King Snakes not eating, help needed

King Snakes not eating, help needed

Postby Zohar » Tue Jun 11, 2013 5:44 pm

I have several king snakes and I always thought that king snakes were as easy to keep as corn snakes. It seems I made a mistake with that because my corn snakes eat very well but my king snakes think their prey is a predator. I say this because of the way they move away from the F/T pinkie; they get defensive, turn around and dash off. Now, if this was one single snake I would not really bother asking for help but it is ALL of my king snakes. I must be doing something wrong because they won't eat.

I had two cal kings, one male and one female, and they behaved the same towards their meals. Later on I bought two Mexican Black kings and they did the same. A couple of months later I acquired a very beautiful and healthy specimen of a Durango King (he is probably 2 years old, measures 1.2m) and they all behave the same towards prey!

Needless to say, it is very frustrating. I do want to point out that the corns are eating very well and are in the same conditions as the kings except that the five hatchling corns are kept together (thats the only real difference).

Before I say anything else I just want to say that Durban is a lot colder than it has ever been before. I do heat the room that all the snakes are in and the temperature is usually 26 degrees C

My problem is that all these snakes are behaving identically yet I have read that Kings are like Corns when it comes to feeding and handling. Obviously every site that I have looked at is wrong!

I want to know what I can do about my kings because they haven't had a good meal in a very long time! At one point I resorted to catching house geckos and feeding them that even though the kings are quite small. They hunted the lizards and as far as I can tell they really enjoyed it!

If anyone has info that might help me I would really appreciate it and if you need any details that I may have left out please let me know because I really love my snakes. I just got two more cal kings today with beautiful stripes running down the body rather than bands. I want to look after my snakes well so please help me in whatever way you can!
Californian King Snake [Nagini]
Mexican Black King Snakes [Neraluna (Dark Moon); Matt]
Corn Snakes [Female Snow(Lilith); Female Strawberry Albino(Nagina); Male Blood Red (Adlai)]
Brown House Snake

Haitian Brown
Venezuelan Sun Tiger (Psalmopoeus irminia)
Green Bottle Blue
Trinidad Olive
Pumpkin Patch
Costa Rican Tiger Rump
Peruvian Dwarf Beauty
Fringed Ornamental
Orange Tree Spider
Violet Tree Spider

Lots more!

Web: www.besthospitalplans.co.za
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Re: King Snakes not eating, help needed

Postby brentraf » Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:27 pm

Do you feed live mice? If so maybe try feeding thawed mice or gassed mice so they don't move and that way the snake may feel less intimidated. You can also try the small tub method where you leave the snake in a small, covered dark deli cup with the pinkie for a few hours to eat. Also try braining the food this should make the kings more willing to eat because they get the scent of the blood, this encourages them to eat. There are a lot of methods to boost feeding response, just give the search bar a whack on the top right if this doesn't help, a whole bunch of results should come up.
1.1.0 Corn Snake (Pantherophis (Elaphe) guttata)
1.0.0 Giant Ground Gecko (Chondrodactylus angulifer angulifer)
1.0.0 Dumerils Boa (Boa dumerili)
1.1.0 Kenyan Sand Boa (Eryx colubrinus loveridgei)
I love JKS forever.
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Re: King Snakes not eating, help needed

Postby Zohar » Tue Jun 11, 2013 7:36 pm

Hey. I have tried both live and F/T with all the snakes. I haven't tried braining though and I will most certainly try that. Thank you for the response.
Californian King Snake [Nagini]
Mexican Black King Snakes [Neraluna (Dark Moon); Matt]
Corn Snakes [Female Snow(Lilith); Female Strawberry Albino(Nagina); Male Blood Red (Adlai)]
Brown House Snake

Haitian Brown
Venezuelan Sun Tiger (Psalmopoeus irminia)
Green Bottle Blue
Trinidad Olive
Pumpkin Patch
Costa Rican Tiger Rump
Peruvian Dwarf Beauty
Fringed Ornamental
Orange Tree Spider
Violet Tree Spider

Lots more!

