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  • [Feeding-General] Downsize or keep with it.

    I "rescued" a boa from a bad situation about a month ago, and was told she was feeding on large rats and had been for some time. I believe that she was, because she shows signs of powerfeeding, plus she is nearly 7.5 ft at just over 4 yrs. By my estimation based on head size and overall condition she should just be moving up to large rats in the next few months. I gave her two medium rats since I got her, but she kinda snuffed them as too small. Would you guys resume feeding large rats since that is what she is used to, or would you feed medium till her conformation and health perk up?

    PS. she DID eat the medium rats, but didn't seem from pleased by it.

  • #2
    Re: Downsize or keep with it.

    Slow her down. Way down. I'd go ONE large rat per month until about November, then I'd slow down to one large every six weeks until it warms in the spring. At that point, back to one per month. No reason to feed that boa any more.

    RR_20 (Mike)

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    • #3
      Re: Downsize or keep with it.

      Did she actually tell you she wasn't pleased? (lol) If she looks "power-fed" I'd certainly feed her smaller rats ("mediums") & at longer intervals between feedings. If you continue "over-feeding" her, nothing will change
      and you won't be doing her health any 'favors'. 7.5' in four years is awfully fast growth...the BCI I had grew to that size in 12 years...even allowing some "individual differences", that's a huge disparity.

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      • #4
        Re: Downsize or keep with it.

        Originally posted by Noelle7206 View Post
        Did she actually tell you she wasn't pleased? (lol)... feed her smaller rats ("mediums") & at longer intervals between feedings... 7.5' in four years is awfully fast growth...the BCI I had grew to that size in 12 years...even allowing some "individual differences", that's a huge disparity.
        She didn't exactly say she wasn't pleased, she just came out of her hide and stared it down for three hours before I got impatient and teased her with it. Even when she took it, she just reached out her head and started eating it, no real strike, which was a pleasant surprise from a snake that big. Yeah, she seems big to me, if she was in better shape I would think about breeding her, but don't have a male and she needs some TLC to get to that point, maybe next year I can do a breeding exchange with a local boa person. I'm expecting her health to taper off in three or four years, but until then I'll just do everything I can to ensure she has the proper care.

        So I have one large and one medium, anyone wanna go for the tie breaker? I'm leaning towards mediums obviously, but I'll probably play it by ear and keep track of her weight and length for the next year. I don't necessarily want her to lose weight, just maintain her weight and grow another 6" or so before next year.... I think she is gonna be a giant and I'm gonna be hurting to house her eventually.

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        • #5
          Re: Downsize or keep with it.

          Maybe she's just not as hungry as you think? Because as far as I can tell, snakes don't express disappointment over the size of prey: if they are hungry, they just GO for it. If a snake isn't hungry (and you already
          know she's been power-fed!) I'd never be coaxing her to eat...no sireeee! And by the way, snakes don't even appear to have the ability to logically know ahead of time if prey is too big to bother with...it's not at
          all rare for snakes to kill prey, then be unable to swallow it. They just aren't that visually-oriented.

          Also, it's never a good idea to breed a power-fed snake, IMO. Snakes carrying too much weight and/or that are just not mature enough tend to have more risks from breeding, with more bad outcomes.

          And why are you expecting her health to decline in 3 or 4 years, anyway?

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          • #6
            Re: Downsize or keep with it.

            Originally posted by Noelle7206 View Post
            Maybe she's just not as hungry as you think?... I'd never be coaxing her to eat...no sireeee! ...it's not at all rare for snakes to kill prey, then be unable to swallow it...
            Also, it's never a good idea to breed a power-fed snake, IMO.. more risks from breeding, with more bad outcomes.
            She may have not been hungry, and typically I agree whole-heartedly about not forcing her to eat. My issue is she had been in bad health from living in cold conditions, and the previous owner didn't know when she had eaten last. I just wanted to ensure she had two good meals as she recovers, the next meal I have scheduled is five weeks from the last, and if she doesn't take it I'm not gonna stress that one.

