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Posted by oldherper on April 22, 2003 at 06:29:07:
In Reply to: black milk feeding schedule posted by Jeremy Clarke on April 22, 2003 at 01:10:34:
For the reasons that Jeremy stated, I wouldn't feed the snakes to them. If they are accustomed to eating rodents, they may not take them anyway, but it's just not worth the risk of bringing some disease into the collection.
As far as feeding schedule, frequency and so forth, IMHO, Jeremy is on the mark as far as adults go. For hatchlings, juveniles and sub-adults, while they are still growing rapidly it's difficult to over feed them. I pretty much feed my young ones as much as they will eat. Then I taper off when they are adults and feed them just what it takes to maintain body weight, except in the few weeks just before brumation and right after brumation. Then I throw the food to them to get a little extra body weight on them. During brumation they will lose a little because they don't eat at all for 3 months. Their metabolism is down, so they don't lose as much during that time as during breeding season. During the breeding season, most of the time they will go off feed for a month or more and are much more active, so they lose a little more. Then right after the breeding season, I'll feed them heavy for a couple of feedings and then go back to the normal schedule.
:I feed my Blacks weekly, they're subadults so they get one or two medium mice a week. They are good eaters, and I am sure would eat much more, but those with experience warn against overfeeding these snakes. I'm told they can develop fatty deposits and other nasties and that its better to err (slightly) on the side of less rather than more. Their metabolism seem to agree. I keep Hondurans in a similiar set up, same size, same temps. The Hondurans hang out at the hot spot, stay warmer, and pass a mouse in 2-4 days. The Blacks wander all over the place, stay cooler, knock over their water, and pass a mouse in 6 or 7 days. It will likely take a year longer to get my Blacks into breeding size as well. Fine with me.
:As far as feeding corns to them, I personally wouldn't. The very best outcome would be that the snake would be fine and you save a buck (literally the cost of a couple mice). At worst, some virus/parasite/creepy crawly could be transmitted and, maybe worse yet, the snake may get a taste for snake-flesh and not want to return to rodents.
:As always, just one mans opinion.