Mexican Black kingsnake feeding issues

I’ve got a young female MBK that the breeder had eating frozen/thawed mice, and I had her take a few F/T mouse meals in my care but the past two weeks she’s refused her mouse. She’s very shy so I usually have to leave the prey in the enclosure for her to eat it and not dangle it but I’m curious if anyone has any insight as to why she’d quit? I’m used to baby colubrids being garbage disposals.

She’s got a 99 degree warm spot, a warm hide and a cool hide, burrowing substrate and is kept in a modified tub cage in a dark, quiet room.

This may not be why she isn’t eating, but a warm spot of 99 degrees is too hot. 85-90 degrees would be more appropriate.

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Easy fix there at least. I can try that first.

How old is your snake?

I should also mention that two weeks is not a very long time for a snake to go without eating, so don’t get super worried just yet.

Definitely garbage disposals but… they have their moments, too. I’ve had kingsnakes and hoggers that you pretty much have to turn out all of the lights and leave them alone to get to eat. Others will gladly eat your fingers while you watch :scream:

westridge already mentioned the heat could be a bit much. Do you have a cool side measurement? Is there enough room for a good gradient? 75-90 is a pretty good range for them and it’s important that the gradient isn’t too steep.

You can also try swapping out the food for a week or so. They’ll eat quail eggs, cooked eggs (sparingly!), fish (be careful with fish, though!), and many other items. Sometimes they get bored, I think, and you don’t really have to worry about them imprinting on specific food like other snakes.

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She’s a baby yet, born last season but I can’t remember what day exactly. I’d say approx 6 months old? She’s small, needs baby mice.

I know for my own shy boy of a black king if he doesn’t know the food is there he won’t eat. As shy as he is I have to wiggle the f/t pinky in his face basically and usually (unless he’s in shed) he will just snatch it right from the tongs. It’s important I know all of his best hiding places just for this. Wiggle pinky at spot 1 2 3 until a black void snaps out.

Make sure the food item is super hot and if you have to brain the pinky to make it extra attractive. Kings are indeed garbage disposals once they get going.

One method I use for very small snakes that are shy feeders is cup feeding. I place the snake in a deli cup within the enclosure and that often stimulates feeding. It’s important to put the snake in the deli cup about an hour before feeding so the snake can get used to it. I then leave the snake alone with the prey for a few hours or even overnight.

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Given the time of year she could just be seasonally cycling.

As mentioned, you can also try alternate food sources as well: baby quail, tilapia strips, chick-down scented food item, lizard-scented food item…

oooh that’s clever. I’ll give that a go tonight!

With colubrids I do cup feeding but rarely do I need to leave them in there for long before or during feeding. I put food in, then them, then wait about 30 min with the cup covered (I use the top of my balls heat panel to help keep them warm in the cup) and have had 100% success with shy eaters. Got 3 right now that have to be cup fed… One is an adult and still has to go into a smaller container.

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I rarely have to leave them in for long either. Usually they have eaten with a half hour to an hour.

I feed my Arizona mountain kingsnake boi in a box away from his cage. I have since I got him 9 years ago and it seems to have basically trained him that box=food. He goes into food mode and rattles his tail whenever I put him in the box and it is the cutest thing to see him so excited. :joy:
Box/cup feeding seems to work a lot of the time with colubrids, but it doesn’t work too well with BPs and the like. Maybe it is because BPs wait around for their food in the wild, and king snakes/other colubrids hunt for their prey?

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I think colubrids like corns and kings (might as well include rats as well) are simply less picky about how they eat. They are all called garbage disposals for a reason. Always ready to eat. Just gotta shove it in their faces first lol

I use cup feeding extensively when raising baby boas. It works great.

Ok, so I’ve bumped her warm spot down to 90, I’ve tried cup feeding, I’ve tried scenting with tuna, I’ve tried both warmed up and live pinkies and this girl just doesn’t want any of it. I know she initially had to be kept on lizards, and while I’ve tried scenting feeders with one of my own live pet lizards, it didn’t seem to do much for her.

I’m wondering if I should bite the bullet and try a whole lizard as a feeder, or alternatively, if anyone knew offhand if MBKs go for reptilinks? I see they have both frog and iguana ones on their website. Failing that, is an anole a suitable feeder lizard? I want to avoid them because of the parasite load but if I have to I will.

I cannot speak for MBKs but I have a number of snakes that take links pretty readily. Where are you located? If you are anywhere near me I can probably provide you with a couple

As for the anole… Rather that feed the anole maybe try this: Euthanize the anole and then freeze it. After a couple days, take it out of the freezer and break/cut it into pieces. Take one of these pieces and dice it into a fine paste. Add about an equal volume of water to the paste and freeze it again. Take the lizard slurry out of the freezer and thaw it out enough to dunk a pinkie in it. Try feeding with that pink,

This is how I have converted GBKs in the past.

And if you do not want to euthanize the anole you can just break its tail off and use the tail to make the slurry

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Haha, sounds almost like cooking! I could definitely try that. I’d probably do that first before feeding whole anoles (I really don’t want to feed anoles, I find them very annoying little lizards haha) And you’re very kind to offer, I’m all the way in North Dakota so I’m fairly far-flung from most others in the reptile hobby.

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Yeah… That is a bit of a drive from VA LOL

Let us know how it goes and we will keep trying to come up with ideas to help :+1:t4:

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I know with my MBK she had refused food a couple times. Turns out, the only reason why she didnt eat was due to me not “playing” with the mouse more. Once I started moving the mouse more and making it seem like a live prey item, she takes every time without a problem. Ive noticed that most colubrids are pretty much garbage disposals like you said, my brooks king seems to only like live (i do freshly killed so there’s not a chance of him getting injured) I had tried f/t with him at first but he just refused it flat out.

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