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Diary of an Obese Boa

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  • [Feeding-General] Diary of an Obese Boa

    Merry Christmas to me from my wonderful hubby!

    This is Maia, an early 2015 female hypo jaguar jungle 50% pos het anery BCI:







    Maia has a not so small weight problem that goes way beyond the "hypo spread" that has been noted with that morph. Her front end is all BCI but her back end reminds me of a ball python. I considered naming her "Miss Piggy" and putting a "WIDE LOAD" sign on the car when I brought her home.



    Maia has been put on a diet, effective immediately. She had been on a rat fuzzy every two weeks, I'm thinking a rat pinky or even a mouse fuzzy every two to three weeks instead.

    Also, she'll be getting more exercise. She had been in a 12-qt tub in a rack setup which didn't give her opportunities to move around. A lot of snakes seem to do ok in racks and tubs - I have several of those setups - but I have the feeling she will always need more room to roam to maintain a trim figure. I've got her in a 36"x24"x18" Boaphile arboreal for quarantine so she can move around more as she wishes. She has discovered the PVC poles for climbing, perching, and basking under the RHP.

    She obviously hasn't been handled much as she flips out a bit when you pick her up. She's not nasty or defensive but she's clearly uncomfortable and she tries to flee. After giving her a few weeks to settle in I plan on handling her a lot more, probably for 15-30 minutes every day, both so she gets used to being handled and for exercise.

    If anyone has other ideas on how to safely melt the grams off of an obese boa I would appreciate them! Until she clears QT I'm a bit limited on what I can do with her though. For instance, my other snakes can climb on the bannister for the staircase but she'll have to wait.
    Also I plan to post updates and pictures of her progress in this thread every month or so.

  • #2
    Re: Diary of an Obese Boa

    She actually willingly climbs this soon? How recently did you her? My guy took nearly a month before he willingly climbed on his own which he really only does after being handled, after pooping (poo is scary), or when he is wanting to eat.

    I think the diet you plan sounds good with mice fuzzies or mice hoppers even less often. If she is climbing on her own and your exercise plan with handling, that should be more than adequate.

    Very pretty snake. It is amazing how different she looks in the different lights.

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    • #3
      Re: Diary of an Obese Boa

      Are you sure this is a weight problem? She looks nice and proportional up front, and it seems that the only area affected is where her stomach would be. Maybe it is an internal problem or physical defect?

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      • #4
        Re: Diary of an Obese Boa

        Originally posted by Elizabeth94 View Post
        Are you sure this is a weight problem? She looks nice and proportional up front, and it seems that the only area affected is where her stomach would be. Maybe it is an internal problem or physical defect?
        I agree. Snakes can & do grow tumors, for example. They can also retain eggs or have internal malformations. The fact that she "flips out when you try to handle her" might indicate pain.
        You might want to consult a vet on this one, because from what I can see, something's not right. She is still small & her head looks proportional; in snakes that are 'power-fed' the head
        often looks too small.

        Also, rat pinks & fuzzies are HIGHER in calories, NOT what you want to feed an overweight boa. I'd feed at slightly longer intervals, small adult mice (ie. not 'breeders'!).
        But I wish I thought that a 'diet' would fix this.

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        • #5
          Re: Diary of an Obese Boa

          Yeah, I was concerned it wasn't a weight issue because from what I know they are not that common in young boas to that extent because they take that opportunity to grow longer faster. I just don't know enough to bring up concerns on a Christmas baby.

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          • #6
            Re: Diary of an Obese Boa

            Originally posted by Elizabeth94 View Post
            Are you sure this is a weight problem? She looks nice and proportional up front, and it seems that the only area affected is where her stomach would be. Maybe it is an internal problem or physical defect?
            The bottom picture doesn't show it well but her back third is consistently thick/round all the way down her tail. Also if you look at her tail in the top picture where it's out of focus, you can barely see the lines going across her stripe. Those are the beginning of fat rolls. They don't show well when she's stretched out, but they're obvious when she coils.

            Since she's less than a year old I doubt retained eggs/slugs are an issue. The "wigging out" she does when being picked up is typical for babies that haven't been handled much - after a minute or so she does settle down, and I know she wasn't fooled with in the past unless her tub needed cleaning.

            I do think keeping her on mice for now is a good idea.

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            • #7
              Re: Diary of an Obese Boa

              No, obviously I wasn't referring specifically to your boa (regarding retained eggs/slugs), just giving some other issues where this is seen. Also, if the lower third of her body is like this, how is her elimination?
              I have had a snake that formed a cloacal 'stone' (hard minerals retained that the snake could not pass without help), so you might try gently feeling around above the cloaca for any hard internal lumps.

