What size should I feed my Albino Darwin Python?

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Ella W

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Hey Guys,
I’m a young reptile enthusiast and I’m looking for a little help about what I should feed my Darwin python.
I recently got my Darwin python (at the start of the year in January). When I received him he was feeding on pinkie mice. He is now roughly 8 months old and I’m still feeding him fuzzies mice. He eats once a week. I recently went to the pet store to get new mice but they advised me that a hopper size would be too large for him. He is very enthusiastic about his feeds and often acts like he wants more. He sheds fine and is very active.

I have recently been reading other people recommendations and I think I should have made his feeds larger. What size would you recommend?
Im thankful for any advice given.

Thanks Ella

can add some photos if needed
 

Shaughan

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I'm no expert but I've been told to feed my snakes the same size they are fat in the thickest part of there body
[doublepost=1596148794,1596148688][/doublepost]My Darwin is about the same age and she has no problem smashing hoppers
[doublepost=1596148964][/doublepost]And i have a coastal that is like 15months and he has no problem smashing adult mice it takes him a bit to get them down but he loves them none the less
 

Sdaji

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By now he should be eating at least adult mice, I'd generally have them on weaner or small rats by this age. It's not a big problem if you grow them a bit more slowly, but you should definitely speed up at this stage. I start Carpets on fuzzy mice and never use anything as small as pinkies, even for their first feed. Especially for young Carpets which are often quite slender and laterally compressed, giving something no thicker than the width of the body is not a good guideline. It can be difficult to estimate or measure when they're small, but about 15-20% of the snake's body weight is usually a good size for a young python, I usually go higher, but for new keepers it's better to err on the side of caution as you may estimate wrong or not recognise when a snake isn't in a good condition for it. I would generally not do this and absolutely don't recommend it and sometimes you will have problems, but to give you some idea of what's possible, I've seen Carpets eat meals literally heavier than themselves and digest them without a problem.

I'm not sure what your pet shop is like, some are good, but pet shops are notorious for giving out bad advice. Posting a picture of your snake eating whatever you've been feeding him will give us an easy opportunity to suggest whether you are about on target or should be going larger. I strongly suspect you should go larger.
 

Herpetology

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I am giving my bredli 5~mth olds adult mice and 7mth old coastals large adult rats
[doublepost=1596157623,1596157499][/doublepost]
I'm not sure what your pet shop is like, some are good, but pet shops are notorious for giving out bad advice

It’s more a problem of them milking the customer of money

More fuzzies = less growing (compared to something larger) = more feeds = more money for the pet shop = successful salesmen haha
 

ralazal

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Feed size is probably not as important as you think. Pythons in the wild will regularly go without feeding for months at a time.

It depends on how much importance you put on how much size and how quickly you want your snake to grow. For breeders, generally they will feed more than others because they want to get to a breeding size quickly. Having said that, I know of one breeder that would shock a lot of people with how little he feeds his males. He swears that his males live significantly longer and breed better on this regime. Everyone will have a slightly different opinion on this subject.

I don't think there is really any conclusive evidence either way that underfeeding or over-feeding (within reason, of course) harms the health of carpet pythons in any obvious way.

There are signs that you can look out for such as whether the skin seems really "loose" if underweight, or scale spread or the prominent twin bulge around the spine if overweight. As mentioned, posting some pics will help to identify this.
 

Sdaji

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Feed size is probably not as important as you think. Pythons in the wild will regularly go without feeding for months at a time.

It's also worth remembering that in the wild literally about 95-99% of hatchling pythons die before the become adults. It might be okay for them to go three months without a meal during winter or as a rare event in the warm months in a really bad season (and in such seasons a reasonable proportion of the population dies), but few pythons would survive after only eating every three months ongoingly, and few if any would ever reproduce. Also keep in mind that in the wild they'll sometimes get meals more than 50% of their own body weight.

Nature is a very harsh environment and we should aim to do much better than it rather than replicate it. Replicating nature will literally lead to the death of most hatchlings within their first six months of life.

