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    Thread: Bought 2 year supply of rats that are wayyy too big.

    1. #1
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      09-10-2017 02:58 AM

      Exclamation Bought 2 year supply of rats that are wayyy too big.

      So I ****ed up royally... and bought a 2+ year supply of large rats that are way too big for my boa...

      I have a 3 almost 4 year old purebred Costa Rican Boa. She's about 56" in length but not very girthy at all.

      I've been feeding her medium rats for 1 1/2 years now since I purchased her. She's grown a great deal in that time on a feeding schedule of once every 14-21 days. I usually alternate between the two. However at her current size, the mediums I were feeding her seemed to be a very small meal.

      I think the mediums I purchased were very much so on the small side. I got the mediums from Underground Reptiles. I purchased this latest batch of large from Perfect Prey.

      I am not as much concerned about her getting huge as I am about her staying healthy. I really cannot afford to buy more rats. My hopes are that you will be able to advise me on how frequently I can feed her these gigantic rats to keep her from getting fat & dying prematurely. I usually only handle her once or twice a week, but I can handle her more in-between feeding if need be for her to get enough exercise on such a heavy diet.


      Here is a photo of both the new large rats and her body at her widest point compared to a dollar bill:
      NOTE: The rat is still thawing and was squished flat in the packaging. So it may look a little wider than it is. I'll have to take another pic when it's thawed fully.


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      Default Re: Bought 2 year supply of rats that are wayyy too big.

      The best thing would be to ask around or run an ad to swap your frozen rats for some smaller ones...you might ask pet stores too? A good deal for someone, maybe?
      (I understand there are restaurants in China that serve rats in multiple "delicious" ways...maybe you just need the right recipe? hahaha!)

      She might be able to handle this size (like every 3+ weeks) but then again, she might up-chuck them because they're so much bigger than what she's used to consuming.
      It's hard to say...but honestly it's bigger than I'd want to feed her. Regurgitation is not without harm, & neither is obesity. And if humans cannot exercise enough to work
      off extra calories, our captive snakes certainly cannot. No amount of handling on your part will enable her to lose excess weight once she packs it on...sorry.

      You'd have done better to have bought the same (medium) size & fed slightly more often for her to gain a little, than to up-size to these large rats. It's a challenge when
      you buy from different sources too, they don't all label them the same way. (I guess you know that now...)

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      Default Re: Bought 2 year supply of rats that are wayyy too big.

      Quote Originally Posted by Noelle7206 View Post
      The best thing would be to ask around or run an ad to swap your frozen rats for some smaller ones...you might ask pet stores too? A good deal for someone, maybe?

      She might be able to handle this size (like every 3+ weeks) but then again, she might up-chuck them because they're so much bigger than what she's used to consuming.
      It's hard to say...but honestly it's bigger than I'd want to feed her. Regurgitation is not without harm, & neither is obesity. And if humans cannot exercise enough to work
      off extra calories, our captive snakes certainly cannot. No amount of handling on your part will enable her to lose excess weight...sorry.
      Zero chance of trading them or selling them. No one around here keeps big snakes... it's a very small town with very small minds. People have cats, dogs, and farm animals here that is all. I've already reached out to find other snake owners just to have friends.

      I was already feeding mediums at 21 days (3 weeks.) Perhaps if I feed her once a month, and if she has no problem keeping them down, things will turn out alright... If she starts to get on the fat-side, is there any harm in decreasing meal frequencies to help her stay in proper shape?

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      09-19-2017 05:45 PM

      Default Re: Bought 2 year supply of rats that are wayyy too big.

      ..."a very small town with very small minds." Sounds like where I live, LOL! Though there ARE a few snake-keepers here besides me...one is a vet-tech. Have you
      asked at the veterinary offices? (I'm sure you thought of that...)

      The main thing is causing no harm...if she can digest this, & you can feed her once a month, it may work. I'll cross my fingers for you (& her). It's hard for me to
      tell exactly from this photo (as you said, the rat is squished?) but obesity isn't the only risk. Meals that are too big can actually cause damage to their stomach, and
      if temperatures are off it can cause bloat etc.

      I can remember one time when I fed a large rat to my (large!) BCI, she was clearly miserable for several days...it was just that much harder for her to digest, and
      she swelled up some (due to spoilage!), unable to digest it fast enough. Thereafter, even when she was over 7', I mostly fed her a good-sized medium rat, even
      though technically, she was big enough to eat large+ rats.
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      Default Re: Bought 2 year supply of rats that are wayyy too big.

