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Old 11-02-03, 04:59 PM   #31 (permalink)
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First the larger issue here was not that the person in question was feeding his ball every month but why. The simple fact he did to control growth rate was what made him grossly irresponsible and an unethical herp keeper. Secondly, Ontario Herper I will answer your question. The reason why your ball python is still alive. My first guess would be you haven't had it that long. But on a more educated level that will also tie into Vanan's point on caloric input/output is the fact that it has adjusted it's activity level to comprimise for it's diet. By restricting it's activity levels it can slow it's metabolism so that it's meager food supply lasts longer. This is a well documented fact in many reptiles, ball pythons included. So although a ball could go very long periods without food (i had a WC rescure go nearly a year) that does NOT mean it is getting an adequate supply of aminos and nutrients to ensure good immune function and general health. It may not "look" unhealthy but that doen't mean it isn't. You claim it will live a long good life well it may quite awhile but not to good considering with a complete lack of proper diet it's instinct will be to barely ever move. Think what you want you will anyway, but feeding an adult ball python once every 4-6 weeks is poor husbandry at best. Every 10-12 days for an adult seems much more reasonable. Plus comparing your captive snake to one in the wild is a completely futile comparison considering one of the major points of captive husbandry is to provide optimal conditions for the herp in question not recreate an already under par/over competitive wild type life style. Have you ever seen a WC snake...if this is your version of a healthy snake then you have no right to be a herper. I do not know you or your snake so realize this is my opinion not an attack on so take it or leave but I feel it's my duty as a herper and an educator to tell you my view. Any less would be irresponsible on my part. I am not an uneducated herp keeper I have done my research and continue to study and learn everyday. I concede the point that just because something works doesn't make it right but we cannot use an overstressed grossly inadequate eco system as a basis for what is proper for our animals. Since becuase of us (humans) the wild is no longer an adequate system for these animals. Ball pythons are opportunistic feeders...true..but why? Because loss of habitat and competetion for food has driven them to that. That doesn't mean it healthy for them. For an example I refer you to a ball python kept at the Philadelphia Zoo that lived 45 years in captivity...refer to their web site and you will see it's feeding regimen was every 7-10 days. I'm sure many more successful ball keepers could supply you with countless more examples of balls exceeding ten years in age following a more conventional feeding schedule.
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Old 11-02-03, 05:11 PM   #32 (permalink)
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The reason my opinion is the way it is is because I recently rescued a 7 (estimate!) year old WC ball python. It's previous owner had him for 5 years and fed him one small rat once a month for all of those 5 years. When I recieved this BP, it was (weight wise) quite healthy. It could stand to bulk up a bit, but it wasn't thin. Now that he's with me, he eats 1 large rat every 5-7 days..because that's when he acts hungry. He has put on a significant amount of weight, but isn't obese..just nice and thick. He is 4 feet long, by the way. A small rat for a 4 ft long BP once a month? It seemed to do him fine! He was hungry, yes, but unhealthy? no.
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Old 11-02-03, 05:36 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Ball pythons are opportunistic feeders...true..but why? Because loss of habitat and competetion for food has driven them to that.
So, you are trying to say that before humans started wrecking habitat, ball pythons were actively searching for prey like a cornsnake might? I'm sorry, but I don't think that's a very good argument, considering it isn't true. These snakes have been built by nature to eat whenever food comes near. They aren't built to travel around and search out their prey. Just wanted to clear that up.
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Old 11-02-03, 05:37 PM   #34 (permalink)
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"It may not "look" unhealthy but that doen't mean it isn't. You claim it will live a long good life well it may quite awhile but not to good considering with a complete lack of proper diet it's instinct will be to barely ever move." How is my snake completely lacking a proper diet? It is fed the same diet as yours just not as often. Feeding your snake does not automatically make it healthier.... that should be common sense. Just because we can feed our snakes as often as we will eat doesn't mean we should. Ever noticed how many fat dogs are out there? But I guess that is okay because the more food the better!