It depends on how much importance you put on how much size and how quickly you want your snake to grow. For breeders, generally they will feed more than others because they want to get to a breeding size quickly. Having said that, I know of one breeder that would shock a lot of people with how little he feeds his males. He swears that his males live significantly longer and breed better on this regime. Everyone will have a slightly different opinion on this subject.

Since I've power fed pythons and had them live over 20 years and counting, it's hard to see how people can claim that growing them slowly means they live longer, unless they've travelled to the future.

Males kept obese as adults definitely don't breed well, and it's more the pet keepers than the breeders who are guilty of this.

I don't think there is really any conclusive evidence either way that underfeeding or over-feeding (within reason, of course) harms the health of carpet pythons in any obvious way.

Within reason. I think we've all seen obese snakes, and at the other end I've certainly seen stunted snakes which can never grow to a natural length, because they were underfed based on bad advice. You don't need to feed as much as I do and I don't tell anyone to do it, but pinkies are too small a feed even for a hatchling, and certainly for a six month old. If that feeding regime isn't improved, the snake will become stunted.

There are signs that you can look out for such as whether the skin seems really "loose" if underweight

This applies to snakes which have lost weight rather than grown slowly.

or scale spread

This only applies to recent weight gain, not a long term condition.

or the prominent twin bulge around the spine if overweight.

I couldn't count how many times I've seen people get feeding wrong and keep snakes both over and underfed thanks to this bad piece of advice.

As mentioned, posting some pics will help to identify this.

Definitely.
 

ralazal

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It's also worth remembering that in the wild literally about 95-99% of hatchling pythons die before the become adults. It might be okay for them to go three months without a meal during winter or as a rare event in the warm months in a really bad season (and in such seasons a reasonable proportion of the population dies), but few pythons would survive after only eating every three months ongoingly, and few if any would ever reproduce. Also keep in mind that in the wild they'll sometimes get meals more than 50% of their own body weight.

Nature is a very harsh environment and we should aim to do much better than it rather than replicate it. Replicating nature will literally lead to the death of most hatchlings within their first six months of life.
I agree. Nobody is suggesting that only feeding once every 3 months is a good idea.

Since I've power fed pythons and had them live over 20 years and counting, it's hard to see how people can claim that growing them slowly means they live longer, unless they've travelled to the future.
Good example of different opinions. You take your experience and it works. Great. Doesn't mean other methods don't work just as well. As I said, personally I don't think there is evidence either way, but it amazes me how different, generally well respected breeders will have so many conflicting opinions about so many things.

Within reason. I think we've all seen obese snakes, and at the other end I've certainly seen stunted snakes which can never grow to a natural length, because they were underfed based on bad advice. You don't need to feed as much as I do and I don't tell anyone to do it, but pinkies are too small a feed even for a hatchling, and certainly for a six month old. If that feeding regime isn't improved, the snake will become stunted.
Yes, within reason. I think as long as the feed size or more importantly the feed quantity is increased at an appropriate rate the snake should be fine. I don't think it is bad advise generally to aim at a feed size that is slightly bigger than the biggest part of the body. There should be a distinct bulge after feeding. Feeding every week at this size should be ample. I do think the OP is getting bad advise from the store though. Suggesting hopper mice are too big at this stage is just wrong.

The subject of stunted snakes I'll leave to you. The breeder I am talking about has many years experience like you is very well respected. According to him, his experience is that his males tend to live longer and are better breeders. You would probably call them stunted.
 

Ella W

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I just weighed and measured him as well as I could. He is roughly 100 grams and 2ft 3 inches long. I can’t get any videos of him feeding to upload but I will keep trying.
I’m thinking of getting weaner rats but i don’t know if they will be too large
[doublepost=1596179893,1596179714][/doublepost]This is the most recent feeding I have of him. This was taken on the 19th of June
 

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ralazal

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I just weighed and measured him as well as I could. He is roughly 100 grams and 2ft 3 inches long. I can’t get any videos of him feeding to upload but I will keep trying.
I’m thinking of getting weaner rats but i don’t know if they will be too large
[doublepost=1596179893,1596179714][/doublepost]This is the most recent feeding I have of him. This was taken on the 19th of June
I wouldn't go too crazy. Weaner rats are a lot bigger than what you have been feeding.

