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Topic: did i just find a Slowinski's corn snake?

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I live in the Ozarks. More specifically, Van Buren County. A family of snakes have been living in my house and I saw a picture of a Slowinski's Cornsnake and I thought!! that's the one!! It has the same belly pattern as described. But apparently there was only two reported cases of these snakes being in Arkansas? And it was on the lowest parts of the state. Plus the snake is a juvenile. So now I'm not too sure?

Also- it was caught, as shown, on a sticky pad (we had a mice problem.. thus the snakes like it here!) !! We got the poor baby off with vegetable oil, and I do not see any immediate injuries but I know for a fact the baby lost some scales. Whenever it was introduced to water, it immediately went in for a drink even though it had many towering humans over it and had been handled.

What should I do? I have it in a secured tub and having a heating pad under it with a water and newspaper substrate. I had a few little cardboard tubs and a box for the baby to hid in. I also have a spare heating lamp I am setting up for the baby as well. I can more than likely get any antibiotics or things to put on its scales. When or should I release it?

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Re: did i just find a Slowinski's corn snake?

https://68.media.tumblr.com/f955a276bb0659cef4d4520ae65d6584/tumblr_on86vuOQzq1vm2dqpo2_500.jpg
this is a blurry pic of their head! if you need any more pictures I can take them!

3 (edited by caro 2017-03-22 02:50 pm)

Re: did i just find a Slowinski's corn snake?

What I would do:  keep it for release on a slightly warmer day (tomorrow or Friday looks good, about 70*) IF he's ok?...keep a bowl of drinking water in cage, he's obviously dehydrated.

Be careful not to overheat the cage you have him in...I don't know what experience you have so forgive me for stating the obvious...but only warm maybe a fourth of the cage
using the UTH (under tank heat).  Corn snakes do best around "room temp." (70-75* ambient with a little more heat as an option).  Don't use the heat lamp, you don't want to cook him.
The UTH should not be hotter than upper 80's, by the way...most put out too much heat (which can harm reptiles)  but can easily be plugged into a cord with a lamp dimmer though, &
regulated so they are warm to touch, but not hot.  (remember we are 98.6*...so what feels cool or barely warm to us may be hotter than you think for a snake...accurate readings with
some type of thermometer helps)   Pay attention to what area of the cage (ie. what temperatures?) the snake prefers, to better know what he wants & needs.

From those pictures I cannot assess the scale damage, but if the skin isn't broken, don't worry about it.  IF the skin is broken, you can dab on a little antibiotic
ointment like Neosporin  (but ONLY the kind without "pain relief") to help healing.  Goes without saying you should allow this snake to rest with privacy, no handling.

IF the skin is broken & you do treat him with ointment, you might want to delay his release by a few days so he can heal better...especially if he seems to be resting ok in captivity.

And for pete's sake, quit using glue traps.  They are horrible for reptiles & such...many die before you can find them, or later of injuries sustained anyway. 

Thanks for helping this guy...he's beautiful & I hope he makes it.   And please let the snakes do the mouse-catching....glue traps often catch the wrong animals.

4 (edited by frogboy 2017-03-22 03:15 pm)

Re: did i just find a Slowinski's corn snake?

I wouldn't be using gluetraps if the house wasn't mine, but I'm a teenager in custody my grandma- I'll let her know but she's not very empathetic. I wasn't handling the poor guy either- it was another family member who claims to be Good With Snakes but she's definitely not the best.

I have him in my quiet room but its very very chilled since its such an old house. (its in the 60s in my room, I still have to use an electric blanket and its spring!) I have the heating pad (which is just one of the cheaper 18$ ones that don't get too hot) on a portion under the tub! and the heating bulb is not sitting on top of the tub- it is about 12 inches above it and hardly doing much.

I had the tub wrapped up since I thought it would reduce stress (of our feet and movement since the baby is on the ground.) I looked into corn snake care and I figured it would need to know if it's night or day before it gets too disorientated, so I removed the towel since I'll be leaving later in the day, but I might be silly for thinking that.

I won't be home to release the guy but my grandmother plans to release him around an abandoned trailer where she thinks are a lot of mice!