      Quote Originally Posted by Noelle7206 View Post
      ..."a very small town with very small minds." Sounds like where I live, LOL! Though there ARE a few snake-keepers here besides me...one is a vet-tech. Have you asked at the veterinary offices? (I'm sure you thought of that...) The main thing is causing no harm...if she can digest this, & you can feed her once a month, it may work. I'll cross my fingers for you (& her).
      Funny you mention vets. I actually checked with both the vets in town and they won't even check out a snake let alone own one. Thanks for the luck, I hope I won't need it but I'll let you know how it goes.
      Noelle7206 likes this.

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      Default Re: Bought 2 year supply of rats that are wayyy too big.

      When I first got into keeping snakes I was shocked to learn how many vets are AFRAID of snakes & won't see them. I just assumed they were all-animal-lovers, like me?

      But knowing how differently reptiles react to the kind of medicine they have learned to practice on "normal pets", maybe it's just as well they aren't willing to try?

      There's a couple vets here in my town that are willing to try to treat snakes, but they aren't very good at it. I've mostly only needed their help for a humane
      euthanasia anyway. They really struggle to know what they're even looking at...things that are obvious to those of us that have lived with snakes for years. Oh well.
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      09-10-2017 02:58 AM

      Default Re: Bought 2 year supply of rats that are wayyy too big.

      Quote Originally Posted by Noelle7206 View Post
      When I first got into keeping snakes I was shocked to learn how many vets are AFRAID of snakes & won't see them. I just assumed they were all-animal-lovers, like me?

      But knowing how differently reptiles react to the kind of medicine they have learned to practice on "normal pets", maybe it's just as well they aren't willing to try?

      There's a couple vets here in my town that are willing to try to treat snakes, but they aren't very good at it. I've mostly only needed their help for a humane
      euthanasia anyway. They really struggle to know what they're even looking at...things that are obvious to those of us that have lived with snakes for years. Oh well.
      I'm not at all a small-town type of guy. I'm just stuck here for the moment while I save money. It's cheap and jobs are plentiful. I was truly shocked when I heard that neither of the vets would see any reptiles. I thought all vet's at least knew the basics, maybe not surgery, but at least basics.

      GOOD NEWS THOUGH!

      She just got down one of the rats (they are all the same size luckily,) and she didn't seem to have much trouble at all. It took her less than 5 minutes to get it down which I was very surprised to see. I thought it'd take her a lot longer and be more of a struggle. I think she'll be ok. She's got a decent bulge but I've seen much, much bigger bulges on wild snakes... not to compare a captive to a wild snake as if it's ok what I am doing. I regret buying large. But it's better she doesn't starve, and doesn't get parasites from the poor quality rodents at Petco (which I refuse to support anyway) and then would have the stress of being treated for parasites. I could just be paranoid about the parasites, but I've already had fecal sample tests to make sure she does not have parasites, and I want to be ****-sure she never gets them.

      Edit:
      Looks like instead of a 2 year supply, I have a little over 4 years worth of rats if I feed her once a month. Holy hell! (50 rats)
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      Default Re: Bought 2 year supply of rats that are wayyy too big.

      I'm glad to hear it went down ok...it was hard to judge from that photo. I've not heard good things about Petco feeders, but I raise all my own snake food, so I don't
      know first hand.

      Four years worth? LOL You might have to help her? -as I said before, there are restaurants in China that serve rats in multiple "delicious" ways...or so I've heard?

      Of course, you could always get another snake to help out?
      (I'm not helping you save money...hahaha!)

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      09-10-2017 02:58 AM

      Default Re: Bought 2 year supply of rats that are wayyy too big.