If he has been on fuzzy mice, I would just get a few hopper or weaner mice and feed that for a few feeds then go adult mice maybe next lot you buy and so on. Like I said, you will get different opinions on this subject, but I wouldn't be panicking at this stage.
 

Sdaji

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Good example of different opinions. You take your experience and it works. Great. Doesn't mean other methods don't work just as well. As I said, personally I don't think there is evidence either way, but it amazes me how different, generally well respected breeders will have so many conflicting opinions about so many things.

I'm not saying feeding them less doesn't work. I say it does. I'm just saying he's making a claim which has no evidence at all. I'm not doing that.

Yes, within reason. I think as long as the feed size or more importantly the feed quantity is increased at an appropriate rate the snake should be fine. I don't think it is bad advise generally to aim at a feed size that is slightly bigger than the biggest part of the body. There should be a distinct bulge after feeding. Feeding every week at this size should be ample. I do think the OP is getting bad advise from the store though. Suggesting hopper mice are too big at this stage is just wrong.

This is definitely bad advice. It works sometimes, and yes, in those cases it's fine, but in other cases it doesn't work, which means that it's not a good general piece of advice to give. It works especially poorly for young Morelia which are currently on the lean side, which is clearly the case here. Look at a skinny 6 month old carpet and put a mouse of the same width as its body next to it. Clearly that's too small a feed. It leads to a skinny snake not getting enough to eat! On the other hand, get a fat snake and despite being the same length, this rule would tell you to give the fat snake more food! Clearly, a rule which says you should feed an obese snake more than a skinny snake isn't a good rule. It also doesn't take into account different species and their different body proportions.

I think we can all agree that the store's advice is bad.

The subject of stunted snakes I'll leave to you. The breeder I am talking about has many years experience like you is very well respected. According to him, his experience is that his males tend to live longer and are better breeders. You would probably call them stunted.

I'm sure his snakes are perfectly healthy and I wouldn't call them stunted. It's just silly to say they live longer since snakes can live longer than Australians have been keeping snakes in any numbers worth mentioning. Unless he's just comparing to snakes which are morbidly obese, in which case it's a no brainer, meaningless claim. I haven't found growing snakes quickly to do anything harmful, and they live at least 20+ years (still counting). This is not the same as getting snakes fat, which is clearly a problem. You can't claim your snakes live longer than other peoples' snakes if you don't actually have old snakes. Even if he had 30-40 year old snakes, which I'm sure he doesn't, we still don't have snakes which are dying younger than that due to having been grown quickly when young, so it's an empty claim.
 

ralazal

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This is definitely bad advice. It works sometimes, and yes, in those cases it's fine, but in other cases it doesn't work, which means that it's not a good general piece of advice to give. It works especially poorly for young Morelia which are currently on the lean side, which is clearly the case here. Look at a skinny 6 month old carpet and put a mouse of the same width as its body next to it. Clearly that's too small a feed. It leads to a skinny snake not getting enough to eat! On the other hand, get a fat snake and despite being the same length, this rule would tell you to give the fat snake more food! Clearly, a rule which says you should feed an obese snake more than a skinny snake isn't a good rule. It also doesn't take into account different species and their different body proportions.

I think we can all agree that the store's advice is bad.
I agree with most of your points, particularly for an obese snake. For a "skinny" snake, I think it is fine. I would be aiming at trying to gain weight (if that was my goal) steadily. And I didn't say "mouse of the same width", I said bigger than the widest part leaving a bulge.

As for different species, again I agree. I thought we were being specific to this snake, or at least carpets. We are starting to go away from the core of the discussion though. Feeding based on the age of the snake for example is equally bad advise when applied to specific cases, but not really worth bringing up here.