I send pictures of what I think may be damaged since I'm not very good with snakes. I'm lucky I have tortoises and amphibians so I have somewhat the right materials needed for immediate care!'

edit: right now he's curled up in one of the tubes (on top of the heating pad)!! i don't want to disturb him for pics. I believe he didn't have any broken skin from what I recall.

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Re: did i just find a Slowinski's corn snake?

Good job!  I understand the glue traps may not be your doing, & that efforts to change anyone's mind may be beyond your control.  I also know that you (or someone) HAD to
"handle the snake" to get him off the trap.  I just meant don't do any more handling than necessary...he might have broken ribs from the process...they break very easily.

Your heating pad sounds ok;  the light is probably doing very little...most snakes don't like bright lights (diurnal racers like coachwhips are one exception) & there is likely more than
enough light in the room for the snake to have a sense of day-and-night.  Heat rises, so a light that is 12" above is doing very little, but I was concerned that you may have put the
light right on the screen, where it can build up way more heat in the cage than you intend...especially a temporary cage where you may not have a temperature reading. 

I actually agree with your hunch to wrap up the cage to minimize his stress...at least to block his view of people moving around (if it's a glass or clear plastic enclosure?).

I'm very glad the damage just appears to be on the surface of his scales & hopefully nothing seriously wrong internally.  (-you probably won't be able to tell, and like you, I'll be
"crossing my fingers" for his recovery)   

I'm very glad you already keep tortoises & amphibians...I suspect you'd make a good snake-keeper too....thank you again for doing all you can for this snake.  Good job!

6 (edited by frogboy 2017-03-22 04:39 pm)

Re: did i just find a Slowinski's corn snake?

Thank you for your advice! I did wrap up part of the clear, plastic tub where the corn snake would be able to see others but I kept the side that can see the window clear. And the light is the red light heating bulb! I don't know for sure but he can't see that light right? And I didn't think about the heat rising! I can't afford to lower it anymore so I hope he won't be too chilled.

Speaking of ribs!!! I'm actually very scared that the guy may have broken ribs. I didn't type this part because I forgot to mention it !! It was at night so I don't know what happened? Apparently this guy crawled into my grandmothers bed and she thought it was a mouse so she slung it off. This morning when she found the snake she "realized" it was him who she slung off. Now, this bed is really high up (bed wise..-about 3ft+ up) so if he fell off the bed I don't think he would be as active.. or even dead? Just a hunch. But he did manage to get himself caught on the sticky pad promptly after. Or- that may have actually been a mouse all along!

It's sad to say but I hope it was just the mouse and not the snake. If it was though, I'm not sure what to do. My local vet is very bad from what I have heard and that's just for dogs and cats! I could probably get him to Little Rock but that would be a lot of stress on him since the person I live with that goes to Little Rock is very bad with her animals and doesn't have the sense to not startle him or to be quiet and not shake him around.

Thank you so much for reading! I'm basically on a rant at this point. I'm so happy you were able to help me, so quickly as well!! I'm in your debt. I want the best for the beautiful baby as well!

edit; i never clarified but i do have a weighted food bowl with shallow drinking water in it!

7 (edited by caro 2017-03-22 05:29 pm)

Re: did i just find a Slowinski's corn snake?

By the way, my expertise is on herpetoculture (keeping & breeding snakes) so hopefully someone else here can offer an opinion as to whether or not this is actually a Slowinski's corn. 
Chances are that it's not. 

Snakes can see the light from a red bulb, but it's less bothersome than a bright white light.  If you have a thermometer (like a room thermometer) that you could put in the cage to see
how warm or cool it is (without disturbing him) that would be helpful.  But I suspect that the snake is comfortable where you described him...curled up on the tube over the heat pad.

Snakes fall from various heights...sometimes they get hurt, sometimes not.  Broken ribs:  there is nothing a vet could or would do. (unless the snake was so clearly suffering & unable
to survive that euthanasia would be the right thing to do, & from what you describe, that's NOT the case)  Many years ago I had a snake given to me that was a w/c (wild caught) that had healed-over broken ribs from before it was in captivity...it lived many healthy years with me.  His damaged ribs healed over but always had a visible caved-in appearance, and I kept his
handling to a minimum just in case...I never used him in any of my snake programs.  The main risk from broken ribs is that before they are healed in place, they can move and poke into
and puncture nearby vital organs (causing lung collapse, heart failure, internal bleeding, etc).  Once they are healed in place, even if a little 'caved in', it's usually something a snake can live with.  It's tricky to even tell if a snake has broken ribs:  in the snake that I had, it was only obvious when he moved a certain way. 

