Every time I go in to feed my boa [redtail], he gets all antsy and strikes at the glass if I don’t drop the rodent in immediately.
Once in a while his jaw will…well, almost dislocate. At the front, and he looks like he has a mad overbite until he’s finished his meal. I didn’t even know he had a joint up there…:
I’ve done some reading on this and I can’t find anything on the subject.
How bad is this for Marvin? Should I exercise more caution when I bring home his dinner?
Also, last year he escaped to the house’s foundation and it took me 2 hours to work the stones out enough to free him with some vegetable oil and a turkey baster. He was fine, but a few of his scales were a little roughed up.(no bleeding, just ‘bent’) To this day, he’s still got little white areas (speckles)that serve as a reminder for me to make sure his cage clips are secure. Most self-proclaimed experts around here say that he is fine and very healthy.
I thought I’d get a more credible opinion from the Dopers.
Snakes don’t have altoghether that good eyesight…the glass is invisible to him, and since he dosen’t have a college degree, is unable to realize he cannot strike through the glass in order to get the rodent.
Don’t worry about the scarred scales…its only cosmetic damage, and causes the snake no discomfort.
If the snake ends up actually bruising itself, it could develop an infection. This would be bad.
I would suggest that you place cardboard in front of the glass before you feed the snake. That way he won’t see the rat beforehand and try to strike at it.
I’m no herpitologist or zoologist, at Zoo Atlanta there is a railing about 3 feet in front of the glass front snake cages. I was told that the railing was installed to keep people from tapping on the glass in an attempt to agitate the snake into striking. The keeper said that the skull structure of a snake is not particularly sturdy and striking the glass could cause the reptile serious injury or death. How true that is or how specie specific I do not know but I have no reason to believe that the keeper would lie.
As for the scale damage, it dies mean you’ll get less money for those snakeskin boots.
I’m not an expert but I’ve had enough experience with snakes to have some ideas.
I don’t think striking the glass hurts your snake very much if at all (although it might startle him a bit). Snakes are pretty tough and I doubt he’d be able to do much damage to himself in this fashion.
As to the dislocated jaw IIRC snakes are able to dislocate their jaws on purpose in order to swallow large prey (at least larger than their head). Even if striking the glass does pop his jaw out of place it is something he can set to rights as he pleases since it is natural for him to do so.
As to the scarring I don’t think your snake is in any discomfort ro that they are anything to worry about. I guess you’d have to ask the snake to be sure but I’ve seen plenty of snakes (wild and ‘tame’) with that sort of scarring and none of them seemed particularly worse for wear.
Of course, as with all things like this, a message board isn’t really the best place for advice like this. Seek advice from a vet or herpatologist (and not just any vet but one with specific experience in handling reptiles). I imagine you could get the questions answered by one for free and I’d trust their judgement more than mine.
Thanks for the herpadvice…now me and Marv may rest in peace. I might just try that cardboard thing tho.
I knew reptiles really couldn’t ‘recognize’ glass. I was amuzed when I set my tortoise hatchling on a pad of paper that was set upon a glass countertop. He wouldn’t move off the paper for fear of falling to the ground. Consequently, I’ve had to put stickers along the edge of his tank so he gets the hint that he can’t go through there.
Still wakes me up every morning for breakfast tho…
And BTW, Marvin doesn’t unhinge at the back of the jaw…it’s more toward the front. They don’t even have a true jaw back there…they’re held together with ligaments that can give when swallowing large prey…this was up by his lower lip.
I wasn’t sure with the scales…I was almost certain that they weren’t hurting him, but I was curious as to why they were still there.
Indeed, I’ll be asking the vet when he goes to get probed.