              I should add that my snake looked like an overstuffed sausage on her lower-third too. She was given to me (an adult non-boid) & while she ate happily, she was not eliminating...not until I figured out what
              was going on & removed the cloacal 'stone' w/ help from KY jelly. (and this is best left to a vet or experienced ppl- it wasn't fun, especially the fecal 'explosion' that followed immediately)

              Constipated snakes are fairly uncommon, but you just might have one, as far as I can guess.

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              • #8
                Re: Diary of an Obese Boa

                Originally posted by Noelle7206 View Post
                Also, if the lower third of her body is like this, how is her elimination? I have had a snake that formed a cloacal 'stone' (hard minerals retained that the snake could not pass without help), so you might try gently feeling around above the cloaca for any hard internal lumps.

                I should add that my snake looked like an overstuffed sausage on her lower-third too. She was given to me (an adult non-boid) & while she ate happily, she was not eliminating...not until I figured out what
                was going on & removed the cloacal 'stone' w/ help from KY jelly. (and this is best left to a vet or experienced ppl- it wasn't fun, especially the fecal 'explosion' that followed immediately)

                Constipated snakes are fairly uncommon, but you just might have one, as far as I can guess.
                She left me a decent pile of urates this morning. No other "presents" so far but I've had her less than a week.

                We're picking up one of our retics from the vet on Saturday (bad prolapse but she's doing ok now) so I'll see if we can't get this girl in when we pick up the other.

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                • #9
                  Re: Diary of an Obese Boa

                  All the best on your retic's continued recovery (prolapses aren't fun!) and hopefully "this too shall pass" with your beautiful new baby Maia. It just so unlikely for a young snake to be "obese" only on their
                  lower third...and a vet seeing her in person is the best way to go. Fingers crossed!

                  The cloacal 'stones' that came out of my snake: biggest was like a marble, then a smaller one too. The smaller the snake, the less it takes to block them up.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Diary of an Obese Boa

                    Originally posted by Noelle7206 View Post
                    (and this is best left to a vet or experienced ppl- it wasn't fun, especially the fecal 'explosion' that followed immediately)
                    Love the imagery. I was eating a KitKat as well.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Diary of an Obese Boa

                      Originally posted by acephantom903 View Post
                      Love the imagery. I was eating a KitKat as well.
                      Trust me, you had to be there...sorry about your KitKat, but removing a cloacalith is like uncorking a shaken bottle of soda...well, except for the smell & all. (you duck & cover! hahaha!) Huge relief for the snake,
                      and in fact, it's lifesaving too. (I was glad I worked on the snake in my bathtub)

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                      • #12
                        Re: Diary of an Obese Boa

                        Getting the stomach flu before, I can imagine what it feels like for the snake. lol No worries. I enjoyed a second packet laughing at the thought of linking the two.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Diary of an Obese Boa

                          The boa looks constipated to me, just soak the boa in warm water and it should be fine. If not try a second soak and gently massage your boa and squeeze her like a tube of toothpaste. I would suggest doing this in your laundry sink or a bath tub as it will be messy. The few times I have done this I just soak them in a bigger plastic tub and massage them in the same tub. Then I just flush the waste down the toilet. When soaking the boa make sure the boa can just sit in the water with it barley covering it. If the boa has to keep swimming it could drown if left unattended not to mention it will stress the boa out.

                          Take care
                          Tom

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                          • #14
                            Re: Diary of an Obese Boa

                            Hey thanks Tom, I'll give that a try. I always monitor my snakes closely when they go for a swim, not only due to the potential for drowning, but because my bathroom has a lot of storage space, and thus a lot of potential hidey-holes should a snake manage to get out of the tub.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Diary of an Obese Boa

                              Originally posted by bcr_229 View Post
                              Maia has a not so small weight problem that goes way beyond the "hypo spread" that has been noted with that morph.
                              Goodness knows I don't know a drop in the bucket about snakes overall but I have been keeping a number of years and have never heard of this. Anyone care to elaborate? I find it very intriguing since I specialize in hypo and hypo jungles and haven't run across this yet.



                              Originally posted by Noelle7206 View Post
                              Also, rat pinks & fuzzies are HIGHER in calories, NOT what you want to feed an overweight boa. I'd feed at slightly longer intervals, small adult mice (ie. not 'breeders'!).
                              But I wish I thought that a 'diet' would fix this.
                              I totally agree with Noelle on this point if in fact, this is your boas problem.



                              Originally posted by Noelle7206 View Post
                              You might want to consult a vet on this one, because from what I can see, something's not right.
                              I totally agree with this assessment as well. She is a very pretty boa and congratulations on getting a new baby but I would have her checked out by a vet, that would make me very nervous. Please keep us up with what is going on and I hope all is resolved easily and quickly!
                              http://berkeleyknebel.wix.com/mississippimorphs

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

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