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Old 07-05-17, 06:45 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Are keepers underfeeding their snakes?

Imo it's better a snake is slightly underfed and/or grows a bit slower than that snake being overfed and growing a tad too fast. Snakes are built for famine, every bit of their physiology is made to go a long time without food and then deal with a gigantic influx of nutrients and calories all at once and then go without food for a long time again. Feeding them too much (even if it's just a little) can lead to obesity in the long run, and fatty liver disease is a common problem, especially in overweight gravid females.

It's not a hard and fast rule, and there's still much to discover about snakes' dietary needs, but a conservative feeding schedule and plenty of exercise opportunities are the best ways to ensure our animals are fit and healthy to live a long life.

If a snake is eating a respectable meal, it is extremely difficult to underfeed them, but very easy to overfeed them. I have seen a few instances of snakes dying from fatty liver disease eating on a diet that many would consider "conservative" (though not as conservative a diet as I give my snakes). The thing is, you cannot tell visually if your snake is overweight all the time, as their fatty deposits are internal. If you can tell your snake is chubby or overweight, it's likely already obese.
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Old 07-14-17, 09:04 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Are keepers underfeeding their snakes?

In retrospect, I fed my Haitian/Dominican Boa mice for too long in his youth. Eventually he went to 2 mice every 10-14 days. He also refused to eat anything for over a year around the age of 4.5 (never found any underlying health issue at the time; very little weight loss either). He was slightly undersized for years and didn't get on a steady supply of FT medium (with the occasional large) rats every 2-3 weeks until he was over 10 years old. Yet even that late in the game, he added lean muscle and length at an increased rate. He is now a muscular (but appropriate for body type) 6.5 feet at 35 years of age. My experience shows how durable they are and how they can catch up even when well into adulthood. The current medium rat every 2-3 weeks keeps him robust but still lean and strong.
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Old 07-15-17, 05:59 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Are keepers underfeeding their snakes?

Overall I'd probably say no. A lot of snakes kept are ambush hunters waiting for food to come to them it's unlikely a rat will wander by every week. Snakes that actively go hunting could be different as they might feed with more consistency.

Most of the feeding done in private collections is just guessing based on others guesses and looking at growth rates, obvious health problems or short lives. Then new guesses come up. The majority of captive snakes I'd say are not underfed. I'd guess majority fall in the middle with few on each extreme.

But seeing as it's largely pure guess work and following others guesses none of us really knows where we fall in relation to what is truly healthy for the snake for decades. If they live an appropriate time for the species you could argue you did it right but if they fall short there are a lot of factors. Just as we die beyond and short of our life expectancy. We still wouldn't know for sure, what if that boa that lived 25yrs was one of the human equivalent who could have reached 100+ but died at 80 due to life choices. We don't know enough to really be accurate and correct. We still haven't figured out our genes so we're a few lifetimes away from figuring out that of other species.

Basically we are makes declarations and conclusions based on no real knowledge base, no feed back and very small sample pools.

Carry on guessers carry on
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Old 07-15-17, 11:31 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Are keepers underfeeding their snakes?

Thanks a lot Blaze. That just took all the fun and mystery out of it!
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Old 07-16-17, 07:03 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Are keepers underfeeding their snakes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by EL Ziggy View Post
Thanks a lot Blaze. That just took all the fun and mystery out of it!
Still lots of mystery in the abyss of all that is unknown

You're welcome buddy
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