How do I teach a big snake to eat big pieces of food?

Discussion in 'Australian Snakes' started by Starter, May 9, 2013.

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  1. Starter

    Starter Not so new Member

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    My 9 foot(2.7 metres) long and 8 kg heavy, 8 year old Bredli python girl hasn't had any food for one entire month (why is another story) and I only had a 12week old rat in the freezer which she swallowed in record time and it was clear to me that this didn't fill her up. Next thing, she headed towards my guinea pig cage and checked out every gap to get in. So I rushed to the pet store and bought the biggest frozen rat they had - an extra-large rat male for $24. Defrosted and presented, my Bredli girl stroke straight away and strangulated and constricted him. Then, she spent two hours without success, trying to swallow that rat.

    She started swallowing him mid-belly ... then by bending his back ... twice, she swallowed his entire tail and nuts and then got stuck because his two rear legs were in the way. For two hours she tried it in every possible manner, except by starting out with the head. His whole body was full of her spit, except the head - the only way by which he could easily fit into her throat. I attempted to take the rat off her so I could place his head in front of her mouth, but she protected her prey and constricted him as soon as I wanted to pull him away. After two hours, she gave up and hid in her resting box, leaving him behind. She must be still very hungry - and now, on top of it, depressed about her failure.

    How can I help her to figure out how to eat such a big rat? I have read that other snakes of her size eat rabbits and full-size chickens easily.
     
  2. phantomreptiles

    phantomreptiles Well-Known Member

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    If she is 8kgs, she knows how to eat!
    I wouldn't worry, as long as the husbandry is correct she will eat when needed. At this time of year many pythons switch off eating, despite wanting to, their bodies say no.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  3. RedFox

    RedFox Very Well-Known Member

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    Are you still keeping her outside? As the temps cool she will stop eating. If you aren't sure, freeze the rat again and try feed it to her in a few days. One of mine likes to eat his rats backwards, while it takes a bit longer he always manages to figure it out.

    Some advice though, find a local rodent breeder. $24 is ridiculous. Being 8kg during summer she will eat a few of those in one meal which can get really expensive.
     
  4. Starter

    Starter Not so new Member

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    No, she is indoors now, in a cage with UV-light and heat lamp. Has been inside the last 4 weeks, but 2 weeks thereof hiding under a wardrobe. May be therefore a bit weak, but she must be very hungry.

    I have restarted breeding rats myself now, I have already two litters of babies and am still collecting more adults for breeding, and I will also buy some adult rabbits and guinea pigs for breeding, so we should have abundant food sources in summer. (I have 4 snakes of that age and size, so I could indeed not afford the pet shop prices very long - I hope the snakes will start to brumate soon and stop eating, but this week we are having again temperatures of up to 31 degrees, so they are all still very active and hungry.)
     
  5. Tsubakai

    Tsubakai Very Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't stress about the length of time she hasn't been eating. At that size she could easily go six months without a feed. Given the time of year and with the cold weather on the way I won't bother feeding any of mine now until about August-September.
     
  6. Trimeresurus

    Trimeresurus Guest

    If the snake is as big as you say it is, it should have no problem with the biggest of rats. Just give them to her head first. I also have a genuine 9ft/8kg bredli and she destroys 2 kilo rabbits.

    Also, an entire month without food is nothing for a snake that size, they could go a year and lose next to no condition.

    Have you got any pictures? I love big bredli, heres mine.
    [​IMG]
     

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  7. wokka

    wokka Guest

    If she is living under a wardrobe in Riverland SA for the last 2 weeks it is not 31C. The snake will be too cold to digest the food properly so if it does eat it is likely that the food will putrify and kill the snake at the likely low temperatures under a wardrobe in SA at this time of the year. Whilst she doesn't need UV she does need heat .
     
  8. andynic07

    andynic07 Very Well-Known Member

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    Brumation will not necessarily only start when the day time temperatures drop, the temperatures during the day may still be up there but the daylight hours would have reduced and possibly the night time temperatures will have dropped.
     
