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Old 06-29-18, 08:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Slow Growth?

I've seen it said many times that boas grow more slowly than other species. Does that refer to all species with "boa" in their names or just to BC and BI? And exactly how slow is slow?

I ask because I've had Jerkface for 4 months now and in that time he's gained a total of 9 grams in weight. He was 27 grams when I got him in late February and just 36 at his vet visit last Tuesday. As most of you know, he's regurged 3 times in 4 months. The rest of the time, he keeps his meals (a 5-7 gram mouse fuzzy every 7 days, unless he's coming off a regurg) down just fine.

Even with the regurges I would think he'd have gained more weight in 4 months than just 9 grams. His fecal sample came back negative for parasites and the vet said he doesn't have mites and that he looked healthy. So what keeps a snake that's eating regularly from gaining weight and growing?

Relevant stats because I know someone's going to ask: Ambient temp is 77 degrees; his hot spot has a substrate surface temp of 83 (as measured by IR temp gun); and his humidity is consistently 90%+. He has hides, climbing branches and lots of cover. He's also on a 12/12 light cycle.
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Old 07-01-18, 12:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Slow Growth?

Regurging is very stressful on the system and a temporary stunting of growth until you figure out how to stop it isnít exactly surprising. All his energy is going into this cycle of constant stress and recovery thereís no energy left for real growth. Consistent regurges in a baby is not a regularly feeding animal or one thatís considered to be established. The breeder should never have sold such an obviously small unestablished baby. The species isnít that difficult but an unestablished baby of any species is a pain in the butt.

I would honestly try stretching out to 10-14 days between feedings. You got the husbandry down it seems and the vet cleared him. So now you just might have a sensitive system that cant handle the stress of eating that often. Iíd probably go with the full 14 days between. The young colubrid I put on that kind of schedule would normally be fed every 5-7 days by people at the age but she still grew/didnít starve. She didnít grow well when she was regurging what felt like every other meal, but sheís full grown now and perfectly healthy.

Not sure if all the boas are same since I havenít researched them all but itís probably similar. Boas growth depends on how much you feed them. If you feed them conservatively they will grow slow. If you stuff them with food they will grow fast. Itís healthier to grow them slow. I donít weigh my snakes. Iíve measured some of the boas as they grow and itís something like 3ft by 2 years and almost or at 4ft by 3 years but they are only just starting to feel like a decent size solid snake. Major growth done by 5-6 years old but can still gain size over the years. My rainbows have probably followed a similar growth pattern so far. I feed them slightly more often than the other boas right now. They are on small rats every 2-3 weeks but Iíve had them go 4 weeks occasionally. They are at least 3ft at a little under 2 years old now and as babies were on a 2 week schedule just like my others.
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Old 07-06-18, 08:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Slow Growth?

I was considering stretching his feedings out but I decided to send an email to Dave over at Rainbows R Us asking for his advice. He suggested that since Jerkface has been regularly regurging every 4th weekly feeding, that I lean into that pattern instead of trying to fight it. So, starting tonight with his post-regurg feed, I'm going to start a 3 weeks fed/1 week fast schedule with him and see how that works.
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Old 07-06-18, 08:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Slow Growth?

Quote:
Originally Posted by phenyx View Post
I was considering stretching his feedings out but I decided to send an email to Dave over at Rainbows R Us asking for his advice. He suggested that since Jerkface has been regularly regurging every 4th weekly feeding, that I lean into that pattern instead of trying to fight it. So, starting tonight with his post-regurg feed, I'm going to start a 3 weeks fed/1 week fast schedule with him and see how that works.
Dave has a ton of experience with rainbows of course so definitely a good idea! My friend has gotten about 5 or 6 BRB off of him now haha

Hopefully it works! Itís definitley frustrating trying to figure them out sometimes. I wanted to bang my head into the wall trying to get my wild caught wolf snake to eat. No one had any advice because no one really owns any.
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Old 07-10-18, 03:38 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Slow Growth?

When I had my rainbows, they grew on average 7-12 grams per month, even without any regurge problems. You can expect a chronic regurger to have stunted growth. My Morzan didn't put on a single gram of weight the 1.5 years I had him before I had him euthanized, but he did lose 10+ grams by the end.

Dave gave me much the same advice when Morzan kept on regurging, but it didn't help him. Some snakes just aren't meant to thrive. With Dave's help, you may be able to help him make a turn for the better, but you may just want to be prepared that this one won't survive. Chronic regurges are extremely hard on the body, and the more they do it, the more scarred their digestive tract becomes, and the harder it becomes to digest.

The fact he's gained any weight is a promising sign!
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