Web: www.besthospitalplans.co.za
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Re: King Snakes not eating, help needed

Postby wadekilian » Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:02 pm

Have you tried leaving the pinkies in overnight? I've got a Durango Mountain Kingsnake that wasn't the most confident feeder at first either, until I left him with a pink so he could swallow it when he feels comfortable.

Try and avoid doing that when feeding mice that have teeth though, as that could have a bad ending.
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Re: King Snakes not eating, help needed

Postby Lillypod » Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:08 pm

I'm from Richards Bay and some of my snakes are also refusing to eat, some have had their last meal almost two months ago, but they aren't losing condition. I have also tried everything every week and with no or little success, some people told me not to worry as it is normal, but I do understand that it stresses one out, just keep trying, last week 2 of the snakes that refused each took a tiny mouse, even though this is much less than their normal meals I'm still happy that they at least ate something. Good luck.
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Re: King Snakes not eating, help needed

Postby Rolf » Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:55 am

I would recommended going back to the basics and start with making sure your temperatures are 100%. Make sure that your warm side of the enclosure is 29 - 31 Degrees Celsius and the cooler side is around 26. Generally speaking if your temperatures are right and kept constant throughout the year your king snakes should eat like pigs, especially the Mexican Black Kings. Double check your temperatures with an accurate thermometer, make sure they are correct, give it a week and then try and feed again.
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Re: King Snakes not eating, help needed

Postby Zohar » Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:25 am

wadekilian wrote:Have you tried leaving the pinkies in overnight? I've got a Durango Mountain Kingsnake that wasn't the most confident feeder at first either, until I left him with a pink so he could swallow it when he feels comfortable.

Try and avoid doing that when feeding mice that have teeth though, as that could have a bad ending.


Yes, I have tried leaving the pinkies overnight but still nothing. With my Durango I have left a live mouse and he just moves away. The mouse didn't try to hurt him in any way. I guess I will wait a while and try again...
Californian King Snake [Nagini]
Mexican Black King Snakes [Neraluna (Dark Moon); Matt]
Corn Snakes [Female Snow(Lilith); Female Strawberry Albino(Nagina); Male Blood Red (Adlai)]
Brown House Snake

Haitian Brown
Venezuelan Sun Tiger (Psalmopoeus irminia)
Green Bottle Blue
Trinidad Olive
Pumpkin Patch
Costa Rican Tiger Rump
Peruvian Dwarf Beauty
Fringed Ornamental
Orange Tree Spider
Violet Tree Spider

Lots more!

Web: www.besthospitalplans.co.za
Zohar
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Re: King Snakes not eating, help needed

Postby gekosin » Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:30 am

If all your temps and setups are correct, try brain the thawed pinky (squeeze the head till juices come out of the nose) this usually works for me, the snakes smell/ taste the juice then take the pinky, similar for large mice but just make a cut with a blade.
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Re: King Snakes not eating, help needed

Postby Zohar » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:49 pm

Rolf wrote:I would recommended going back to the basics and start with making sure your temperatures are 100%. Make sure that your warm side of the enclosure is 29 - 31 Degrees Celsius and the cooler side is around 26. Generally speaking if your temperatures are right and kept constant throughout the year your king snakes should eat like pigs, especially the Mexican Black Kings. Double check your temperatures with an accurate thermometer, make sure they are correct, give it a week and then try and feed again.


This is good advice. If my temperatures were too cold would the snakes be active during the day and/or night?

The reason I ask is that they all seem fairly active and are in good condition but still will not accept food. They have hiding spots, water dishes and I use paper as the substrate. They are handled for a few minutes every other day. Currently they are all in fish takes except the Durango King who is in a large enclosure perfect for his size. The rest of my snakes are young about 5 - 6 months.
Californian King Snake [Nagini]
Mexican Black King Snakes [Neraluna (Dark Moon); Matt]
Corn Snakes [Female Snow(Lilith); Female Strawberry Albino(Nagina); Male Blood Red (Adlai)]
Brown House Snake

Haitian Brown
Venezuelan Sun Tiger (Psalmopoeus irminia)
Green Bottle Blue
Trinidad Olive
Pumpkin Patch
Costa Rican Tiger Rump
Peruvian Dwarf Beauty
Fringed Ornamental
Orange Tree Spider
Violet Tree Spider

Lots more!

