Friday, January 22, 2010

What kind of problems have I seen?

As long as I have been breeding and caring for Ball Pythons, I have seen a few problems happen in the collection.

I have had Mites, Respiratory Infections, Belly Rot, and rat injuries. In terms of breeding, I've had twisted umbilicus in the egg, dead babies in the egg, and females that have egg binding issues.

Most of these are preventable, and thru learning and experiencing them, I have to say I feel more prepared and ready for problems.

Death is also a big part of the problem arena.

Babies that just decide not to eat sometimes happen, severe bodily injuries, as well as the random death of an animal due to internal issues.

I have had deaths in the collection, but I always have necropsies done to find out what the problems are.

Over the past five years, I have only lost four animals.

One necropsy that was performed informed me that the animal in question had a liver issue, and would have died no matter what I did.

I have heard of people dropping animals and breaking their spines. I have heard of feeder rats eating snakes when left in too long. I have heard of severe belly rot and skin issues becoming necrotic and killing the animal. I have heard of deaths due to mites dehydrating an animal to the point of no return. Respiratory infections that get too deep set, and are too far involved can kill a ball python as well.

So death is a part of working with the animals.

And as the caretaker of the animals, you need to be on top of these problems. Be cautious and aware, and treat animals pre-emptively.

Be friends with your Vet. He or She will be your go-to person.

And of course, problems are going to happen.

So here are a few things I have learned from my own experiences with problems:

-Pretreat any incoming snakes for mites, whether or not you see mites on them.
-Be aware of the feeder rodents you feed if you feed live. Rats will fight back, and can do damage. The larger the rat, usually the more fight in them, and the more damage they can do.
-Hissing and popping can be signs of a problem. Keep a very close eye on animals that make funny noises.
-Get your husbandry spot on, and make sure that your humidity isn't too high in one area and too low in another. This will cause problems.
-Eggs are complicated, and treat them nicely, but know that not all of them will survive, no matter what you do.

So there you go.

Did I scare you off yet?

Don't worry, that's why I tell you these problems! So that you can forgo them and enjoy your collection without stressing out as much.

Remember this, my friends...

You are doing this to create new life. To make more beautiful animals. So take care of them as well as you can, and when you can't, ask for help. There are people out there that can and will help you, including me!

And I am going to end this weeks blog by sharing a breeding photo of the POG with a Het female.


Have a great weekend, my friends.


Royal Morphz said...

Man this weeks blogs have definitely taught me things and inspired me too. Thank ya Heather.


Krystal said...

Thank goodness almost all of those problems are preventable. If something were to happen that I couldn't've done anything about, I can live with that. But if something I did caused pain and suffering...that's hard to get over.

I was looking at TSK's birthing records once, and in one season at least two of their breeder females died shortly after laying. I got scared, wondering how common this was and if there were any way to prevent it.

I think my biggest hurdle will be when the first snake in my collection dies. That's going to be terribly difficult to get over, even if it's not my fault. I realize that's just part of it, but...they're my kids....

*crosses fingers for POGs for you*

Again, thank you for being so open with us about these issues!