Saturday, August 18, 2012

Feeding a Snake

Leo, the beautiful kingsnake in my guest room, needs to be fed two mice once every two weeks. His owner, the herpetologist who brings Leo to the reptile show at Tohono Chul Park, feeds him live mice, but correctly assumed I would not want to do that, so he left me a plastic bag of frozen mice. I thaw two out, wait till they reach room temperature, and place them in Leo’s cage. He will not eat in my presence, however.

Here is a video of my attempt to capture the very interesting process by which a snake swallows something larger than its head. I explained this and have a video showing it in a small way in my post on the nightsnake eating a lizard.

Leo sniffing dead mouse

This poorly-lit video still gives you a sense of how terrifying it must be to be a mouse when a snake is approaching. Leo was obviously interested in the mouse, but kept backing off because I was there. I left him alone, and when I came back, the mouse was gone, and Leo had a bulge in his body just above the bulge of the previous mouse.

The next time I checked the cage, Leo was curling up in his water dish. The first time I fed him he soaked for eight hours; this time he was only in there for about three. Leo bathing 7-5-2012 8-22-34 AM 1471x1411






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  1. It was the live mice that my cat wanted when she let the snake out. I'm just as glad the snake was too shy to eat in front of you.

    1. Yes, my cats have shown no interest in the mysterious guest behind the closed door, but when the mice are thawed and awaiting consumption there's a lot of sniffing around. They have a very strong odor, and presumably live mice do too.

  2. Anonymous5:52 AM

    Very interesting. When does Leo's other keeper return? S

    1. I think he'll be back in two or three weeks. Even though Leo and I haven't interacted much, I will miss him. If I see another baby kingsnake on the porch or in the dining room, I am so going to keep it.