Having some trouble with feeding snake

Asked January 18, 2020, 8:56 PM EST

Hi, I recently got a baby corn snake. I have him in a 10 gallon tank with an adjustable heating mat On the bottom and a small one on the side. I have a hide on each side and also a branch. I’ve had success with keeping a warm side and a cool side with one around 80-85, the other between 75-80 and a basking spot of 85ish sometimes warmer. I have had alittle trouble keeping the humidity up, but I have aspen substrate and I also added moss to try and add humidity. I spray down the cage as much as I can to try and keep it up as well. The feeding chart I got from the pet store showed he was eating every week on Thursday, most times 2 f/t pinkies, atleast 1. I tried this Thursday and didn’t even have success with one. I tried again today(Saturday) with no success. I tried to thaw right before in warm water and made sure the pinky was fully thawed. I also tried to leave it out to thaw and then just warm it in warm water right before feeding. He is active and seems to be comfortable. He is drinking water as I witnessed this. His scales are nice and bright, he is nowhere near shedding. He seems to come out and actively hunt as far as I can tell by his behavior. I made sure to wait until he was doing this when I tried to feed him. The first time I think I may have woke him up by accident and then attempted to feed. The only thing I can think of is that it is due to the humidity. Or I may have handled him to early as I was trying to get him used to my scent and I had thought it would be important to get him used to it. I did allow him time to get used to his home beforehand for a day or so. I also have stopped handling so much in prep for the feeding I tried today. Anyways I’m concerned as he is on the small side to begin with. And I’m just not sure because he seems to have zero interest which seems strange since he was said to have no trouble in the pet store.

Worcester County Massachusetts

3 Responses

Thank you for your question. You didn't mention how long you had your snake before you attempted to feed it. Recently purchased snakes, especially young snakes, need time to adjust to their new surroundings before being offered food. Your snake may still be a little stressed from the move, and just needs some more time to get acclimated. Also, due to the fact your snake may still be acclimating to its new home, you may want to try feeding smaller prey items. If your snake was eating larger pinkies at the pet shop, try offering smaller pinkies. If your snake starts eating those, you can always gradually increase the size of prey items to the size it was eating in the pet store.

Be careful about misting your snake's cage too much. Too much humidity can lead to the growth of various types of fungus, that can be harmful to your snake. Also, if the cage substrate is too wet, this can cause skin problems for your snake.

Here's a link to a care sheet for corn snakes published by Reptiles magazine:

http://www.reptilesmagazine.com/Care-Sheets/Snakes/Corn-Snake/

The author, Kathy Love, is an authority on keeping and breeding corn snakes. She also has a book available that covers just about everything you need to know about maintaining corn snakes:

Love, Kathy and Bill Love. (2005). Corn Snakes - The Comprehensive Owner's Guide. Irvine: Advanced Vivarium Systems.

I hope this information helps, and thank you for contacting Ask an Expert.

Jim

Thank you. I have had him for 2 weeks. I tried about a week after when they had suggested that he would be ready for a feed again. I am feeding the extra small pinky’s. They didn’t specify which size they used at the pet store though. When should I be worried if he continues to not eat? Also how can I keep up the humidity? Rather than misting so much I have added moss and then put a towel over some of the top to try and keep moisture in. It sort of works but I worry because anytime I am not around or at work during the day I come back and the humidity is as low as 20. Also I’ve noticed he seems to be not coming out as much or be as active already. It just seems that something is slightly off. Sorry for all the questions.

You can weigh your snake on a weekly basis to track its weight. If it is steadily losing weight and not eating for 3-4 weeks, then you should be concerned. There are some alternative feeding methods described in Kathy Love's book that you can try to coax stubborn snakes into eating. Also, you can contact a reptile vet in your area to have your snake examined to make sure it doesn't have any health problems that are affecting its appetite.

Covering most of the top of the cage with newspaper or plastic film is a good way to raise humidity inside the cage. Occasional misting in this case will help raise the humidity. Depending on the size of the room where you keep your snake, another option is to purchase a humidifier that you can use to raise the humidity of room versus trying to increase the humidity inside the cage. When warmer weather arrives, humidity should increase, and you won't need to use the humidifier.

I hope this information helps, and thank you for contacting Ask an Expert.

Jim