New Childrens Python owner, looking for sound care advice

Jonesy1103

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Hello everybody, I have been using google to learn as much as I can about my python and more often than not it leads me here anyway, so I thought I would come straight to the source.

I've got a 'rescue' python, Childrens Python, I was given an estimated age of "about a year and a half" at end of Feb, so about 20 months now. And I have got a heap of questions about care etc, I have done a heap of reading but I wanted to hear it direct from you all. Any advice welcome inc. links to threads I should have read first

1) Age and size stuff.
20 months old, is that still a Juvenile? I have read its 2.5 to 3 years to maturity is this correct?
Its done 2 sheds while I have had "her" (see sex stuff later), one a couple of weeks after we bought her, the other was 5 weeks after that. So she is doing ok eh?
I cant really measure the snake so I measured the shed skin and it is 54cm. So do you reckon its about 20 months old based off that? And at that size what would a healthy snake weigh.

2) sex stuff
Can someone send a photo of a male tail and a female tail for this species. I think mine is a female as it has that nice smooth taper but again at this age would I even be able to see if it had hemipenes?
Doing the Probing (I would take her to a vet of course) does this cause the animal distress or pain?

3) Feeding stuff
So we were told "give it a gecko every coupla weeks" but pretty much everywhere else (online) said 7-10 days (if it's a juvie). Based off of head size the pet shop recommended Fuzzie mice which go down the hatch with moderate stretching of the gullet and leave a noticable lump in the belly. Ive attached a photo of her eating one (she untied the knot after, it worked out ok). Do you all reckon I am feeding her big enough stuff, and am I doing it often enough? Am I supposed to be putting vitamins on the Fuzzie or something?

4) Behavioural stuff
So when we got her she mainly hid all day, coiled up tight under a rock or the timber house, and at night if I went past the tank she would be snaking around, doing scaly stuff you know, usually if she saw movement she would hide ASAP. So that all seemed normal for a nocturnal snake. But lately, especially since the most recent shed, she seems to be awake for a much larger part of the day, body in the hide but with her head sticking out watching, or moving hide to hide many times a day, in full view of us, climbing in daylight, sleeping in the open etc. And as soon as the light goes off she's exploring, all 4 corners of the tank, climbing, having staring comps with the cat, going through all the hides like a commando course. We took this to probably mean hunting behaviour? So this period I have given her an extra feed which she snapped up (see photo). But is this extra activity a sign of hunger, or stress, or is this a snake that feels safe and secure and is loving life, or is the enclosure too small maybe? (Im building a bigger one already to suit the corner location).

5) Habitat stuff
Current tank is an exo terra 450 x 450 x 600h, thats what she came in, so I made some furniture so she has about 5 different places to hide, all of which she uses. She can go under stuff, inside stuff, on top of stuff, climb on the plants, hang off the heatlamp shroud etc.

The new one will be 800 x 600 but triangular floorplan (its a corner wall), 1200mm high with many levels in it (she loves climbing) is it too soon for her to go in this bigger enclosure? She will have heaps of places to hide, and climb, so she should feel safe. I've seen several mentions of waiting till they "outgrow" their first viv but how does one define "outgrown". And others have suggested that too big an enclosure messes with their minds? What happens to the snake in that instance, do they stress? Or just hide more.

Anyway thanks for reading and I appreciate any advice and feedback, I really hope I am looking after this specimen correctly, if I need to be corrected feel free to do so in an instructional manner. Looking forward to your replies, I guess you will probably have questions, I will do my best to answer

Cheers
 

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Susannah

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It sounds like you're on the ball with it all to me.
I'm less experienced than many folks here, but:

1. It depends.
2. Go a vet. And yes, so go to a good vet with experience.
3. 7-14 days (again, it depends) as big as they can eat. So sounds fine.
4. Sounds fine. They go through moods and seasons.
5. Sounds fine. I'd not worry too much about her growing out of the enclosure she's in right now - bigger isn't always better. She's small. She's not going to be a big snake. She's got plenty of places to hide and that is the most important thing IMHO for a small snake. If you go too big, they can get distressed (just as bad as putting a very big snake in an enclosure that is too small!)

