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  1. #1
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    Power feeding Boa Constrictor

    I read many articles and opinions that Red Tailed Boas will eat whenever food is available until they poop. They don,t have a limit. According to my experience with My Boa, that is not true. I feed my 10 month Male Red tailed Boa live rats since he was 3 months old. He will eat only when he is hungry. If he is not hungry, he will reject the rat. That has happened many times. Even if i wanted to power feed him, i won,t be able to force him to eat if he does not want. I know that different people have different experiences and snakes would react differently from each other but this is what i have experienced so far.

  2. #2
    BPnet Senior Member Sauzo's Avatar
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    All my boas would eat as much as you give them. They are garbage cans just like my retic. Heck Rosey even eats in shed if you give her a rat.

    And do you mean a BCC which is a red tail? Or do you mean a Colombian common boa aka BCI? Pet shops label them all as red tail boa but that is incorrect and they each have different requirements.

    And technically, power feeding a boa is feeding it whenever it wants to eat as they will eat far more than they need unless something is wrong with the boa.

    The breeder I talked to who I bought my Sunglow from said his first boa he ever had as a kid before he really knew how to care for them correctly, he fed it every week. That boa lived for 10 years and then had a heart attack from being overweight.

    My feeding schedule for my boas is up to 1 year old, I feed them every 7-10 days on mice. I keep them on mice and 10 days until they take weaned or small rats. Then it goes to every 2-3 weeks. Then once they are up to medium rats and larger, it goes to every 3-4 weeks. A boa will never 'need' anything larger than large rats unless you got a very large female. people just seem to 'think' boas need more.

    Also about 90% of people overfeed their boas and I'm even guilty of it myself sometimes. You got to remember, in the wild they would have to actually search for food and go months without it sometimes which would expend energy. In captivity, they sit in a cage and move anywhere from 4-6' from a hot spot to a cool spot unless taken out and given exercise. Then they just wait there to be handed a rat or rabbit.

    And again, boas will eat whenever available. They are an opportunistic feeder since it could be months for the next meal. If yours actually refuses food, then you need to check your husbandry. I bet mine would snatch a rat out of the air while sitting on my shoulder in the middle of a hurricane if they could lol.

    Oh and to let you know, anything under a weaned or small rat is not that great for a boa. The rats are filled with mothers milk and have underdeveloped muscle, bone, and organs. You are far better off sticking to adult mice until they can take weaned or small rats. Also 3 month old eating rats? What are you feeding, pink rats? My suriname who is 7 months old is on hopper mice and my 11 month old salmon DH snowglow male is on medium adult mice.
    Last edited by Sauzo; 03-26-2017 at 05:03 AM.
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  4. #3
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    Re: Power feeding Boa Constrictor

    I can confirm to you that my Boa is very much healthy and has a great feeding response if he's hungry. If not hungry he will reject the rat. Husbandry is good. He is a BCI but he could have some BCC in him "cross". And even if that was true, i would say he is 80% BCI. I have developed a special feeding program for him which might not be suitable to recommend for everyone on an open forum like this. By the way, i have also a 4 years old male ball python and a 6 months old male Dumerils Boa. Both I feed live, and both reject food when not hungry.

  5. #4
    BPnet Lifer Gio's Avatar
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    Re: Power feeding Boa Constrictor

    Quote Originally Posted by Dutti View Post
    I can confirm to you that my Boa is very much healthy and has a great feeding response if he's hungry. If not hungry he will reject the rat. Husbandry is good. He is a BCI but he could have some BCC in him "cross". And even if that was true, i would say he is 80% BCI. I have developed a special feeding program for him which might not be suitable to recommend for everyone on an open forum like this. By the way, i have also a 4 years old male ball python and a 6 months old male Dumerils Boa. Both I feed live, and both reject food when not hungry.
    You never mentioned your schedule/feeding intervals. Rejection of food can be due to season, temps, and other husbandry factors. That doesn't mean poor husbandry, often it is correct husbandry IF it follows a seasonal pattern. There are also cases where poor husbandry can be the cause.