            It may be true that snakes can't determine prey size, but on more than one occasion I've offered two smaller prey items to get rid of excessive stock and had a snake not take it. I thaw the correct size item and they take it instantly. Two items vs one is harder on a snakes digestive tract, so based on "MY observations only" I have to conclude that some snakes will decide to forgo a small meal... but you are right there is no measurable evidence that snakes do this in the wild.

            I agree on the not breeding power-fed animals, or animals that are too young, that is mainly why I'm waiting till next year to see where she is at... She may never be suitable to breed, and that is fine she is wonderful animal anyhow and will make a great pet no matter how long she loves and if tight hugs are her only contribution to the household we will take them.

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            • #7
              Re: Downsize or keep with it.

              Originally posted by Noelle7206 View Post
              why are you expecting her health to decline in 3 or 4 years, anyway?
              mostly so I'm not disappointed, I'm hoping she lives to be in her thirties or more if she can. But statistically animals power-fed for this long have a track record of organ issues earlier in life. That is really why I want to get her looking healthier now, so she lasts as long as possible. But I don't want to be heartbroken if she doesn't.

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              • #8
                Re: Downsize or keep with it.

                Originally posted by walla2GSP View Post
                .... But statistically animals power-fed for this long have a track record of organ issues earlier in life....
                That's why I'd personally never breed her...breeding puts stress on every part of the snake's body, and she certainly won't care either way, so why go there at all? Just get her 'healthy' & happy as your pet.

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                • #9
                  Re: Downsize or keep with it.

                  Originally posted by walla2GSP View Post
                  ....she had been in bad health from living in cold conditions, and the previous owner didn't know when she had eaten last....

                  It may be true that snakes can't determine prey size, but on more than one occasion I've offered two smaller prey items to get rid of excessive stock and had a snake not take it....
                  I know how badly you want to immediately "make it up to the snake you've rescued" (I've taken in quite a few myself-) but the best course of action is to let a snake recover slowly. A snake that's been too cold or
                  unfed needs time to get back up to speed, so feeding at "normal" intervals may cause a regurge or do other harm* from providing too much too soon. That may well be what she's trying to tell you when she hesitates-
                  that she's just not ready for more yet. A snake that's been cold & underfed will need more time to replenish their digestive fluids...they may also be dehydrated, and what they need MOST is actually water, not food.
                  And when you do feed them, much smaller meals are preferable & easier to digest, until they're fully up to speed. (*An example of possible harm is when you take in a snake that's infested with worms, and feed it as
                  much as it wants to eat. While the unfortunate snake is very hungry, having "shared" it's meals for some time, the problem is that when you suddenly provide more food, those parasites are also receiving more food,
                  and suddenly they can impact & clog vital organs, even resulting in the death of the snake who's hosting them.)

                  As far as snakes rejecting smaller prey, remember their best sense is scent, not vision. I'm pretty sure that prey smells different at different stages of development...and I say this also as one that has raised rodents
                  for many years. Rodents are able to recognize their own babies from scent...and I'm pretty sure snakes are going by their scent as well, showing preference for what's familiar. Either that or they just aren't hungry.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Downsize or keep with it.

                    Originally posted by Noelle7206 View Post
                    so why go there at all? Just get her 'healthy' & happy as your pet.
                    Noelle has you covered extremely well in terms of care for this boa. I just need to reiterate that the idea of breeding this boa, even if you are thinking about doing it when the boa is "up to par," probably shouldn't be considered at all considering her circumstances..

                    Just curious, do you know the origins of the boa (pet store, breeder? any genetics?)

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                    • #11
                      Re: Downsize or keep with it.

                      Originally posted by Elizabeth94 View Post
                      Noelle has you covered extremely well in terms of care for this boa. I just need to reiterate that the idea of breeding this boa, even if you are thinking about doing it when the boa is "up to par," probably shouldn't be considered at all considering her circumstances..

                      Just curious, do you know the origins of the boa (pet store, breeder? any genetics?)
                      If it's the same boa as in this thread, it's a common. Even without her history I'd keep her strictly as a pet, not a breeder.
                      http://www.redtailboas.com/f158/7-ft...hington-74417/

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