Possible problem with my red tail

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Possible problem with my red tail

Post  Spider Woman on Sat Apr 09, 2011 9:41 pm

I could just be over reacting or just a worried new mother, but I noticed my baby red tail had all the signs of shedding; foggey eyes, pinkish belly, etc. so I left him alone and didn't feed him. Now his eyes are almost clear again but his skin is kinda wrinkly. I was misting his cage through the screen top and he started drinking the water droplets from the screen like he was really thirsty! So I kept spraying and he kept drinking for quite awhile. So that got me worried that he might not be drinking from his water dish (don't know why he wouldn't) and he might be dehydrated instead of fixing to shed. I realized he has not deficated since I fed him a week and a half ago. (i didn't think it took that long?) So know all these things are going around in my head. I put him in the bathtub for a few minutes. He didn't appriciate that at all! His eyes are not sunkin in or anything that would make me think he was dehydrated (except for the loose sklin) but I don't know why he has kinda reversed his appearence that lead me to believe he was fixing to shed. Any ideas? This is my first boa. HELP PLEASE. Am I worring for nothing??? I put a shorter water bowl in there, maybe he didn't like his water dish. Sad and when is he going to use the bathroom?

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Re: Possible problem with my red tail

Post  Cameron on Sat Apr 09, 2011 10:24 pm

he just needs a soak. since he didn't take a liking to the last one, what i do is take a rubbermaid shoe box or something like that, punch holes in it and fill it about halfway with warm water. then i will put the snake in there and put the lid on so it has no option but to sit there and enjoy the soak.

as for the bathroom issue, he'll go when he needs to go. i wouldn't worry about it. usually takes a week or so after a good meal.

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Re: Possible problem with my red tail

Post  gatsu7 on Sun Apr 10, 2011 5:34 am

Another option is to get a pillow case and soak it in warm water, wring it out, put the snake in and tie it off. 15 to 30 minutes in there, and that old skin will come right off. This method was given to me by Dr. Minson, and has worked every time.

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Re: Possible problem with my red tail

Post  Snakeman on Sun Apr 10, 2011 5:46 am

The eyes sound like a sure sign of an upcoming shed.
Once they have cleared up, the shed is imminent.

After the shed, BE SURE to check the shed skin for
BOTH eye caps and the tip of the tail.

Most snakes will have a bowel movement when they
shed.
If he/she doesn't have a bowel movement then, please
email me.

The digestive process/length of time between bowel
movements varies and is dependent on several factors.
The cooler the snake is kept, the longer the time between
movements.
Most of my snakes take 6 to 7 days to pass a meal, but
I have a couple that take 7 to 14 days.

Don't keep your snake or the cage too wet.

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Re: Possible problem with my red tail

Post  tandy on Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:08 am

The pilllow case trick works great. I combine the two by putting the dampened pillowcase in a plastic tote to keep it damper longer. I put them in a warm room/enclosure and leave them overnight. I like the pillow case too because it ups the humidity and also acts as a soft abrasive to help them remove the old skin.

Like others here, my snakes usually defecate in 5-7 days and up to 8-10 days on the larger ones. They also have an uncanny knack of taking a huge dump just as I'm running out the door and late to something.

When I soak my large boa, I warm up the bathroom, put her in a holey Rubbermaid tote like Cameron mentioned and then fill the bathtub up to the holes from the outside to keep it warmer longer.

It may seem like a goofy thing, but I have noticed that smaller snakes will often take to an Earth-colored soak/water bowl better. I guess they think they are hidden better.

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Re: Possible problem with my red tail

Post  Snakeman on Sun Apr 10, 2011 8:04 am

Robin,

I forgot to mention this in my post above.
Over the lifetime of any snake an occasional problem shed is to be expected.
However, if you have to help a snake with the shedding process, too often, something is wrong.
A healthy snake in the proper environment should be able to shed by itself without any assistance from you more often than not.
If any of your snakes have too many problem sheds, check: 1.) the humidity in the cage; it's probably too low and/or 2.) look for mites.

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Re: Possible problem with my red tail

Post  tandy on Sun Apr 10, 2011 8:11 am

Snakeman wrote:Robin,

I forgot to mention this in my post above.
Over the lifetime of any snake an occasional problem shed is to be expected.
However, if you have to help a snake with the shedding process, too often, something is wrong.
A healthy snake in the proper environment should be able to shed by itself without any assistance from you more often than not.
If any of your snakes have too many problem sheds, check: 1.) the humidity in the cage; it's probably too low and/or 2.) look for mites.

Larry,
Thanks. I thought about that after I posted too. I deal with a lot of shedding issues because of my rescue work.
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Re: Possible problem with my red tail

Post  sbender99 on Sun Apr 10, 2011 8:47 am

If you have them in a single room, add a humidifier and a timer... I set the humidifier to go off twice each day for 30 mins each. I haven't had a bad shed since. Then you shouldn't have to worry about spraying so much (if ever). Like they said, couple bad sheds in a row is telling you something, either in your husbandry or the snake, is wrong.

