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  • [Feeding-General] Rat Pup Information

    I'm on a boa group on Facebook in which a few members claim rat pups are not suitable feeders for boas. The reason being the milk bellies are hard to digest. Can anyone here confirm/disprove this? Of course I stumbled on this directly after ordering a pack of rat pups.... My boa has had one rat pup but hasn't defecated in the three and a half weeks since. She's always been a bit finicky with her poos (usually a week after her second meal) but now that I've read this information it's got me a little concerned. I switched her from large mice to rat pups, on a 14 day feeding schedule. I only recently seen the information on rat pups and so held off feeding her this week to see if she would defecate or have any problems. What should I be looking for if she's constipated, or other issues that may occur? How would I treat that? I do have a reptile vet in the area. Any insight would be much appreciated.


    Ambient temps - 84F
    Hot spot - 90F (She has a tendency to stay in an area just before the hot spot that hits 87F)
    Cool spot- 80F
    Humidity - 55%
    Radiant heat panels on thermostats for heat

  • #2
    Re: Rat Pup Information

    First off, welcome to the best forum on the 'net! Don't believe everything you read on FB posts please. There are a lot of 'armchair experts' on FB. That being said, there is something true about the rat pups but personally, I have never had an issue with feeding them. A lot of breeders may start their babies off on mice but I have always started mine off on rat pups so I never have to worry about switching them from mice to rats when it's time for an upgrade. It's just my personal way of doing things, you will find there are a lot of differing opinions on this.

    Please post some pictures of your boa when you can, we LOVE pictures here.
    http://berkeleyknebel.wix.com/mississippimorphs

    Photo credit:Eddie Ard .....Banner Credit:Big PaPa Ernest

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    • #3
      Re: Rat Pup Information

      Giving a 10 minute bath in 85 degree water (I put the tub in the cage with a lid on to keep proper heat) and you should have a poo in the water or shortly after. From what I understand, true constipation in a boa is not common. They just decide to hold it for a long time sometimes. My guy normally poos every 9 days (young) and one time he decided to not poo for 3 weeks. I noticed some dried blood on his bedding which was probably from his F/T feeding 4 days prior. I wanted to clean his cage, but I knew if I changed it that he would poo immediately after just to spite me. Gave him a quick bath and he pooed in the tub. Oh well, I changed the bedding because he pooed and it was safe to change it... 12 hours later he pooped again...

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      • #4
        Re: Rat Pup Information

        I've never seen any issue & fed plenty of rat pups to all kinds of snakes. Boas (& other snakes) do not defecate that often (hooray!)...they go when they need to, not once per meal, to conserve water & nutrients.
        Baby rodents of all types are more digestible (smaller bones, less fur) so it takes more meals for the snake to NEED to go. And you don't really think that wild snakes go around refusing rat pups do you?

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        • #5
          Re: Rat Pup Information

          Thank you all for the responses! And thank you for the welcome, I have been here for a while just been inactive. I do have plenty of pictures to upload soon though.

          I mostly joined the group to see more pictures of morphs going around, then saw that bit of "advice" (more like another person berating a poster because of their choice in prey item...) I posted my question here rather than there because I didn't want to deal with the "armchair experts" and the ridiculous responses I've seen on other posts there...

          She was started on mice because that's what I had available in the area, and I was a little leery about shipping to Alaska until a local herper gave me some insight. The wild snakes bit I definitely took into consideration, it was just her change in habits that had me concerned. Now my line of thought is, because of the new prey item she's probably handling/digesting it a bit differently because she's never had it before. Think it'd be okay to go ahead and feed her again and get back on her schedule?

          Again, thank you and I appreciate all the responses.

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          • #6
            Re: Rat Pup Information

            If anything is "wrong" with rat pups as food, it's just that they are higher in fat content (just like the huge old breeders, which are best avoided as food). As a transitional food to a growing snake, they are fine. Fed
            long-term, they might pack on a little too much weight & provide too little in the way of minerals (from the bigger bones in more mature rats).

            I wouldn't worry about a feeding schedule at all: they go out the window anyway when your snake is in a shed cycle. But if you mean, is it ok to feed her again after waiting 14 days, I'd say sure, why not?
            If she seems hungry now...? But if not, wait a while. There's also no feeding schedules "in the wild" either, lol... The mistake most owners make is over-feeding, which is bad for any snake, and that's why we
            give the rough estimates of how often to feed, with the longer interval between meals as the prey gets larger. There are some ppl who believe it's best to wait to feed until they see the snake defecate the
            last meal...that would result in a much longer time between meals & a leaner snake...a bit more like "the real world" for the snake. The decision is yours. (I don't blame you for trying to avoid the "drama"!)

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            • #7
              Re: Rat Pup Information

              Originally posted by Noelle7206 View Post
              If anything is "wrong" with rat pups as food, it's just that they are higher in fat content (just like the huge old breeders, which are best avoided as food). As a transitional food to a growing snake, they are fine. Fed
              long-term, they might pack on a little too much weight & provide too little in the way of minerals (from the bigger bones in more mature rats).
              I was waiting for someone to hit on this point. Just my 2cents but I always start on mice and continue with mice until they are big enough to eat weaned rats. With all my boas I have I've only had a couple that have looked at there first rat funny like hey this doesn't smell right but they have always taken it. I also thaw there first few feedings of rats with mice in the bag as to mix the scent a little and it has always worked for me.

              Not trying to step on toes just giving you my way of doing it.

              Like Zam said please post some pictures, we love pictures here.

              Todd

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              • #8
                Re: Rat Pup Information

                I think I will wait til she either defecates or starts actively "hunting" for food. That makes more sense to me haha. I had chosen the rat pups as they were just about the same size to a bit larger than the adult mice I had been feeding her. Figured a pack of those would last til she needed to size up again.

                Here's some pictures I recently got. I'll soon be posting a new thread to show off her new enclosure I built. Thanks again for all the input.


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                • #9
                  Re: Rat Pup Information

                  She's a beauty! Thanks for the pictures.
                  http://berkeleyknebel.wix.com/mississippimorphs

                  Photo credit:Eddie Ard .....Banner Credit:Big PaPa Ernest

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