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Old 09-12-2006, 09:51 PM
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Columbian Red Tail Boa Size

I was at a reptile show recently and listening to a guz who has several columbian boas in his collection. He was telling me how big they were and what he feeds them.

His advise to me was if you want to make a columbian red tail larger is to start feeding them guinea pigs or rabbits and they will grow to a larger size. If you want them to stay smaller just keep feeding them mice or rats.

Now this seemed a little fishy to me and I ask the experts here if this is true.

bob
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Old 09-12-2006, 10:18 PM
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Well, there's some truth to it, from what I've read many things can affect growth.

1) Food type: Rats are more nutritious than mice and will generally allow the boa to be healthier. I'm not sure about nutritional content of rabbits or guinea pigs...most only feed rabbits because the boa is at a point where rats are too small.

2) Frequency of feeding: It has been observed that feeding snakes more often (called 'powerfeeding') will result in a faster pace of growth. This is unhealthy for the snake and contributes to a shorter life span.

3) I'm not sure if this one has been verified or if it's still a myth (maybe others will correct me here if I'm wrong), but I've also heard that cage size can play a role. If the snake does not grow up with adequate space, it can stunt is growth.
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Old 09-12-2006, 10:42 PM
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I've read that cage size will not stop your boa from growing, or thats always what I have heard..

also he does sound like he is powerfeeding his snakes.
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Old 09-12-2006, 11:14 PM
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yeah cage size does play a role......with fish, not with snakes. think about this, if snakes never outgrew their cages why would people buy dwarf burms for $2000 when you can get a regular baby for $30.
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Old 09-12-2006, 11:19 PM
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Cool, thx for correcting the bad info I heard on cage size
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Old 09-12-2006, 11:44 PM
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gunnie pigs are not good food for snakes
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Old 09-13-2006, 01:39 AM
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I feed guinnies once and a while to larger specimines. They love em...you do have to be careful though because using them too often may lead to obesity...an occasional change of pace is fine though.

I do NOT however agree that stuffing (a boa in particular) with guinnies or bunnies for the purpose of gaining extra size is a good idea.
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Old 09-13-2006, 03:17 AM
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I feed my larger female rabbits currently but i only moved her to these due to the fact that the largest rats werent enough for her. She would eat a xxxl rat and you couldnt tell where the rat was an hour later.

Id agree with the cage size thing being false. When i rescued the albino burm i had for about a year when i got him he was almost 6' and lived in a 20 gal tank. So theres proof to me that cage size doesnt matter as far as growth for them.
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Old 09-14-2006, 07:01 PM
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I always wondered if cage size stunted growth and I knew that in fish you can grow some good size whoppers in a larger than normal tank.

I had the feeling that this guy might have been power feeding but couldn't get him to say that he was.

All the info is great for my knowledge base and really helps.

Thanks

bob
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Old 09-14-2006, 07:09 PM
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Fish release phemones into the water which restrict growth to a limited degree. Frequent water changes will allow the fish to continue to outgrow the tank, because the phemones don't reach levels required to stunt their growth...or so I'm told.
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Old 09-14-2006, 10:29 PM
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Many giant boas are fed nothing but rats all their lives. The undersized heads or 'pin-heads' may be avoided with larger prey items but in our experience head size (compared to body size) is a factor of age plus genetics.. generally speaking a boa raised more conservatively will have that impressive BIG head.
.
The best way to get a big boa is to feed it frequently, not feed really big meals. This has to do with the way their digestive system works. If the time between meals is just right then they do not have to use their body reserves to produce the enzymes and other products to digest the prey.
.
As for really fat boas.. some can't be salvaged, they are simply ruined, but many can be just not fed (or fed very sparingly) and they will grow and slim down at the same time.
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I have a couple of WC Peru females here that respond to Guinea pig meals by ovulating!
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