Feeding Pythons

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sherlock

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Looking over some questions/discussions about snake feeding, I thought I’d share how I successfully handled my pythons feeding problems. And increase activity in this forum.

First of all, to understand how to feed them, these are the things I found I needed to know about pythons, to successfully feed my pythons.

1: Pythons, in general, have very poor vision, people with that level of sight would be considered legally blind. From what I could find on the internet, pythons can see B/W blurs and not clear images (?), but they are particularly sensitive to movement.

2: all snakes, as we all know, have an incredible sense of taste/smell, but is not very directional.

3: pythons can sense heat via pits in their lower jaw. This heat sense I think is very directional. These pits are easily seen in my carpet python and I think my BHP has them too, but I can’t see his.

4: I noticed one day after a feed, my carpet python putting his bulging stomach, up against the heat source. I assume it helps them digest their food. And I also read somewhere that a snakes stomach can shrink in size down to a quarter of their body length, when not feeding, to about half (?) their body length when feeding. So I assume the extra heat helps them digest and also helps with to increase the size of their stomachs. So I always put the thermostat up higher to help them with this.

So, keeping all the above in mind, I put their frozen food in the bathroom sink with very hot water from the tap, to defrost -- thoroughly. I could not imagine a greater torture than eating food that is still frozen on the inside. I personally have experienced this, having to eat food not fully heated heated in a microwaveh – not pleasant, at all. And I could imagine that it would be very painful for the snake.

Before a feed, I increase the enclosures temps to above 30 degrees. I’m guessing here, but my fellows seem to be happy with this temp.

Once defrosted -- thoroughly -- I put fresh hot water from the tap into the sink to ensure the food gets to the pythons while still quite warm.

Take one out, and keeping the rat (quail in my case) as close to body temp, as possible. I present it to my snake -- with tongs. Wriggling the food a bit to catch their attention. The tongs are important, I think, because your hand would stand out to them as possible food, as your hand would be sensed by their heat pits, and stand out as possible prey, especially if the rat has cooled down a bit.

Feeding time is the only time my snakes scare me a bit, their temperament when they sense food, goes from a very slow, laid back, almost sleepy “what’s happening, Bro?”, to – FOOD!!! NOTHING HAD BETTER GET IN MY WAY!!!!! There is NO hesitation on their part to taking the food.

They squeeze the rat, to kill it – well the food did move in front of them. Then they relax and seem to be study their food and taste it, for a little while. I assume they are allowing time for their stomach to expand. I still find it amazing, that they can eat food about three times their body circumference. Please note: if the food is on the larger size, you can sometimes see, a little it of blood appear from the skin tearing to take in the food. But according to a David Attenborough doco on snakes, this is normal and it very quickly heals – this is what I have observed as well. Though caution might be advisable here – comments invited on this point, in fact any comments welcome.​
 

sherlock

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Don’t they have access to temps above 30degrees all the time (except night time)?
yes and no.

When I first got snakes I checked normal, min and max temps in their natural environment. Northern WA and Darwin. In winter it can down to 4 degrees in winter and and highs of 40's. Since then I never worried about their temp apart from gradients they can move up and down to.

Also in winter my snakes want to come out and look around, temp's below 20 and they still come out. To me they are very cold. Yet they still come out and explore.

though checking my Darwins enclosure right now, he is sitting high up where it's reading 44 degree. Down on floor below 30.
 

Sdaji

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yes and no.

When I first got snakes I checked normal, min and max temps in their natural environment. Northern WA and Darwin. In winter it can down to 4 degrees in winter and and highs of 40's. Since then I never worried about their temp apart from gradients they can move up and down to.

That temperature range isn't something you should view as safe. On a 45 degree day, they can easily sit in the low 20s if they want to. Any snake will die below 0 degrees but many snakes live in areas where the air temperature goes below 0 in winter. The snakes aren't hanging from trees, swinging in the air when that happens. 45 will kill many snakes. Barely below zero wipl kill all snakes. The range of temperatures snakes *can* access is far greater than the range of temperatures they can be alive in, let alone be healthy in. When temperatures become extreme, wild snakes go to microclimates with safe temperatures, and work hard maintain favourable body temperatures which are very different from the air temperature for most of the time of most days. A snake forced to sit at air temperature in most environments would die within weeks, sometimes days, hours or even minutes.
 

sherlock

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That temperature range isn't something you should view as safe. On a 45 degree day, they can easily sit in the low 20s if they want to. Any snake will die below 0 degrees but many snakes live in areas where the air temperature goes below 0 in winter. The snakes aren't hanging from trees, swinging in the air when that happens. 45 will kill many snakes. Barely below zero wipl kill all snakes. The range of temperatures snakes *can* access is far greater than the range of temperatures they can be alive in, let alone be healthy in. When temperatures become extreme, wild snakes go to microclimates with safe temperatures, and work hard maintain favourable body temperatures which are very different from the air temperature for most of the time of most days. A snake forced to sit at air temperature in most environments would die within weeks, sometimes days, hours or even minutes.
You may be right, but he climbed into that heat range of his own, presumably for the extra heat for help in digesting his food. He climbed down later and enjoyed a bath.
It was a very hot day that day, roughly 40 degrees here in Melbourne.
 

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