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  1. #1
    BPnet Senior Member dakski's Avatar
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    Differences in Prepping F/T prey for heat pitted pythons vs. other species

    I've noticed that my pythons (BP and Carpet) love having their F/T prey warmed up prior to feeding. I do this by dropping the prey item into hot tap water (about 110F) for about 30-45 seconds (after the prey was defrosted in room temp water). It seems to help the food response.

    I was so used to doing it that I was for my boas (3) and corn snakes (2) as well. As an experiment, I tried feeding my boas and corns prey that was taken directly out of the plastic bag it was defrosted in. I've noticed, over several feedings, that there food response is stronger. This is of course qualitative and not quantitative or scientific, but I see a difference.

    I tried warming up the prey in the bag as well but that seemed to have little difference.

    My thinking is that the pythons, both of whom have heat pits, respond strongly to heat and get enough prey scent and taste that they are happy to strike.

    The boas and corns seem to rely more on sight and smell/taste and could care less if the prey item is warmed.

    Further, warming the rodent in water changes and probably lessens the scent of the prey item and might actually make them a little less interested.

    Anyway, random thought, but thought it would interesting to share and see what others' thought and if they had similar experiences.

    I know many people warm with a hair dryer and wonder if that changes the scenario.

    There is probably scientific evidence to support that Pythons with heat pits prefer warmer prey, but I wonder if there is evidence to support that other snakes, such as boas and colubrids, rely more on other senses.

    I also thought this might be helpful for keepers of non-pythons who have read to warm prey on here because much of the talk is about getting BP's to eat.

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  3. #2
    BPnet Veteran Aerries's Avatar
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    Re: Differences in Prepping F/T prey for heat pitted pythons vs. other species

    From what Iíve noticed keeping my girl Anubis (boa) she could care less about heat signatures...hence the garbage disposal aspect of a boa, my ball pythons on the other hand would never react as such with hardly warmed rats. I feel they utilize their heat pits more because of their reclusive nature then boas. Iíve tried offering as a test to see before and that was the result...now, the caviot to that is my aggressive females ball pythons to food donít need much heat to the prey item to feed itís really the males that need the coaxing tbh. I suppose itís just a matter of situation and how your animals react to a situational circumstance IMO.


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  4. #3
    BPnet Veteran richardhind1972's Avatar
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    Re: Differences in Prepping F/T prey for heat pitted pythons vs. other species

    I used to have corns and rats snakes they didn't care either way and my boas don't mind, I noticed a couple of my boas didn't like them too wet either, whether it washed some scent off I'm not sure, so I tend to defrost in a bag so there fur remains dry

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  6. #4
    BPnet Veteran 67temp's Avatar
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    Re: Differences in Prepping F/T prey for heat pitted pythons vs. other species

    Quote Originally Posted by dakski View Post

    Further, warming the rodent in water changes and probably lessens the scent of the prey item and might actually make them a little less interested..
    I could see the hot water breaking down the oils on the fur and skin and dissipating in the water. On the other hand scent dogs work best at tracking when there is a light rain or mist as the moisture makes it easier for scents to be picked up.

    Almost all of my corns will vary their strike based on the temp of their prey. If it's just barely room temp they simply just half heartedly bite it and retract. If the prey is warmer they constrict. They don't expend anymore effort than needed. That typically holds true for all the ones I've raised. I have a few animals that I got as adults and previously had been neglected. They act as if each meal is their last, they hit hard/fast and constrict every time.

    Some of my balls prefer their prey a few degrees warmer than others.

    My retics I make hunt for their food so they mostly go by scent even though they have pitts.
    1.1 SD reticulated pythons, 1.3 Carpet pythons
    13.16 Corn snakes, 1.1 cali kings
    5.1 Balls
    1.0 orange Halloween ATB, 1.0 bci
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    x.x.many fancy mice, asf, chickens and quail

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  8. #5
    BPnet Veteran Craiga 01453's Avatar
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    I can't compare to boas, but my colubrids and pythons are definitely worlds apart.

    My King (and Kings in the past) couldn't possibly care less if it's hot or just room temp. My Hognose is the same way.

    My pythons, on the other hand, DEFINITELY show more interest and hit harder if the prey is hot. My Borneo STP is the best example of this. I don't want to say he's switched (I know better, hahaha) but he's FINALLY taking F/T consistently and he likes his prey HOT. When I offer and his prey is good and hot he practically launches himself out of his enclosure.

    I'm super excited to see how my new Bredli girl strikes as she gets some size on her.
    ...life is beautiful...

    0.1 Bredli Python - Fernie
    1.0 Vanilla het Pied BP - Tyson
    1.0 Pastel Fader BP - Dembe
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    1.0 Western Hognose - Cosmo
    1.0 Borneo Short Tail Python - Juice
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  10. #6
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    I get mixed responses from mine.

    My CP has heat pits but I don't always dry his food with a hair dryer and he still happily takes his meal. My woma python is the same but womas don't have heat pits. It is still unclear why they lost their heat pits but he eats very well, with or without the hair dryer.

    My colubrids (corns and kings) don't care for either way. The response is the same: they perk up when I go up to their cage waiting for food, and they take their food without a 2nd thought. Is it by sight? Smell? I thaw all my prey in warm water. The hair dryer method is the 2nd step if I feed my shy eaters like my boa and ball python, and then I would happen to dry the colubrids food too. Imo, they don't seem to 'see' the food, unless the food is presented in front of them. They most certainly see me as a sign that dinner is coming... Or hoping dinner would come.

    However, I think colubrids and some other species do hunt more with sight than smell, ie indigos. But that behavior would be more obvious when observed in the wild. In captivity, I guess working for your food is almost pointless if they are conditioned to see us as their providers.

  11. #7
    BPnet Senior Member Sonny1318's Avatar
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    Right now Iím just keeping balls, but most my life boas. Iíll say this, with the balls I highly recommend a hairdryer and patience. Lmao
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