QUESTION: Hi,I have 2 5 year old male corn snakes.We were given them in October and they have fed every week no problem,but they stopped eating 3 weeks ago and they keep jerking and writhing around each other.Is it ok for them not eating and how long can they go without food and will they hurt each other,why are they like this.Hope you can help. Janet
ANSWER: Snakes should never be kept together, especially colubrids, they are solitary animals and its pretty common for some colubrids to eat other snakes and their own tails. Even if they are older and have been fine for years.
Colubrids hibernate in the winter, if the temp in their enclosure has not been kept constant, this can throw them off feeding. Its pretty common for snakes to go off food for no real reason, i have some that i actually worry about if they go the whole year without refusing food because it has turned into a habit for them.
If they are off food for more than 4 months then let me know. For now keep their temps constant, and continue to offer food once a week until they eat. Eventually they will. Try not to hold them until they eat as well.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thank you the snakes have been in the same viv since they were born,they are brothers.I will not be able to afford another viv and I also do not have the space for another one.I think it might be the temp as it was getting too hot in there so i put it on a timer perhaps this is what is upsetting them.
Their temps should be kept between 78-85 at all times. Never turn the heat off, when i bred corns they were kept at a constant 82 degrees except for breeding. If nothing major has changed and they are not wheezing, blowing bubbles or covered in mites i would say just offer them food weekly.
Also dont remove or touch them before feeding at all. This is where you will have a problem and why snakes should be kept solitary. Placing the snake in a "feeding bin" is unnecessary and can keep them from eating as well.but if they both strike the same mouse one snake could possibly eat the other by accident.
Not sure what bedding they are on, but corns prefer to burrow. Give them 2-4 inches of fine shaved aspen bedding so they may burrow into it. If all else fails there are braining and bag methods that i would suggest on them. But only after they have passed the 4 month mark, a non breeder snake can go a year without food,especially one thats over a year old, after a year their metabolism slows greatly.