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  • mice vs. rats for babies

    hello everyone,

    i've been lurking on the board for a little while now, and i got my first boa in the beginning of october, after about 8 years of wanting one. so i now have a 3.5 month old male b.c.i. who eats really well on f/t hopper mice-- one every 7 days, and i have a couple of questions about progressing with feeding.

    the breeder i got him from suggested that i keep him on hoppers, and then just move up to mice when the hoppers were too small, and not to move to rats until i had to because they are fattier and result in a fatter snake etc. etc. thereby shortening his life.

    i feed my 08 male ball python on f/t rats, as he's been on them his whole life, and i've seen no ill effects with him, and so i'm wondering if there truly is a reason behind doing mice first, then rats with boas. i'm in no rush for him to be to breeding size or anything like that, he's is my pet only, so i just want what's best for him.

    thanks for any and all suggestions or information you folks can offer!

    tina

  • #2
    Re: mice vs. rats for babies

    To the best of my knowledge, there's no problem with the fat content in rats until you get up into the multiple XL sizes. A lot of people start their boas on rat pinks and move up from there. And, a common theology is that rats have a higher nutritional value than mice and are actually recommended over mice.

    Most of my snakes start on the appropriate sizes of mice and then move to rats later on. That is mainly due to the lack of availability in my area of various sizes of rats. I'm kind of picky and only buy from one store in my area.

    I have eight snakes right now, but am increasing my collection slowly but surely. When my collection gets to a number that I feel ordering food would be more economically viable than purchasing it locally, then I will do so and will try to use rats only.
    "An increase in reptile education can lead to a decrease in reptile discrimination." - Bebo

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    • #3
      Re: mice vs. rats for babies

      Originally posted by bebowebb View Post
      To the best of my knowledge, there's no problem with the fat content in rats until you get up into the multiple XL sizes.
      Yeah, I tend to agree here. I've never fed anything but rats to my snakes.

      At some ponit in the not too distant future, your snake is going to outgrow mice. At that ponit some snakes are difficult to transistion to a new food source. Not all, but some.

      In the end, though, you have to do what works best for you and your snake.


      -Sean in NoCal
      “Americanism means the virtues of courage, honor, justice, truth, sincerity, and hardihood – the virtues that made America.”
      -Teddy Roosevelt.

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      • #4
        Re: mice vs. rats for babies

        The last two post summed it up well. Rats are more nutritous for your snake, I think the nutritional values are posted on rodentpro. You'll only get ill effects if you feed the XXXL rats which a topic is posted on basically boas(I think). You have nothing to worry about, so let the feeding begin.

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        • #5
          Re: mice vs. rats for babies

          My BCI is about 5 months old and I started her on f/t rat fuzzies about 5 weeks ago. They are a little bigger, have less fur, and more meat. Like you my boa was on f/t mouse hoppers when I brought her home, and she was almost 3 months old.

          AFIAK people start boas on mice because they are smaller and seem more manageable to neonate or very young snakes. Truth is a neonate red tail could handle a pinkie rat with no issues. Hell, my BRB was fed pinkie rats as a neonate by his breeder when he couldn't get mouse hoppers, and BRBs are more slender and slight than a red tail.

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          • #6
            Re: mice vs. rats for babies

            Originally posted by Pandorasdad View Post

            At some point in the not too distant future, your snake is going to outgrow mice. At that point some snakes are difficult to transition to a new food source. Not all, but some.
            The fact that some snakes are difficult to transition from mice to rats is why I start with f/t rats instead of mice. I don't know if starting with mice would cause a problem for me or not, but I don't want to find out.

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            • #7
              Re: mice vs. rats for babies

              Originally posted by tina_t View Post
              the breeder i got him from suggested that i keep him on hoppers, and then just move up to mice when the hoppers were too small, and not to move to rats until i had to because they are fattier and result in a fatter snake etc. etc. thereby shortening his life.
              i think he doesn't have a clue what he's talking about

              as far as i know, breeders PREFER rats because there's more meat (and yes, fat, too) on them. what WILL shorten their lives is if you feed too often (multiple times/week), too much (multiple prey items/meal or too big of prey items too often) for extended periods.

              from what i can tell, most people like to transition to rats asap.

              p.s. welcome!

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              • #8
                Re: mice vs. rats for babies

                I've never heard of the fat content of rats vs mice being an issue simply because neither has a lot of fat. The big issue in rats vs mice has been meat/bone ratios. Mice are not as muscular as rats are, even as babies. I think feeding rats from the get go is better because the boa gets more protein while still getting all the required calcium.

                The fat content question usually doesn't come into play unless you're talking about rats or mice vs guinea pigs. Those I've always stayed away from because they are very high in fat.
                Last edited by monkeywrench133; 10-28-2009, 05:59 PM.
                "It is not my responsibility to live up to other people's perceptions of who I am. I am only responsible for living up to the standards I set for myself, to be the person I want to be."

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                • #9
                  Re: mice vs. rats for babies

                  Hi, let me see if I can answer this. Generally, you start you boa on what you want it to eat. There's several stages of rats. Pinkies (newborn) Fuzzies (eyes still closed) Small, Medium, Large, Jumbo. I'm not sure about the fat content of Rats for boas. My pair of RTB have been eating rats all their lives. The guy I got them from has 4 pairs of snakes. 3 boas, Argentine, Demurrals, and my pair RTB. He also has a pair of Ca. Kings. and a hog nose. He's fed them all Rats from birth.

                  Now, your ball python, can be very picky. He can fast for up to a year. This can be very frustrating for handlers. Your Ball Python, needs to continue eating exactly what the original owner was feeding him. Changing his diet may cause him to go into a fast.

                  I use Rats for the bigger snakes since they eat so much at once. Rats v. Mice. Rats are bigger there fore they eat less of them. It's easier keeping rats in stock. I feed my mature boas once a month as many rats as they want. My female ate 6 jumbos the last time. However, my male didn't eat at all.

                  Come to find out my females gravid. He will be ready to eat soon. I hope. Otherwise he gets a little cranky and can be hard to handle.

                  I hope all of this helps.

                  LD.

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                  • #10
                    thanks for all the replies everyone! i'm glad i've kinda been thinking along all of the lines you folks have presented. next week we'll attempt to switch to the rat fuzzies i have in copious numbers in my freezer....

                    what to do with all the hopper mice i wonder. LOL

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