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Old 10-06-17, 09:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Feeding frequency

I have had my beautiful Tanimbar scrub for about 6 weeks now and I have to say, his feeding response impresses me more and more every time. He's now the official garbage-disposal counterpart to my Dumeril's, who never eats. I have never seen a snake go from snuggle-time to feeding-time so fast! It's truly amazing.

The last time I fed him, he stayed in high-octane hunting mode for quite a while after me made mince-meat of his mouse. I took some videos of him because I was intrigued...perhaps I'll work out how to upload them when I'm home later. In any case, as I put the lid back on his enclosure, he kept following my hands, like he was looking for more food. I watched him for awhile, because I'd never seen him behave this way. He lunged halfway across his enclosure, not in a strike, but with just a gaping mouth toward my hand at the top of his cage. It was so funny looking! Eventually, I put a towel over his enclosure because he began to strike devilishly at the glass and I was afraid he'd hurt himself.

He never strikes at me, so I'm sure he was just hoping I'd give him more food. I figured once every 7 days was an appropriate feeding schedule for him (I believe he is a yearling), but he's always so voracious when I feed him. Should I switch to a 5 day schedule, or is he just greedy? I want to be particularly aware of over feeding since he's arboreal and needs to stay lean.
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Old 10-09-17, 03:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Feeding frequency

Behavior is the least-reliable way to determine whether or not to feed your snake more. Snakes go into a "feed mode" after eating or smelling food, and it can last a few hours or a few days. Some snakes are also just bottomless pits when it comes to food, I have one that will act like he's starving even if I literally give him as much food as he wants and gets fat. You'll just have to find a schedule and stick to it, with growing snakes I increase food only if they show plateaued or reduced growth over the period of a few months. That's generally not enough time for them to lose body tone, but does show me I'm not necessarily feeding enough, and I don't wait more than 2-3 months to increase.

As far as feeding frequency, it takes a minimum of 7-18 days for a snake to digest its food then its organs return mostly to normal size. I would not feed any snake eating rodents more than every 7 days, as they won't have time to properly digest their meals. As long as the meals are leaving a decent lump in him, I'd stick to 7 days. If he starts pushing his nose or bite/wrapping, then you could try increasing the prey size.
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Old 10-09-17, 06:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Feeding frequency

Your scrub sounds like my Olive python. As BSG said though you can't let their voracious appetites dictate their feeding schedules. I agree that every 7 days is a pretty good feeding regiment. If he's genuinely hungry I'd increase the prey size or food intake rather than feeding more often. How much does your snake weigh and what size prey are you feeding? I'd also suggest switching from mice to rats ASAP.
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Old 10-09-17, 07:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Feeding frequency

Thank you both VERY much for your input! I'm still learning the ins and outs of his feeding habits. The pet store told me he was feeding on f/t fuzzies every 7 days. After feeding him the first time, I saw that prey size was definitely small. I picked up some hoppers and they still left no real noticeable lump, even though he is quite thin. A couple weeks ago, I gave him a rat fuzzy that my Dumeril's refused yet again. He scarfed it down and then I immediately felt bad, as it left a very noticeable lump. So I left him alone in his hot spot, and after 3 days, lump totally gone. He ate the next week like I'd never fed him before! It's tough to get a good measure on him, because he is very squirmy. It's nearly impossible to pry him off of me long enough to get a weight! But he seems to be about 3 feet long and 84 grams.
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Old 10-09-17, 09:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Feeding frequency

Rat fuzzys are the perfect prey size for your Scrub Slitherin. That's what I was feeding my carpets at that size. One rat fuzzy every 7 days and you're good to go. Some keepers will say feeding every 10-14 days is fine at that size, and it's true, but I prefer to feed my animals a little more liberally for their first two years. I've found that the higher food intake goes more towards growth than obesity when they're that young. I do scale them back to every 10-14 days once they turn two and every 14 days on average when they turn three.
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Old 10-10-17, 12:53 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Feeding frequency

Yay, thanks Zig!!
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Old 10-16-17, 02:02 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Feeding frequency

Remind me of the age? Scrubs do best fed less frequently as they carry weight poorly. A lean, mean scrub is a healthy scrub. They are highly arboreal and consequently whilst they can grow very big they remain very slender. They are infrequent feeders in the wild.

My two are on a rat fluff every 10 days except when shedding. As adults they'll be spaced right out. All the scrub keepers I know feed the adults at the most every 4 weeks and at the last 4 or 5 times a year (but very large meals). Note one keeper that feeds his every couple of months at most has a male oksibil that's 15'+ so it does nothing to diminish their growth rate!

Whilst I agree with zig that whilst young food generally equals growth I also don't like to push them on too much. Every 14 days for 3yo scrub would be too much (personally I think it would be too much for all pythons but definitely scrubs - see my opening statement).
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Old 10-17-17, 01:29 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Feeding frequency

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Originally Posted by dannybgoode View Post
Remind me of the age? Scrubs do best fed less frequently as they carry weight poorly. A lean, mean scrub is a healthy scrub. They are highly arboreal and consequently whilst they can grow very big they remain very slender. They are infrequent feeders in the wild.

My two are on a rat fluff every 10 days except when shedding. As adults they'll be spaced right out. All the scrub keepers I know feed the adults at the most every 4 weeks and at the last 4 or 5 times a year (but very large meals). Note one keeper that feeds his every couple of months at most has a male oksibil that's 15'+ so it does nothing to diminish their growth rate!

Whilst I agree with zig that whilst young food generally equals growth I also don't like to push them on too much. Every 14 days for 3yo scrub would be too much (personally I think it would be too much for all pythons but definitely scrubs - see my opening statement).
He's approximately a year old. Definitely the most food-oriented snake I've ever seen. He'll eat any time you offer and search for more the second he's swallowed. A stark contrast to my Dumeril's of the same age, who hasn't eaten since August!
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Old 10-17-17, 02:29 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Feeding frequency

I've spoken with my scrub mentor (he has a collection of around 50) and he has just breed the first oksibil clutch in the UK. He says for the next year feed every 10 to 14 days starting on rat fluffs and spacing out a day or two if you up the prey size. Prey to leave a barely noticeable bulge.

At 2yo move to 3 weeks and the slowly spacing out from there. As an adult he'd probably only feed 6 times max in the year but you may think this too extreme. It certainly works though. His snakes are huge and they breed.
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Old 10-18-17, 01:38 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Feeding frequency

Thank you for asking for me, Danny! I'll start spacing the little piglet out. He is still svelt and fierce. What do you think about mixing his prey up with quail or other fowl every once in a while?
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Old 10-18-17, 05:27 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Feeding frequency

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Thank you for asking for me, Danny! I'll start spacing the little piglet out. He is still svelt and fierce. What do you think about mixing his prey up with quail or other fowl every once in a while?
Definitely - food enrichment is good. They *love* quail, chicks as well.

Yes they're dustbins but much like boa constrictor sp that doesn't mean we should pander to them...
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