    You didn't mention how often you feed so there is nothing anybody can determine without seeing the schedule. If all elements in the husbandry department are in place, and your snakes are rejecting food, they may have meals offered too frequently. They may be stuffed, or still in the process of digestion. For boa constrictors there are several, critical, internal changes that take place during digestion. Acids increase by massive amounts in the stomach to work on digesting, the internal organs increase in size greatly and there are huge energy demands that require heat and preferably complete mobility until the process is complete. For boa constrictors ALL signs of the previous meal should be gone before they are feed again. Adult males will often refuse food when looking for a mate and that is another consideration when talking about feeding.

    Not allowing the full digestive process to run, complete and adjust back to normal will penalize a boa later in life. 10 years is not old, nor is 15 years considered a ripe, old age for a boa. Start thinking 20+ and you are on to something.

    Sauzo (above) is correct about power feeding. There is more than one method to it. You can be overly frequent in feeding, you can offer amounts far too large for the snake. you can "piggy back" another item right after the first prey item is swallowed and essentially give two meals at once, or you can ignore seasonal changes and feed year round with little to no break.

    Snakes have been designed and hardwired over millions and millions of years to go long periods without food.

    Captive prey is fat compared to wild prey giving large amounts to a captive snake is detrimental. Captive environments are like "Club Med" compared to the wild. Snakes are not required to move much if they have all their needs met.

    There are different ways to do things, and that is accepted as we all live in different areas with different climates. Often different ideas are shared and care improves for all of use in the hobby.

    Vary your prey type and sizes. Follow a seasonal schedule, and allow your snake to get hungry, move and hunt for food.

    Boas are NOT boring they will move and behave differently when they are fed properly. Being hungry is healthy for them, but always eating is not. That not to say you should starve them.

    Quote from Gus Rentfro (world authority on BCs) "It is almost impossible to underfeed a boa constrictor, but entirely too easy to overfeed one".
    Last edited by Gio; 03-26-2017 at 09:22 AM.

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    Re: Power feeding Boa Constrictor

    Quote Originally Posted by Gio View Post
    You never mentioned your schedule/feeding intervals. Rejection of food can be due to season, temps, and other husbandry factors. That doesn't mean poor husbandry, often it is correct husbandry IF it follows a seasonal pattern. There are also cases where poor husbandry can be the cause.

    You didn't mention how often you feed so there is nothing anybody can determine without seeing the schedule. If all elements in the husbandry department are in place, and your snakes are rejecting food, they may have meals offered too frequently. They may be stuffed, or still in the process of digestion. For boa constrictors there are several, critical, internal changes that take place during digestion. Acids increase by massive amounts in the stomach to work on digesting, the internal organs increase in size greatly and there are huge energy demands that require heat and preferably complete mobility until the process is complete. For boa constrictors ALL signs of the previous meal should be gone before they are feed again. Adult males will often refuse food when looking for a mate and that is another consideration when talking about feeding.

    Not allowing the full digestive process to run, complete and adjust back to normal will penalize a boa later in life. 10 years is not old, nor is 15 years considered a ripe, old age for a boa. Start thinking 20+ and you are on to something.
    My male Boa is 10 and a half Months old. 1,10 meter long(3,60 feet - 43,30 inches). weighs 800 gramms (1,75 lbs)
    In the last 4 months, he ate 8 meals and shed 3 times. Each time he ate one rat "aged between 7 and 14 weeks depending on the size of the rat". Usually he will get hungry 12 or 24 hours after he poops. He will not eat during shedding which usually lasts about 12 days. But it happened also that after he pooped he refused food for more than a week. So he knows how much his body actually needs. And in this age he needs little more food to grow up. He is healthy and has all the necessary requirements in his cage.

  8. #6
    BPnet Lifer Gio's Avatar
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    Re: Power feeding Boa Constrictor

    Quote Originally Posted by Dutti View Post
    My male Boa is 10 and a half Months old. 1,10 meter long(3,60 feet - 43,30 inches). weighs 800 gramms (1,75 lbs)
    In the last 4 months, he ate 8 meals and shed 3 times. Each time he ate one rat "aged between 7 and 14 weeks depending on the size of the rat". Usually he will get hungry 12 or 24 hours after he poops. He will not eat during shedding which usually lasts about 12 days. But it happened also that after he pooped he refused food for more than a week. So he knows how much his body actually needs. And in this age he needs little more food to grow up. He is healthy and has all the necessary requirements in his cage.
    Sounds good enough to me.