The fact that you think BP's (and I guess other snakes) are opportunistic feeders because of what man kind has done to them is just silly. this is the way they are built. Why go look for food when your body (and mind) allow you to sit in a spot for an exteneded period of time. There extremely slow metabolism allows them to do this without suffering bodily harm.

I am not saying that just because a snake may have a real tough time finding a prey item in the wild we should replicate that in captivity. I'm simply pointing out that their natural history shows that snakes in general do not need to feed as frequently as some may believe.
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Old 11-02-03, 05:38 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Have you ever seen a WC snake?
Have you??

Out here, we find many many rattlesnakes and bullsnakes, and they appear the pinnacle of health. Don't compare imported snakes to captive bred ones. How would you feel if you were stuffed in a bag, flown thousands of miles, underfed and dehydrated. Probably not the best either.

Let me restate this so that you guys understand more. Vanan offers Ramses a meal everytime he feeds, but his bp only takes a rodent 1/6 meals. We have kept this snake in a tank with heat pad and heat light, in a rubbermaid with heat tape, and even allowed him to free roam in a sealed room and allowed him to come down and feed himself when he felt like it. And well, he only feels like feeding once a while.
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Old 11-02-03, 05:55 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Vanan, I never claimed to know a thing about Ball Pythons in the wild. In fact if you'd read my post again you'll see I said I know nothing at all about their feeding habits in the wild.

If your old male Ball will only eat once every 6 weeks then that's what he eats I suppose. How old is he by the way? Balls can live a long time I believe the current record in captivity is 48 years or so.

*Quote from my post*
"Have you spent much time observing Ball Pythons in the wild? I know I haven't, so how do you have any idea how often they manage to eat? I certainly have no idea."

Please double check posts before accusing people of taking the exact opposite stance you claim they made *rolls eyes*

And now a quote from Vanan
"BTW, Slannesh, it may be you who is misinformed about ball pythons in the wild. Many think just cos a snake eats, breeds and grows with a certain set of temps and humidity, immediately it becomes the way it should be in the wild. WRONG! I challenge any breeder who argues so. Anyone. Snakes, most of them are very forgiving in their husbandry."

Care to cite your sources since you're obviously such an authority on wild Ball Pythons? Thought not.

Ont_herper: Feed your snake as little as you like, it has no effect on me, but I feel sorry for your it. I used the term starving once. And I think that's exactly what you're doing... Hey who knows, prove me wrong in 10 years or so if your snake is still alive. I'll happily eat my hat. For the record my Ball will be 16 or 17 by then.

The stupid comment was juvenile, sorry for that. However calling me Unethical and Ignorant was the same thing so you aren't above mudslinging yourself.

An animal doesn't become an ambush predator overnight, that requires thousands of years of evolution. I would imagine that Ball pythons are hunting the in the wild the same way now as they were when man was learning to walk upright.

Diet has nothing to do with instinct. Instinct is a simple response to stimuli. You dangle what the snake perceives as 'food' in front of it and it strikes. if it doesn't recognize it as food it doesn't

I have not once said that anyone should be feeding any snake daily. Certainly not Ball Pythons. I think the 7-10 day figure is pretty good for an adult BP in general, some will be ravenous by then and others will skip every other meal i'm sure. I know my snake never takes longer than 10 seconds or so from the time the rat's nose passes the top of her cage to when she strikes at it. She's usually moving around 'hunting' every 7 days , on the evening I feed her as well, so I think I have her schedule about right.
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Old 11-02-03, 06:10 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Katt
Let me restate this so that you guys understand more. Vanan offers Ramses a meal everytime he feeds, but his bp only takes a rodent 1/6 meals.
This, in my opinion, is responsible herp keeping. As I said in my post, as long as you offer your BP a meal more than once a month, it will decide if it's hungry or not.

But as for the heightened level of activity being an indicator of when it's hungry, ummm... no. Not in every case. Our BPs get active every single night, even if they have a belly full of rat. So heightened activity means exactly squat in many cases.
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Old 11-02-03, 06:24 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Quote:
Please double check posts before accusing people of taking the exact opposite stance you claim they made *rolls eyes*
If I did so, my mistake. Apologies.

