Saturday, July 24, 2010


Here's a new project I want to keep you updated on.
This is a 3 year old female ghost Honduran milk snake. The ghost morph is a actually a combination of two other morphs: hypomelanistic (reduced black pigment) and anerythristic (lack of red pigment). It's a pretty common combination nowadays. What makes this snake different though is her condition. You may notice from the picture that she is tiny for her age and extremely thin. She weighs only 75 grams (I have a 2 year old Honduran that weighs over 500 grams) and shows signs of dehydration. She also hatched with some unusual lumps in her body which have remained.
Why is she in such poor condition? This snake is both a problem feeder and a chronic regurgitator. The previous owner had trouble getting her to feed and when she did, she often regurgitated. Throwing up a meal is very difficult on a snake's digestive system, draining the animal of fluids and bacteria necessary to properly break down food.
I received this snake from a friend who hatched her and eventually grew tired of working with her. Rather than euthanize the snake, he (and I) wanted to try and give her a chance. After all, the poor little thing has struggled for 3 years; it would be a shame to give up on her now.
This snake is known for accepting only live prey and she throws up anything that has hair! This prevents her from eating anything except pinkies (newborn mice and rats). A few days after I brought her home I offered her a pre-killed mouse (not a pinky). She ate the mouse! A few days later my heart sank when she threw up the mouse. I waited a week or so and tried again with the same results. At least she was eating...there was that.
After giving her a few more days to rest, I offered her a live pinky rat. She took it and kept it down. That brings us to today. A few minutes ago I placed two pinky mice in her cage and she ate them both. Let's hope they stay down.
I'll post periodic updates on her progress. Wish me luck.

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