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feeding cont....

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Posted by Rich G.cascabel on January 04, 2003 at 13:45:06:

In Reply to: Re: Blacktail breeders?? posted by Blackwater on January 04, 2003 at 06:01:10:

:If you began with wild caught animals, did you have difficulty getting them to eat in captivity? If so, what techniques did you employ to encourage them to feed? What kind of feeding schedule are you maintaining them on now (for either cb or wc)? Are you brumating the adults? Do you use a wet/dry or warm/cold cycle to get them to breed? Are your animals fall/winter breeders or spring?

I am often brought problem feeders by friends and then I give them back when they are established. First I just keep them in dark secure cage and use live fuzzies. If this doesn't work I pick up roadkill wild rodents(with a plastic bag of course and freeze wel to avoid Hantiviris) If they accept these it is usually only a short time before they switch to domestic mice. With molossus and mitchelli both I have seen stubborn snakes that refuse even wild rodents. I usually try to wait them out the first year. If after hibernating them and bringing them out they don't eat I force feed. I have a 5" X 8" piece of plywood screwed onto a 3ft handle to form a "T" Onto this is glued a two inch piece of foam rubber. I use a long syringe with a ball tip needle and use a special food formulated for old dogs and cats that I buy at my vets office. It's awsome for snakes also. I can very gently pin their heads and when they open their mouths to bit defensively I quickly insert the needle and squirt the food down. It takes about ten seconds and is very safe compared to many other methods I have seen. All it ever takes for me is about two or three force feedings. I'ts almost as if the snakes know whats up and decide that eating those damned white mice is better than the tube. Feeding schedule if covered above. I hibernate Dec 1st till April 1st at about 50-55F. I have also experimented and learned that hibernation is not neccessary for molossus, but you will get more consistant results if you do. I do not worry about controlling humidity, just let nature take its course. My snakes are definately late Aug breeders. In the wild I have seen several pairs breeding starting in July and going thru Aug. They are said to breed thru Sept. Some breeders have claimed that their molossus breed in the spring and give birth that summer but I sometimes wonder if they relly ever witnessed copulation or are just speculating as birth was that summer. There has been some speculation about spring breeding in the wild also but as far as I know it is just that, speculation.

:I could go on for a few hours, and I know that many of these questions seem like I've never kept a rattlesnake before. Truth is, I've never kept a Black-tailed rattlesnake before, despite my best efforts to beg, borrow or steal some, and I want to do them right from the beginning. I am contacting an wholesaler in Florida that is supposed to have some babies for sale to see about getting a "group".... my favorite color phase is that platinum-blue color out of Texas....

Good luck and keep us posted on how it all goes!

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