    He doesn't technically know how much food his body needs however. It may just be working out this way for the time being.

    Boas are opportunistic feeders and WILL eat more than needed if given the chance. Your schedule seems just right for the size and age of your animal.

    All of your snakes are males and they sometimes are not as voracious as females. They tend to grow a bit slower and don't have the need to put on size for giving birth.

    I often get refusals from ALL of my snakes. Time of year, shed cycles and amount of food from the previous feeding factor in.

    Last week the female coastal carpet refused as did the female royal python. My male retic refused and I didn't offer food to the male boa constrictor because it had only been 10 days since his last meal.

    Our royal python has gone about a year with eating only twice. It happens.

    This locality, Barranquilla, Colombian boa is an adult male that is 6' 4" long.



    He eats about once a month in the spring/summer and doesn't eat from late October until mid March. He ate for the first time about 12 days ago.


    This boa was produced by Gus Rentfro. (Rio Bravo Reptiles)



    I anticipate his end size will be 7 feet or slightly under by the time he hits 20 years.
    Last edited by Gio; 03-26-2017 at 10:39 AM.

  9. #7
    BPnet Senior Member Sauzo's Avatar
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    Re: Power feeding Boa Constrictor

    Quote Originally Posted by Dutti View Post
    I can confirm to you that my Boa is very much healthy and has a great feeding response if he's hungry. If not hungry he will reject the rat. Husbandry is good. He is a BCI but he could have some BCC in him "cross". And even if that was true, i would say he is 80% BCI. I have developed a special feeding program for him which might not be suitable to recommend for everyone on an open forum like this. By the way, i have also a 4 years old male ball python and a 6 months old male Dumerils Boa. Both I feed live, and both reject food when not hungry.
    Lol love this. A 'special feeding program'? Sounds like a infomercial diet plan lol. A BCI is a BCI. There is no 'special program' unless your snake has been grossly neglected one way or the other. You feed them a mouse once every 10 days until they can take weaned or small rats. Then you feed them every 2-3 weeks until medium rats. Then you feed them every 3-6 weeks depending if its a male or you are planning to breed.

    And if your 10 month old is almost 4', I am willing to bet it is overfed or it is older than you are guessing. If you talk to any other boa keepers on this page or even go look at what's for sale on FB or Faunaclassifed or Kingsnake, I bet you wont find a 10 month 4'. At 10 months old, it should be maybe 3'. So my guess is either you overfeed it or you're measurements are off as I have seen a lot of people say they have a 10' BCI and it magically shrinks to 7' when a tape measure comes close.

    As for a BP, they always reject food lol. My girl goes months eating every week and then will quit eating for months. It's a BP. And I too have a baby female dumerils who is probably around 8 or 9 months old now and is maybe if I stretch her, pushing 3'. She was a fat little baby when I got her at like 2-3 months old and she gives my boas a run for eating if I give her a chance. She never rejects food even in shed too. And she is on medium mice once every 10 days too.

    Bottom line it is your snake and in your care. People here are trying to help you but if you feel you are the 'expert' of boas, then more power to you but don't be surprised if your boa doesn't reach 20 years+.

    Also I just noticed you said you fed your boa 8 meals in 4 months. So basically every 2 weeks. That's is pretty standard so now confused on what this 'special feeding program' is. So I guess some of the stuff I just posted doesn't apply. Sift through it for whats its worth lol.
    Last edited by Sauzo; 03-26-2017 at 03:08 PM.
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    Re: Power feeding Boa Constrictor

    Quote Originally Posted by Sauzo View Post
    Lol love this. A 'special feeding program'? Sounds like a infomercial diet plan lol. A BCI is a BCI. There is no 'special program' unless your snake has been grossly neglected one way or the other. You feed them a mouse once every 10 days until they can take weaned or small rats. Then you feed them every 2-3 weeks until medium rats. Then you feed them every 3-6 weeks depending if its a male or you are planning to breed.

