Live vs Dead Food for Elapids

Discussion in 'Australian Snakes' started by saximus, Nov 8, 2013.

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  1. saximus

    saximus Almost Legendary

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    I was recently thinking about the pre-digestion role certain toxins in venom play when elapids kill their prey. That made me start thinking about the fact that almost everyone feeds dead things to their snakes which made me start to wonder how that affects their digestion. This may be me lacking a key point but this is how I understand it: When say a live mouse gets bitten, their lymphatic system pumps the venom around a bit before they die and so spreads it around the body. This means that things like the myotoxins get a good spread and can start to break down a lot of muscle tissue. When a dead mouse gets bitten though, there is going to be very little spread of the toxins and the breakdown will be much lower. So I’m imagining that, if the same snake was fed exactly the same size mouse but one is live and one is dead, there should be a difference in digestion.

    Obviously keepers have successfully kept these snakes without issue for a long time but has it ever caused problems? Or does the venom do so little that the difference isn’t even noticeable? Does anyone know whether this has been studied at all? I’d love to look at any good reading material people may know of.
     
  2. Very interesting but no clue :D
     
  3. Firepac

    Firepac Subscriber Subscriber

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  4. LB_Reptiles

    LB_Reptiles Not so new Member

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    intresting, you're theory definetly raises some eyebrows
     
  5. -Peter

    -Peter Guest

    Thawed food is already in a state of accelerated decay. While some of my snakes are drop and they'll eat it when they are ready, tigers, browns, others, mostly Pseudechis like to play with it while I am feeding them.
     
  6. moosenoose

    moosenoose Legendary

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    I've seen captive tigers kill their own prey. They do it very effectively, and at minimum risk to the captive. Strange how nature works. The biggest issue is feeding a snake when it's not hungry...then the hunter becomes the hunted. Consider that the prey also needs to eat, and in the case of a rodent (as in anything warm blooded) you take what you're given.
     
  7. ronhalling

    ronhalling Subscriber Subscriber

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    Actually Firepac that article pertains to quite a few Australian Elapids as seen in the following exerpt The lyophilised venoms were reconstituted to 100mg/ml protein concentration. Eleven venoms were tested in total, consisting of eight elapid species including the Red-bellied Black Snake (Pseudechis porphyriacus), Mulga/King Brown Snake (Pseudechis australis - QLD locality), Coastal Taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus), Tiger Snake (Notechis ater niger - Kangaroo Island locality), Common/Eastern Brown Snake (Pseudonaja textilis - QLD locality), Common Death Adder (Acanthophis antarcticus - S.A. locality), Thai/Monocled Cobra (Naja kaouthia) and the King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah). The three Viperid venoms tested include Eastern diamond back rattle snake (Crotalus adamanteus), Uracoan rattlesnake (Crotalus vegrandis), and Puff adder (Bitis arietans). Reconstituted venoms were stored at -80°C until being used in the experiment. Sax, Your question was actually asked in a scientific paper about 15 years ago by a Biochemist for the CSIRO, he asked did Australian Elapids with a Cytotoxin element to their Venom need to Envenomate live prey to aid in it's digestive process, the elapid that was used as the example was the Pseudechis porphyriacus and it pertained to live feeding of captive elapids. It was a very good read (as was the article posted by Firepac) but was inclonclusive enough that their suggestion was that in their opinion there was not enough conclusive evidence for captive elapids to be fed live prey and that dead prey should be fed for all but the very finnicky feeders by the hobbiest and zoological park alike. :) .........................Ron
     
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