I can certainly 'forgive' your grandmother for flinging off any critter that crawled in bed with her, LOL.  Most people would react the same way:  a snake would feel cold to the touch, while
a rodent would feel soft & warm...but in a "sleep-fog", I'm not sure how many people would make a correct observation & guess as to what it was, nor would it matter.  I'm pretty sure I
wouldn't fling off a snake, but most would.  Poor snakes...they get such a bad rap.  They are shy & not out to bite us, and they do us a great service in rodent control.

Most vets who only treat dogs & cats will not be helpful for a snake, but you'd have to ask them.  Before I got into snakes many years ago, I assumed that all vets like all animals...just
as I do.  But there are plenty of vets who hate or are scared of snakes, and the medical care is very different for reptiles anyway...most drugs are toxic to them that are used for dogs &
cats.  A long trip to Little Rock would also add a great deal of stress to this snake...so I'd have to say that a vet trip would likely not help.  I wish we were closer, I can tell quite a bit by watching how a snake moves or how it reacts to food...but unless you're heading to Baxter County, your best bet is to just let him rest as long as you can, with water to drink, and then
release him in a good place with cover.  Fortunately the weather now is pretty mild.

And by the way, my favorite snakes are the various kinds of "rat" snakes...and my household currently includes 5 corn snakes.  I've bred & kept MANY over the years.

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Re: did i just find a Slowinski's corn snake?

My expertise (as my username suggests) is frogs. Not necessarily raising them in captivity, but I do if I can't release them! I can't imagine not constantly worrying about humidity levels hah. I've taken in some poor Russian Tortoises from a terrible terrible owner so I'm slowly getting introduced to reptiles! I've always been interested though. I was thinking, when I had a more stable income, of owning a ball python. I haven't heard of any breeders here though and .. you know how Petsmart and Petco is. I saw a banana morph for only 80$! There must be something wrong there. I feel terrible for all animals in there. I've seen a dried up dead green tree frog in one of the enclosures in the Conway Petsmart. ANYWAYS- Sorry.

Honestly I could tell my grandma to hold off on releasing him until Saturday and I can send you some videos then! (I'll upload them onto Youtube) I'm hesitant however. He's a very thin little guy (I didn't see any belly lumps of food he could have eaten while in my house, but I'm not positive if you're supposed to be able to tell) and I don't want to prevent him from eating.. I could get some frozen pinkies tomorrow but I don't think he'll eat from me! I don't want him getting used to proposed food either.

I can type out some things that might be able to help you analyze! He can curl up completely into a ball and fit into a tube nicely. I have also seen him curled around the water bowl and around the perimeter of the tub. He flicks his tongue a lot! His eyes are clear (a very lovely brown color). I did think something was off with his body shape! When he was stuck on the pad he tried biting himself but I didn't see any injuries from that. My bad aunt (that goes to Little Rock and claims she's good at snakes) came at the snake from the top of the lid and it striked at her. I don't think it broke skin, it was probably a bluff? That's all from memory. I'm at a different house now and will be back Saturday.

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Re: did i just find a Slowinski's corn snake?

i looked further into it! it's a Great Plains Ratsnake! Much much more likely heh!

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Re: did i just find a Slowinski's corn snake?

I always liked frogs & toads when I was young, but never kept any as pets.  Never expected to get [so!] into snakes as an adult, but here I am, LOL!  I tend to side with the
"under-dog" so maybe that's why.  I kept an open mind & found they were nothing like what most others believe.  Good for you, taking in the tortoises.  In the past I've taken in
a near-dead bearded dragon (& brought him back to health) & some other lizards, besides a countless number of snakes. 

While I feel sorry for reptiles in pet stores, keep in mind that the more you buy from them, the more animals they buy to replace the one you bought, as it obviously "worked".
I'll admit to a few "sympathy" buys when I first got into snakes, though, until I found better sources, including rescues & responsible breeders.  And if your house is on the chilly
side, you may have trouble keeping a ball python warm enough to eat & be healthy....they are pretty, docile & stay a nice size, but aren't the easiest snakes to keep, fyi.  They
are also not very active...there are SO many cool snakes that are easier to keep, but the "market" is flooded with ball pythons, and many people buy what is available at the store,
which makes ball pythons more popular than they should be, judging from the number of people who give up on theirs & give them away. 

