Feeding Attempt #2. Spoiler alert: Success!

Saturday Sept 6

snake_rat_bw1000

With the tank temperatures and gradient warmer and more stable I decided to have another go at feeding the python. At 7:30 the heat lamps switch to night mode (from white to red lamp) so I started prepping dinner. Put his dinner in a zip lock bag, and that in a paper cup. Fortunately the water comes out of the tap here at over 100F which is ideal to simulate live prey. Once the rat pup was nicely warmed up, I picked it out of the plastic bag with 10” tongs and waved it in front of the snake’s hide doorway. Nothing was happening so then I lifted the front of the hide a little bit and put it back down.. Either the snake saw or got a whiff of the prey because seconds letter its head was poking out, tongue flicking the air. He crawled further out as I dangled the rat just out of reach.  A minute or two passed and I thought maybe it was going to pass up another meal when BAM! It reached out and struck, biting into and wrapping around its dinner.

Then things got even more interesting. The snake had sunk its teeth into the side of the rat pup and it tried vainly to swallow it down but of course that was impossible. Eventually it dared release its death grip and curled around to…oh oh, it had swung its head around to the rat’s back end and now tried to eat it from behind. This proved to be very tricky because it could get one leg in its mouth but the other leg stuck out and prevented any further swallowing. I wanted to help but knew I couldn’t do anything but watch. The snake would not quit and after several attempts finally managed to get both feet and the entire back end of the rat inside.  And then there was another problem! I use shredded coconut husk as substrate (bedding) and a small piece, maybe ¼” x ¼”, was stuck on the rat and lodged between it and the snake’s upper jaw, and it was stuck. I decided to intervene and slowly moved in with the tweezers and plucked the little chunk of coconut shell out of the snake’s mouth.

Then it was just a matter of seconds until the whole rat disappeared and moved down the snake’s body.

The python looked around as if it could easily handle another morsel but I thought that was enough adventure for one night! And I just want to observe that it keeps this meal down.

I know I’m anthropomorphizing but it looked like the snake strutted around for a while, king of its little domain. Then he went back into the hide, head bravely poking out and looking around for any more intruders who might dare to cross his path.

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