Getting HazMat to Eat

As many of you know Erica and I got a baby Green Tree Python at the end of October named HazMat. She was FedEx overnighted from Miami, FL. This trip and transition is very stressful for the snake, so typically it can take some time before they will eat. We started trying to get her to eat about 1 week after we got her with no luck. We tried holding the mouse in front of her and leaving it in the cage overnight. We tried pinkies and fuzzies. We were thinking that us moving around and the size of her cage was stressing her out so we put her into a smaller cage inside of her big cage with cloth wrapped around the smaller cage so she couldn’t see us. Still no luck.

One night I was researching on the internet and found some videos on YouTube of someone tease feeding some pit vipers ( I saw from this that he was rubbing the mouse on the snake, hitting them on the head and on the tail, etc. I decided to give this a try with HazMat. I was able to get a few strikes this way but she ended up just leaving her current branch and going to another one. So I gave up for the evening thinking I was stressing her out too much.

After a while we moved her back into her big cage because she seemed to like that better. We were gone for 5 days for Thanksgiving and the Monday after Thanksgiving we decided to try again. I had a live pinky that just started to get it’s hairs on the end of some 18 inch forceps. I put it right under her head and we started to see the tongue flickering and the tail moving. After a minute or so she started to act disinterested and moved her head to the other side of the branch. So I started rubbing the pinky on her tail and on her body. I didn’t get any strikes this time but she did move to another branch on the complete opposite side of the cage. Erica at this point said that she’d been stress free for like 5 days while we were gone and to keep going and really try to tick her off. So while at the new branch I started doing the same thing and she was getting mad. I got three strikes and then I got a strike and a wrap. I let go of mouse with the forceps and the mouse fell to the ground, she must not have had a good enough hold. So I tried again, this time I got a strike, wrap and a hold!!

She stayed wrapped and completely still for at least 5 minutes. We got tired of waiting, so we closed the cage up and started watching TV. Every once in a while we’d look back and notice she was moving just a little bit and eventually we looked back and she had a small tail sticking out of her mouth. She had eaten!!!


She has eaten a few more times since this post. We have some video’s of one of her recent feedings; MOV05251.MPG and MOV05252.MPG.