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Old 01-13-18, 04:45 AM   #5 (permalink)
bigsnakegirl785's Avatar
Join Date: Aug-2011
Location: Waynesville
Age: 24
Posts: 3,916
Re: prey size and weight

I feed smaller meals less often, so my boa's meals tend to be under 10% of their weight, and that percentage goes lower as they get bigger. I don't feed my snakes based off of weight, but my boas' meals TEND to be 6-8% for babies, and 2-6% for adults. That's just finding the percentage of their average meals, I don't feed them with the intent to reach those percentages, so sometimes they may even get something a little bigger. In those cases, I give an extra week and then reduce the prey size again next feeding. Frequency depends on species and age.

I've only had 2 pythons, but my adult ball python gets meals that are 3.5-6% of his weight, roughly, every 2-3 weeks. I did start out feeding my retic 10-15% of her weight, and then 15-20%. Most recently, her meals have averaged 11-13% of her weight, but I'm just feeding her the biggest meal I feel comfortable giving her. Those rats/rabbits leave a huge lumpy bulge, so they're more than adequate.

A rat 10% of my adult ball pythons' weight is 1.5 times bigger than the biggest meal I'd give him and nearly 3 times the size of the smallest I'd give him. He could not physically swallow a rat 15% of his weight. The biggest rat I gave him was maybe 175-180 grams, and he struggled to get it down, he'd never be able to swallow a 200+ gram rat. In this way, I don't feel like feeding by weight is a realistic way to feed our snakes.

Maybe for hatchlings of *certain* species, but it's better to go off of how large of a bulge it leaves immediately after swallowing. For my boas, I feed meals that don't leave a noticeable difference in girth, or a barely noticeable one at most for babies. For my adult pythons I also feed meals that leave no noticeable difference in girth, but I allow for much larger bulges during adolescence.

Most of the rat sizes I refer to are based off of this chart, and I've tried providing gram weights when I mention rat/mouse/etc. sizes lately to reduce confusion for people in other countries with different sizing scales or people in the US with suppliers that use a different sizing method.

0.0.1 ball python Bud - 3.3 BI Cloud, sunglow Nymeria, ghost Tirel, anery motley Crona, ghost Howl, jungle Dominika - 2.0 garter snake eastern Demigod, checkered Draco - 0.1 retic Riverrun - RIP (Guin, Morzan, Sanji, and Homura - BRBs)
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