balivatn: animated icon of bunny wiggling nose and blinking (bunny)
( Nov. 11th, 2011 09:17 am)
It's been a very snake-oriented week this week. It started on Tuesday, when I went to my last class of the session at one of my schools. I had brought our big lizards: an iguana, a tegu, and a savannah monitor. I was putting the lizards back when I happened to notice that there were a fairly large number of flies in the reptile room. I was worried that something had died, so I started checking all the cages. In the corner, there's a large tank that has our Dumeril's boa in it. He was curled up in the corner and looked like he had been in an accident. He was all raw and bloody and was staying very very still. I was worried he was dead, but then I saw him breathe. His cage was a mess, his hidey log flipped up, and his water dish was full of blood. It turns out the caretaker had fucked up majorly - she had given him a rat to eat, but a) hadn't taken him out of the tank, b) hadn't watched him eat the rat and c) hadn't taken the rat back out (she thought she had, and she has been torn a new asshole and is very repentant). So at some point between Monday afternoon and Tuesday afternoon, the rat had struck back. He had chewed the snake's back down to the fat, leaving a raw white patch down most of his back, cut him near the eye, and chewed the crap out of his tail. The tail was the worst patch - it's almost down to the bone. And you can tell it hurts - the snake flinches and hisses when you touch the tail.

Fortunately we were able to get the snake looked at, and it's been recommended that we keep his cage extra extra clean, and give him a bath in betadine solution every day. After the bath, we cover his wounds with antibiotic cream. We also are keeping his cage towards the higher end of his temperature gradient. So the bathing and dressing of the snake, and keeping his cage extra clean, is my job until his healing is done. He's going to have a white patch on his back, and his tail is always going to look funky, but as long as we can keep his injury from getting infected, he should be fine.

Apparently the caretaker has had trouble getting our reptiles to eat dead prey. I think this injury to one of our most attractive snakes may provide the motivation to have someone help her with that task. I'm willing to do what I can.

And speaking of feeding snakes, I went from giving our work snake his bath and medicine to the shelter for my medical shift. Wednesday afternoons are very different than Friday mornings. There are more people there, and it's a different vet on shift. The Wednesday vet is trained for exotics, and used to work at the LA zoo. She still helps out there from time to time, but her full time job is now at the shelter. She's an EXCELLENT surgeon, and she does the normal spays and neuters, and any more complicated surgeries are also hers.

When I got to the shelter, I found out that someone had dropped off two gorgeous corn snakes. But other than the vet, all the people there were kind of freaked out by them. I went over to check them out, and found out one had just finished shedding. He kept turning to my hand whenever I went to touch him, and I figured he'd be hungry after his shed. Fortunately, someone had dropped off a bunch of frozen mice. So I set out a frozen mouse to thaw (checking with the vet just to make sure it was a good size), and then took care of some of the other animals while it warmed up. I eventually found a spare tank with a lid, and stuck Pretty Red Snake in it. I warmed his mouse up a bit more with some hot water (we don't have great options for warming mice, and I knew I didn't want to microwave it), and then grabbed some tongs and jiggled the mouse for him. He grabbed it pretty quickly, but then took about 20 minutes to figure out exactly which end he wanted to start with. But he was full of tasty mouse by the time I left. I didn't get to feed his cage mate, because that one was still shedding and had buried most of his body under the bedding.

Fortunately, they found someone that can take the pretty snakes home to take good care of them. If I had the capability, I would be tempted to adopt them. But the foster bunnies and our kitties are enough for now. We don't really have a good place for a good tank and heating system. But the one that I fed was a gorgeous red/albino mix. The volunteers and vet staff were happy I was comfortable with the slitheries - they LIKE the animals, but our shelter mainly handles cats and dogs and rabbits. So not too many of them are used to reptiles.

Tomorrow is another bath day for work snake, and then Saturday I'm volunteering at our vaccination clinic. The vet I work with Friday and the volunteer coordinator both seemed pleased that I was going to make it. I figure all of this will be good experience for my vet tech training.

I am worried about my foster bunnies. I've been taking care of them since April, and I've had only a few inquiries about adopting them. I wonder if I should take them back to the shelter and see if they have better luck getting them a good home, but then part of me gets very sad about them no longer being here, no longer having their big cage to play in, and being taken care of but not played with or handled very much. Fiance and I aren't sure that adopting them is feasible, considering there's a big thing going on that may affect our living arrangement soon. But they are sweet, and they deserve a good home with someone that won't just toss them in an outside hutch and forget about them. I've got these fluffers trained to a harness (I only use it to let them hop around the apartment and not chew things I don't need chewed) - I don't want all this work to go to waste, and I don't want them to not have them cheated out of love and quality of life by people not thinking of rabbits as housepets.
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