Love, love the photo. Hungry snake, nomming her dinner!
 

Jonesy1103

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It sounds like you're on the ball with it all to me.
I'm less experienced than many folks here, but:

1. It depends.
2. Go a vet. And yes, so go to a good vet with experience.
3. 7-14 days (again, it depends) as big as they can eat. So sounds fine.
4. Sounds fine. They go through moods and seasons.
5. Sounds fine. I'd not worry too much about her growing out of the enclosure she's in right now - bigger isn't always better. She's small. She's not going to be a big snake. She's got plenty of places to hide and that is the most important thing IMHO for a small snake. If you go too big, they can get distressed (just as bad as putting a very big snake in an enclosure that is too small!)

Love, love the photo. Hungry snake, nomming her dinner!
Thanks! Glad to hear they have moods and stuff. So this seems like healthy behaviour not stress, cheers.

I've read the pinned thread about good reptile vets and the one listed is actually my regular (dog and cat) vet anyway; so looks like I'm due another visit to register a new family member. I don't know if I really need to know the sex so maybe I will skip the probing.

Thanks for the reply, seems like I am doing ok so far

Cheers
 

CF Constrictor

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Hi Jonesy1103
Welcome to python ownership . Just a few points to consider. When snakes shed , the old skin stretches a lot, so measuring the skin will not give you an acurate length of the snake. When they are stressed, they will hide away , and will usualy refuse to eat so your little one sounds fine. Probing by a vet or someone experianced is the most acurate way to determin sex. I don't see a problem with moving it to a bigger enclosure at that age,size. As long as it has correct temps and places to hide. Live plants in an indoor python enclosure is asking for trouble in my books. Constant high humidity can lead to health issues and plastic plants look just as good with next to no maintanance. Good luck.
 

Sdaji

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1) I like to grow them quickly and often have them at average adult size by around 12 months, and they're laying eggs under two years of age. Some would say I'm a monster, although I've seen wild snakes clearly growing very fast in boom seasons. Each to their own.

As CF Constrictor said, measuring a slough will generally give you an overestimate of the length (generally around 10-20%, but sometimes less, sometimes much more). Sounds a little small for the age, but probably no big deal.

2) Even after decades of working with thousands of them, I'm not very good at sexing them by looking at tail shape. The very old ones are often easy, and some other species are obvious, but sexing Antaresia by eye isn't generally accurate. Some of them will readily pop hemipenes, but unless you really know what you're doing, 'females' are uncertain. Many vets are pretty useless at probing (but they'll still happily charge you for the service).

3) At that age I'm usually only feeding males about 10-15 times per year and females not much more. At that size (which for me is much younger) I'm usually feeding at least weekly. At that age I'm usually feeding 70g rats or so, but if your snake is around 50cm I'd probably not even suggest half that size. It's difficult to give generic advice.

4) I got a bit lost and distracted. Hopefully others answered this.

5) I think CF Constrictor covered this pretty well.

Good luck!
 

Jonesy1103

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Hi Jonesy1103
Welcome to python ownership . Just a few points to consider. When snakes shed , the old skin stretches a lot, so measuring the skin will not give you an acurate length of the snake. When they are stressed, they will hide away , and will usualy refuse to eat so your little one sounds fine. Probing by a vet or someone experianced is the most acurate way to determin sex. I don't see a problem with moving it to a bigger enclosure at that age,size. As long as it has correct temps and places to hide. Live plants in an indoor python enclosure is asking for trouble in my books. Constant high humidity can lead to health issues and plastic plants look just as good with next to no maintanance. Good luck.
Thanks for the reply!
Ok I will get into humidity monitoring next to make sure I am not overdoing it; I hadnt been concerned as I live in the tropics, and when I purchased the snake it was housed outdoors (undercover) in the wet season. The top vent is 45cm x 20cm. But yeh I will make sure Im not over-humidifying "her". The 2 sheds I have had were complete. I would estimate the humidity to be the same as in my house but I will get a sensor or gauge for it.