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Re: Possible problem with my red tail

Post  Spider Woman on Sun Apr 10, 2011 10:32 am

Thanks for all the great info guys! I think I will try the pillow case first. One thing, do you think the undertank heating pad would be too hot since I only have the reptile carpet and not a couple inches of aspen? I've been worried about that also. And what do you think about him drinking so much from off the screen when I was misting it? It was like he was dieing (sp) for a drink. That is actually the first time I did the mist just due to trying to help him. The humidity gauge usually reads 60-70%.

I started thinking about the bathroom thing (for my red tail) because the 2 Dumeril's I brought home yesterday had ate Wed. and of course as soon as I put them in their fresh aspen bedding they both pee'd and when I got that cleaned up they pooped!! Both at the same time. I think they were paying me back for the long ride home from Stillwater or the ride shook the "crap" out of them Rolling Eyes

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Re: Possible problem with my red tail

Post  Snakeman on Sun Apr 10, 2011 10:41 am

"One thing, do you think the undertank heating pad would be too hot since I only have the reptile carpet and not a couple inches of aspen?"

What is the temperature in the cage on the end where the heating pad is located ?
The thermometer should be about 1 to 1 1/2 inches above the substrate.

Congratulations on not using particulate substrate. Very Happy

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Re: Possible problem with my red tail

Post  Spider Woman on Sun Apr 10, 2011 10:55 am

I have the therm. up higher, I was trying to get the "basking" temp, but it's usually in the mid 80's. But him laying on the surface where the heating pad is, is what I'm worried about. The only thing between him and the heating pad is the glass and the thin layer of "carpet".

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Re: Possible problem with my red tail

Post  Spider Woman on Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:10 am

The guy I got my Dumeri's from said that only one heat source is enough. That I wouldn't need to buy a heating pad for these guys? I did use aspen for them since they like to hide and that is what he had them on. Shoud I buy the heating pad for them? I was going today to get one!

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Re: Possible problem with my red tail

Post  Jimbojack on Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:21 am

I use heating pads all the time, for just about evertything. I have never had an issue with my bp getting burned but if you are worried you can get a thermostat but I havent had an issue yet.
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Re: Possible problem with my red tail

Post  Spider Woman on Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:40 am

Thanks, I used one for my BP as well but again I always use thicker substrate. For my red tail, it's the first time I've used just the thin carpet. I think I will get one for my Dumeril's too!

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Re: Possible problem with my red tail

Post  sbender99 on Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:19 pm

You may want to consider a thermostat/dimmer switch/rheostat on everything and you need a good temp gun to see what temps the snakes are getting in the tub/tank. Those temp gauges they sell aren't as accurate as a heat gun. With a heat gun you can adjust accurately the amount of juice going to your heating element. Should be 10 degree (80-90 for balls and I think red tails too) difference from the front of tank and the back of tank/tub, so the snake can effectively thermoregulate.

On a total other subject, does your snake have a large bulge in its body right before the cloaca and tail? Does it look abnormally large, then little itty bitty tail? The snake may be backed up. If so, you can try a slightly warm bath and make sure to put something in the tub the snake can rest his head on and stay above water. I'd try this and it might give you a nice present of unwelcome poop in your tub. You may also have to help it get it out by gently helping her squeeze it out over a garbage can. Usually happens from feeding the snake too big a rat or wrong temps to digest well.

Hope it helps.

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Re: Possible problem with my red tail

Post  Spider Woman on Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:28 pm

There is no buldge, I have him in a wet canvas bag right now sitting in about a 1/4 inch water to keep the bag wet. If that doesn't help the shed I will try the tupperware tub soak with the lid. I do keep one end of the take in the 80's during the day. The humidity stays between 60-70. Is that enough??

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Re: Possible problem with my red tail

Post  Snakeman on Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:52 pm

"I have him in a wet canvas bag right now."

Robin,
You said "canvas" bag.
Are you sure enough air is getting to him ?
Most canvas isn't as porous as a pillowcase.

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Re: Possible problem with my red tail

Post  Spider Woman on Sun Apr 10, 2011 8:16 pm

Well, its a thiner canvas than the money bags. It's what Matt put the Dumerils in for me to bring home. It's a miniture one. I have already taken him out with no luck. Tomorrow I am going to soak him in a container with holes and a lid. I might be jumping the gun being worried. How long does the shedding process take after the first signs? I guess the weird thing is sometime he kinda opens his mouth just a LITTLE like he is trying to get air or something, It's really weird. I need to google the humidity. What do you think about the weird drinking thing with the water on the screen. No one has really comented on it.

I really can't remember with my bp how long it took him to shed, and it's been awhile since I got rid of him. I am sooooo wanting the one in the auction. Maybe someone will get it that doesn't really want it and I can make a deal with them tongue

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Re: Possible problem with my red tail

Post  Snakeman on Mon Apr 11, 2011 4:12 am

In my opinion, for what it's worth, considering the humidity level in his cage; I'd put him back in his cage and let him shed in there.

Shedding usually doesn't start until a couple of days after the eyes become completely clear again.

If he doesn't have a good/complete shed in his cage, then you can immediately assist him with whatever method you prefer.

