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I have had my corn snake for approximately 5 years now. He is normally a very good feeder, strikes for his food and eats well (I feed him one jumbo mouse approximately every 12-14 days).

He usually only stops eating for maybe around a month during this time of year (march-april), so when he did the same this year, initially I didn't worry. However, it has been 2 months now and he is still showing no interest at all in any food. I have tried warming the mouse in warm water before offering it to him, making a small cut in it to make it smell more appeasing to him, but still no interest.

However, although looking a bit thinner and weighing less, he is still very active and acting completely his normal self otherwise. I'm just not sure how long I should wait with him not eating before I should start worrying and get him seen by a vet? Any help would be really appreciated. Thank you in advance :)

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  • @Rebecca Thanks I will try the shavings idea. So far he has lost approximately 10% of his weight. The last last time he was screened for intestinal parasites was about a couple of years ago, which came back clear, but he hasn't been screened recently.
    – Hannah
    Mar 30 '17 at 6:30
  • I almost didn't see this, you mis-tagged me lol. Yes 10% is quite a bit for our exotic pets. If he still doesn't want to eat I would go to an exotics vet. What are your temps and setup like, something might be off. Mar 30 '17 at 22:58
  • @RebeccaRVT (I hope I managed to tag ok this time! lol), he's still being stubborn and refusing to eat. He's in a 3ft viv, with a temp that stays between 26-27c at the warm end / basking area, and a temp of 24c maintained at the cooler end. I was worried that 10% weight loss is quite a bit for him to lose, so I may take your suggestion and make an appointment with my exotics vet...
    – Hannah
    Mar 31 '17 at 16:04
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Something else you can try is to get some shavings from a live mouse enclosure. If you go to the pet store they should give you some, nice and smelly. Then place the thawed mouse in the shavings. I've had a few people use this trick in my pet store working days.

We only start to worry once we see weight loss, as you know some snakes may not eat during certain seasons. I see a lot of ball pythons and bearded dragons go without food during winter months, this can range from 1-3 months with no weight loss.

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When to start worrying?

It depends at bit on the animal. If they are adult, they can easily go a few months without food. At some point they might start losing weight. Even then, they should be fine until they really become thin. Snakes have a very flexible digestion system, allowing for long times without food. Once the snake becomes so thin that its spine forms a ridge (rather than being encapsulated with muscle), that's the moment to start worrying. With adults, it can easily be half a year or longer before it gets to this point. The seasonal hunger strike isn't any danger for that really.

For babies, it's a bit different, because they don't have the reserves adults have, and they need the food to grow. Even then, they can survive longer without food than you might expect. I would say a month or 2 really should be the time to start worrying though.

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