What do you do when your snake simply will not eat?
Should your snake not eat and you have exhausted all avenues of known techniques, you may have to resort to assist feeding. Some species of wild caught Death adders for example are notoriously hard to get to voluntary feed on rodents.
Before proceeding to pick up the snake that you intend to assist feed, you must make sure that you have every thing you need at hand and this includes your pressure bandage. Besides being bitten, there is nothing worse that holding on to a venomous snake and then realizing that you are not yet ready or have to fetch some thing. As you want this procedure to be as smooth as possible it is best advised to have your food item e.g. rodent lightly smeared in cod liver oil to assist the food items path of travel down its esophagus. It is not necessary to coat the entire animal only its head which will obviously be the first part to travel down the snake mouth.
If you have never had to assist feed and this is your first attempt then it is strongly advised that your food item being used is smaller than what the snake would normally be comfortable eating on its own. You can work up to larger items after you gain some experience.
When picking up the venomous snake to assist feed, many experienced keepers prefer to pin down the snakes head with an appropriate jigger. A jigger can be anything from a professionally bought one or simply your mother's sponge mop if appropriate. Basically as long as the implement to be used achieves the action of holding down the snake head comfortably and securely then it will probably be okay.
Undertaking such a task can be preformed quickly and easily with experience, however this task should never be taken lightly as you are dealing with reptiles that could potentially end your life or cause severe illness should there be an accident. With this in mind I recommend that you take your time and take nothing for granted.
Complacency is the cause of most bites. And remember, if the snake had no original intention of biting you, it certainly wants to now that you have grabbed or pinned down its head. While there is merit in using a jigger or implement to achieve this, when assist feeding small elapids like Death adders, I prefer using my own hand as the jigger. I like this method simply because I can more accurately determine how hard I am grasping the snake.