I'm sure his snakes are perfectly healthy and I wouldn't call them stunted. It's just silly to say they live longer since snakes can live longer than Australians have been keeping snakes in any numbers worth mentioning. Unless he's just comparing to snakes which are morbidly obese, in which case it's a no brainer, meaningless claim. I haven't found growing snakes quickly to do anything harmful, and they live at least 20+ years (still counting). This is not the same as getting snakes fat, which is clearly a problem. You can't claim your snakes live longer than other peoples' snakes if you don't actually have old snakes. Even if he had 30-40 year old snakes, which I'm sure he doesn't, we still don't have snakes which are dying younger than that due to having been grown quickly when young, so it's an empty claim.
I'm only going off literally a few sentences. The gist of what he said was that his males after feeding them "normally" for a number of years and then basically changing to a regime of basically underfeeding them later, he found that on average they were living longer and breeding more effectively. I'm paraphrasing because I don't remember the exact words he used. He never compared his experience to anyone else, just that that was his experience.
 

Sdaji

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I agree with most of your points, particularly for an obese snake. For a "skinny" snake, I think it is fine. I would be aiming at trying to gain weight (if that was my goal) steadily. And I didn't say "mouse of the same width", I said bigger than the widest part leaving a bulge.

As for different species, again I agree. I thought we were being specific to this snake, or at least carpets. We are starting to go away from the core of the discussion though. Feeding based on the age of the snake for example is equally bad advise when applied to specific cases, but not really worth bringing up here.

If you want to talk about Carpet Pythons specifically, it'll work for most of them, but not well for young, skinny ones (such as in this case) to use the width of the body as a guide. They often have very slender bodies. As moderate sized older animals, sure, it'll generally work. This particular case is one where it likely won't work well.

I'm only going off literally a few sentences. The gist of what he said was that his males after feeding them "normally" for a number of years and then basically changing to a regime of basically underfeeding them later, he found that on average they were living longer and breeding more effectively. I'm paraphrasing because I don't remember the exact words he used. He never compared his experience to anyone else, just that that was his experience.

That's pretty much the same as what I do. There's just no way that you could know they live longer, since unless he was raising a good number of snakes long before anyone else, he hasn't had time to ascertain it, so he's just speculating.
 

ralazal

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If you want to talk about Carpet Pythons specifically, it'll work for most of them, but not well for young, skinny ones (such as in this case) to use the width of the body as a guide. They often have very slender bodies. As moderate sized older animals, sure, it'll generally work. This particular case is one where it likely won't work well.
We can agree to disagree on this point. You haven't really given your own advise on this, but I'm assuming you would feed substantially more than what I would advise. That's fine, though in this case I would be increasing the feed size fairly gradually to avoid any sudden weight gain for obvious health reasons. That would just be my thinking. If you asked ten different equally successful keepers they might come up with 10 different equally varied opinions.
That's pretty much the same as what I do. There's just no way that you could know they live longer, since unless he was raising a good number of snakes long before anyone else, he hasn't had time to ascertain it, so he's just speculating.
Of course it is speculating. It's speculating for anyone to say power feeding doesn't do any harm based on one 20 year old animal. It wasn't long ago that you posted somewhere here something along the lines that your snakes(carpets?) on average have a lifespan of about 10 years and you were congratulating another forum member for havingi one that was 15 years old. Other breeders will say they live for 15-25 years on average, although I suspect you are the one being more honest about that. The point I'm making is that there are widely varying approaches to feeding that work for people, and labeling something bad advise because it is not what you do is also speculating at best.

I stand by what I have said. In this case there is no need to do anything drastically different other than to start gradually increasing the feed size, and I would be very confident that barring unforeseen circumstances this snake will be fine.
 

Ella W

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I wouldn't go too crazy. Weaner rats are a lot bigger than what you have been feeding.

