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Old 10-06-17, 01:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Boa Feeding Question

Hey Everyone.

I recently got a 2 month old Jungle Sunglow Boa and she's beautiful. She's my second snake and I just had a few questions about her feeding. I'm probably just overly concerned, but wanted to get some advice from you all.

So she was feeding on f/t adult mice in her enclosure every seven days with the breeder before I got her. I got her on the day before she would typically be fed. I waited 3 days to let her settle and tried to feed her outside her enclosure (just how I feed my snakes - they're on aspen and I don't want to risk her eating that), she was uninterested. I tried again two days later and cut the mouse's head to expose the brain (10 days after last feeding) and she struck and ate immediately. I then waited 2 days for digestion and started handling every other day for 15 minutes each day. Tried feeding her again with the same technique 8 days post feeding. Did not eat. Tried again 2 days after that and she struck at the mouse twice, but let it go and acted as if she was scared of it. Left the mouse in feed box for 10 minutes. She seemed uninterested and I gave up.

She is in a 33x16x16 enclosure with a hide on her hot and cold side. Temperatures are from 91-92 on the hot side and 79-81 on the cold side. Humidity is anywhere between 55-70.

Could it just be that she's stressed and I should stop handling her and continue to let her settle? Why might she be striking and letting go?

Thanks for any help. I know this is an easy issue to resolve and it has only been 11 days since her last meal. I just wanna get some feedback on why I might be having these difficulties. I've heard that most boas are very aggressive feeders.
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Old 10-06-17, 03:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Boa Feeding Question

Yes. A general rule is to get them feeding a few times before bothering them. I also think that you should only be feeding every 10 days on adult mice as boas have a very slow metabolism compared to other species. I would also feed in the enclosure myself for a variety of reasons but that's up to you of course.
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Old 10-06-17, 03:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Boa Feeding Question

Thanks for the response!

I'm open to feeding in the cage, but have just heard stories of cage aggression and of snakes accidentally eating their substrate. Any reason why it's your preference?
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Old 10-06-17, 03:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Boa Feeding Question

Easier and less stressful for the snake as well as the keeper. Substrate is passed without issue in healthy animals and cage aggression due to feeding in the enclosure is a myth. I would say you're more likely to get bit by a boa if you are moving it to feed. Definitely look into tap training your snakes with a hook and there will be no confusion of what is coming into the cage.
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Old 10-09-17, 05:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Boa Feeding Question

Agreed, I feed my boas 10-14 days up to 1 year old, and then 14+ once they hit a year (and continue to space out until they're eating every 4-6 weeks as adults).

General rule of thumb is 1-2 weeks to settle in a new home without any handling whatsoever, *then* offer their first meal. Give them 2-3 days to digest and then try handling. Any time they refuse food, reset the clock. I would give her at least 2 weeks without food and then offer again. Do not handle until she eats 3 consecutive meals without fail, since she's showing a habit of refusals. I give most new arrivals 1-2 meals before handling, but nervous individuals get 3-4 meals. Better to set yourself up for success, even if it's hard to go without handling them.

Feed inside the enclosure, it's less stressful, less dangerous for you (when feeding a large adult snake), and just generally easier. Bedding generally does not injure snakes so long as husbandry is on point. Only thing I'd tweak in your set up is drop the hot spot to 88-90F and hot end should be no higher than 85-85F. Hot spot is the surface directly above or below a heat source, and hot end is the ambient temperature on the end with the heat source. Both will have to be measured differently: hot spot with an IR temp gun (for surface temps), and hot end with a thermometer. Also, raise humidity to 70-80%, 50-60% is a good minimum but they would benefit from the higher humidity unless you're cycling them for the winter.
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Old 10-10-17, 09:49 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Boa Feeding Question

Thank you for all the info, bigsnakegirl! That was super helpful.

It turns out that she was just going into shed and I had missed the blue/cloudy eye period. Two days ago, I was changing the water and checked in her hide to find her sitting next to her nicely shed skin. I then fed her in the cage and she took immediately. Haha I feel pretty dumb now!

As far as the temperatures. I reduced the hot end temperature a tad bit and everything seems to be fine (I was measuring the hot spot earlier and the rest of my hot end is around 86 or so (measured inside her hot hide). She never really uses it anyways.
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Old 10-10-17, 09:50 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Boa Feeding Question

I also intend to wait another feeding or two to start handling again. I was under the impression that handling was usual anytime after the first feeding. She's beautiful, so it's hard to avoid handling her!
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Old 10-10-17, 04:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Boa Feeding Question

No problem!

Yeah, some snakes will refuse to eat in shed, perfectly normal. Glad to hear she shed perfectly and then ate for you.

Yes, usually I begin handling after one meal for species that are generally pretty resilient. I do 2-3 for shy species like garter snakes or ball pythons, but most are fine after one meal so long as they aren't refusing. Definitely still won't help to give her that bit of extra time, and then you'll have plenty of time to see her.
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Old 10-16-17, 10:53 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Boa Feeding Question

A quick question that I thought I'd add onto this thread.

She was born mid July and is about 2-3 months old now. She's about 23-24 inches long and I have been giving her mouse hoppers, which in my opinion appear a bit small for her and don't appear to leave much of a lump after feeding. In your experience, what size prey do you typically feed your boas around that age/size? Wanted to know before her next feeding.
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Old 10-16-17, 11:07 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Boa Feeding Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_flaxseed View Post
A quick question that I thought I'd add onto this thread.

She was born mid July and is about 2-3 months old now. She's about 23-24 inches long and I have been giving her mouse hoppers, which in my opinion appear a bit small for her and don't appear to leave much of a lump after feeding. In your experience, what size prey do you typically feed your boas around that age/size? Wanted to know before her next feeding.
I'd get her on rat fluffs. The sooner you transition to rats the better. All my what will be large constrictors can happily take a rat fluff including my name S amethystina so is much more slender than a boa of that age.
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Old 10-19-17, 12:48 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Boa Feeding Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_flaxseed View Post
A quick question that I thought I'd add onto this thread.

She was born mid July and is about 2-3 months old now. She's about 23-24 inches long and I have been giving her mouse hoppers, which in my opinion appear a bit small for her and don't appear to leave much of a lump after feeding. In your experience, what size prey do you typically feed your boas around that age/size? Wanted to know before her next feeding.
I'm usually feeding small adult mice at that size, but she should move up to large mice very quickly as there's little difference in mouse sizes at this point. I don't switch to rats until they're on jumbo mice, and then switch to weaned rats soon after. The more fully formed the rodent, the better, so mice are the superior food source until you get to jumbo mice/weaned rats (weaned rats are slightly bigger than jumbo mice but roughly equivalent). I don't normally see a switch to rats until 1.5-2 years old, at which point they reach 3'+. I don't feed small rats until 4'-5', mediums 5'-6', and all 6'+ get large rats or .5-1 lb rabbits. No retired breeder rats, and I only use jumbo mice as there's such a big jump from large mice to weaned rats, and I make the switch ASAP as very little of the jumbo mice seem to go towards length growth.

Boas don't normally have any problems switching.
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Old 10-19-17, 01:28 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Boa Feeding Question

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Boas don't normally have any problems switching.
Very true. They are dustbins when it comes to food!
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