Baby Boyd’s first meal

It’s official! I’m a Snake-Feedin’ Mummy!

Yes sirree, last night, after 10 days of residence in his new home, and one food refusal last week, our Baby Boyd emerged from seclusion and engulfed his very first meal at about 9 o’clock last night.

Casa Boyd. All mod con(strictor)s.

After my consult with Liam, the python guy at Menagerie, on Saturday, I’d been leaving Boyd alone for a few days (no handling). I had also observed that he’s way more active if I leave the overhead basking light off.

And my recent reading (from the modest stack of snake books on my desk) told me these guys are more active in the evenings…

So… I waited a few days. No handling Boyd (other than a brief hello when I had to move him to a temporary box while I installed his under-tank heater on Sunday). All very quiet & peaceful around him — a steady diet of classical music, courtesy of CBC 2, and my typing, is about all he hears.

But the breeder had been feeding him on Tuesdays, and I wanted to continue that (and let’s face it, I just wanted him to eat!). So at about 8:30 last night, I turned the basking light off  and started warming his food (a nice hopper [juvenile] mouse). It’s sort of like warming a baby bottle, only different: remove hopper from freezer bag, submerge in cup of hot (not boiling) water for 30 mins.

Then, as the breeder suggested, I patted the mouse dry and fluffed it with a paper towel. (Really! Some breeders even blow-dry their mice, which is funny but hey, if it makes the food more palatable to our finicky little eaters, then that’s what we do!)

Dinner is served, sir. Mind my fingers.

I grasped the mouse in my new feeding tongs (foot-long metal tweezers — finger-feeding is NOT recommended as snakes seek out their prey by temperature & may go for your nice warm tasty fingers instead of the mouse!).

Quietly approaching Boyd’s cage, I made a little “tsk-tsk” sound, and then gently opened the lid. I lowered Mousie in on the feeding tongs and wiggled it around the doorway to Boyd’s hiding spot, to simulate the movement of real prey.

Honestly, I was not expecting any action at all, since as I said, these guys are notorious for going off their food, and our man Boyd was curled up like a cupcake in his hiding spot.

But suddenly, to my astonishment, out of the darkness came Boyd’s head, targeting on supper. He gave Mousie a sniff, ducked back in for a second. I wiggled Mouse a bit closer and touched the tip of Boyd’s nose with it and….

WHAM! It was like lightning, it was that fast! I barely saw it — for those of you who have ever fished, it was like a giant one hitting on your line. Tug, whack, gone.

Boyd is a constrictor, so the next thing I saw was him curled tightly around Mousie, busily “killing” it. This is normal behaviour. Then he just kind of hung out for a few minutes, waiting and squeezing.

Finally, he angled his head and gently probed his prey to locate the head, latched on (they engulf their prey head-first, to make it go down easier), and tucked himself modestly back into his hiding spot to pay full attention to his dinner.

Our intrepid explorer, working up an appetite.

It was everything I could do  not to jump up & down and shriek with joy — not only was this one of the neatest things I’ve ever seen, but it means my little Baby Boyd is now well on his way to routine and health as a member of my odd little household.

And best of all, after I give him a couple of days of quiet and privacy to digest his meal (a MUST for snakes), it means I can go back to visiting with him again.

No pictures this time — it all happened too fast! Maybe next time I’ll see about setting up my iPhone cam on a little tripod to catch the action.

Proud and happy Mama Smiter out. 🙂

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