But back to the snake you have there:  It would be better for him to spend a couple days recovering, if possible;  he may well take those f/t (frozen/thawed) pinkies (live would
be better, more natural) & I'll be happy to give you more pointers if you go that route (live or f/t).  His tongue flicking is a great sign of health.  You say he tried biting himself when
he was stuck on the pad...that's most likely because he was being restricted (as if under attack of a predator) but a snake that bites themselves may also do so as a result of internal
or external pain (stuck scales hurt?).  So it's hard to say from here if he has any injury...his movement (if "natural") & appetite both give better clues.  If he is curling around the water
bowl and around the perimeter of the tub, that usually indicates he is too warm.  Turn that light off...and only use the heat pad under 1/3 or 1/4 of the tub.  Also: IF he has internal
injuries (that let's say he is bleeding internally from), keeping him warmer will make that worse, warmth makes blood flow faster.  So he absolutely needs to have those options right
now, both mild warmth and cooler temps in most of the cage.   Again, rest & water & temperature choices will help him now;  food...maybe?

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Re: did i just find a Slowinski's corn snake?

(you can skip this part i'm just ranting)
---
I get to riled up about irresponsible pet owners! It's so easy and sources are available everywhere online! There is no excuse. I understand being misled by pet stores or breeders with faulty care but come on! My neighbor kept these two Russian tortoises (male and female) together in a 20gal tank! (which, was my tank that they borrowed and it shattered whenever they gave the tortoises to me 6 months later.) Tortoises needs LOTS of room and the male had been riding the female constantly and she wouldn't leave her shell. The owner hardly fed them once a month (and unlike snakes.. these babies need fed everyday)!! The male has SEVERE shell rot that I've been trying to clear up and the female may have internal problems. They did not get their soaks! At all!! (they're opportunistic and won't drink from dish bowls- usually) The aquarium was glass and thats also a no-no... AND the substrate was not deep enough to borrow! And it was never cleaned! They hadn't changed it once in the entire time they had the tortoises. And- Of course they got them from petsmart. They got them as a "deal" slfijsdf saldajsf I'm still very angry about that.

And then I live with someone who is mentally ill- which correlates directly in her hoarding of animals. She had about 6o cats and 20 dogs at once. Cats would crawl into her couch and die and she would not clean it out because it so bad. The house is unlivable and she arrived in it new. She lives with her mother (my grandmother) now and her hoarding habits still linger. She always brings beta fish with her!! She doesn't treat them like they're living creatures but some shiny new toy. Not all of them have bowls yet and its been weeks. None have heaters (every single one should) and she doesnt know proper diet. I refuse to help her get bowls but I plan to print out elaborate caresheets for her to follow and provide each fish with its needs.

I see a lot of native injured wildlife a lot and it makes me upset that rehabilitators are not readily available in the natural state- Once I found a barn owl with a concussion in the middle of the road. (probably a collision) and I was so upset because I knew next to nothing in its aid! So now I have lots of research about avian wildlife here and how to apply first aid. I'm in a class that does community projects and I hope I can at least do a little bit. It's my next project.

---

i've always heard that feeding live mice is bad? That it could hurt the snake and such! (though I doubt a pinkie would do any harm.. but i'm not quite sure my Aunt can find live pinkies anywhere from stores). I've hand-raised a baby mouse who's mother died on the sticky pad (reasons why I dislike them so much) ! So I'm not quite sure I would be able to feed live feeders anyways. do you feed your CB live feeders?

If i did use frozen I would make sure to jiggle it around to make it seem like its struggling of course! (and warm it up)

I'll tell my grandma to move the heating pad a bit more off (and turn off the light). Right now it covers 1/3 of the tub but since it's going to be warmer tomorrow and so will my room, I think 1/4 would be a safer bet! Thank you for those pointers!

