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Posted by jfmoore on April 08, 2003 at 18:45:07:
In Reply to: 3 ?? on KSB posted by jsm on April 07, 2003 at 10:40:08:
Despite what you sometimes hear, we simply cannot tell how old a snake is by its size. And, perhaps counter-intuitively, I would say that this is even more true with snakes bred and raised in captivity. At least in the wild, you have a whole population which weathered the same conditions for comparison. So if you did extensive capture-mark-release-recapture studies, you MIGHT be able to make an educated guess about one individualís age.
In a herpetocultural situation, however, unless you bred the snake yourself, what do you really know about its life up until you received it? Let me give you a couple of examples. The mean individual weight from a clutch of 26 Kenyan sand boas born on 2/4/98 was 10.3 grams (range was 6.4 to 11.2). Over 4-1/2 years later, on 11/9/02, one of these animals (a male) weighed 22.5 grams, another (a female) weighed 48 grams. Had you shown me these snakes and asked for my educated guess, I would have estimated them to be only a few months old. I have another Kenyan sand boa, a female born in 2002, which weighed 15 grams on 10/3/02 and 109 grams less than 6 months later on 3/24/03.
Unless you bred the snake yourself, you have to accept that even an educated guess by a knowledgeable source may be far off the mark. Just another enigma with these curious creatures.