If he has been on fuzzy mice, I would just get a few hopper or weaner mice and feed that for a few feeds then go adult mice maybe next lot you buy and so on. Like I said, you will get different opinions on this subject, but I wouldn't be panicking at this stage.

Im living in a small town on the south coast and I’m struggling to find the right size mice. The local pet shop only has fuzzies or adult mice available or pinkie rats, weaner rats and adult rats available atm. I am able to get some 8cm rats from a breeder, would 8cm be too large?
Sorry for all the hassle.
 

ralazal

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Im living in a small town on the south coast and I’m struggling to find the right size mice. The local pet shop only has fuzzies or adult mice available or pinkie rats, weaner rats and adult rats available atm. I am able to get some 8cm rats from a breeder, would 8cm be too large?
Sorry for all the hassle.
It's no hassle. Out of those options, I would probably either go with pinkie rats or adult mice. Pinkie rats are still on the small side, so I would probably only stay on that size for one pack. You could even try feeding 2 in the same feed every other week. Adult mice may be OK, although your snake may balk at the bigger size.
If you have some fuzzies left maybe feed 2 each feed. Let him swallow the first one and when he looks ready try to feed another.

To give you a idea on size a pinkie rat is normally slightly bigger (maybe almost double the weight) than fuzzy mice, an adult mouse is normally around 4 times the weight of fuzzies.
 

Herpetology

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Best option of order would be adult mice > weaned rats > adult rats (as the snake grows)

Skip the pinkies/fuzzies altogether

Adult mice are nutritionally more valuable compared to a pinkie with no fur and barely any blood/bones

Where the adult mice have, fully developed organs, fur, bones,skin etc

But at some point adult mice will be far too small, and then can be upsized to Weaner rats

As for finding breeders,usually a quick search on Facebook isn’t too hard to find someone, but pet shop prices are usually ludicrous

These are roughly the prices and weights you should be paying for a private breeder

072AFDD3-E6D5-4A2D-BFCC-93BDBC83ED36.jpeg
 

Ella W

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Best option of order would be adult mice > weaned rats > adult rats (as the snake grows)

Skip the pinkies/fuzzies altogether

Adult mice are nutritionally more valuable compared to a pinkie with no fur and barely any blood/bones

Where the adult mice have, fully developed organs, fur, bones,skin etc

But at some point adult mice will be far too small, and then can be upsized to Weaner rats

As for finding breeders,usually a quick search on Facebook isn’t too hard to find someone, but pet shop prices are usually ludicrous

These are roughly the prices and weights you should be paying for a private breeder

View attachment 329692
That price list shocked me $9 for 10 hoppers, I’m paying $40 atm. Living in a coastal town I can’t find any breeders and all the online shops I have found have been bulk buys. Do you know any breeders that you would recommend?
I’m shocked at the price difference I knew pet shops were expensive but never realised how expensive they were.
[doublepost=1596247138,1596246717][/doublepost]
It's no hassle. Out of those options, I would probably either go with pinkie rats or adult mice. Pinkie rats are still on the small side, so I would probably only stay on that size for one pack. You could even try feeding 2 in the same feed every other week. Adult mice may be OK, although your snake may balk at the bigger size.
If you have some fuzzies left maybe feed 2 each feed. Let him swallow the first one and when he looks ready try to feed another.

To give you a idea on size a pinkie rat is normally slightly bigger (maybe almost double the weight) than fuzzy mice, an adult mouse is normally around 4 times the weight of fuzzies.

I definitely recon he would take down two fuzzies with no problem as lately he has been acting/ looking for more food once he is done. This is one of the main reasons I wanted to check the amount I was feeding him. I’ve only got one mouse left and I need to buy some more before his feed next week. I’m feeding him tomorrow.
 