  9. If she fails to eat for the reasons you mention, and goes back into the hide box, just place the rats nose outside the entrance, chances are high that the snake will just approach the rat from the correct end and begin to swallow it in her own time. It is likely that temps are a bit on the cool side when they give up after trying to eat like this - I think being a bit too cool clouds their information processing centres, and leads to reduced determination. If you have long tongs you can often grab the rats neck and wiggle the head while the snake is looking for it, the movement is often sufficient stimulus to make the snake bite the head and the process is completed smoothly after that.

    Check the temps...

    Jamie
     
  10. Skitzmixer

    Skitzmixer Well-Known Member

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    I had the same issue with my Bredli, it wasn't a jumbo though, just a large rat. Took his sweet time trying to eat it, it was quite amusing to watch, he tried all different ways.
    I just kept a close eye on him and after about an hour he managed to get it down the right way. I started to think he wasn't going to eat it but he did.
     
  11. Tristan.C

    Tristan.C Active Member

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    I would too give up after 2 hours god! my coastal sometimes tries to do this and I just throw a blanket over her tank come back 30 mins later and she is just sitting there with a huge lump in her... but sounds like she's a bit subborn haha! just MO
    Tristan
     
  12. Starter

    Starter Not so new Member

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    Problem resolved! I left the rat in the enclosure, head towards the opening of the hide box, and in the morning it was gone! Now, Bredli Girl is basking happily under her artificial sun. I actually took a picture of her yesterday's fight with the dead rat. Here follows my first attempt to upload a picture on this forum:
     
  13. Starter

    Starter Not so new Member

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  14. Skelhorn

    Skelhorn Very Well-Known Member

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    Holy Guys!!! an 8kg Bredli measuring 9 FOOT, JEALOUS! My boy is only 7 foot and 4 kg's haha. I really want to get him a rabbit but can't find anywhere in QLD.
     
  15. Starter

    Starter Not so new Member

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    Hi Skelhorn, in QLD it is forbidden to keep rabbits (as well as ferrets), but you can get/have/breed guinea pigs. Some types of guinea pigs can be just as large as small rabbits. However, it takes time to breed them, they have a pregnancy of 2 months and get an average of 3-4 piglets only.
     
  16. Skelhorn

    Skelhorn Very Well-Known Member

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    Morning Starter :)

    Yeah I realise it is illegal to keep rabbits and good ol'Ferrets however I have heard of them being breed in QLD for food purposes, however un able to obtain any unfortuantely.

    Excellent news about the piggies than :) Thanks, I have heard you want the ones with little fur, correct?

    Just got to find someone that wants to part with a big guinea now :p
     
  17. andynic07

    andynic07 Very Well-Known Member

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    I have heard that there is not as much nutrition in pigs as there is in rodents or rabbits. Maybe Wokka can confirm or deny this. I believe Wokka also supplies city farmers with rabbits or doa can deliver small quantities.
     
  18. Tristan.C

    Tristan.C Active Member

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    I have heard that guinea pigs aren't health for your snake as the thick fur blocks them up and everything.... but these days everything kills everything! i bought a rabbit for my coastal. For a 450 gram rabbit the pet shop robbed my $22... so yeah quite expensive IMO! so yeah point is some pet shops have them but its just if you are willing to pay the cost....
    Tristan
     
  19. andynic07

    andynic07 Very Well-Known Member

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    I have seen live rabbits selling as pets from $10 up to $40. I think that $22 isn't that big of a jump from $10 for the cheapest live one considering the supplier has to make money then there is freight charges and then the pet shop has their overheads (power, rent , wages to name a few) and has to make their profit as well. I see what you are saying about it seeming high for one small rabbit but when you take it all into consideration I don't think that the pet shops are really robbing anyone.
     
  20. Rogue5861

    Rogue5861 Very Well-Known Member

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    Easy to breed your own rabbit, 2 rabbits can easily become 30 in one season of breeding.


    Rick
     
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