I'll set all that up for the next viv; it has more overall internal volume than this one (but a slightly smaller floorspace; more climbing stuff and hides at different vertical levels). I might even trial it before she moves in. Just make sure I know what I have built.

So cheers.
1) I like to grow them quickly and often have them at average adult size by around 12 months, and they're laying eggs under two years of age. Some would say I'm a monster, although I've seen wild snakes clearly growing very fast in boom seasons. Each to their own.

As CF Constrictor said, measuring a slough will generally give you an overestimate of the length (generally around 10-20%, but sometimes less, sometimes much more). Sounds a little small for the age, but probably no big deal.

2) Even after decades of working with thousands of them, I'm not very good at sexing them by looking at tail shape. The very old ones are often easy, and some other species are obvious, but sexing Antaresia by eye isn't generally accurate. Some of them will readily pop hemipenes, but unless you really know what you're doing, 'females' are uncertain. Many vets are pretty useless at probing (but they'll still happily charge you for the service).

3) At that age I'm usually only feeding males about 10-15 times per year and females not much more. At that size (which for me is much younger) I'm usually feeding at least weekly. At that age I'm usually feeding 70g rats or so, but if your snake is around 50cm I'd probably not even suggest half that size. It's difficult to give generic advice.

4) I got a bit lost and distracted. Hopefully others answered this.

5) I think CF Constrictor covered this pretty well.

Good luck!
Thanks as well!
Yeh I suspect my python is not as old as they have suggested, but this is based off size. They were feeding it fortnightly, apparently it had become aggressive; I'm beginning to suspect it was very hungry! So maybe she is just a bit small for her age.

Ill trial the next size up, on a 14 day basis, and see how we go. Ill measure head and body and read a few more threads, go to the pet food store with my calipers and scales.
4) snake feeds and explores good so I reckon its not stressed
5) i'll make sure the viv works good before she goes in in terms of gradient and humidity

Thanks for the informative replies.

Sounds like I have a happy healthy snake, small for it's age, maybe ready for a food increase. I feel more confident now so thanks all.

Feel free to add more if you're reading this and feel you can contribute.
Cheers
 

Sdaji

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Thanks for the reply!
Ok I will get into humidity monitoring next to make sure I am not overdoing it; I hadnt been concerned as I live in the tropics, and when I purchased the snake it was housed outdoors (undercover) in the wet season. The top vent is 45cm x 20cm. But yeh I will make sure Im not over-humidifying "her". The 2 sheds I have had were complete. I would estimate the humidity to be the same as in my house but I will get a sensor or gauge for it.

I'll set all that up for the next viv; it has more overall internal volume than this one (but a slightly smaller floorspace; more climbing stuff and hides at different vertical levels). I might even trial it before she moves in. Just make sure I know what I have built.

So cheers.

Thanks as well!
Yeh I suspect my python is not as old as they have suggested, but this is based off size. They were feeding it fortnightly, apparently it had become aggressive; I'm beginning to suspect it was very hungry! So maybe she is just a bit small for her age.

Ill trial the next size up, on a 14 day basis, and see how we go. Ill measure head and body and read a few more threads, go to the pet food store with my calipers and scales.
4) snake feeds and explores good so I reckon its not stressed
5) i'll make sure the viv works good before she goes in in terms of gradient and humidity

Thanks for the informative replies.

Sounds like I have a happy healthy snake, small for it's age, maybe ready for a food increase. I feel more confident now so thanks all.

