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