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How often should I feed my girl?

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  • [Feeding Issue] How often should I feed my girl?

    I Purchased my red tail boa on Jan 17th of this year at a reptile convention; I had been waiting so long to get her! I got so excited when I purchased her that I forgot to ask the breeders how old she was and what her feeding schedule was. She was about 3+ feet when I brought her home but she has shed twice since then. I have been feeding her once a week.

    Is there any way to know how old she maybe in order for me to determine how frequently I should be feeding her? Or should I simply use her size to determine this?
    I really don't want to power feed her.

  • #2
    Re: How often should I feed my girl?

    I would say that one appropriately sized meal every 9days would be a good start with a boa that size. My girl is now a bit over 4' (cant believe how fast she grew!) and feeding on medium rats every 9-12days. It is pretty easy to tell when your boa is hungry, she will start prowling the cage a lot with a lot of tongue action, and may even show a feeding response when you walk by her cage. Sometimes my girl will make her striking pose when I walk by, I know she is hungry then and might even give her a rat a day or two earlier than normal.

    As long as your snake keeps a healthy "square look" to her and has good muscle tone, id say your feeding schedule is good. One thing is for sure, she defiantly has a much stronger feeding response than my ball pythons did, she would probably eat every day if I let her haha.

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    • #3
      Re: How often should I feed my girl?

      It honestly depends on how fast she is digesting food with how often you feed her. More activity will burn energy which will make her start to digest faster as well as warmer temperatures. What I mean by digestion is how long it takes the food to be completely processed. All boas should be in a hands off period for at least 48 hours after feeding so they can let the food settle and break down to the point where it isn't super uncomfortable to be handled. A conservative feed schedule would be feeding every time she poops but that isn't reliable because sometimes they just don't want to poop. It is best to use a chart to get a basic idea but it is all down to your animal.

      http://www.redtailboas.com/f110/down...ion-3-a-31312/
      On page 23 it says a 3-4' boa yearling should be feeding on a small to medium rat every 14 to 30 days but like I said, it is down to your animal.

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      • #4
        Re: How often should I feed my girl?

        I have grappled with this, myself. I started my 2 year old on a small rat every 10 days, but was advised (and have since confirmed form other sources) that with boas, less is always more. They are built for famine - which can be tricky in a captivity situation b/c that opportunistic prey drive will keep them willing to eat all the time, but their metabolisms are super slow and over-feeding can lead to a myriad of health problems. Basically, it is very hard to underfeed a boa but very easy to overfeed it so be conservative. Though body shape is one good indicator, just like some people, a good body can belie issues with fatty internal organs. Though i am keeping a 14-16 day schedule right now, once my snake turns three he will go to once a month (maybe twice in summer) and then fast for much of the winter. This is how they have evolved over millions and millions of years to thrive. It sounds like your snake is healthy as well as lucky to have a very conscientious owner, enjoy him!

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        • #5
          Re: How often should I feed my girl?

          Originally posted by Jelluee View Post
          ...She was about 3+ feet when I brought her home...Is there any way to know how old she may be...
          I'd guess she was a year to a year & a half in January, when you first brought her home, so she's probably nearing two years now. Many breeders feed a bit on the light side, so their snakes stay on the small side while
          they're waiting to be sold.

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          • #6
            Re: How often should I feed my girl?

            I've always fed my boas more according to prey size which sort of correlates to their size/age. So my babies usually start off on adult mice/fuzzy rats and I feed every 7-10 days. Once they're up to weaned/small rats I bump it back to every 10-14 days, medium rats every 14-21 days, and large rats every 4-6 weeks. It varies a bit since my feeding days are usually Sundays or Wednesdays, I have so many it's hard to feed everyone on the same day, lol. So sometimes everyone will wait an extra week before getting fed. I've never gone based on them looking hungry since most of mine will "look hungry" a couple days after I feed them, lol. Boas in captivity are fed way more than wild boas who usually eat once a month if they're lucky. Everyone has different methods or theories on feeding, I think what's most important is that your boa doesn't get obese so pay attention to their shape and scales. As other members have pointed out, boas should have a square shape not round. And you shouldn't be able to see between their scales. You really don't want to deal with an obese boa, it takes a long time for them to lose the wait. A coworker gave me a Dumerils Boa a few years ago who was super chubby, it took over a year to get her to lose the extra weight. She was not happy about her diet, lol.
            “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” -DA
            www.outworldreptiles.com

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