From time to time a snake will open their mouth to stretch/realign their jaws.
This is normal.

However, if he's doing that a lot, that's not normal and it could be a sign of a couple of problems.

Drinking drops of water from the screen is unusual.

There are species of lizards that will not drink from a water bowl and they get their water from misting or a drip system.

In my experience, I've never heard of a red-tail not drinking from a water dish.

The way you described his behaviour makes me think he was either:1.) on the verge of being severely dehydrated, or 2.) he hadn't found or can't use his water dish, which is very unlikely.

Now this is really a stretch, but during the shedding process, while a snakes eyes are cloudy, they can't see well and they don't move around much, so maybe he hadn't found his water dish ????????????

By the way, during the shedding process, a snake should not be handled any more than is absolutely necessary.
That can make the shed more difficult for them.




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Re: Possible problem with my red tail

Post  gatsu7 on Mon Apr 11, 2011 6:54 am

With the bag method, my python usually doesn't shed in the bag, so it isn't always instant. Usually, I put her in there for about 15 minutes every day, starting the day that her eyes clear up. It usually takes 2 or 3 days, and she sheds in her cage.
The good news is that you shouldn't have any shedding issues with the Dumeril's. Mine sheds perfectly every time at pretty low humidity.

Substrate:
I would definitely recommend aspen or some other type of substrate that allows burrowing for the Dumeril's boas. They love to burrow. Always bake aspen for a few minutes at 300 degrees to kill any unwanted springtails or mites.

Separate Cages:
You probably already know this, but keep the Dumeril's boas in separate cages. The only time snakes should be kept together is during breeding, and only for short periods.

Particulate Substrate Safety:
If you do use particulate substrate, it is completely safe if you feed the snakes in a separate cage that does not have particulate substrate. The risk of a snake just deciding to eat some dirt or wood is very low, and if that happened, the snake probably has some neurological issues anyway. I feed mine in acrylic containers with paper towel, then return them to their normal cages after feeding. This also keeps agression down when you are taking them out of their cage. You do not want a Dumeril's boa mistaking your hand for a rat!

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Re: Possible problem with my red tail

Post  Spider Woman on Mon Apr 11, 2011 4:56 pm

Thanks Larry and Michael

One thing is on the Dumeril's I have them TEMPORARILY in the same cage. I have put two little boxes in there and they went right in to their own seperate ones. I am praying they don't eat each other for a couple weeks until I can get another cage. I honestly didn't plan on getting two! The guy didn't want to sell them seperate.

I didn't know about heating/cooking the aspen first. I never did with my BP. Hope this time will be OK.

I have alway feed in a bucket, not in their cages. I don't really enjoy getting bit! Very Happy

Next: My red tail, I have left him alone since the first time I noticed his eyes weren't completly clear. Until they started clearing up again, and he didn't start shedding, then I got him out and put him in the bathtub (which he didn't try to drink that water either) and then again to soak him in the bag.

He wasn't opening up his mouth very wide at all that would lead me to believe it was to realign (or yawn-ha ha).

Maybe I'm just worried and jumping the gun. How long should it be from the first time I noticed his eyes and belly before he sheds to start getting paranoid? I just don't remember my BP taking so long. And like I said, I might just be over worring with my new baby! Sad

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Re: Possible problem with my red tail

Post  Cameron on Mon Apr 11, 2011 5:08 pm

Relax, Robin. No need to get worried about them. These are animals and are A LOT more hardy than most people give them credit for. I hear a lot of people who get all hung up on trying to make everything perfect and who are worried about their temps being off half a degree and if pure spring water is better or distilled water or this and that. When it comes down to it, unless you are completely negligent and don't have a clue what you are doing (like trying to feed pizza to your snake or something), it is going to be fine. These things survive out in the wild in FAR WORSE conditions that we give them. We actually (for the most part) take a lot of risk and uncertainty OUT of their lives by keeping them in captivity. I don't a hawk is going to swoop down and eat our snakes anytime soon or any other various natural occurrances that could harm them in the wild. So, basically, yes you are worrying too much! It does show you care though, which is good, but...relax. He sounds fine and if he doesn't have a good shed, so what! It happens. All you can do is work on making the next one better! Very Happy

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Re: Possible problem with my red tail

Post  Spider Woman on Mon Apr 11, 2011 5:25 pm

Ok Cameron, you do have a good point. And thanks for making me laugh, but if he's not dead or better in another week I'm bringing him to you (or someone) to examine! tongue

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Re: Possible problem with my red tail

Post  Spider Woman on Tue Apr 12, 2011 4:52 pm

He did it, He did it! Ya'll can sigh a sigh of relief now because you won't have to listen to me ramble on and whine and worry! I've learned my lesson, take a deep breath and take a chill pill. Everything was PERFECTLY intact except for the tiny tip of his tail which he is wiggling around trying to get it off. He shed sometime while I was at work today! cheers

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Re: Possible problem with my red tail

Post  Cameron on Tue Apr 12, 2011 4:55 pm

there! now you can relax! no one minds listening to you ramble...we all ramble...that's why we are here!

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