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  1. #1
    Juvenile snake ClosedCasket88's Avatar
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    i need help on getting my garters to eat fish

    ive had a local wild one for about ayear now and i can only get him to eat worms and salamanders ,considering its winter and its nearly impossibly to find worms and i need other foods for him since worms shouldnt b the only thing hes eating . its hard to get frogs and small toads as feeders and its winter so ic ant just go out n find some . i tried feeder goldfish i used to feed to my old water snakes and they wont take em, today i got some rosy reds(minnows) and theyw otn take em eather , theyl eagerly take worms or a salamder from tongs but no lukc with minnows ive even tried feedin em fish from tongs too the way they usualy feed and they wont eat them, ive also tried pinkies today and last week , they still wont take one of them, once again i tried evry wayy of feeding em , brown bag, from tongs and just laying the mouse in its cage and leaving it .
    im sure evryone has had a problem like this,
    any help ?anything besides worms is good enough for me , im just trying to get them to eat anything besides worms.

    these are the only type of minnows or fish i can find around here too
    any other food alternatives, scent techniques?

    anything would be helpful

  2. #2
    Juvenile snake garterking's Avatar
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    Re: i need help on getting my garters to eat fish

    Hey CC,
    I had a garter doing the same thing. Would eat worms all day but nothing else. One day I took a pinky and put it in with the worms, and rubbed the worm on it for a bit. The snake took little time hitting it. You might also try cutting up the fish, and cutting the worms into small pieces and mixing them together. The snake will taste the worm and fish, and then put less worms in the mix until the snake cooperates. I've had luck with that also, but it takes some patience. One thing I can tell you is the "if it gets hungry enough it will eat anything" slogan, hasn't work for me in the past. Good luck, and keep us posted

    Mike

  3. #3
    Former Moderator Cazador's Avatar
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    Re: i need help on getting my garters to eat fish

    Very good advice from Mike up there, but I wanted to add that you can give your pinkie, fish chunks, or whatever, a bit of motion by running fishing string or sewing thread through your food item and gently and slowly twitching it to provide a bit of motion. Give it a shot after scenting your pinkie (or whatever), and after you see your snake searching around the vivarium. Just use a sewing needle and thread it onto the line. Tie a knot at the far end to provide a little resistance. Just give it a little bit of motion if your snake is skittish about eating in front of you. Not all snakes take to this method, but the others usually become aggressive eaters. Keep us posted, okay?
    Rick

  4. #4
    Old and wise snake KITKAT's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Re: i need help on getting my garters to eat fish

    I find that my snakes sometimes don't go for guppies or rosey reds, but I have never had one refuse a bait store minnow, particularly if I cut into it. Bait store minnows are ten times stinkier than rosey reds!

    I also find that bait store minnows have thus far been a safe food for my snakes... have not had any thiaminase problems thus far... but I alternate between worms and the minnows. Pinkies are a rare treat in my house.

    For small snakes, I cut the minnows into pieces, making sure that the spine and ribs are not jutting out along the edges, making a rough surface.

    These are Crappie minnows, should anyone need that info. I freeze them alive (drained and in a zip lock, spread out so they are a single layer, otherwise they freeze in clumps and cannot be broken loose after freezing).

    When I thaw them, I do it in scalding hot water (almost boiling) and leave them float for 2 - 3 minutes. It's my theory that the scalding water helps break down the thiaminase.
    KitKat
    "Acts of kindness should never be random."

  5. #5
    Former Moderator Cazador's Avatar
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    Re: i need help on getting my garters to eat fish

    Hi Kitkat,
    The thiaminase enzyme can be denatured with heat, but they have to be exposed to a minimum of 181 F (83C) for at least five minutes. Unfortunatly, that pretty much cooks the fish, making them hard to feed. The best solution is to limit the frequency that thiaminase-containing fish are fed to snakes. The rosey reds are fine. Cheers,
    Rick

  6. #6
    Juvenile snake ClosedCasket88's Avatar
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    Re: i need help on getting my garters to eat fish

    well i left a few rosy reds in each of there water bowls and the next morning 3 were gone out of the eastern garters tank . i only put 3 in there . and only one was gone out of the little unknown one striped garter that i have . i put three in theree as well .
    i guess this is a start. im gonna try n find fishing minnows and try them next week .
    ill get back to yas

  7. #7
    Former Moderator Cazador's Avatar
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    Re: i need help on getting my garters to eat fish

    The garters will be able to catch the fish better if there's very little water in the dish. I've had luck putting fish in a jar lid and only filling it with enough water so that the backs of the fish are exposed. This creates a lot of motion/splashing and removes their vertical escape route.

  8. #8
    Mr Thamnophis ssssnakeluvr's Avatar
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    Re: i need help on getting my garters to eat fish

    I have had excellent luck feeding pinkies to garters after scenting them with worms....they pound them down! A strict diet of worms isn't the greatest for them either, they need some vitamin supplements occasionally with them. also worms are mostly water....pass thru fast and leave big messes!!!!!

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