Feel free to add more if you're reading this and feel you can contribute.
Cheers

Every 14 days is too little for a juvenile, growing snake. If you want a snake to grow faster than average because it's currently small for its age, I wouldn't go any less than weekly.

Absolutely, a snake only fed every 14 days which is small for its age will usually become very aggressive (in the true sense of the word - it is actively trying to kill things so it can eat them).
 

Jonesy1103

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Every 14 days is too little for a juvenile, growing snake. If you want a snake to grow faster than average because it's currently small for its age, I wouldn't go any less than weekly.

Absolutely, a snake only fed every 14 days which is small for its age will usually become very aggressive (in the true sense of the word - it is actively trying to kill things so it can eat them).
Ok. I think she has been a bit hungry then, i'll stick to the 7 to 10 day regime.
Btw did you check out the photo? This was the most recent feed; did the size of prey seem appropriate to the size of the snakes head?

Also do you typically feed them after a shed (2 days or so) or stick to the plan. I was gonna start feeding her 2 days after a shed and then go 7 to 10 thereafter (ie reset the schedule every shed)

Thanks for the info.
[automerge]1619172452[/automerge]
Ok. I think she has been a bit hungry then, i'll stick to the 7 to 10 day regime.
Btw did you check out the photo? This was the most recent feed; did the size of prey seem appropriate to the size of the snakes head?

Also do you typically feed them after a shed (2 days or so) or stick to the plan. I was gonna start feeding her 2 days after a shed and then go 7 to 10 thereafter (ie reset the schedule every shed)

Thanks for the info.
Sorry scratch that I'll stay on 7 days (ignore the 10 day comment) and watch for weight gain and growth (i dont know how to edit a post)
 
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Sdaji

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Ok. I think she has been a bit hungry then, i'll stick to the 7 to 10 day regime.
Btw did you check out the photo? This was the most recent feed; did the size of prey seem appropriate to the size of the snakes head?

That feed size is too small, especially if you're only feeding every 7-10 days.

Also do you typically feed them after a shed (2 days or so) or stick to the plan. I was gonna start feeding her 2 days after a shed and then go 7 to 10 thereafter (ie reset the schedule every shed)

I often have hundreds of snakes to feed on feeding days, I don't get fanatical about such things. They get fed on feed day, if they're sloughing I might feed them anyway (in which case I'll go for a small feed), if not they miss a feed. I don't feed every snake every feed day, I generally thaw a pile of rodents and pick one of the right size out of the pile to offer to each snake. With older ones if I finish up with a few hungry mouths left they can wait until next week, if they look heavy enough I'll leave them (sometimes for multiple weeks), young growing juveniles are never skipped unless they are sloughing, and even then I'll usually give them a small meal.

If for whatever reason I am treating a snake like royalty (an absolute favourite or very high priority snake) I'll usually feed it every 4-5 days as a youngster. I didn't do that with any this season or last, I just gave the high priority ones feeds on the large side (I wouldn't recommend this to a beginner) each week.
 

Jonesy1103

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That feed size is too small, especially if you're only feeding every 7-10 days.



I often have hundreds of snakes to feed on feeding days, I don't get fanatical about such things. They get fed on feed day, if they're sloughing I might feed them anyway (in which case I'll go for a small feed), if not they miss a feed. I don't feed every snake every feed day, I generally thaw a pile of rodents and pick one of the right size out of the pile to offer to each snake. With older ones if I finish up with a few hungry mouths left they can wait until next week, if they look heavy enough I'll leave them (sometimes for multiple weeks), young growing juveniles are never skipped unless they are sloughing, and even then I'll usually give them a small meal.