Quote:
Care to cite your sources since you're obviously such an authority on wild Ball Pythons? Thought not.
Don't recall me saying that. But if you deem me so so be it. BTW, I mentioned snakes in the wild, not ball pythons specifically. And yes if so, I do have some experience seeing snakes in the wild. And let me tell you, I have yet to find an undernourished snake in the wild. (at the risk of sounding pompous) I have seen garters with injuries living in an industrial park, I have seen baby bulls born just a month or two ago, never have I seen an undernourished snake. But in captivity, man, there's just too many undernourished snakes to count. And to set the record straight, I still challenge anyone to show me that just cause a snake does well under certain temps and humidity, means that that's how it is in the wild. Maybe you should be the one researching on the wild habitat and climate of ball pythons if you think that the WC ball in your local petstore was suffering being in the wild.

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You dangle what the snake perceives as 'food' in front of it and it strikes. if it doesn't recognize it as food it doesn't
*ahem* Are you saying that if a snake doesn't strike and eat, that it doesn't know a rat as food? Hmmm...makes me wonder how much experience you have with snakes.

Not to say I am an experienced keeper. Far from it as I'm still learning everyday. In fact, show me twenty years from now that your bp is 100% healthy and I will be the first to admit I may have been wrong. But unfortunately I have seen otherwise only too often. I have not yet seen ANY evidence to prove that over feeding isn't detrimental to a snake's health. In fact, that part about the Pholadelphia Zoo doesn't state what size prey that bp was fed.

And for the record, my ball python, which I am so cruel to underfeed, is at least 6-8yrs old. I got him about 4yrs ago and he was a full grown adult then. Probably a WC animal originally as there weren't very many bp breeders where I was from back then.

My final stand on this is that, if one thing works for a snake, it may not necessarily be the same for another. Younger snakes obviously feed more than older ones. Although I have to mention that I do not agree about underfeeding it to stunt it's growth. I feed my younger snakes between 5-10 days depending on age and metabolism. A racer or garter would obviously eat more than even a cornsnake. My reason for getting involved in this thread is for those others who are reading this and hoping to learn something. Always remember, there's no set rule with snakes (with some exceptions). Snakes are still not domesticated yet (close but not enough) and there's only so little we know. Before we start jumping on the bandwagon and agreeing with everything someone says, I'd rather someone form an educated opinion of their own. Listen to both sides and us your best judgement (if you're capable of it).

P.S. I wish I could pull up that article on the largest black rat in captivity (and albino btw) who only eats one rat a month. Remember it being on the KS forums. Anyone know where it is?
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Old 11-02-03, 06:44 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Personally I do not believe just because a snake eats it is hungry. This is the very reason animals in some homes, at the zoo, etc are on diets. Because many, including humans, will eat no matter what, hungry not hungry etc.

This is not to say I put them on diets. lol. I do not believe once per 4 weeks for an adult ball python is starving it. Not by far. These animals can fast for long periods of time and in some cases fast so much out of the year that 12 meals a year is not uncommon from what I hear from some keepers. Not to say you or they SHOULD do this but I do not see how it can be called "starving" or cruel.

I feed my male cornsnakes twice per month. Any more than that and I can see a noticable amount of weight coming on. Corns IMHO are very much overfed in most cases and in the wild almost every one you will find is a slender snake, not a fat one. So in that case, I only feed twice per month. Others feed their corns 4 times per month. Am I starving mine? No, just taking what I know from limited experience, reading research and others experiences and my own two eyes.

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Old 11-02-03, 07:25 PM   #40 (permalink)
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I too don't think a rat a month is enough. The snake will try to survive on it, sure, but what choice does it have if you only give it one rat a month? Also I have seen people keep snakes in deplorable conditions without proper heat and they sometimes do survive, but this is not the way to treat them.
Why Ontario Herper thinks its fine to feed a snake once a month is beyond me. I don't agree.

I feed my Tangerine Honduran Milksnakes ever time they start actively looking for food which for one snake is around every 5 days, and another snake every week. These are year and half old growing snakes and not full size. If you know your snakes they will tell you when they need to be fed through their actions.

