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VeedubDan 04-10-18 04:13 AM

Live Feeding?

My male adult Boa isn't interested in his food recently. I took him in from a guy who couldn't keep him anymore due to work/college commitments. I've been told they go off their food during mating season, and he was also being housed with a suspected female (which i also took in and have since separated).

He was feeding a medium rabbit every 4 weeks. I've tried giving him 2 so far and hes turned them both away (even after leaving them in overnight) He did take 1 large rat, but he didn't show any enthusiasm about it. I had to leave it in his viv overnight. I'm getting a bit worried that 1 large rat won't be enough for him as hes huge. Anyway i'm wondering if i should try feeding him live bait? He apparently just ate before i got him and he did do a poop 4 days after picking him up so i'm not too worried about him having an obstruction.

Obviously live would be a last resort, so if you guys have any other ideas i'd be happy to try anything!

Also if it does come to live feeding am i allowed to literally buy a pet rabbit from a pet shop and throw it in? or does it have to be bought from an actual breeder of live bait?

Thanks in advance!

TeamSlitherin 04-10-18 05:28 AM

Re: Live Feeding?
No need to worry. Boas have slow metabolisms and one that size could go a year without food and suffer no ill effects. When was the last time he ate? What is his current setup like and what temps do you keep for him?

Id suggest double checking husbandry before trying to offer him a live rabbit. They have very strong legs, sharp claws, and long teeth. A rabbit fighting for its life could do serious damage to your snake, especially if the boa has never had to kill live prey.

Ive only personally known 1 person who fed live rabbits to his snakes (a retic and a Burm), and he always broke their necks first. I imagine youd like to avoid having to do that ;)

bigsnakegirl785 04-10-18 05:35 AM

Re: Live Feeding?
A large rat is more than enough for the vast majority of adult boas. All my boas 8' or under get large rats or xx-small/x-small rabbits .5-1 lb every 4-6 weeks. I don't feed rabbits over 2 lbs whatsoever, or whatever size rabbit is equal to a colossal rat. Rabbits are lean in fat, but they will pack on the weight a lot faster on rabbits than they will on rats. I also don't feed rabbits every feeding, so I feed them more often than I would if they were a staple.

I don't feed rats over regular larges simply because anything bigger than the normal 150-275 gram rats (give or take a few grams) are retired breeders and are very high in fat. I either keep them on larges, or stagger their diet out with rabbits. If you don't have access to rabbits, I would only feed an xl rat or larger every third or fourth feeding, to balance out the fat intake. Chances are, he doesn't really need the bigger rats, though.

How big is he?

No need for live, I fast my boas 3 months every winter, or at least reduce feeding by half for 4 months. They're good at packing on weight, not so good at losing it. He'll be fine.

VeedubDan 04-10-18 06:42 AM

Re: Live Feeding?

When was the last time he ate?
He last ate April 2nd. 1 Jumbo Rat (sorry i said large earlier, but they were actually jumbos). Before that it was with the previous owner, which was apparently January 11th.


What is his current setup like and what temps do you keep for him?
He's currently in a 4x2x2 viv on coarse bark chips, 12 hours of LED lighting per day, (7.30am - 7.30pm). Large bark hide which stretches from the warm side to the middle. No hide on the cool side, just a large water bowl. AMBIENT temperature is 86f on the warm side, 77f on the cool side, with a hotspot of 92f. Humidity between 50 and 60%. Misted with warm water once a day.


he always broke their necks first. I imagine youd like to avoid having to do that
This is EXACTLY what i want to avoid! I couldn't bring myself to break an animals neck. The thought of live feeding is bad enough but i keep telling myself its just nature! Breaking the neck first is not nature!


How big is he?
He's just over 7' - not sure about weight.
bigsnakegirl - I think i need to start weighing prey items! I normally just look at the size of the item and make sure it leaves a small bulge in the snake once eaten. Not too much scale separation, but enough to see they've eaten.

The rat left no visible bulge in Nagini. The medium rabbit would have left a slight bulge if he'd eaten it. I've just been home in my lunch break and hes done a wee, mostly white with some yellow, but no poo since he ate the rat. Does this mean hes digested all of it and used it all and left no waste? Should i give him 2 rats next time? Could i try chickens instead?

Sorry for all the questions!

bigsnakegirl785 04-10-18 11:18 PM

Re: Live Feeding?
If he ate a jumbo rat on the 2nd he’s likely not hungry, plus he had a medium rabbit just a few months before that. Large meals like that can easily hold them over 6-8 weeks (and as much as 10+ weeks for the medium rabbit which are normally around 3-5 lbs iirc), and I wouldn’t feed sooner than 5 weeks after he last ate due to the fat content in jumbos.

No, if he ate only about a week ago he hasn’t had time to digest the rat yet. My boas take anywhere from 2 weeks to 3-4 months to defecate. The more they eat, the longer it will take to poop, and he’ll likely defecate multiple times before it’s all cleared out, or have one giant poo after holding it in as long as possible.

I generally feed my adults meals that don’t leave any visible bulge, but as long as it’s just a small bulge, and you give him extra time to digest, the larger meals should be fine. If you feed jumbos I’d go 6-8 weeks rather than 4-6.

VeedubDan 04-11-18 02:32 AM

Re: Live Feeding?
Thanks for the advice! Boas are brand new to me so I really appreciate all the help you guys give me! My corns and milks are like clockwork, feed on a Sunday, poo on a Friday/Saturday, (unless they’re shedding). Speaking of which, Nagini has just started to go cloudy, so he’ll probably wait until his shed before he does a poo! That will be his second shed in 4 weeks. Is that normal?

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