I had never really looked into cornsnakes all that much besides when I was much younger- but looking back on it- it would be a lot better for me to own a cornsnake. I like more relaxed times of animals but then again I love my good boy frogs- which are very spontaneous. I think I could handle cornsnakes all right! And since they're native to these sorts of areas it would be much much easier to keep temperature and humidity correct. It would be a while until I got to that point, though.

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Re: did i just find a Slowinski's corn snake?

I sympathize with your "rant"...I've seen my share of terrible pet owners over the years...often while taking in their unwanted animals.  I once took in a beautiful Argentine
boa from owners who chronically starved it, so that its skin tore open easily from the slightest pressure, handling or snag against things in it's cage.  Don't get me started....

Feeding mice to snakes:  (same applies to rats also)  I do NOT advocate feeding live rodents to PET snakes, but any time I've had a wild "house-guest", it's best that they eat
what is normal for them in the wild...ie. live prey of the appropriate size.  All of my pet snakes eat nothing but dead prey, either fresh-killed or frozen-thawed.  But for the snake
you are caring for (and F.Y.I.):  a hatchling rat snake is properly fed live pinky or fuzzy mice...in either case, the eyes are still closed.  That's a very important distinction, since
they do NOT fight back (ie. bite) when their eyes are closed.  Once their eyes open, they are called hoppers (they hop around the cage, eyes open) and they DO bite back.  So
it's perfectly safe to offer this snake live pinky or small fuzzy mice (eyes closed), but if you can't get them, you might try f/t just to help this snake along.  Some snakes will be
sufficiently attracted to the scent alone, others may respond more to a slight jiggle, using long blunt-nosed tongs to hold the food.   You mentioned it's skinny:  it's hard to assess
from photos, many snakes puff up with a deep breath, & are actually much thinner than they look in one or two quick glances, so I'll take your word.  Food is an option & may help.
If that were me, I'd offer food...just to give it the energy to make up for its "bad experience" on the glue trap, and a little better chance to survive re-location.  And it's not likely that
one meal of f/t mice will make this snake expect "room service" from now on. 

Note:  unlike baby rats & mice, baby hamsters DO bite even before their eyes are open.  They growl too!  And their bites hurt!  I raise my own rodents...have for years, & used to
raise & sell hamsters too.  But I'm "down" to 16 snakes & only raise mice now for my own snakes.

13 (edited by caro 2017-03-22 08:04 pm)

Re: did i just find a Slowinski's corn snake?

Yes, I agree:  there's SO much wildlife here...& rehabbers are in short supply it seems.  I'm delighted that you're getting more involved to help, that's wonderful.

All this talk about food is making me hungry!  LOL!  gotta go get dinner (& before my dogs "turn on me"?  hahahaha)

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Re: did i just find a Slowinski's corn snake?

I hope you had a good dinner! I grabbed a bite as well! That's terrible about the Argentine boa, I couldn't even imagine.

I said it was skinny because it seemed almost, saggy? It was not tight. But I am used to looking at ball pythons and their muscular form so I'm not sure!

I'll get my aunt to pick up a frozen pinkie! Thanks!

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Re: did i just find a Slowinski's corn snake?

He could likely use a pinky and I hope he won't turn it down- probably not.  (we'll see?)...that's very nice of you to offer him food.  (it's easier for me, since I
raise my own rodents...I usually have more than I need on hand) 

Argentine boa:  I'd never heard of such a problem before that, the multiple skin tears...& argies are very dark in color, so all the tears showed light pink skin underneath...so awful!
After I researched it, I learned that chronic starvation can do that...and their skin usually doesn't return to normal strength, just stays like tissue paper.  I kept that boa for a while,
getting him healed up, then placed him with another member in the San Diego Herp. Society. (I used to live in California & at the time, had way more snakes than I do now, + enough
room with extra tanks so I never turned down a rescue.  Much smaller place now.)

This Great Plains:  sounds like a combination of dehydration and hunger.  Keep in mind that hydration is THE most important thing...and you don't want to feed them too soon in that
case, because they may not be able to digest it until they are better hydrated.  (digestion in snakes requires moisture from their body...if they are dehydrated, they just can't digest)
If you're keeping him a couple days before release, you might wait until after tomorrow to feed him...just let him drink water & rest tomorrow.

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Re: did i just find a Slowinski's corn snake?

W Ratsnake, if that hasn't been established yet.  I'm on the road so no time to read all that right now.

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