Tags: husbandry

Ardhanari Naga

News good and bad.

Sorry it's been so long since I've updated over here. Been distracted on a lot of fronts.

Good news: My work is on the cover of a lovely online mag called Timeless Spirit! This is the first time my art has been officially exhibited anywhere other than my own websites, so this is very exciting and I'm so moved by the subject and theme of the mag. Appreciation. :) I love it.

More good news: Ma-tsu's nodules? Not a tumor!

The bad news: It's tape worms?? D: Oddly, dead tape worms at that...

Symptoms of tapeworm infection differ according to the location of cysts formed in the body. And symptoms may not occur for months, or even years after infection. In some cases, there are no symptoms.Cysticerci in muscles may cause no symptoms but can form lumps under the skin.

The theory now is that she (if not both she and Neptune) was wild caught. Or fed unclean rats under her previous owner. I'm so so so grateful that we discovered this before we've bred. Talk about appreciation. The vets are now debating on how to treat this. Aside from her stitches from the initial removal, Ma-tsu is doing just fine. She's eating like a pig and doesn't seem to know or care that anything is wrong. Her overall health is great, and she's even gained weight. So she's a healthy girl other than the nasty bugs that have been hiding.

We're getting her taken care of, and Neptune will be checked thoroughly to make sure he's clean too. Poor babies! The "no symptoms" thing is a blessing and a curse... good that they don't suffer but bad that it's hard to catch! This too is why captive bred is always the best option. I knew when we got these two that they weren't coming from the best source. But I was too in love to care, and wanted to give them a better environment and care. That's exactly what I'm doing.
Medusas's Owl

Hooked

I recently got the little portable expandable snake hook from http://www.beanfarm.com/, and Neptune really likes it! He's not crazy about my touching him still, but he's totally fine with the hook, very calm, I'm pleased! Highly recommended, and compacts small enough for me to carry around in my purse on the off chance I should need it. Never know, right? No? ;)

Ma-tsu still doesn't want to eat, but she's taking the medicine well and drinking plenty, cozied up on the warm side of her hide. I can't wait to get the new enclosures. If we ever do get a hold of http://www.customwoodreptilecages.com/, we'll still look to get a nice stand made to the right size. I really do adore their work. Otherwise, it looks like http://www.animalplastics.com/ has won out.

Here's a random vid of Ma-tsu getting a nice long drink to wash down her meds. I love watching snakes drink, it's so darling! Sorry the vid is so dark and the music wonky though. :P I'll try to do better next time.



Every time Ma-tsu goes into the vet though, people are curious about what's in there and even though the initial reaction is often "EWW, a snake??" soon as they peek in the bag, the reaction is "Oh wow, she's so pretty!" ^_^ Ma-tsu is such a good poster child for the "No, Srsly, snakes are sweet and gorgeous" campaign. Which reminds me, if you haven't seen Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, I don't think I've ever seen a children's movie treat snakes so lovingly!

I plan to make more items based on the Blue Gorgon tagline "Because Snakes are Beautiful." Like shirts, hats, etc. Still brainstorming that though. I'd like to use photos, but I'm not sure how to make our photos suit something like a shirt. Not sure... we shall see. Might end up just sticking with the logo. That's the underlying message of so much of what I do these days. It's all about the snake public relations and spreading the love. They're not icky horrible monsters at all, but beautiful elegant and fascinating animals. I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but already I've talked to so many people out in the world and had their perceptions shift. It's a beautiful thing to watch, and I'm honored to be a part of it.
Medusas's Owl

Progress!

I am so overwhelmed right now...

As many of you know, our male blue beauty Neptune has been a challenge from day one. Extremely poorly socialized, stressed from sharing a cage, hardly ever handled... He came to us as a big ol stressball. He only ate every so often, and he'd strike at the glass and always make a go at me when I tried to handle him. I was actually a bit intimidated at first to tell the truth, as he's quite the big boy to boot! 8 feet 3lbs of hissy antisocial nippy snake! Nothing quite like when Neptune inflates and hisses like a fire hose.

Lately, he's been eating like a pro only refusing while in shed which I can predict now and no wasted meals.

Yesterday, I changed his water while he was awake instead of while he was asleep like I usually do. Instead of striking at me or getting hissy, he just watched. Good boy!

Today I'm on poop patrol and Neptune surprisingly left a huge mess outside the humid hide, just in front of it. He normally only poops once a month when he sheds, and he just went last week. Plus it's usually IN the Humid hide which I just take out to clean. So I gather all the supplies to put him away (gloves, holding bin) and clean out the cage when I realize the mess is only on one half of the cage, and not the side he's on. It takes a couple of sheets to cover the floor of their cages, so it's not all the same sheet of kraft paper. Neptune is wide awake and watching me with his head sticking out resting on the edge of his water bowl.

So instead of wrangling him out of the cage, I go to change it out just like if it was Ma-tsu's cage. I take out stuff, take out the paper, spray stuff, clean, all with the door open and no gloves with him in it on the clean side.

Neptune just watched me! No S-formation, no hissing, no striking, just watching calmly not a foot from my bare hand!! I cleaned out his cage easily, no rushing, with him still in it! I'm seriously crying I'm so happy! Look at what a long way he's come! Wow, just wow...

Who's my special boy? He never strikes at the glass anymore, never refuses a meal... He's not at gloveless or willing handling yet, but I really think he's getting there... To think of how miserable and aggressive he was when we brought him home, and look at him now... cruising, eating, mellowing out... way to go, Neptune...!

