Increasing GTP Feeds?

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saximus

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I’ve been fairly paranoid with feeding my GTP and as a result I think I’ve been a bit overly cautious. I was informed that fur is really important so it’s currently on one small mouse hopper about once a week which I think leaves an appropriate sized lump. However, it is about 10 months old now and is a fair bit smaller than you would expect a similarly aged Carpet to be. Obviously comparing it to Carpet sizing isn’t necessarily correct but it hasn’t gone through OCC yet and from my reading, that should happen around 7-9 months.
So I was thinking of starting to pick up on the feeding a bit to get it to catch up. From what I’ve been able to find, next to fur, feed size is the biggest thing with respect to causing problems like prolapse. So instead of increasing the size, I am thinking of increasing frequency. The only thing is I don’t know if that will be problematic as well.

Can anyone with experience please help out with whether increased frequency is as bad as increased feed size in this case? Or should I just continue the way I have been going and let it develop slowly?
 
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Pythoninfinite

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Just feed it as you would any python Saxi, when it comes to food GTPs are just pythons. You'll hear heaps of (some quite silly) reasons for prolapse, but the biggest factor has to be lack of exercise, not prey size. At 10 months I'd be giving it small weaners or large fuzzies.

Jamie
 

andynic07

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I looks like I am not the only new GTP owner around. I have fed mine on the small size as well for the same reason. It is 8 months old and I have had it for just over a week now and fed it twice. It seems to be on the lookout for food two days after being fed so I might go up from small fuzzies to large fuzzies or small hoppers.
 

jedi_339

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Hey sax,

I know you said people with experience, but I've had mine for about a month now (8 and 9 months old) one is green the other is half way through today.

I got mine off Ray in Townsville and he told me the stigma attached to Gtps about being difficult to look after and prolapse and stuff is just left over from the very early days of them in captivity. They've got specific requirements in their enclosure setup as you know but the risks of prolapse and things like that are overemphasized (or so I've been told).

I feed mine a pinky rat (even up to almost a week old pinky) rat once a week.

I'm interested to hear about this lack of exercise though if you don't mind Jamie, and if it is an issue that might cause prolapse how does one promote exercise?

Cheers
 
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Pythoninfinite

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Hey sax,

I know you said people with experience, but I've had mine for about a month now (8 and 9 months old) one is green the other is half way through today.

I got mine off Ray in Townsville and he told me the stigma attached to Gtps about being difficult to look after and prolapse and stuff is just left over from the very early days of them in captivity. They've got specific requirements in their enclosure setup as you know but the risks of prolapse and things like that are overemphasized (or so I've been told).

I feed mine a pinky rat (even up to almost a week old pinky) rat once a week.

I'm interested to hear about this lack of exercise though if you don't mind Jamie, and if it is an issue that might cause prolapse how does one promote exercise?

Cheers

Firstly, I have to agree that prolapse and the other so-called GTP problems are often exaggerated - while prolapse is probably more often seen in GTPs than other species, it's still not what I'd call "common." Here's a post I wrote for the other current GTP thread -

"Prolapse is much more likely to be caused by inactivity leading to a type of constipation, which allows the stool to remain in the bowel much longer than it otherwise would if the snake was moving around. As water is absorbed from the stool in the large bowel, the stool can become much drier and harder to pass, resulting in the bowel inverting far more than it would if the stool was a bit softer. If the anal sphincter closes before the bowel has retracted, you get a prolapse because the everted part of the bowel cannot return to it's normal place.

You've probably seen already that chondros are probably the laziest snakes in any collection, but the weird theories about prolapse keep coming - from stories that GTPs are poor drinkers so need water injected into prey (rubbish), to the hygiene thing. If the species was so incompetent as to not drink enough, or immune suppressed, GTPs would have died out long ago. In the wild their habitat is subject to wind, rain, fluctuating light & varying temperatures, so they would naturally move around a lot more to accommodate the changing local environment. In an enclosure, they are absolutely static - no wind, a bit of a misting occasionally, stable temperatures within a degree or so. Ultimately this is less than ideal because they find a good place and stay put - sometimes for months or even years. there are threads here constantly about how keepers put their snakes on the lawn and hey-presto, they poo. It's not because they're toilet trained, it's because the movement stimulates defecation."

I've not yet cracked the code for increasing exercise potential, other than the possibility of a wider enclosure with heat at either end, which is activated alternately, encouraging them to move from one end of the enclosure to the other on a frequent basis.