      Quote Originally Posted by Noelle7206 View Post
      I'm glad to hear it went down ok...it was hard to judge from that photo. I've not heard good things about Petco feeders, but I raise all my own snake food, so I don't know first hand. Four years worth? LOL You might have to help her? -as I said before, there are restaurants in China that serve rats in multiple "delicious" ways...or so I've heard? Of course, you could always get another snake to help out? (I'm not helping you save money...hahaha!)
      Yea the rat was definitely squished flat from being vac-sealed so it did look a bit wider. I mean, they are still double the size of the mediums I was feeding, but at least she didn't struggle to get it down. Snakes never cease to amaze me in what they can consume. Compared to what I've seen wild snakes eat, that rat was just a snack for her lol. I bet she is one happy snake right now. Usually she hunts around looking for another rat, not this time though lol! She went straight for her warm hide after a few moments for digestion XD

      The rodents I got from Perfect Prey were packaged really well. They are vac-sealed really well and there is absolutely no space for air. The bags are also super thick. I'm considering double, or even triple sealing everything but a years supply and hope that they last... What do you think? Terrible idea?
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      09-18-2017 05:19 PM

      Default Re: Bought 2 year supply of rats that are wayyy too big.

      Vacuum sealing is always a good idea. But even after a year there will still be frost bite. Make sure you inspect the rats well after they've been in the freezer for a year. If the bags aren't dated you might want to take a marker and do that.
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      09-19-2017 05:45 PM

      Default Re: Bought 2 year supply of rats that are wayyy too big.

      I agree, but I'll add that as far as I know, "frost-bite" is mostly a cosmetic issue, not a nutritional one...so while WE notice it, snakes do not care.

      Still, a year or two at most is a long time. Remember that freezing doesn't kill germs in food, it just puts them in limbo. If after that long they don't
      look or smell right or if your snake refuses them, take the hint. It's also a good idea to verify that your freezer stays at 0* or below, as that also
      affects how long food lasts.

      Also, if they aren't vacuum-sealed individually, that's something you might want to do, otherwise each time your remove one, it exposes the others.

      Goes without saying that they should never be thawed & re-frozen, so let's hope your power (or your freezer) never fails. It's a really good idea to
      have on hand enough good quality ice chests to hold all of your frozen food so that it's not compromised in a long power outage.
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      09-10-2017 02:58 AM

      Default Re: Bought 2 year supply of rats that are wayyy too big.

      Thank you for all the input

      I am going to try to give away a bunch of the rats and I'll try not to use them past 1 1/2 years from the time I got them. Rats aren't that expensive, but **** those shipping costs...

      She managed to keep the rat down just fine. She did stay right under her RHP all night though. Never seen her bask for that long. Lots of digesting to do haha
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      Default Re: Bought 2 year supply of rats that are wayyy too big.

      If you keep the rats frozen @ proper temperature & preferably vacuum-sealed, they should be fine for 2 years. Not so sure about 3-4....

      I hope she doesn't have a tummy-ache...also hope she doesn't up-chuck. And yes, the shipping on ice for ratsicles is the part that really hurts.
      It's a shame you couldn't find someone else nearby with a snake to feed, & then split the order.

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      09-18-2017 01:05 PM

      Default Re: Bought 2 year supply of rats that are wayyy too big.

      Interesting - both vendors advertise that their "medium" rats are 90-150 grams so there shouldn't have been much difference between them. Only thing I can think of is that the order from Perfect Prey had rats on the larger side of the scale. I've also found when ordering online that when you get into the larger size rats you really have to pay attention to the weights; some "jumbos" I've purchased were retired breeders and were well over a pound. Those went to my retics not my boas. Did you happen to weigh the rats from each vendor?

      At 3-4 years old I'd already have my boa on a four week feeding interval. Adult males get fed every 5-6 weeks.

      Something to consider when you finally need food again, especially since you're in a rural area: try to find local producers of rabbits, chickens, and quail. I purchase stills and culls for $2/pound. The producer is happy to get a little extra cash for an animal that would otherwise have been worthless and I'm happy because that's a lot cheaper than buying feeders online and having them shipped. If you know anyone in 4H you can find producers that way.
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      09-18-2017 06:33 PM

      Default Re: Bought 2 year supply of rats that are wayyy too big.

      I've always said that Perfect Prey Mediums are twice the size of most smalls. Why are you ordering from two South Florida sources? lol Underground Reptiles' store front is near to my work and Perfect Prey is near my house. I don't know where Underground's warehouse is but I know it isn't too far away. I would think it would be cheaper to order from Layne Labs as they are California. They also offer in between sizes unlike Perfect Prey. Perfect Prey is my favorite place to go (local) to but they are always on the large side of the size. Why? Because the majority of their local customers have more mature large snakes.

      What to do about feeding these larger feeders? Just do it more slowly like you already said.

      https://www.laynelabs.com/frozen-rats
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