Web: www.besthospitalplans.co.za
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Re: King Snakes not eating, help needed

Postby Blake » Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:31 pm

What sort of heating do you use because I know that fish tanks don't retain heat well at all? I would suggest that you check your temps because that sounds like the likely cause.
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Re: King Snakes not eating, help needed

Postby Unforgiven » Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:45 pm

Ditto on what Rolf said. Whenever a King or milk doesn't wan't to eat and they aren't in the blue I check my temps.

A lot, if not all of my kings and milks have started out as shy eaters and now they all eat like pigs. A really good alternative to braining the pinky is to scent it. Usually a gecko scent will work, otherwise you can get a fresh shed from one of ur corns and put the pinky inside like a jacket that will work wonders. Even just rubbing the pinky over the corn snake will work, them king snakes sure like the scent of corns :lol:
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Re: King Snakes not eating, help needed

Postby Bushviper » Wed Jun 12, 2013 3:00 pm

Obviously you have other factors influencing the snakes. Possibly the snakes are stressed because of movements, odours, vibrations, number of times they are being handled, light sources, hiding spots, temperature or many more. Snakes to not live for two years or even for 6 months and then suddenly not recognise food items.

Start from the beginning and make sure all the requirements a king snake needs are being met. They are very easy to keep if the cage is set up properly.
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Re: King Snakes not eating, help needed

Postby Zohar » Thu Jun 13, 2013 4:32 am

Bushviper wrote:Obviously you have other factors influencing the snakes. Possibly the snakes are stressed because of movements, odours, vibrations, number of times they are being handled, light sources, hiding spots, temperature or many more. Snakes to not live for two years or even for 6 months and then suddenly not recognise food items.

Start from the beginning and make sure all the requirements a king snake needs are being met. They are very easy to keep if the cage is set up properly.


Where I live there is deafening silence... except for my dogs. I have two small dogs that stay indoors with me. I know that they were stressing my leopard gecko out very badly so I moved him but still the dogs' bark is very loud, ear piercing even. So it's a possibility that it is just my dogs.

But why hasn't this affected the corns? And if the problem is my dogs, what do I do?
Californian King Snake [Nagini]
Mexican Black King Snakes [Neraluna (Dark Moon); Matt]
Corn Snakes [Female Snow(Lilith); Female Strawberry Albino(Nagina); Male Blood Red (Adlai)]
Brown House Snake

Haitian Brown
Venezuelan Sun Tiger (Psalmopoeus irminia)
Green Bottle Blue
Trinidad Olive
Pumpkin Patch
Costa Rican Tiger Rump
Peruvian Dwarf Beauty
Fringed Ornamental
Orange Tree Spider
Violet Tree Spider

Lots more!

Web: www.besthospitalplans.co.za
Zohar
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Re: King Snakes not eating, help needed

Postby brentraf » Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:27 am

The thing about fish tanks as well is that because they are transparent on all sides the snake may have the feeling that it doesn't have enough spaces to hide, this could also be causing stress. Maybe try adding those fish tank backgrounds to three of the sides, this will make the snake feel a bit more comfortable in it's surroundings. The dogs may impact the stress levels but I'm not sure will have to leave that to the other members to answer.
1.1.0 Corn Snake (Pantherophis (Elaphe) guttata)
1.0.0 Giant Ground Gecko (Chondrodactylus angulifer angulifer)
1.0.0 Dumerils Boa (Boa dumerili)
1.1.0 Kenyan Sand Boa (Eryx colubrinus loveridgei)
I love JKS forever.
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Re: King Snakes not eating, help needed

Postby Bushviper » Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:56 am

Nope I doubt that its the dogs. I just said it could be the following.

Yeah I would stop handling them until they have started eating regularly. Get snake cages for them instead of aquariums. or even just put them in opaque plastic tubs with a hot spot for now. Find out how the person kept them before you got them. Then try to recreate that until they have settled in.
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