Monday, September 26, 2011

Hatchling Issues

Well, as in every season of breeding, one gets hatchlings (hopefully). When you are lucky enough to have viable hatchlings, the next step is to get them going.

And sometimes, it just doesn't work.

Here are some problems that one finds as a breeder.

1) Non-Feeders:

Some critters have extra yolk to absorb compared to others, and therefore don't need to eat for a few weeks after being hatched out. This is the best scenario, as they just are fatties getting a little less fat before switching from the mother's "milk", so to speak. Other situations become apparent when babies are skinny, you can see their spines, and they just have no interest in any food item.

How do you resolve this issue? Assist feeding. Pre-kill a small prey item (mouse hoppers tend to be a good choice) and put it into the mouth. Usually this is enough of a stimulant to allow for a response, and the snake swallows. Sometimes it is not enough even then, and the animal doesn't respond to anything. In this case, water and patience is the only way to go. Force-feeding should be a last resort, and is not fun for anyone.

2) Problems:

I just had an animal pass away that did not appear to have a well functioning digestive tract. Her stomach and vent area were bloated, and the material did not pass quickly if at all. She ate fine, but eventually succumbed to the lack of regular body flow and passed.  Other animals hatch out with kinks, physical problems, and even missing parts. These are par to the course when dealing with live animals, and it should be something that you as a breeder are aware of. It's again, not fun... but it happens. And you have to come to terms with it.

3) Non-Shedders:

This is a small problem for some, and honestly, it is not that big of a deal depending on the situation. Shiny babies are cute and all, but if they stay shiny, there may be a physiological problem with them that you can't see other than the lack of shedding. The best bet is to treat them like normal, and when they grow by feeding and age, they will eventually shed out, given there are no other hidden issues.

So what do you look for in problem babies?

Well, as I just addressed..

-Bloating, digestive issues, lack of waste passing
-Color change... (If your baby goes from a white belly to a yellow, this is not a good sign)
-Poor muscle tone/movement (If your baby can't move well, that is also a bad sign)

If any of these are the case, you need to put that critter on watch. If you are concerned, take it to a qualified reptile vet. All of these things are things to do to keep your babies healthy and thriving. Do all you can do make it so.

But realize in the end, there are sometimes fights you just can't win.

Have a great day, my friends.


Chelsea Dawn Boocks said...

Dealing with two nonfeeder hatchlings right now. (Got two hatchlings from an expo for a price I and boyfriend couldn't turn down). Gonna wait them out another 5 days or so and try again before assisting. Here's to hoping. *sigh*

Bryan said...

I have found a good method for non feeders is put them and food in a paper bag for a bit. Has worked like a charm for most of my non-feeding colubrids and a few BP's. Just something else to try before assisting.