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Old 05-18-17, 11:02 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Is My Milk Snake's Growth Stunted?

Hi there! I've had Paprika, my Sinaloan milk since Feb. of 2014. I believe she's female. I never had her sexed, but the tail tapers evenly so I've just been assuming. I bought her at a Petsmart, which we all know takes great care of their animals... When I bought her, they told me she was already at least a year old. She was about 18-19 inches long at the time, if I remember right. I've had her in a 20 gallon tank all this time with aspen bedding and multiple hides (the cardboard tube is her favorite), and as of 5/7/17 she's 29 inches long. But she's still pretty skinny. Only the width of my middle finger at her largest part (a smidgen less than 3/4th of an inch). She's been eating well and has had proper tank conditions these past three years, with only a few times not having a proper shed. She sheds anywhere from every 3 weeks to every 5 weeks. She's currently being offered 3 peach fuzzies, and today is the first day she's accepted the 3rd one.

Is she a normal size for her age? She is at least 3, if Petsmart was wrong about her already being at least 1 at the time of purchase. What size should she be, girth-wise? I've been searching everywhere, but the only size info I can find is length, and she doesn't seem to be full-grown yet, despite being 3+. Could her growth have been stunted from being in a 5 gallon tank for at least one year (and possibly not properly fed)?
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Old 05-18-17, 11:11 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Is My Milk Snake's Growth Stunted?

Adults should be feeding on full sized mice and at 3 years old she has probably reached sexual maturity making her an adult.Her growth could have partially been stunted for that one year due to feeding at the pet store but would have nothing to do with tank size and if it was only for 1 year there would have been a chance to "catch up". Although i'm sure it was totally a mistake on your part, it does sound like she has been fed a bit light while in your care as well. Even if she is small for her species, she could be very healthy. Do you have any pictures of her? What is her weight?
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Old 05-18-17, 05:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Is My Milk Snake's Growth Stunted?

I really hope I've been doing the right things for her! I'd hate for it to be my fault. I've been feeding her mice until she refuses them, so I thought I was feeding her correctly. Fuzzies are the largest she can get right now.

I'm not sure what her exact weight is. I don't have a scale.
The first picture is from a couple weeks ago. The second is from today, after her feeding (I didn't handle her much- just long enough for the photo and she was gently placed back into the tank).
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Old 05-18-17, 05:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Is My Milk Snake's Growth Stunted?

The snake's spine isn't protruding, no ribs showing, looks to be in good shape. That snake is large enough to eat hopper mice and I would suggest moving it onto hoppers once you're out of the peach fuzzies. They do better on single appropriately sized items rather than multiple smaller ones and feeding small items until it stops eating is not the right way to do things in my opinion. After a few months she may be ready for adults or may remain on hoppers for a bit. Scales can be inexpensive and are a great tool for those who are unsure of how to feed their snake. 15% of body weight is an appropriate amount of food. Hope all of this helps and puts your mind at ease because although that one is small, it once again does not appear to be unhealthy from your pics.
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