Meet Beetlejuice. She is one of a pair of young California Kingsnakes (50/50) that I have.
These two have been a complete nightmare to raise from babies! Up until a few weeks back they wouldnt take ANY food (feeder pinkie mice) I tried every trick in the book to get them to feed. (popping the mouse brain, blood, rubbing on lizards etc) I had to resort to clamping the mouths open and pushing cut up pieces of pinkie mice down their throat!
Eventually my food supplier sent me some frozen baby geckos. Said these should work. So come feeding time I dangled a baby gecko into their enclosures, and wow the strike reflex was amazing. They were crazy for these geckos!
This caused me a new problems though. I love geckos. I think they're so cute and it's not the nicest thing to see them getting swallowed whole. Add to that they are expensive! ¥450 each while pinkie mice are only ¥30. Also their craving for the geckos was making them less likely to be interested in mice in the future.
So I tried the next stage up feeder mice. "fuzzies" these came with white fur, but were very well gut fed so they were big. Their girth was a more than the reccomended "1.5 x the girth of the thickest part of the snake" rule. But I attempted to feed anyway. I rubbed the mice all over the fuzzes, dangled them in, and boom! We have mice trained Kingsnakes at last!!!!
Both snakes are now only fed mice, and they no longer need to be "scented" with gecko anymore.
The reason for this post? While having the feeding issues, I scoured the web for help, found lots, tried most and failed. The fuzzes scented with geckos worked. From my observation, the snakes seemed to have a problem with the pinkness of the mice. They sometimes seemed scared of it?
So if you have a similar problem with young Cali Kingsand pinkies, and have tried other methods, to no avail, try geckos, then wean to fuzzies scented with the geckos.