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That price list shocked me $9 for 10 hoppers, I’m paying $40 atm. Living in a coastal town I can’t find any breeders and all the online shops I have found have been bulk buys. Do you know any breeders that you would recommend?
I’m shocked at the price difference I knew pet shops were expensive but never realised how expensive they were.
[doublepost=1596247138,1596246717][/doublepost]

I definitely recon he would take down two fuzzies with no problem as lately he has been acting/ looking for more food once he is done. This is one of the main reasons I wanted to check the amount I was feeding him. I’ve only got one mouse left and I need to buy some more before his feed next week. I’m feeding him tomorrow.
I dont know really, i live in west sydney and theres a fair few, But you can try like Rodent Brothers or Rodent Farm, however not sure how well catered theyd be for a single python owner
 

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We can agree to disagree on this point. You haven't really given your own advise on this, but I'm assuming you would feed substantially more than what I would advise. That's fine, though in this case I would be increasing the feed size fairly gradually to avoid any sudden weight gain for obvious health reasons. That would just be my thinking. If you asked ten different equally successful keepers they might come up with 10 different equally varied opinions.

You might get 10 different answers but none of those people would feed a skinny hatchling Carpet a mouse the same width or only just slightly wider than its midbody girth. Some may say that without actually looking, but it you actually lined the snakes and feed items up, you'd see that none would choose something that small.

I've literally given two different rules of thumb to use, including agreeing with your 'moderate lump' one (which is a bit vague. Sure, to an experienced keeper it works, but to someone with no reference point from experience, it could be anything from well on the small side to far too large). I gave a weight ratio which while still imperfect is the best simple rule to follow.

Of course it is speculating. It's speculating for anyone to say power feeding doesn't do any harm based on one 20 year old animal. It wasn't long ago that you posted somewhere here something along the lines that your snakes(carpets?) on average have a lifespan of about 10 years and you were congratulating another forum member for havingi one that was 15 years old.

If you're not completely imagining this you're either mixing me up with someone else or changing it substantially enough for me not to remember. Other than a Carpet I had die in a thermostat malfunction and the occasional hatchling, I've never had a Carpet die that young, let alone had an average that low. I haven't kept any species of python with such a low average life expectancy.

Other breeders will say they live for 15-25 years on average, although I suspect you are the one being more honest about that. The point I'm making is that there are widely varying approaches to feeding that work for people, and labeling something bad advise because it is not what you do is also speculating at best.

This is about the normally said thing, but 15 years ago most people still weren't keeping snakes all that well, and 25 years ago it was a totally different scene, with most keepers having absolutely no idea what they were doing. However, a few clever cookies were around back then and some snakes are still alive today from that time. I suspect as time goes on we'll see more and more keepers ending up with pythons topping 30 years and I don't think we have been doing it long enough to get a good idea of life expectancies. One problem is that we end up with a low sample size. I keep some favourites long term, but more than half of my pythons get sold in the early stage of their prime as the line improves (talking about morph appearance here). This wasn't so much a thing for me until the last 5 years or so and wasn't a thing at all for me until about 10 years ago because before then my goals were completely different. However you look at it, despite having kept snakes for the best part of 30 years and my first snakes being pythons, I have only had two pythons die of old age, and I suspect one of those deaths wasn't of old age - that one was my first snake, which died in his 20s. Being my first snake which I acquired as a teenager who new nothing, and I made all my most stupid mistakes with, I guess he did okay.

I stand by what I have said. In this case there is no need to do anything drastically different other than to start gradually increasing the feed size, and I would be very confident that barring unforeseen circumstances this snake will be fine.

No one said anything different.
 

ralazal

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If you're not completely imagining this you're either mixing me up with someone else or changing it substantially enough for me not to remember. Other than a Carpet I had die in a thermostat malfunction and the occasional hatchling, I've never had a Carpet die that young, let alone had an average that low. I haven't kept any species of python with such a low average life expectancy.
My mistake. You were talking about diamond pythons.

https://www.aussiepythons.com/forum...ns-live-for-in-captivity.226716/#post-2535182

So, apples and oranges, but it still seems to contradict your last sentence here (unless you were just posting anecdotally and haven't kept them)
 

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