Info Ben Seigel Reptiles/Auctions

Fatalis

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I placed an order with Ben Seigel Auctions on 11/29 for two kingsnakes (L. holbrooki and L. floridana). On 12/2 I called and asked if it was okay to add an additional snake to my order and the guy confirmed yes. I added a Mexican pine snake and left notes on both orders to combine and ship same day. Because of how the BSR website works, shipping was automatically charged for the new order and I assumed it would be refunded when the orders would be combined on their end.

The original ship date for the original order was 12/2, which I forgot was Cyber Monday and they notified me via text to reschedule a ship day, which I was very glad for their proactivity on reaching out to me and set 12/10 for the delivery date. I also asked while setting the new ship date on the double shipping charge and didn't get an answer. I asked once again on 12/9 and still didn't get an answer.

The snakes arrived 12/10 and looked great, but was a little confused as the species listed on the box for the pine snake was P. catenifer, commonly referred to as the Pacific gopher/pine/bull snake, and do not range down to Mexico nor does it or any of its subspecies look very similar (as far I could tell in researching to see if I messed up and ordered the wrong snake). I did call 12/1 (before arrival) asking about the species and the guy on the phone asked to call back the next day as his boss would know more. After doing research and referencing the look of the snake, I was very sure it had to be P. deppei deppei or P. deppei jani, either of which I would be happy with and nothing else was really referred to as a Mexican pine snake. So, I added the snake to my order as mentioned above.

I called them after settling the snakes in to ask about the pine snake species and the guy instructed me to send pictures of the snake/the bag it was in and they would get back to me. I didn't hear back until 12/16 (the date of this post) and asked me if it wasn't the snake I was looking for. I replied yes (paraphrasing here) I did want a Mexican pine snake, but the species name on the box does not match what the snake is. To sum it up, all I got was "they just used a common name" as an attempt at explanation, so I accepted I wasn't getting any clarity to what the snake was for sure. When I also asked a third time on the shipping charge, I was offered credit on my next purchase. This was when I started getting really frustrated, as communicating this whole time has been a chore. I explained I wasn't going to make another purchase any time soon and didn't want store credit.

At this point they have asked for my PayPal address, and I am hoping that means I will get the second shipping charge back. This is mainly an informational post on my experience. The snakes arrive healthy and are doing great, so that's positive, but communication was really awful and I am sure they didn't have a clue on what species the pine snake is. I am no expert on Pituophis, but it looks like P. deppei to me so I got what I wanted, but am not too happy with the amount I paid to not have the seller be able to give me reassurance on my purchase.

Pictures will be posted on all communication and the pine snake in my next post.
 
Pictures of text conversation.
 

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Last pic of text conversation and pics of the snake from their website, a picture I took of the snake, and the labeling on the box.
 

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It's totally unreasonable that they wouldn't just give you your money back for the shipping. And unreasonable that they didn't answer your question the first two times. On the bright side, your snake is definitely deppei, so you did get what you want. It must just have been mislabeled on the bag.
 
Very sad to report that the Mexican pine did not make it. He was not eating readily for me and figured it would just take more time than the kingsnakes, who did eat right away. After 3 weeks of not eating (offering from tongs/leaving overnight), I decided to force feed a small pinky to at least get some food in him. I am very experienced in force feeding and only resort to it when necessary and I have never had an issue. Today I found him not alive. Never had any signs something was more wrong than a troublesome eater. I am incredibly bummed as this was a species I was really excited to keep.

I did end up getting refunded for the extra shipping charge, as a side note.
 
I am extremely sorry for you losing your Mexican pine snake, and I know it is beyond frustrating. I keep these snakes, and I myself found out the hard way when I first started keeping pits years ago, that I kept them too warm. What were your temps? Deppei Deppei or Deppei Jani, in particular, need to be kept cooler than kings. 75 is perfect, I would not go past 78-80, especially in their first year. In their first year as well, they also need to be fed smaller meals than a king, and only once every 7 days or so. The snake not eating for 3 weeks was not a reason to force feed the snake, and unless the snake lost ample weight, unfortunately, the shock of being force fed possibly is what caused it to pass away. Again, I am very sorry that this happened, but I say these thing to pass on knowledge about these fine animals. I hope you keep looking into keeping these snakes, as they are amazing, but yes, they need different care than kings, IF that is what was going on.
 
Force-feeding after only three weeks is, at best, premature, and at worst, detrimental and possibly the cause of your snake's death. The fact that you are "very experienced" at force-feeding is possibly cause for concern, as I have been keeping snakes for nearly twenty years and and can count on one hand the number of snakes for whom I have found force-feeding necessary. Because you jumped the gun, it is no longer possible to say whether or not Ben Siegel Reptiles is responsible for the deceased snake. In the future, I would only recommend force-feeding when a snake has lost a significant amount of weight, more than it could lose in three weeks. Some snakes take longer than others to adjust to a new environment.
 
I had read a few different temperatures on various care sheets or accounts of breeders on different websites, some said do not provide heating at all while others mentioned up to 80F warm spot. I went with setting the heat mat at 82F to achieve a 78-80 hot spot which was about 1/4 of the bottom of the habitat. If this is incorrect, I am open to any sort of husbandry advice via PM.

As for my experience in force feeding, I have only had to force feed one of my personal snakes, who was losing weight. The rest were ones I have been instructed to by a veterinarian for/at my job. Maybe "very" experienced was a bad way of putting it, but I am certainly confident in my ability to do it well and with minimal stress as possible.

And it wasn't my intention of being up the death of this snake as in reference to the credibility of Ben Seigel Reptiles. I haven't even contacted them about it as I am pretty disheartened in their ability to communicate, not that I was going to. I probably should not have posted it here as no it does not have to do with their credibility, but I was upset and caught up in the moment.

I guess I am, or was, under the assumption that force feeding earlier while the snake was stronger would be better than waiting until it was already weakened by weight loss. I deeply regret if this was an error of judgement on my part. I know force feeding must be handled with the utmost of care and I have never encountered a loss before due to it.
 
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