Jamie
 

Waterrat

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Sax, the colour change differs btw GTP races. Aussie native change colour at 9.5 months (mean) but the variation (range) is 35-45 weeks. Some of the exotic races can take up to 2 years to complete OCC, while natives are done is 8 days (mean).

There is no need for your snake to "catch up" on size, just feed it the way you do, large fuzzies and small hoppers sounds sensible to me. Most GTP breeders (world-wide) have switched from rats to mice in recent years; 1 adult mouse per week is the standard feeding regime (for adult GTPs).

Jamie is on the money when it comes to exercise, keeping hatchlings in small tubs for too long is the main cause of rectal prolapse. Give your snake plenty of room and interesting interior to explore and you shouldn't have worry about prolapse, although small, weak hatchlings are more prone to prolapse than large, robust individuals even later in life.

Cheers
Michael
 

jedi_339

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Cheers For that info Jamie,

Just as a thought on promoting movement, and I'm sure there are quite a few problems associated with it,

In your opinion would switching off the heat source for say 15-30 minutes just on dusk cause the pythons to more actively explore their enclosures?

2 years OCC for some international animals WOW! I'm not sure where mine originally came from only the people that originally bred the adults, but they've both changed in about a week/week and a half. It's awesome waking up each day to a different coloured snake.
 

saximus

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Thanks for the input Jamie and Michael, I was hoping you’d be the first to respond. It’s good to know I can relax a bit of my paranoia.

Jedi I don’t mind “inexperienced” people responding. I’d have PMed a couple of specific people if I didn’t want a bit of general discussion. Call me arrogant but I just prefer not to encourage people with no knowledge in the area throwing opinions around :)
 
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Pythoninfinite

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There's a bit of misplaced mystique about GTPs Daniel - they are extraordinarily beautiful, and have a couple of husbandry requirements that are fairly specific (a bit of humidity and fairly stable temps), but beyond that they are like most pythons as far as management is concerned. I'd have to say that hatchies and small juvies are more delicate than the young of other species, but in most respects management is as per other species.

Go on , enjoy it without stressing :)!

Jamie
 

andynic07

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Is there any truth to the rumour that the colour change is more to do with size than age?
 
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Pythoninfinite

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Is there any truth to the rumour that the colour change is more to do with size than age?

The interrelation between size and age in snakes is too elastic for too many reasons to be able to say one is more important than the other. I'm guessing that the colour change is triggered by hormonal changes, so would probably be more related to age rather than size, as long as the animal in question wasn't emaciated.

Jamie
 

jedi_339

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Jedi I don’t mind “inexperienced” people responding. I’d have PMed a couple of specific people if I didn’t want a bit of general discussion. Call me arrogant but I just prefer not to encourage people with no knowledge in the area throwing opinions around :)

It's all good, I just wanted to point out early on that I am inexperienced with them myself :)

It's been a very insightful thread with lots of good information so thanks again Jamie and Michael.



On the colour change, my first snake to change went off his/her food for the week or so of the change however the second to change did not. I was wondering at the time but never asked, could this have been to do with the hormones involved?
 
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Skitzmixer

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This threads been a good read. Mines 20 months (and 12 days) old and is on large mice, she seems to eat it pretty quick, within 1-2 minutes.
Just quickly though, at what age are GTP's classified as adults? Is it different for males and females?
 
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Pythoninfinite

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Males seem to mature younger than females, I think Maxwell suggests some boys are fertile at around 18 months.

On recollection with regard to feeding, I do recall Rico Walder saying that he feeds his adults, even breeding females, only 1 adult mouse per week, which ties in with what Michael has said. Rico suggested that it reduces thye tendency for "tail hanging" in adult females especially.

Jamie
 

Waterrat

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Jamie, as far as I know, males mature (sexually that is) at 2.5 years and females at 3.5 years.

We can speculate all we like about what triggers OCC, it's one those uncertain things, also why Aussie natives change colour within few days and others take much, much longer? My gut feeling is, it's to do with seasonality (wet & dry) in Cape York, which doesn't happen in Equatorial habitats. As for size v age, neither seem to fit any standard pattern. I am happy to eliminate age as a factor (easily proven), and size doesn't seem reliable triger either - e.g. the twins I hatched two years ago were 1/2 the size (and BW) that the siblings, yet they changed colour roughly at the same time.

There are still mysteries but that's what keeps GTPs so interesting.

Michael
 

andynic07

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My first green scale. It is an Aussie GTP.
 

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