs downstairs* but if its safe, ill buy a gallon later on today and try it out

bloodraven:  ive heard a few people mention white vinegar back when i was having a lime scale problem with one of my big tanks.  what is in whte vinegar that makes it disinfect *and do they use white vinegar in food?  =(  *

tmth:  ive went against the directions and wiped my hands clean before too and no irritation or even dryness.  i clean my leo cage with them and the leos are doing fine.  the only downfall is there are only 30 wipes and each one is like 4 bucks  i used like.. 6 wipes for the leo cage.  but i guess your paying for the convieniency

acheron: i learned about the chicken broth thing when i was young from my dad when his burm didnt eat for 18 months.  lol, guess snakes like kfc =)
Member Comment 2/12/2010 12:30:26 PM

hey you can't go wrong with kfc lol wonder if they would like bbq flavored lol
Member Comment 2/12/2010 8:24:44 PM

Yes, white vinegar is used in food. From this website http://www.vinegartips.com/scripts/pageViewSec.asp?id=7 :

White distilled vinegar is a popular household cleanser, effective for killing most mold, bacteria, and germs, due to its level of acidity. Cleaning with white distilled vinegar is a smart way to avoid using harsh chemicals. You’ll also be glad to know that it is environmentally friendly and very economical.
Author Comment 2/13/2010 1:48:27 AM

woot! you can cook and clean with it and its 100% natural.  thats sweet, and i bet its pretty cheap too

acheron: bbq rox =)
Member Comment 2/14/2010 9:39:20 PM

As far as a disinfectant for cages I have been using a product called Chlorhexidine. I use it while the animals are still in their cages for spot cleaning. I've been using it for the past year with no problems what so ever. It even doubles as "Windex" to clean the glass. I get it from here: http://www.pangeareptile.com/store/index.php?target=products&product_id=29801 Chlorhexidine (aka Nolvasan) is a very effective bacteriacide, virucide, and fungicide. 100% safe to use in reptile cages because it leaves no toxic residue or fumes. This is the same stuff veterinarians use to irrigate wounds and is even used as a mouthwash for animals and people.
Member Comment 7/4/2015 4:47:53 PM


A little late to the game, I know...

We feed F/T exclusively, and have developed a method for a good thaw that seems to go over well:  I use 2 frosting buckets (Usually free from most franchise grocery store deli's).  I put water as hot as it comes out of the pipe in one bucket, put the frozen rats in an unsealed gallon freezer bag (sealed means trapped air that insulates), and fill the second bucket a little to hold the rat underwater (but with the opening sticking out between the buckets.  I let it sit for 20 minutes to thaw, then reset the water for 5 minutes to get it to a good servable temp. Then  my wife does the "Zombie Rat Dance", by using a set of long tongs to hold the tail, and wiggling the rat with a shivering type motion.


We use Kids'N'Pets - an enzime cleaner that actually gets cat stink out... The manufacturer claims that using enzimes instead of harsh chemicals makes it safe for reptiles.  We have been good so far.

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