Two boys will be oh so upset with me. Clyde didn’t as refused to take freeze / thaw mice since we got him. He’s now gone two weeks without food. I talked to Josh, who said, “Let’s put a live mouse in there and see what he does”. He stops over with a live hopper from the local pet shop, We pull everything out of the vivarium and drop dinner in. Clyde immediately picked up on the mouse and decided that seemed like a tasty little morsel. a couple of minutes later, Clyde’s got a full belly, I’m less worried about the snake not eating and the boys are going to be upset they missed it. But man, it’s amazing to watch a predator hunt its prey.
I took my boys to a friends house to witness his snakes feed. To say they were excited is an understatement. They got to see his corn snake take a freeze/thaw mouse and his ball python take a small live rat. My older boy decided at that point, He wanted a snake. Badly. My friend had an old tank and hide which he gave to Merlin. Who then saved his allowance for two months so he could purchase the snake and other paraphernalia. My younger son Connor, also saved his allowance for a pet as well, though he hadn’t quite thought through the snake as well.
September 28, the big day!
We (my friend Josh, my boys, and I) went to valpo for the exotic animal show, only to find out it had been cancelled the week prior. After about five seconds, we decided to make the trip to merrillville and see what the pet stores there had. With three largeish stores right on thirty, surely we can find something. PetCo had a snow-morph cornsnake that Merlin thought was pretty fantastic. Active, but not aggressive. He had situated himself on the tank thermometer. He picked this guy out and set about getting the other stuff required. Excited, Merlin named him Clyde, after Josh’s pet ball python. Connor didn’t see anything he wanted.
On the way home, Josh wanted to make a quick trip into Pet Supplies Plus, so we popped in there. That’s when Connor found a betta. He picked up the betta and supplies. Not only was the ten gallon cheaper than the Betta Bowl, but he said he wanted to get more fish. While I understand and agree with the logic behind the decision. Seeing a ten gallon aquarium for one little beta was hilarious nonetheless. Connor got Squidward’s house for Dragon, his new betta.
Josh helped Merlin setup the vivarium, while I helped Connor prepare the fish tank. While Dragon was coming to temp, we got a mouse for Clyde and tried to feed him. He didn’t take the mouse, but it was an eventful day for him, so we weren’t too worried about it. Dragon did well, ate his food and generally acted like a happy little betta, swimming in and out of his new home. The next day, everything went smoothly with Dragon, but Clyde continued to not eat. Josh brought over a resin hide he had from when his guys were small, and we put that in with Clyde, in addition to a pirate ship birdhouse Merlin made. Sunday night, we pulled the mouse out of the tank and figured we would try again Tuesday.
When the boys aren’t with me, I get to monitor the animals. Clyde was active if I picked him up, but otherwise laid in his hide. The temperature of the house tends to vary quite a bit over the course of the day. So it got down to about 65 at night. We dropped the heat lamp down to keep it warm at that end of the tank. He refused food again on Tuesday. I wasn’t sure if the pinkies were too big for him(he was a little guy). So the following Monday, I put some crickets in there, only to find out that while the crickets didn’t like Clyde, he wasn’t interested in them either. I noticed a grey mass about two and a half to three inches down his body. I talked to a Josh, and we relaxed a bit because it seemed he decided a cricket was food.
October 11 the next visit
The Saturday after the boys came home, we tried feeding Clyde a mouse again. This time we poked a hole in it’s head after we warmed it up. He again didn’t eat the mouse. Merlin and I talked about it some. And we decided to take Clyde back up to PetCo. While in the wild, snakes will go for a couple of weeks between meals, Petco only had a fifteen day return policy and this was now three weeks without food for the guy.
Sunday we drove up to Merrillville, and the resident snake guy was there(I wish I remember his name, he has a biohazard tattoo on his forearm and brought in his pet red tail boa). He took one look at Clyde and said, “stomach rot”. The guy put Clyde back in the tank and told us that the treatment was to use a syringe to pop and drain the growth. It’s considered surgury, so PetCo won’t let them treat it, so it will probably be fatal. The only other cornsnake in stock was an albino morph that also had the same gray internal discoloration. So we apparently Clyde was ill when we got him.
The good news was that they had a 50% off sale on snakes that day. Merlin looked at the ball pythons which according to the gentleman generally work better as they are hardier than corn snakes. The looked at a few and picked a docile one rather than one apt to bite. Connor wanted to get another fish, so he got a filter, a small Squidward statue, and an emerald cory catfish.
The vivarium seems to stay about 75 degrees now, which is better, but not quite warm enough. Merlin will have to look at getting a tank heater soon.
The aquarium is cool, Wintertime in Northern Indiana means water gets chilly. it started clouding up, which means a bacterial bloom is happening. did a quarter water change last night, and will keep an eye on it. Connor will probably be purchasing some aquatic plants to make sure nitrogen/nitrate/nitrite levels stay low without having to change the water regularly.