I've had this burm, Vic, for about 4 years. Inherited him from someone who couldn't care for him at about 8' length. For as long as I've had him, this burm has been a problematic eater of frozen-thawed rats. Snake does not recognize pre-killed rats as food items. I have to wiggle the rat to get him to strike it. He goes through the motions of constricting it, then releases it, noses around it for five minutes, and then forgets it's even there. He will use it as a pillow, but he will not swallow it.

If I left it in the cage long enough, it would rot. I have to pull it back out and go through the whole exercise repeatedly before, if I'm lucky, he'll eventually swallow it. Many times, after I'm fed up, I'll throw the rat to my boa constrictor, Claudia, who will eat anything at any time. Needless to say, she's getting over-fed because she gets her food and Vic's. The food items are not too large for him. They are warmed on top of the cage prior to feeding.

I've tried scenting them with chicken broth, to no avail. He hasn't eaten in about three months, but he has fasted for longer stetches in the past. During these periods, I have fed him live food items, including rats, and up to the size of a big guinea pig, which he will kill and eat very enthusiastically. I'm about at the end of my rope with this guy.
Any suggestions? Has anyone ever witnessed similar behavior? I would think that if I can get him to strike and constrict a pre-killed food item, it should be a done deal, but he loses interest immediately afterwards.
Whenever you feed him a live prey item again, all your efforts to accustom him to dead prey are thrown, he'll forget whatever he started to learn. Once a snake eats f/t it should never be switched back on live prey. Regarding your boa, I've a similar problem with two corns, the female is picky and the male eats her mice too. In few months he got thick enough to be on a diet now, so whenever it's feeding time, I thaw only the mouse for the female and watch if she eats. If yes, I thaw the mouse for the male. If not, the male eats the females mouse. It's a bit time consuming, but you can save up prey items and avoid an obese snake.
Anna
Any suggestions? Has anyone ever witnessed similar behavior? I would think that if I can get him to strike and constrict a pre-killed food item, it should be a done deal, but he loses interest immediately afterwards.

Try heating the food up more. Get it hot by soaking it in really hot water once it's been warmed up to room temp.
And Anna's right. You're conditioning him to refuse f/t every time you reward the behavior by feeding him live.
-Z
Any suggestions? Has anyone ever witnessed similar behavior?I would think that if I can get him to strike and constrict apre-killed food item, it should be a done deal, but he loses interestimmediately afterwards.

My boa constrictor does the same somtimes. I've had luck with tugging a bit in the warmed up rat while he constricts. It makes him think it's alive, and constrict harder and longer. Then he always eats it.
BTW, he's completely in love right now, I've just got a lovely big female! :-)

Ulrik Smed,
Denmark, Aarhus
All of my boids that reach 6 feet or longer are fed rabbits. My Burmese will not eat rats in any form including freshly killed or f/t. I'd think rabbits would be of the right size for a snake greater than 8 feet. I've never seen any snake injuries secondary to feeding live rabbits. I do recommend & feed the dwarf rabbits to all but my largest snakes. My only Burmese is owned by the state but has lived with me for about 10 yrs. He requires at least 2 experienced handlers but 3 or 4 handlers would be better.

Burms are permit only animals here & he was confiscated by Inland Fisheries & Wildlife & I took him in to prevent his demise. I'm not crazy enough to have them as breeders. They are nice snakes in the right circumstances but most pet owners simply aren't prepared to care for such large animals. They can reach lengths of over 20 feet & are fairly heavy bodied when properly fed especially females. Their babies would sell well but my conscience prevents me from breeding them.

There is a real good market for babies especially albinos & other morphs in most states where permits aren't required. I'd give mine away if I found him a good home. Anyone willing to pay shipping? snake lady

"Medicine to produce health has to examine disease" Plutarch http://community.webtv.net/SnakeladysFarm/SnakeLadysReptile0
Most of my snakes eat a combination of live, frozen/thawed & freshly killed prey items without problems. I freeze extra prey animals during the reptile breeding season when they eat less. Once the season is over the males start feeding heavily. As soon as the females give birth the males & females are both feeding heavily. At this time I feed a mixture of live, F/T & freshly killed prey animals to meet demands. I've not had a problem with healthy hungry snakes refusing F/T rodents or lagomorphs because they've been fed either live or freshly killed rodents or lagomorphs. You can do a google search of rph for more detailed feeding regimes that I've used over the years. I've written many posts over the years on this subject. snake lady
"Medicine to produce health has to examine disease" Plutarch http://community.webtv.net/SnakeladysFarm/SnakeLadysReptile0
Pets are different than breeder snakes as they're not usually fed year round because of breeding activities. My main point is I'd try feeding an 8 ft+ Burmese more appropriately sized food like live rabbits. Most rural areas have rabbit breeders or I breed my own. I wouldn't feed any boid over 6 feet live rats as they risk severe bites around the face. They need larger prey more suitable prey. snake lady

"Medicine to produce health has to examine disease" Plutarch http://community.webtv.net/SnakeladysFarm/SnakeLadysReptile0
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Most of my snakes eat a combination of live, frozen/thawed & freshly killed prey items without problems.

If they are good eaters there's no problem to switch from live to f/t and back, since they'd eat it all.
But with a picky eater it's not that easy.
Anna