The Story of Lazarus


I received two baby BRB's on 02/13/2009 via Delta Dash. There was a mix-up between Delta and the shipper so instead of same day, they overnighted in Atlanta before catching the early flight here.

I was at the Delta counter when the package arrived, when I opened the box my heart sank. In the tubs they were belly up, colder than cold, lifeless and limp. No signs of movement or life whatsoever. Heat pack was barely putting out any heat at all. I thought for sure they were dead. I've pulled dead ones from litters and these were just like that except of course they were also very cold and dry. I've received cold ones that were moving very slow before but none any where near as cold as these two.

Still at the Delta counter, I pulled them out held them each cupped in one hand. After about 10-15 minutes I thought I could see some movement in the male but was not sure. A few minutes later he clearly took a breath, small but clear. A little while later he started moving around with very little control. Eventually once he warmed up enough he seemed to regain control and pressed himself to my warm hand.

While this was going on the female showed zero signs of life, clearly warmer than when I first picked her up but still just as limp as when I took her out. A while later after at least 20 - 30 minutes of holding her, I actually gave up and put her back in her cup. As I set the cup down I thought I saw her move. Pulled her back out and held her some more. Several minutes later she took a breath and followed the same sequence of recovery but at a much, much slower pace.

Both have recovered fully and are eating and shedding and growing just like they are supposed to.

Important point for all, don't assume lack of life signs means dead. Being ectotherms, they have survival skills we can only imagine. They can and do survive very cold temps, probably not for extended periods but at least for short term exposures. I know what ultimately saved them was slow gentle warming cupped in my hands. I have read that that warming too fast can be bad for cold snakes. I don't know if that's true or not, I do know that slow warming worked on these two lifeless babies. I wish I had brought a temp gun so I could know how cold they actually were, they did not feel as cold as an ice cube but pretty darn close. They were making my hands cold for the first 10-15 minutes.



Dave Colling
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