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Medusas's Owl

Explaining "One Snake to a Cage"

I don't believe any species of snake should be housed more than one to an enclosure except briefly for breeding purposes. I have several reasons for that. Some folks get up in arms about this, or ask why I emphasize this on the caresheet when their snakes seem to get along just fine. I think it would be good to post an explanation here, so everyone knows where I'm coming from. There's multiple reasons I'm for keeping each snake in their own individual enclosure.

First, if one snake gets sick then the chances of the other getting sick is lessened considerably. If someone regurges when you're not home, or has something wrong with his fecal droppings, you'll know for sure which one it was. If they're sharing an enclosure, you can never be sure and have to pay to take 2 or 3 snakes to the vet instead of one! And buying another enclosure is generally way cheaper than vet bills, believe you me. ;)

Second, snakes are solitary creatures by nature. They don't get lonely or like company. What may look like cuddling together is actually dominance behavior and stresses the snakes, which makes them more susceptible to illness and going off feed, etc. They compete for the "best" spots by piling on top of each other. So even though they might not be biting each other they're still fighting in a way. Usually one snake ends up being the dominant and more healthy one, and the other is the more submissive and ultimately miserable snake. And I like my snakes to be as happy and stress free as possible, no matter how cute the piling can be.

And third, but least likely, is the possibility of cannibalism. I've been amazed at how that can happen even with snakes like corns or ball pythons, snakes you'd never expect to eat each other. It's rare, but it can happen, and I'm an alarmist by nature and prefer to play it safe.

So, even if you gave them a whole lot of room to run around in (and VBBs are very active, they would take full advantage of it!) you'd likely still find them often in one corner sulking together over who's the top snake, or find you have to take all of them to the vet over one illness, or worst case scenario... find yourself with one very fat snake with somebody else missing.

If something *could* be bad for my snakes, I prefer to avoid the risk altogether. It's safer and easier in the longrun.

Happy herping!
Medusas's Owl

Busy busy busy

Wow, lots to catch up on. We got a new camera, so the quality of snake pics on here is about to improve big time! I'm also switching to Indented Kraft Paper as a substrate, because I hear good things. If it works out well, then I'm going to add it onto the VBB caresheet. I'm in the middle of a bunch of projects, including revamping the Blue Gorgon gallery and index page a bit. Busy busy! I've also gotten addicted to youtube, so snake videos shall ensue as well.

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Medusas's Owl

Our Resident Goddess

Just finished cleaning out Ma-tsu's cage... I swear, that girl blows me away. She poked her head out while I was digging for buried treasure on the other end of her enclosure. She got curious and headed out and over, inspecting everything and blowing little snake kisses over my hands. So sweet. While she inspected that newly cleaned side, I moved to clean the other end where she'd been napping before I started. Ma-tsu buries her droppings almost like a cat would, never in plain sight or where it might offend her while she's cruising or lounging. Always under the substrate. She starts to climb up and out while I'm changing her water. Ratsnakes can move *really* fast when they want to, but Ma-tsu just never does. Slowly cruising along the lip of her tank. She leans up to look me in the face and flicker her tongue at me. I give her a brief chin rub, then go back to finishing up.

Then she starts cruising toward points unknown, at which point I do gently scoop her up and wrap her around me. I haven't done this for a while just being paranoid of her potential eggs, but I'm letting her be the judge of what she can and can't do. It's been too long... she feels amazing. My eyes even teared up, she feels so good both physically and psychologically. It's just such an amazing thing to experience, this surreally beautiful 8 foot snake who I trust completely and she trusts me... her sweet face, and amazing skin, wrapping her tail around me. *blissful sigh* I finished cleaning and she decided to head back inside to chill in her humid hide. The end of her tail wrapped around my head like a headband for a moment *chuckles*

Damn, I love this snake. I love all my babies to bits, but Ma-tsu... she's... she's magic. I feel blessed just to get to watch her, let alone have her as part of the family. Unreal.
Medusas's Owl

Shy Neptune

Wow, Neptune is feeling tons more secure in his new smaller hide! The Beauties seem to love these Creature Cubbyholes, and have pushed around the substrate just underneath it to make perfect lil hideouts for themselves. You so often see Neptune all puffed up and full of himself, but he really just has a scared sensitive inner neonate he's trying to keep hidden. This pic captures that beautifully. See him? SO cute.



Feeding day went swimmingly, I might add. First I fed Ma-tsu, and she came up and out as soon as I lifted the lid. She's been itching to come out for cuddles, but I've been reluctant to handle her too much due to ovulation. Just paranoia probably, but I want to be extra gentle with her. I wriggled the f/t rat with the tongs back down inside her enclosure and she was quickly interested but reluctant to give up her moment of freedom. So she played "hunter from above" for a bit before I got bored with wriggling it and as she saw I didn't want to play anymore, she went ahead and took it in her mouth. Clever girl! She just wanted the attention. ;) Once she got the rat mostly down, I scooped the coils she'd left on the top of her enclosure, and put them gently back inside. She gave me a sulky look, sniffed around for seconds, then eventually retired to her hide to work on digesting.

I was prepared for a long sit in of zombie rat dances for Neptune, as it usually takes him ages to creep out of his hide and strike, if he does it at all. This was the first time feeding him with the new hide. I opened the enclosure, put the mouse down in front of his hide, wriggled it and BAM strike and coil!! Wow! Way to go Neptune! He "killed" the dead rat coiling for a bit, looked up to make sure noone would interrupt (I always keep my distance when he eats, so he'll feel more secure), and ate like a good boy. I'm thinking I'm going to take the old hide instructions off the caresheet, because wow. Smaller hide definitely better! I've *never* seen him eat so quickly or confidently! That's my boy. :)