Accelerated Growth Rate And Power Feeding

Discussion in 'General Reptile Discussion' started by Nero Egernia, Apr 14, 2017.

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  1. Nero Egernia

    Nero Egernia Subscriber Subscriber

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    I've heard that accelerated growth rate through power feeding, or just by over feeding can be detrimental to reptiles. Even alter their appearance, such as pythons that have grown too fast have big bodies and tiny heads, or blue tongues have massive heads and small bodies. What exactly is power feeding? Why does it result with these physical changes - do the animals not even out once they acquire their adult length? Is it at all detrimental to their health and in what ways?

    I was thinking of acquiring a hatchling python soon, and I don't want to grow it too fast if it happens to be a garbage guts. I've never really thought about it with my lizards as they seem to be growing at a somewhat normal rate. Not to mention I generally acquire my animals as sub-adult or adults.
     
  2. pinefamily

    pinefamily Subscriber Subscriber

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    Not sure about the effects of power feeding lizards, or if it is even possible, but with pythons it can have some health issues if not managed properly. Why people would want their python larger more quickly I don't know.
    With the head v. body size, I believe it has as much to do with prey size as power feeding. I have seen pythons which have been fed appropriate prey size and have large heads and "skinny" bodies.
     
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  3. Allan

    Allan Subscriber Subscriber

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    Being opportunistic feeders, power feeding occurs in a way in the wild as well when there is plenty of food around one season. This is balanced out when there are seasons with less food around (eg. drought)
    The problem is when people overfeed in order to get them up to mating size asap. I remember someone selling hatchlings from a Woma "line" that could reproduce at 18 months of age. There were mixed reports about their health...
    Go slow. The heat is down for my animals atm, soon feeding will stop and I don't start them up until September (just like in the wild) Some of my pythons are 20 years+
     
  4. Wally

    Wally Subscriber Subscriber

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    To expand a little on what Allan has said, reptiles in the wild are doing far more to actually catch their prey also. Reptiles held captive are not exercising anywhere near what their wild brethren are.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2017
  5. kittycat17

    kittycat17 Well-Known Member

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    Well people wanting there Python larger quicker would be for quicker turn around with breeding

    I feed my hatchies weekly, females that I'm putting weight back on weekly and everything else fortnightly - 3 aeekly


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  6. Pauls_Pythons

    Pauls_Pythons Power Seller Power Seller

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    Some of this is not even about breeding its often ego...'My snake's bigger than your snake'
     
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  7. Yellowtail

    Yellowtail Well-Known Member

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    Further to what Allan and Wally posted, most power feeding is to bring females to breeding size asap. While snakes in the wild will gorge when an abundance of prey is available they are not doing this for long continuous periods and don't feed over cooler months. The amount of fat in captive bred rodents that have no exercise is many times that of the lean native prey that our snakes have evolved to consume, over feeding causes a massive overload on kidneys, liver etc to remove all the toxins and if this is continual it will lead to organ damage and greatly reduced lifespan. But the power feeder gets to breed 2yr old females and does not care about the long term damage.
     
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  8. Wally

    Wally Subscriber Subscriber

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    After a slow start to the long weekend, a good topic for discussion Oshkii.
     
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  9. Nero Egernia

    Nero Egernia Subscriber Subscriber

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    I would be keen to see what an individual would look like when full grown. I understand pythons can change quite a bit in regards to colour from hatchling to adult. But I certainly wouldn't want it to grow too fast, especially if it's going to harm the animal. I've read that pythons that reach their full length too quickly have small heads and large bodies. Is this a physical trait in the skeletal structure or is it simply that the animal is overweight?

    If this is the case, why do some breeders power feed their females? If they're suffering from health problems, how do they manage to breed?

    No worries, Wally. Thought we needed something interesting seeing as there's been a few generic "noobie" topics lately. Nah, just kidding. I'm generally curious and have had little experience with pythons and their growth rates. I've noticed that with my two adult males one is shorter in length, lighter in build, but has a bigger, squarer head, whereas the other is longer, heavier but has a smaller, more delicate head.
     
