New BTS - What to expect in the first few weeks

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The Daredevil
The Daredevil
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New BTS - What to expect in the first few weeks

Postby Katrina » Sun Apr 01, 2012 4:39 pm

So, you're the proud new owner of a BTS but you have some concerns? Not sure if everything is normal? Check here, chances are what you are seeing is totally normal! :D

Why does he hide all the time?
Moving is very stressful for a reptile. To add to that, if it is young or not used to being handled, then it is in a completely new environment and being stared at by what it only can assume is a large, hungry predator. So, the safest thing to do is to hide. The best thing you can do is give it a week or two of minimal interaction, to allow it to get used to its new home and to start to feel safe. Make sure the temperature gradient is correct and then only bother it to spot clean, change the water or offer food. They can figure things out, you don't need to uncover them and put them on the basking spot or near the food dish - if they are cold or hungry they will figure it out. Just provide the correct temperature gradient and plenty of hides and they will figure out what they need. Read up on this thread on taming for good ideas on how to start getting it used to you: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=20375

He hasn't eaten yet, what should I do?
Again, because moving is very stressful, sometimes BTS won't eat for several days or even weeks when first in a new home. Don't panic - a healthy adult BTS can go for weeks or months without food, and babies can go for quite many weeks as well. If it is under 6 months old, then offer small, healthy meals daily or every second day. If it doesn't eat it, remove it. For adults, offer food every 3-7 days - same thing, if it doesn't eat it in 6-12 hours just remove it and try again later. They can smell the food so there is NO NEED to wake them up, get them out of their hides etc. to show them the food. If they are hungry, they will smell it and come to check it out. You don't need to show it to them.

If they came from a home that fed them a very different diet, it might take them a while to adjust to the new offerings. BTS can get very accustomed to certain types of food and if fed a diet of only a few items it can take some time to get them to try new items. The biggest problem with getting them to eat the different diet that you are offering is that owners often get concerned that they aren't eating and give in, offering them the less healthy foods that they want. If the skink is being picky and refusing to eat certain foods, then it isn't very hungry. You can wait it out, offering healthy meals and then removing them if they aren't eaten and trying again in a few days. You can also try mixing the old diet in with new foods that you want them to eat, slowly offering less of the old diet and more of the new foods. See the diet chart and feeding threads for good ideas on what to feed, or feel free to post a question in the General Discussion Forum: viewforum.php?f=4

He hasn't pooped yet, what is wrong?
This is a surprisingly common question - it is fairly common that a new BTS will not poop for several days to well over a week, so don't panic just yet. How often they poop will somewhat be related to how often they are eating, but even if eating daily it might take over a week for you to see poop, especially if they are in a new environment. Make sure their temperatures are correct - you want the surface temperature of the basking spot to be between 95 - 100 F (35 - 38 C). If temperatures aren't warm enough they can't digest properly. Make sure their is no chance of impaction (if they are new to you, it is likely that the change of moving is the problem and not impaction, unless you have seen them eat something they shouldn't). If they are impacted they will generally stop eating and can be seen straining to defecate, will little or nothing coming out. If they have the correct temperature gradient and appear otherwise healthy, give it at least a week before you begin to worry. A lukewarm bath in shallow water often helps get things moving and certain foods may speed things up (banana and egg in particular).

Remember, this is a common concern for new owners. So as long as things seem normal then don't start to panic after 3 - 4 days.

He doesn't seem to like me, why?
As mentioned previously, moving is stressful and a BTS that hasn't been tamed probably sees you as a giant predator. Also, reptiles are quite different from mammals - don't expect them to want attention or affection like a cat or dog might. Give them time to settle in and then follow the advice on the taming thread and all should be fine. Expect that babies might be very feisty at first but generally tame down quickly, whereas adult will take longer. Wild caught animals will require a lot of time and patience to tame, so it is always recommended to get a captive born and bred BTS for a first time owner.

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