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Old 05-27-17, 09:15 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Strict vs varied diet

This question came to mind last night after talking to Gybettle about boas. Curious what everyone's thoughts are. For this question it's geared around bci as that's what we were talking about and their susceptibly to gaining fat.

Assuming that both boas are fed on a proper schedule through their life and an appropriate sized meal.

What would be the effect or differences in their overall life span, health, body composition if one was strictly rats and the other was fed variety of rats, birds and rabbit if it got that big.

My boa has been fed variety from a young age. Currently on a rotation of rats, asf, day chicks and quail. He'll get rabbits if he ever gets that big.

There is different nutrition and fat to protien to other nutrients in rats vs bird vs rabbit.

Would a boa fed a mix of high and lower fat food be leaner and more toned?
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Old 05-27-17, 10:20 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Strict vs varied diet

Ahh...a question I was going to ask, later, when my Boas got bigger! Thanks TB295!
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Old 05-27-17, 11:55 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Strict vs varied diet

I don't think anyone knows. Varied or single diet is all opinion based on theory right now. No one has presented any proof either way but personally I don't think it's accurate to put all snakes on just rats or mice. Many species wouldn't even eat mostly that. Some of mine would eat more lizards, some would eat more amphibians, most snakes will steal small birds if they can, and my bull snakes are outright garbage disposals. I do a varied diet and even plan to setup breeding feeder house geckos because I'm not going to buy wc lizards for that option. Some snakes do pick a food and get stuck on it if you give them a choice instead of wanting a varied diet with some being quite notorious for it and it may not actually be the ideal food they pick. I think that's where some of the feed only one food that is easiest for humans and healthiest we can figure out came from. Many do supplement with chicks and other rodents with more options like rabbit the bigger the snake.
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Old 05-27-17, 12:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Strict vs varied diet

Mine are on a rodent only diet. Most people I know mix it up on the basis a varied diet more closely replicates their natural feeding patterns.

I haven't seen any studies that show there is a benefit to either approach only that (and at the risk of stating the obvious) that their diet in the wild consists of all sorts.

I may try mixing it up and see if I notice any behavioural changes but on the other hand I may just stick to what I'm doing.
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Old 05-27-17, 01:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Strict vs varied diet

I agree with akane. I haven't seen any scientific data comparing the 2 feeding methods but there has to different nutrients in the various prey types. I don't keep boas so I can't speak with certainty about them but I believe most snakes, and animals in general, would benefit more from multiple food sources than just a singular option.
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Old 05-27-17, 01:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Strict vs varied diet

All of mine get varied except for my bp. I'm scared of creating a problem
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Old 05-27-17, 01:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Strict vs varied diet

True...getting mine on rats, and off of mice, has been interesting and slow and I'd hate to have it go off of rats again....it might starve!!

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All of mine get varied except for my bp. I'm scared of creating a problem
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Old 05-27-17, 01:52 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Strict vs varied diet

Yeah, ball pythons are the common ones I hear can get stuck on foods and be a pain to feed more than one thing. Being one of the most major cb snakes might be one of the reasons for so much caution varying the diet in all species. My corn snake gorged on the feeder anoles when the anole experiment ended and then ate a mouse 2 weeks later though. She still looked for lizards for months and sat in the good ambush spots before giving up but she kept eating the mice.
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Old 05-27-17, 01:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Strict vs varied diet

My Bredli went for about a month where he would only eat mice, even though he'd eaten rats, mice, chicks, and asfs prior to that. I had to starve him out for a few weeks and even resorted to scenting before he was back on rats. He hasn't seen another mouse since.
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Old 05-27-17, 02:08 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Strict vs varied diet

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All of mine get varied except for my bp. I'm scared of creating a problem
This is a great reason for NOT offering a varied diet for certain species. Carpet pythons, ball pythons, and western hognose are some commonly kept species that tend to develop affinities for certain prey items when offered, called prey imprinting, and what they want isn't always the best or most convenient choice. I'm sure it happens in lots of other species as well, but those are the very common ones. I've had some honduran milksnakes and corn snakes do it as well. Boas rarely do this, though, and considering that boas don't fare well with metabolising fat properly, the odd quail or rabbit could in my opinion may be beneficial.
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Old 05-27-17, 02:12 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Strict vs varied diet

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This is a great reason for NOT offering a varied diet for certain species. Carpet pythons, ball pythons, and western hognose are some commonly kept species that tend to develop affinities for certain prey items when offered, called prey imprinting, and what they want isn't always the best or most convenient choice. I'm sure it happens in lots of other species as well, but those are the very common ones. I've had some honduran milksnakes and corn snakes do it as well. Boas rarely do this, though, and considering that boas don't fare well with metabolising fat properly, the odd quail or rabbit could in my opinion may be beneficial.
I'm hoping my carpet will take asfs and quail.
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Old 05-27-17, 02:25 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Strict vs varied diet

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I'm hoping my carpet will take asfs and quail.
Whether you do it or not is up to you, but I'd hate to see you stuck with a large snake that only eats ASF's. I've had friends whose adult jcp's only ate mice even after months and months of holding out, scenting, etc. Just be aware that it may be (or may not be, who knows) a heck of a ride...
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Old 05-27-17, 02:33 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Strict vs varied diet

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Originally Posted by Andy_G View Post
Whether you do it or not is up to you, but I'd hate to see you stuck with a large snake that only eats ASF's. I've had friends whose adult jcp's only ate mice even after months and months of holding out, scenting, etc. Just be aware that it may be (or may not be, who knows) a heck of a ride...
I got her from operation python in Toronto. He has an adult carpet on asfs. He has a source for large ones. So at least I'll have am adult sized prey item outside of birds. I know quail i can get easy in the right size.
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Old 05-28-17, 02:40 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Strict vs varied diet

My very first boa in 1980 was fed a varied diet. Back in the day, with some patience, free food would show up in the want ads of the daily paper. I took full advantage of it. My boa was quite healthy and took to anything I presented to her as food. Was she better off than a boa that is fed strictly rats, I really can't say. She was no doubt healthy and she wasn't a fatty by no means.
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