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Posted by Brendan on January 27, 2003 at 13:01:52:
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 ;)