Regarding idiots who buy herps while not knowing how to care for them, I think some of the responsibility should lie with the seller to ensure the buyers is informed about how to care for them properly. The time of Pet stores selling animals without educating the buyer should be past. In fact if I was a pet store, and the buyer did not seem to know what he was doing and had no desire to listen and learn, I wouldn't sell to them.

In fact I wouldn't sell a snake to Ontario Herper if they think one rat a month is fine.

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Old 11-02-03, 07:35 PM   #41 (permalink)
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In reading all the posts, I think the majority of herpers feel you should feed every week, versus a minority who feel its fine to feed once a month.

I say again, a snake feeding once a month is a snake living, sorry surviving on a barely sustainable diet.

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Old 11-02-03, 07:48 PM   #42 (permalink)
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So heightened activity means exactly squat in many cases.
Hmm...I sure hope you're willing to back that statement. I've only heard too often, people advising newbies that an indicator to feed is when their snakes start roaming. I guess they're all wrong in saying so? Who's to say that your snakes weren't still hungry and looking for more food just after you've fed them. Or heck, they could just as well be looking for a place to go hide and digest their bellies. The heightened activity I'm refering to is days after they've fed and they start moving around more than just hugging the basking spot.
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Old 11-02-03, 07:54 PM   #43 (permalink)
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Why Ontario Herper thinks its fine to feed a snake once a month is beyond me. I don't agree.
Quote:
These are year and half old growing snakes and not full size. If you know your snakes they will tell you when they need to be fed through their actions.
Seems like 2 contradicting statements. How do you know Dave's bp is still growing or not? And like I've mentioned again my bp which I feed only once in 6 weeks is done growing and prefers not to eat for your info. I doubt he's self-inducing starvation.

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I think the majority of herpers feel you should feed every week, versus a minority who feel its fine to feed once a month.
Being the majority doesn't mean a thing.
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Old 11-02-03, 07:57 PM   #44 (permalink)
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In reading all the posts, I think the majority of herpers feel you should feed every week, versus a minority who feel its fine to feed once a month.
This is too broad a sweeping statement. It is fine to feed certain snakes once a month. Have you ever kept ETB's, or Candoia, or Senticolis? There are species that are fed, every few weeks, or months. Over feeding them can lead to death.

Perhaps you should restate, that there's a majority who think every snake should be fed every week, compared to a minority which believe in species/specific feeding regimes.
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Old 11-02-03, 10:19 PM   #45 (permalink)
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I've not once mentioned any species other than Ball Pythons at any point in this thread. I don't know enough about most other species to make educated statements. Comparing different species of reptiles is not terribly useful either. Different snakes and lizards have entirely different needs. I would hazard a guess that similarly sized boids would have similar feeding requirements as Ball Pythons but I certainly don't know that for fact.

We've gotten away from the point here anyhow, proper husbandry. We all agree that it's silly to set in stone when and how much a Ball python eats. Some would take food every day if offered, and some older specimines will eat only rarely. No one who is in the "feeding once a month is fine" camp has addressed any of the other questions that have been asked. Such as temperature, enclosure size, hides, ect.

What it boils down to, is commonly accepted husbandry practices. Read the caresheets that are available. Not all of them agree on the finer points but once you read a few you'll notice that most of them agree on the basics. With so many people coming to the same conclusions and raising healthy snakes for years or decades can they all be wong? Unlikely. Are we accurately recreating the wild environment the snakes are from? Probably not. We offer controlled environments for our pets, and I think trying to educate those new to herping with somewhat flexible guidelines is best. When asked feeding questions in the past i've said that I feed my Ball once a week, she rarely refuses a meal, but I don't sweat it when she does. I know it won't hurt her to do so once in a while.

I have a question as well. Since several of you seem to think that once a month is appropriate why not once every 2 or even 4 months? All of my information says that once a week is appropriate and you seem to think that going four times that long is no problem at all. So what about 4 times your figure? Would you worry about someone who told you they feed their full grown ball python only 3 times a year? Perhaps from that perspective you can understand our concern.
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