    And if your 10 month old is almost 4', I am willing to bet it is overfed or it is older than you are guessing. If you talk to any other boa keepers on this page or even go look at what's for sale on FB or Faunaclassifed or Kingsnake, I bet you wont find a 10 month 4'. At 10 months old, it should be maybe 3'. So my guess is either you overfeed it or you're measurements are off as I have seen a lot of people say they have a 10' BCI and it magically shrinks to 7' when a tape measure comes close.

    Bottom line it is your snake and in your care. People here are trying to help you but if you feel you are the 'expert' of boas, then more power to you but don't be surprised if your boa doesn't reach 20 years+.

    Also I just noticed you said you fed your boa 8 meals in 4 months. So basically every 2 weeks. That's is pretty standard so now confused on what this 'special feeding program' is. So I guess some of the stuff I just posted doesn't apply. Sift through it for whats its worth lol.
    I mentioned 8 meals in 4 months, but i mentioned also that the size of the meal is a bit larger than what you are suggesting. Neither overfed or i have measured wrong. I got my Boa as he was a month old. He was never neglected and i have his Identification papers. I was there in the breeder house the same day my boa was born. He is 10 and half month old and 3,60 feet. He is not yet 4 feet. i excpect that he will reach 4 feet when he is one year old. My Boa exercises a lot outside the cage to stay in shape.

  11. #9
    BPnet Senior Member Sauzo's Avatar
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    Re: Power feeding Boa Constrictor

    Quote Originally Posted by Dutti View Post
    I mentioned 8 meals in 4 months, but i mentioned also that the size of the meal is a bit larger than what you are suggesting. Neither overfed or i have measured wrong. I got my Boa as he was a month old. He was never neglected and i have his Identification papers. I was there in the breeder house the same day my boa was born. He is 10 and half month old and 3,60 feet. He is not yet 4 feet. i excpect that he will reach 4 feet when he is one year old. My Boa exercises a lot outside the cage to stay in shape.
    The breeder must be a friend then? I haven't heard of any breeder selling animals after only one month. They usually hold them until at least a handful of meals and a shed to make sure everything is working as intended. Whatever works for you I guess. Just know that boas are very easy to overfeed and the damage done wont be seen on the outside until the inside is already damaged as they gain the fat on the organs first and then the body. We have never even seen pics of this boa.

    You note that you have identification papers for him yet you call him a red tail and said he *might* be a BCIxBCC cross and say 80% BCI. Don't understand this part since it seems you know the breeder and unless he is just throwing mutts together and wholesaling the babies, he would know what he had and not sure how it's 80% BCI unless you know the percentages of the parents. But anyways, good luck and I'm sticking by my statement that a 3.6' boa is either about 1.5-2 years old or it has been overfed in the sense it has been given too big of meals too often. Good luck with the snake.
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    Re: Power feeding Boa Constrictor

    Quote Originally Posted by Sauzo View Post
    The breeder must be a friend then? I haven't heard of any breeder selling animals after only one month. They usually hold them until at least a handful of meals and a shed to make sure everything is working as intended. Whatever works for you I guess. Just know that boas are very easy to overfeed and the damage done wont be seen on the outside until the inside is already damaged as they gain the fat on the organs first and then the body. We have never even seen pics of this boa.

    You note that you have identification papers for him yet you call him a red tail and said he *might* be a BCIxBCC cross and say 80% BCI. Don't understand this part since it seems you know the breeder and unless he is just throwing mutts together and wholesaling the babies, he would know what he had and not sure how it's 80% BCI unless you know the percentages of the parents. But anyways, good luck and I'm sticking by my statement that a 3.6' boa is either about 1.5-2 years old or it has been overfed in the sense it has been given too big of meals too often. Good luck with the snake.
    You got that right. The breeder is a friend. Someone whom i know who has several large Boas 13 years old and they made babies. He is not an official breeder. I was there, i saw the babies and i told him that i want to have a male. He gave him to me when he ate 3 times and shed once. That happened in one month. According to the breeder, the parents are 100% BCI. It is written on his identification papers that he is BCI. No mention at all of a cross Boa. Just BCI. I came to that conclusion by watching several photos on the internet of BCC and BCI Boas that he might be having some BCC in him. Just a personal conclusion. Here is a Picture of him

    https://scontent-fra3-1.xx.fbcdn.net...1e&oe=59603501

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