Hey all, I’ve been really struggling to get my female hognose to eat her food. Back in March, she regurgitated a hopper mouse. In a very horrible lapse in judgement, I fed her a fuzzy mouse the next day. She ate it, and later on passed the mouse through as feces, however I noticed that near the feces was a small speck of blood. I have taken her to the vet, and they examined her, clean bill of health with a small amount of constipation which was cleared up via baths and the vet giving her an enema. Today I placed her in a small tub with a thawed fuzzy mouse and gave her ~45 minutes alone with it, she still refused it. I’m honestly not sure what I’m doing wrong at this point, or if there are other possibilities. I’ve attached a pic of her enclosure in case anyone has any advice for it. Please help!
How long have you had her for? How many times has she eaten for you?
I haven’t had this issue in a long time, however, have you thought of using a live feed to reinvigorate the feeding response? I’ve had to do this with some picky eaters before. I also would recommend feeding in the cage as it will be less stressful than moving the snake to a container
My hognose was a picky hit or miss eater for 2 years after I got him. I ended up putting him in a small sterilite tub with 2 small dark cozy hides, one on the hot end and one on the cool end. And lots of clutter in between. And of course a small water bowl in the mix. Hot side around 88 to 90 degrees.
@noodlehaus suggested the clutter. She posted a picture of one of her hognose tubs to show me. My hoggie started devouring his food week after week after I added more “stuff”.
Hope this helps. Also, regurgitation is very hard on a snake and after what your girl has been through and with an enema on top of everything you may want to give her a little more rest. If you do try live I would go with a fuzzy and of course feed in the enclosure.
The setup I am suggesting is not fancy like your picture but the goal is to get your girl to eat consistently again…….
Definitely need this information before anything. A few other questions: What are your hot & cold side temps? Have you tried anything aside feeding her in a bin?
While I agree with @douglas8 that you should really try feeding in the enclosure to limit stress, I don’t think it’s time to go to live just yet. There’s many more things you can try before that’s needed.
As @caron mentioned, I’ve got experience with the picky hogs and a lot of times, it’s truly just the animal not feeling secure in their enclosure for one reason or another. For instance, while your enclosure has a lot of ground cover, there’s a lot of space up top and you’ve got all glass sides. Black paper on 3/4 of the enclosure and some foliage/branches to fill the open upper parts would probably help.
First, if you’re not feeding in the enclosure, try that. Consider leaving the mouse in the enclosure overnight if you haven’t. I know you said you tried to feed a fuzzy, but consider going down to a pinky to try to encourage a feeding response, then move back up once she’s fed.
Hello, sorry for the late response. I’ve had my female for roughly 2 years now, and she’s typically been a great eater.
Hi noodlehaus, I really appreciate your reply. Alune (the hoggy in question) has a hot side ~85°F, a basking spot of 90°F, and a cool side that’s typically mid 70s to 80°F. I’m currently taking in to consideration the idea of putting up black paper around her enclosure to make her feel a little more secure, I’m just confused by this persistant change in attitude/feeding habits from her. I’ll also look in to offering her a pinky mouse first, then working up her confidence in feeding from there. I’m grateful you’ve taken the time out of your day to help me out!
Also, I do feed in her enclosure! I attempted a tub feed to see if that would get her started but it failed. Thank you again!
Sounds like your temps are on point. Hoggies are…Temperamental at times. I went through a similar issue with an adult female who just absolutely refused food for the longest time. She’s now quite the voracious eater, but I’ve learned she’s particular about the size of her mice. You can actually try other scents to try to entice her to eat, as well. I find mine love the smell of salmon and another would only eat at first when her pinkies were dipped in egg. As long as she’s healthy and you’re monitoring her weight (if not, I suggest doing so) to make sure she’s not slimming down too much, you’ve got time to get her back on food.
Hello, I felt like I need to update everyone on the current situation concerning Alune.
She has still not eaten, I’ve currently tried rabbit and frog reptilinks, unscented pinkies, scented fuzzies and pinkies with tuna, scented fuzzies with sardine oil, and am planning on trying scented pinkies with eggs next. At this point I feel like I may need to take her in to the vet again and have an assisted feed performed on her just to get something in her system and maybe that will restore feeding confidence for her. She’s been passing urates and very infrequent/if any feces due to her fat burning. She’s gone from 89g at last feeding (April 10th, 2023) down to 85g at her last weigh-in (June 26th, 2023). I’ve also spoken with other breeders/other owners during this time and have been recommended by some to decrease her tank size down to a 20L, which I may do as well due to her possibly feeling insecure in her current 40BR set up. I’m not sure if this is the right decision quite yet, and honestly feel like aside from the tank swap, I’m nearing a brick wall with options concerning getting her to eat aside from assist feeding. I appreciate everyone’s concern and willingness to help me out as a hognose owner, these snakes are such picky buttheads sometimes but I love them dearly.
I wouldn’t say a 4g loss requires assist feeding just yet. I do, however, 100% agree with the breeders/owners you spoke to that said downsize. At 85g a 40BR is huge for her, that’s more the size you’d put a fully grown adult female in. I’ve got my adult female in an 80qt Sterilite bin and she’s gone from being a non-eater to absolute glutton.
Most definitely put her in a 15qt tub, 2 cozy hides, water bowl, uth, several inches of aspen shavings, some fake greenery, and maybe a couple of toilet paper rolls. Make her feel super safe and secure and she will eat!
UPDATE PT 2:
After taking some ideas from fellow owners, today I tried soaking a pinkie in egg yolk for Alune, and it turns out that’s what she would take! I’m pleased to announce that I’ve finally gotten her to eat something again only hours after posting my last update! I greatly appreciate everyone’s help, and hopefully this a start to a great road to growth for her!
That’s great news! Now if she will just continue on that path!
That’s great! I love hoggies dearly, but the feeding issues would be too stressful for me, I fear…
I do find it extremely interesting that the egg yolk was what finally got a reaction from her! How often would colubrids of this size be feeding on eggs in the wild, I wonder…? It’s not something I see discussed much, outside of actual (obligate) egg-eating species. I’ve definitely heard stories of chicken eggs being taken by wild snakes, on occasion…
I do not think that this snake ate the pinky because it would prefer to eat eggs if it was “in the wild” so to speak.
It was already hungry and just needed something to entice it enough to go for it.
I have one that only seems to eat if I put a tiny piece of salmon on the pinky. It would not run into many salmon on the prairie.
Most of us do not have ready access to frogs and toads or that would be the easy choice for scenting as most any wild Hognose is going to eat those in the spring.
I did see a YouTube video that SnakeDiscovery produced talking about picky Hognoses eating egg whites. The ONLY thing that ever worked for my hoggie was a tuna juice soaked whatever……
They definitely use that method regularly. Adopted a Hognose from them last year that was on egg dipped pinkies. They also use scrambled eggs + pinkie parts, too.
@noodlehaus That is interesting! And I forgot to add “clutter”and close quarters to the tuna juice!
Scrambled eggs and pinkie parts! Yuck !
It’s cool that you adopted a snake from them!