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Growth rates

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ The Crotalidae Forum ]

Posted by creep77 on February 01, 2003 at 20:28:38:

In Reply to: Overfeeding con't..... posted by Brendan on January 27, 2003 at 13:01:52:

Some of the postings concerning this topic have been rather accurate, in regards to overweight crotalids and the negative side-effects of power-feeding. Something i think, and I hope you'll all agree, is that growth rates ultimately determine whether or not obesity shall be occur. I suggest that all keepers of crotalids hit the pertinent literature in regards to growth rates. To get everyone started, try reading this contribution.

Charland, M.B. and P.T. Gregory. 1989. Feeding rate and weight
in postpartum rattlesnakes: Do animals that eat more always
grow more? Copeia 1989(1):211-214

For those who may not have access to such journals, the article is about a study conducted using postpartum C. viridis. Two groups of wild animals were contained separately in an outdoors enclosure suitable to the lifestyles of rattlesnakes. One group was offered food every second day while the other group was offered food every second week. To sum up the study, there was no significant difference found between the growth rates of the two groups.
This is a study that any keeper, with multiple specimens of the same species, can conduct in the privacy of their own home and is not limited to the use of postpartum animals.
I hope this will shed some light on the negative impacts of power-feeding and maybe influence keepers to take it easy with the raising of their young and old animals alike.
Dig into the literature, this is not the only study of its kind. Regards

:To Rich and the rest involved in the post below I have a few questions. This topic is very interesting to me and I would like to get a little more insight.

:First can you give me an idea of what you consider overfeeding? Is it feeding the animal too much at one time? too often? a combination of both?

:Would you agree that what would be considered overfeeding for one species (ie. frequency of feeding) of rattlesnake may not be for another. An example would be a neonate C.mitchelli phyrrus versus a C.atrox.

:I have rasied both from birth and just from limited personal experience it seems that a baby atrox can certainly handle 1-2 feedings a week and still go thru a normal cycle of digestion and defication. I was always lead to believe that once an animal had eaten and followed up with an evacuation that they are ready to eat again as long as they accepted the food.

:What I am trying to understand is how the accelerated food intake and subequent growth are a physiological detriment to the animals long term health. In humans it's not usually obesity that shortens a persons life span but the related disease processes that follow. Elevated cholesterol, arterioscleriosis, overworked organs which lead to heart disease and death. Have studies been done on reptiles to see if there are indications of physiological imbalances in obese snakes?

:Another question would be, how much of a role does an animals activity level determine what would be considered overfeeding?If an animal is very active (which many neonates are) then they are buring calories at a faster rate than a 15 year old snake who just hides in a box for weeks at a time. Therefor a younger snake who is very active would have no problem eating on a more frequent basis, right?

:These are just a few things that popped in my head so I thought I would ask. I have talked to people who powerfeed all their snakes from birth and still have animals that live in excess of 20 years. Help a lost crote lover out ;)

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