Responsible Keeping
  Home > Chris Morrison > Chris Morrison's Blogs > A Survival Story...

Blog :

A Survival Story...

Posted by Chris Morrison at 1/5/2009 1:26:06 PM

So...several months ago, a fellow breeder and friend of mine called me up, and tells me that he has 4 cornsnake hatchlings that won't eat.  He asks, "You got the time and room to work with them?"  Well...I love cornsnakes, so I said, "Sure.  I'll try."

He showed up with 2 male Lavendars, a female Butter and a female normal.  None of them looked good.  The oldest one, the Butter, was already 12 weeks old, and had yet to eat.  The rest looked better...but still not good.

Unfortunately, the Butter died the first night at my house.  She didn't even make it 24 hours...poor girl.  One of the male Lavendars dies just 2 weeks later.  The normal, just 2 weeks after that.  They never really stood a chance.  They refused to eat, and in the wild...would have been food for their stronger siblings.

But this one male Lavendar decided to eat.  He was strong, and had more "fight" than the other three from the beginning.  In other words...he bit me..several times.  Some might think this is a bad thing, but in this instance, it showed me he had some fight.

He ate live pinkies for me 3 weeks in a row!  He was already 18 weeks old when he took his very first live pinky, but here he was, struggling, and fighting to hang on...and eating live pinkies.

But the real test is frozen/thawed prey.  I convert all of my captive snakes to f/t prey as soon as I can.  It's cheaper and easier for me to keep a freezer full of food than to go out and buy 50 live mice a week.  It's safer for the snakes, because dead rodents don't fight back.  And it's easier for me to defrost a bunch of prey, feed it to the snakes, and forget about it, instead of standing watchful guard as my snakes struggle with a living prey item.

But wouldn't you know it...this Lucky little survivor took f/t prey!  It took a long time, and it was very touch and go for some time but...he finally took f/t prey, and now he isn't showing any signs of slowing down.

He still likes to bite and strike at me, and this still tells me he's a fighter.  And he still has his moments when he will look at an f/t pinky like he has no idea what he's supposed to do, but...eventually...he eats it.

So let me introduce you all to Lucky!  My new little Lavendar...a young snake that finally took the bait and decided to eat, and whom will now live in my collection, and, eventually, have the opportunity to produce offspring in the future.

 Comments: View Oldest First  

John ,
Posted At: 1/5/2009 1:56:43 PM  
Great story. Lucky snake.

Ado(Add-Dough) ,
Posted At: 1/5/2009 2:07:11 PM  
That's pretty crazy. I was like damn all the snakes are dying! But Lucky is pretty lucky and a beautiful color to. I always love to see more Lavender snakes not just corns. I don't think you see enough Lavender snakes out there. It just stands more too.

Sonja K. ,
Posted At: 1/5/2009 2:38:47 PM  
Great to hear! I bet he'll always hold a special spot in your heart! For whatever reason, it seems the most difficult ones have a way of becoming favorites! Maybe it's a bonding thing!?

Jarred ,
Posted At: 1/5/2009 4:29:38 PM  
Great story and congrats on your success with Lucky!

Jojos B,
Posted At: 1/5/2009 5:04:55 PM  
Nice story with a good ending. Too bad for the other snakes. I hope this thread from a french forum may help you in the futur. I know it's in french but you can see the pics I lost a snake and I would have tried that, had I known it so here is something to try next time. If you need help with translation, send me a mail at and I'll tell you. The green thing is to press garlic. ;)

Jojos B,
Posted At: 1/5/2009 5:05:54 PM  
I forgot to mention that Lucky looks real good! :)

Sonja ,
Posted At: 1/5/2009 5:05:57 PM  
Yea for Lucky and great job by you!

Jeff ,
Posted At: 1/5/2009 5:28:11 PM  
Wonderful to hear stories like this. Good work. Congrats!!

Rebecca ,
Posted At: 1/6/2009 12:10:43 PM  
Awesome success story! Have you ever tried an egg (from a chicken) slurry in a syringe (with a rubber tube) for stubborn hatchlings? It can buy more time for them to decide to feed on their own... and it isn't anywhere near as gross as garlic-pressed pinkies! :)

Chris Morrison,
Posted At: 1/6/2009 1:19:49 PM  
Honestly...I don't force them to live. I offer f/t first. If they don't take it after 2 offerings, I try live. If they don't take it, I try f/k brained. If they don't take it, I scent with lizards. If they don't take it, I force feed an adult mouse tail for two feedings. After that I try pinkies again.

If the above doesn't work, I brumate them for 4 weeks, and start over. So far, they have all either died or eaten after a short brumation cycle.

It usually takes almost 4 months for all of that, and if they are still alive, and still refuse to eat, I either put them down, or pass them on to someone willing to try harder.

I've lost a few, converted a few, and passed a few on to friends, works, and I give them every opportunity to eat on their own.

I don't use pinky pumps, or slurries because frankly...I don't want non-feeding animals in my breeding programs, and I don't want to pass potential problems on to a customer. Snakes that need to be forced to stay alive and don't eat on their own can have feeding issues in the future, and I won't do that to myself or my customers...

Thanks, everyone, for the comments!

Denise ,
Posted At: 1/6/2009 3:45:34 PM  
Great job! I had a similar story, only these were the fabulous 4 (or so I named them.) I already had their brother, from the same clutch but these guys never did eat. Milk (my snow corn) was 10x their size! Well, I was donned the name "snake wisperer" cause I got them to eat but, sadly, all died except one. Isn't it such a great feeling that we tried and succeeded, not all was lost! Good luck on your lavender, he's awesome!

Member Login
Forgot My Password

Our Newest Animals!
ET Geckos

ET Geckos

ET Geckos
177003 Registered animals!
NEW!! See The Rest of the new Arrivals!
Thanks to everyone who helped test the new features. If you find any problems, please
Let Me Know.
Todays Birthdays

Copyright ©, All Rights Reserved. iHerp, LLC | Terms of Use 7/10/2020 6:18:59 PM |