If for whatever reason I am treating a snake like royalty (an absolute favourite or very high priority snake) I'll usually feed it every 4-5 days as a youngster. I didn't do that with any this season or last, I just gave the high priority ones feeds on the large side (I wouldn't recommend this to a beginner) each week.
Ill have to learn how to quote only specific parts of a post;
But rightyo, I'll start feeding a little more often until I reckon I can increase feed size.
I want to do that sensibly so I will try get a measurement of the thickest part of this snake and go thru the food options at the pet shop (they have mice and rats of all sizes)

Thanks all
 

Sdaji

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Ill have to learn how to quote only specific parts of a post;
But rightyo, I'll start feeding a little more often until I reckon I can increase feed size.

I want to do that sensibly so I will try get a measurement of the thickest part of this snake and go thru the food options at the pet shop (they have mice and rats of all sizes)

Thanks all

To partial quote, just delete some of it like you would delete any other text. To split a quote, just go to where you want to split and hit enter (or the equivalent if you're using a phone, probably?)

To give you some idea, I'd be offering meals several multiples of the size of what's in your pictures. I never bother offering anything that small. For non growing (strictly speaking, very slowly growing) adults, I still offer meals of a similar size, but less often. I don't at all like the 'width of the body' guideline - by that logic, skinny snakes which need to get bigger get fed less, and snakes which are already fat get fed more! A snake which is already seriously underweight could end up starving to death by that rule. It also doesn't take into account how squishy a rat is, etc etc. I generally shoot for around 15-20% of the snake's body weight, more for younger/growing snakes. Your snake does look around the right proportions, so around 10-20% of the snake's weight should be fine.
 

Jonesy1103

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To partial quote, just delete some of it like you would delete any other text. To split a quote, just go to where you want to split and hit enter (or the equivalent if you're using a phone, probably?)
So its that easy cheers
I generally shoot for around 15-20% of the snake's body weight, more for younger/growing snakes. Your snake does look around the right proportions, so around 10-20% of the snake's weight should be fine.
I better get my mate with scales... onto the scales.

Thanks for simplifying it. I'll work it out off weight. Easy
 

Sdaji

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So its that easy cheers

Yep! I learned by accident. It's easier than back in the day when we had to manually type the html codes!

I better get my mate with scales... onto the scales.

Thanks for simplifying it. I'll work it out off weight. Easy

I don't use scales, I just do it by eye. Having said that, I've weighed hundreds of thousands of rats and have probably become pretty good at estimating it. I also often go heavier than I would generally recommend, but that's because I know how to recognise which snakes can and can't handle larger meals. An underweight snake will struggle with a larger meal, and at the extreme, snakes get to a point before starving to death where they are so weak that any meal will kill them sooner than if they don't eat. The healthier a snake is, the larger a meal it can eat. There are also other things which can alter how large a meal can be including species. When I was living abroad and working with Corn Snakes I had spme of them regurgitate because I was so used to working with snakes which would have absolutely no trouble with meals that size, and I actually had a few of them develop long term issues from single regurgitation events, two of them never recovered and eventually died around a year later all because of one meal which was too large, which they enthusiastically ate - pretty odd and embarrassing for a veteran snake keeper to kill beginner snakes through inexperience! You can have similar issues with pythons (and elapids and Australian colubrids - pretty much any snake), but with most pythons it takes a much larger meal. Generally, snakes recover from a single regurgitation without any problem, but a few end up with damage to the digestive system, which means they can't eat while it's healing or they'll regurgitate again making things worse. In young or already lean snakes this can mean they don't have enough bodily energy reserves to complete the healing process sufficiently to digest another meal, in which case the result is inevitable death, which given their slow metabolic rate and ability to last a long time between meals, can take months or even over a year. Once this condition exists it can be difficult to manage. This being the case, it's usually safest to err on the side of caution and keep meals under around 20-25% unless you know what you're doing.
 

Jonesy1103

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This being the case, it's usually safest to err on the side of caution and keep meals under around 20-25% unless you know what you're doing.
Yeh being a bit new I will take the most cautious path into all this. Anyway I feel like I should know my Python's length and weight so I may start a chart. Thanks for the input
 
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