Tonight as I was sitting in my room, movement caused me to look up at my stack of enclosures. I noticed one of the garters at the top of the bin and something seemed…off. I very quickly realized that the smaller of my pair of common garters had tried to escape their latching Sterilite bin (normally impossible, but I hadn’t put the bin on top of it centered), but had gotten stuck halfway out. I have no idea how long they were stuck. There’s bruising and a bit of a dent in its side. Spine is fine, nothing looks notably broken, I’m just worried about the compression aspect of the injury.
My worry is that a visible dent like that means fractured ribs. A snake’s shape is largely down to the rib bones and an indent might mean a rib is no longer holding that area in an outward curve.
I would be seeing a vet- You may have already called to set up an urgent appointment- simply because of the chance of internal damage, but if the organs are damaged there may not be much that can be done.
On the other hand, it could just be a break of ribs but somehow little to no internal damage.
I’m not an expert with snakes specifically, I just know a lot of basic first aid for animals and people, so if someone else pops in with better info, listen to them over me, but if it were me, I’d call the vet, and until then try to restrict this snake’s movements by putting them on paper towels in a smallish container and watching their motion and getting images and samples of any droppings to show your vet.
My thinking: Certain internal injuries can show themselves via excrement, or if the droppings and urates all look perfectly normal that could be a good sign.
See, the issue is it’s not something that can be treated. Any vet I take it to, the most they’ll do is an x-ray to confirm or rule out the ribs. His spine is intact, so that’s not a worry. The bruising is only on one side, not the other, and doesn’t include anything on the abdomen. The dent itself is not visible from a top-down view. Aside the fact that I know it was stuck in the lid, everything else is seemingly fine. No increased respiratory rate, regular movement & tongue flicking.
I’m going to wait it out overnight, because if there is internal damage, the course of action stays the same. As of right now, it’s back in with its sibling, basking and looking around like nothing is wrong.
I will say, this is not the first time this little one has gotten stuck in a lid, and the other time might’ve been worse (gasket bin with tighter latches), so there is precedent behind my decision here. Were there any indication that the animal is in distress, I’d be a bit more proactive.
Update: seems the “dent” was soft tissue distortion. I just checked again (want to make sure still behaving normally) and it’s totally gone. Other than the small bruise, you wouldn’t know anything happened.
Oh, silly noodle. Sometimes I’d swear they aim to give us grey hairs.
You can see what we here can’t, and your assessment totally makes sense! Especially compared to previous experiences with this species. (and this same snake? Little stinker! You’d hope they’d learn, but alas…)
My day has been nuts already (flat tire 70mph on the highway) so this little one is really just testing my limits!
I’m monitoring everything closely, if anything changes, I’m definitely taking it to the vet. To be fair on the little one, the last time was massively my fault. Curious baby, keeper not paying close enough attention…Next thing you know there’s a neck squished in the lid and one latch already clipped.
I stuck my finger through the gap it wriggled through tonight, and it seems the bin above was positioned off just far enough that it wasn’t exerting any pressure on that side of the lid, only tension was holding it shut. Might’ve squeaked by with yet another close call, we’ll see.
Poor little guy! Mischievous as well! To be honest I don’t think a vet could help if there was a rib broken causing internal damage, bleeding internally or even organ damage.
But if sounds like your little Houdini is not badly injured. I would keep an eye out for traces of blood with his poo if possible . I know your top priority for your animals is quality of life.
Best to you and Houdini!
Yeah, I didn’t figure there’d be much they could do, and if there’s internal damage, it’d be a euthanasia, anyways.
As of right now, we’re still happy and alert, coiled up with the dominant sibling at the warm end of their enclosure. Houdini (who might just keep that moniker, since escaping death seems to be a signature of this little one) is the head on top.
@noodlehaus That picture is precious! I sure hope he is ok for good! I have heard that garters are social animals?
@noodlehaus I have to share a bad snake mom (me) story.
I had a little corn snake get stuck to a piece of scotch tape at the top of his enclosure a couple of years ago. The poor little guy was just hanging there. I don’t remember why the tape was even there.
Anyway I gently unstuck him. I was so afraid that his little head was harmed but he was just fine.
It must be confession night because I am “fessing” up! Lol!
@caron Yes, garters do better in pairs or groups. I keep two species, so I have four total. Should know by tomorrow whether Houdini is okay.
And oh dear about your corn, so glad the little one turned out alright. I swear, if there’s tape around, they’ll find it!
They’re pretty hardy. I once had a baby corn escape and get run over in the groove with a heavy sliding glass patio door. It looked pretty rough, but within literally a single shed, the injuries were 99% healed, just leaving some tiny white areas.
Monitoring it and feeding smaller meals would be my recommendation.
Next day update: Still looking good and acting normally. @solarserpents This one is already on smaller meals since the first incident, and is a bit of a picky eater, anyways. Might grab some earthworms from town later as a bit of a treat.
Three days post incident update: Little Houdini is still going strong. Still hasn’t eaten, but considering that’s pretty typical behaviour, I’m not worried. Grabbed some nightcrawlers from one of the gas stations in town, so I’ll be chopping them into more manageable pieces and putting a container of them in to try and entice them into a snack.
So far, it seems all was caught in time and there’s no lasting damage.
Yay that’s awesome! Hopefully little Houdini has learned his lesson and won’t try to live up to his name anymore! You gotta watch these “kids” 24/7!
Golly! Glad your little escape-prone Houdini has apparently slithered past disaster yet again. Hopefully this will be the last time. But you know that s/he is likely to try and pull the same thing again, right? There was always that horse or cow who would go through whatever fence. Some creatures never learn, even when the lessons are harsh. There are, inexplicably, many canine repeat offenders with skunks and even rattlesnakes. I hope Houdini will be the exception who behaves now.
Glad you survived your blown out-tire, too!! That’s always unnerving and potentially disastrous.
Yeah, I’m sure if given the chance, another try might happen. I’m thinking of switching them back to 110qt bin, because this wasn’t an issue in the larger space. I only separated everyone out because they’re reaching sexual maturity soon and none are sexed, didn’t want accidental hybrids.
The tire was just…Could not have happened in a worse area but thankfully worked out far better than I thought it would.
I chopped up a couple of earthworms and left them in overnight. I can’t guarantee Houdini was the one who ate, but as their sibling is in shed, it makes it probable!
Congratulations! I really hope that he ate for you!
I’d be happier if I could 100% confirm, but anything is progress!