HOME
NATURAL HISTORY :: CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT :: REPRODUCTION :: MEDICAL :: FORUMS :: LINKS

CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT

PAGE 3: FEEDING

 

Once the proper surroundings have been established let the snake acclimate to its new environment. Do not rush to feed or get rid of internal parasites with newly acquired specimens. Digestion can act as a catalyst to stress and the snake and parasite have had a symbiotic relationship thus far. I usually wait ten to fourteen days before I try the first feeding. Wild-caught M. boeleni have been reported to feed on a very diverse menu including: rats, mice, guinea pigs, gerbils, hamsters, rabbits, chickens, and quail. Several experiences, including my own, have had to scent rats and mice with chicken in order to induce feeding on these food items. Scenting methods can be as simple as rubbing the rat on the chicken to actually tying a piece of skin with feathers to the head of the rat referred to as “hooding”. This was also experienced when trying to offer rats instead of mice and rabbits as a substitute for rats. Both experiences lead to the “hooding method”. I have had successful feedings when allowing rats to spend time in the used bedding of mice, this is always my first method used when difficulties arise. The Boelen’s Python metabolism is very fast. One will observe that wild-caught M. boeleni have bodies very similar to the North American Black Rat Snake, Elaphe obsolete. They are long, lean, muscular, and very athletic in appearance. This is evidence of their high activity supporting their fast metabolism. Over feeding should be avoided due to the stress that the kidneys and liver may experience handling heavy loads of metabolic waste. Feed appropriate sized meals based on the girth of the snake. Large food items are harder to digest and hinder normal movements, this can be a source of stress and regurgitation may occur. When and if regurgitation occurs wait ten to fourteen days before attempting another food item. This allows the snake’s digestive track to rest and repair, providing time for healing. Once regular feedings begin, feeding once a week appropriate sized meals is a good regiment to follow. Multiple food items can be given using good judgment that the snake is not getting obese. After feeding, M.boeleni drink a lot, be sure to provide fresh water as mentioned above.

Obtaining a fecal sample should be a priority to provide further the insight into the particular specimen. Based on the fecal results a regiment prescribed by the veterinarian should be followed and several fecal samples taken and analyzed at this time and there after. Additional information regarding various
medications as well as the type of internal parasites described can be found in the medical section.

Wild-caught M. boeleni can successfully adapt to captivity but can take a turn for the worse in a blink of an eye. Never assume that the specimen is fully established and has adapted to its captive life. This species, especially wild-caught ones, are not for those who pay little attention to detail. Immediate cleanings should be performed as soon as the cage is detected dirty, reassuring that the environment is always free and void of waste. Make sure to do daily inspections as well as checking the temperatures and controls.

< last :: |Index| :: next >

After large meals I have observed Boelen’s Pythons consume over half the volume of water contained within the water bowl.
Photo by Spataro.

Boelen’s Pythons will except many different food items such as this adult chicken being consumed by one of Jimmy Sola’s adults.
Photo by Sola

     

© 2007 Marc A. Spataro