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Old 05-05-18, 02:35 AM   #1 (permalink)
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When is a python considered adult size?

I know there is probably a huge amount of individual variation, but are there any general rules as to when a snake (in this case a python) is considered an adult or not? I've read about this on other forums and the replies are somewhat confusing:

a) Pythons should be considered adult at a certain size, not age.
b) Pythons never actually stop growing, which would make the above determiner difficult.
c) Some species have a huge difference in their "adult" lengths (e.g. retics can be anywhere between 10-20 feet), which again would make the above determiner difficult.

I have a Timor python which was acquired by the dealer in June 2016 as a captive hatched baby. I bought him last October at 4 feet long (120cm) and 530 grams. Almost seven months later he is now 5 feet long (150cm) and 810 grams. He sheds once every two months, and doesn't eat for a couple of weeks during that period.

At the moment he's eating one 40 gram mouse every 6-7 days. I'll start him on 60g rats in a couple of months time when I next order, and think about spacing them out once every 7-10 days.

I've heard they can get up to 3000 grams or so, but the females are thicker set than the males so he might not get so big. I've also heard they can stop growing at less than 6 feet. Sexual maturity is supposed to be at around 5 years old, which means little if the above points on size being more important are correct.

How does everyone else gauge things? Thanks.
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Old 05-08-18, 10:15 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: When is a python considered adult size?

For point a, most people consider them adults once they reach typical breeding age and/or size. Not all pythons will reach X size, and some may go beyond that.

For point b, they certainly do stop growing. "Indeterminate growth" is a term I've heard thrown around, that is usually assumed to mean "never stop growing." What it actually means is that there is no way to predict a snake's growth. They do not follow a predictable pattern in growth, and each individual will grow at their own rate, even when comparing to their direct clutch mates. As snakes age, their ability to grow deteriorates.

Even when feeding regimen is kept the same (such as feeding a certain percentage of weight a set amount of days apart), you cannot predict how a snake will grow later in life.

Now, certain factors will change growth rates. A snake fed less earlier in life will take longer to grow, snakes fed more will reach their peak size sooner. If a snake lives to 10 years (dying prematurely due to an accident or illness) when they might have reached their peak size at 15 years and could potentially live 20-30+, it could certainly seem like they grew for their entire lives. Snakes also sometimes hit growth spurts later in life, but they don't just keep growing forever until they die of old age. They grow until they hit a predetermined size, however long that takes, if they live long enough to reach that size and have adequate food.

For point c, this is why you need to be taking the species into consideration instead of trying to generalize.

For your particular python. Again, you cannot predict his growth. If he is meant to stay under 6' he will, if he is meant to get over 6' he will. Even if his growth plateaus, that does not mean he won't hit a growth spurt later on. There is literally no way to even reasonably guess.
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Old 05-09-18, 10:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: When is a python considered adult size?

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Originally Posted by bigsnakegirl785 View Post
There is literally no way to even reasonably guess.
Haha, that's what I thought. I suppose you could say that as long as food is supplied in an appropriate amount to promote growth but not obesity, then a healthy maximum length/weight will be reached before the the animal comes to the end of its natural lifespan. Pretty vague, but seems to sum things up. Thanks for the advice!
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Old 05-11-18, 08:20 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: When is a python considered adult size?

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Originally Posted by scales.jp View Post
Haha, that's what I thought. I suppose you could say that as long as food is supplied in an appropriate amount to promote growth but not obesity, then a healthy maximum length/weight will be reached before the the animal comes to the end of its natural lifespan. Pretty vague, but seems to sum things up. Thanks for the advice!
Yup, seems a good summary for the contexts of your questions.
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Old 05-16-18, 06:15 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: When is a python considered adult size?

Pythons will continuously grow throughout their entire lives. The most significant increase in size is from 0-3 years old. After that they reach around their adult size at 5 years old. After that, their growth normally slows down a lot, and there is no real significant increase in the short term.
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