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  10. Pauls_Pythons

    Pauls_Pythons Power Seller Power Seller

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    I think some people overfeed without realising it. I have heard so many times that someone feeds twice or more a week because otherwise their snake gets cranky and can't be handled. (Is this not like giving a junkie an extra shot to keep then easy to manage?)
    There are lots of stories of the famed 'pinhead' though I have not seen one personally. My thoughts are somewhat different to the standard if this is even a real thing.......If pinhead exists I think it might be that snakes are fed food items too small for them to develop muscle in the head in line with body growth. Feeding 6 pinkies instead of a decent sized mouse for example is never going to be of any great benefit to the animal if done on a regular basis.
    Fat snakes however are common as are overgrown yearlings/2 year olds. As mentioned earlier being fat for a snake is as bad if not worse than it is for a human being. One of the factors that I believe to be responsible is that some keepers refuse to brumate their animals. Without that annual downtime to rest from the constant feeding/growing/sloughing the organs are put under more stress by being fed extra unnecessary food. If an animal is fed for an extra 3/4 months per year is it not fair to assume that the animal might age at a faster rate? So a 12 year old snake could have organs that have done the work of a 15-16 year old animal?
    As Wally & Yellowtail pointed out the prey we feed is often not as lean as they would find naturally and captives are often kept in conditions where they can't/don't need any great level of exercise.
    Just my thoughts on the subject but as Wally said....good discussion point
     
  11. Allan

    Allan Subscriber Subscriber

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    Wild pythons usually have a parasite load in their guts as well, regulating growth to some extent. This is not a bad thing as long as the balance between host and parasite is optimal, something you wouldn't have in captivity though.
    Paul, I have never seen a pinhead either. Fat snakes in small cages, yes, but no pinheads. Pics anyone???
     
  12. Wally

    Wally Subscriber Subscriber

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    I think those with a basic to intermediate understanding of python husbandry in captivity would be a little surprised as to how they can be fed successfully and healthy.

    A sniff of an oily rag comes to mind if you've just got one in a tank to look at.
     
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  13. Pauls_Pythons

    Pauls_Pythons Power Seller Power Seller

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    I agree Wally. I get some strange looks from some people when they find out how little I feed my adult Diamonds........Theres one very sensitive species when it comes to overfeeding.
     
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  14. Snapped

    Snapped Subscriber Subscriber

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    Interesting topic, I tend to err on the side of caution and feed (my adults) every 3 weeks, sometimes fortnightly in Spring when they are ravenous and roaming around hunting. Hatchies are every 5-7 days, depending on the snake.

    Does anyone have pics of an underweight snake? Or a healthy looking snake, rather than fat? It's a bit harder with snakes I think to tell if they are a little underweight (as opposed to a dog etc) I'd be interested to see what people class as underweight, normal, overfed etc, going by the look, not the weight.
     
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  15. Nero Egernia

    Nero Egernia Subscriber Subscriber

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    I thought this male was underweight when I first acquired him. His skin felt loose and crinkly. He's since then put on a fair amount of weight and his skin feels smoother, more firm. I was trying to feed him up before brumation. But perhaps he was never underweight at all?

    greyboyaps.jpg
     
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  16. kittycat17

    kittycat17 Well-Known Member

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    Off topic but wow he's stunning


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  17. Yellowtail

    Yellowtail Well-Known Member

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    You should be able to see spinal ridge and body not too rounded IMG_2183.jpg DSCN5609.jpg
     
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  18. kittycat17

    kittycat17 Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
    This boy was under a kilo in this pic and it was the day before I had him euthanised, he had inoperable intestinal tumours :(


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  19. kittycat17

    kittycat17 Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]


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  20. Yellowtail

    Yellowtail Well-Known Member

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    IMG_4767.JPG This one is a little overweight, she was skinny when I got her and I have probably fed her too much.
     
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