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  1. #1
    Registered User ApathyAngel's Avatar
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    Is my BP overweight? Pictures

    I assumed she was looking a little plump, so since I just upgraded her enclosure and all her stuff, I figured it was a good time to change her routine and help her slim down.

    I don't know how much she weighs, my vet told me it's not super important if I'm not going to breed her, so I don't have a scale.

    But I was talking today to a friend who breeds other snakes (not BPs), and he said she's not overweight at all. He said BPs are thick-bodied snakes and are supposed to be chunky (which, yeah, obviously I know that) and that I should be judging by her behavior rather than her girth. If she's acting hungry, her body is telling her she needs food, and I should feed her.

    Mkay but she is *literally always* hungry.

    She has always been a voracious eater. Never once went on a hunger strike.

    She's about 6 or so, I'm not sure, the person who owned her before me said she was 2 when he sold her to me, but she was also crazy thin and dehydrated, with multiple stuck eyecaps, a massive mite infestation (which isn't even a common thing in the desert, where I live), and scars and bites along her back, in varying healing stages from the guy feeding her live mice.

    He also tried his darndest to condescendingly explain to me that balls are desert dwellers and don't need extra humidity. His reasoning for this was the fact that she's a Mojave morph, which he was *absolutely convinced* meant that she's native to here (we live in Vegas, in the Mojave Desert).

    So yeah, I didn't really trust anything he said, and I don't know how accurate his guess of her age is.

    But she literally always gets in kind of an intense feeding mode whenever she notices people in the room and when we open the tank (she's technically my daughter's snake, but I'm the one who has to get her out of the enclosure because of this feeding mode. She's definitely a "strike first, figure out if it's actually edible later" kind of girl).

    It's gotten slightly worse in the last year or so, since I switched her from mice to rats, but even so, as soon as I get her out and she realizes it's not food time, she snaps out of that mode, and has never tried to go after me or my husband or our 8yo. It's not a defensive or stress thing, it's literally just that she's in food mode and wants something she can shove in her face.

    But my friend insists that the fact that she's in that feeding mode so often means that she's hungry, and I need to feed her more.

    Again, I don't know her weight, the vet said to feed her a rodent about as big around as the widest part of her body, and that's what I do. It's possible the rats I have are a *teensy* bit smaller around than her widest point, but not noticeably.

    She's definitely not underweight, in any case. And I certainly don't want to imply that I know more about snakes than someone who breeds them for a living, but I was wondering if I could get some other opinions, because I'm just really not sure I should be feeding her more.

    Here's her whole body.



    And the main thing, I noticed she has fat folds when she coils.







    It's my understanding that rats are more fatty than mice, so should I actually be feeding her smaller ones? Or not as often (it's usually about every 10 days now)?

    Or am I totally crazy and she's not actually overweight at all?

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

  2. #2
    BPnet Senior Member dakski's Avatar
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    Re: Is my BP overweight? Pictures

    What size rats are you feeding her? She should probably be eating small rats (60-90G) and not mediums (90-150G) every other week or so.

    She doesn't look obese, but if she's a good eater, feeding smaller rats might make sense.

    Unless you are giving her XL or Jumbo rats, which she couldn't handle, and have a lot more fat, mice and rats are similar as lean adults in fat content.

    You should be feeding her rats, not mice.

    My BP, Shayna, is about 8 as well and eats small rats every other week. She maintains weight well and fasts in the winter. She quickly puts the weight back on in the summer and holds steady at about 1,800G.

    This is a link to Shayna's thread, on a page with some pictures for reference. As far as I can tell, she is a healthy weight.

    https://ball-pythons.net/forums/show...er-Ball/page16

  3. #3
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    Re: Is my BP overweight? Pictures

    She looks about right from the first pic, maybe she needs to poop soon so looks fatter at the tail end.

    In the wild they eat when they can cause they donno when the next meal is coming, so just cause she wants to eat all the time doesn't mean you should overfeed.

    All balls are from Africa, by Ghana so they need about 60% humidity.

    Hard to say what frequency you should feed, depends on the size of the food, but every 10-14 days seems fine for an adult BP.
    They say you can feed prey 1.5 times the width of their body at the thickest, but I personally don't like to go above the width of the snake at the thickest part.
    You can put her on the occasional diet by missing a feeding if
    she has trouble bending and her spine looks too rounded
    Last edited by colin-java; 06-25-2020 at 11:18 PM.

  4. #4
    Registered User ApathyAngel's Avatar
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    Re: Is my BP overweight? Pictures

    I've got her on medium rats now. I get them from rodentpro.com and according to their site, their medium rats are between 85 and 175 grams.

    But... I'm really not sure small rats will be enough. I mean, maybe I just got a super small batch of rats, but looking at them, they're really not that big. Especially compared to Jeffrey (she has many names, I call her Jeffrey when I'm annoyed at her, and she tried to eat me tonight, so that is her name tonight).

    I mean, obviously I'm worried about the possibility that she's overweight, so if I need to drop down in feeder size, I will. But I don't think my previous pictures gave a good representation of her size.

    So I decided to live dangerously and show a side-by-side comparison for a little perspective.

    Here's one of the medium rats, still frozen, next to her. Apparently I was hallucinating earlier when I said they're about the same size as her, because they are all absolutely noticeably smaller than the widest part of her body. Barely over half as big around as she is, maybe some of the bigger ones are 3/4 as big.



    I tried to get her to straighten out a bit so the difference in size would be easier to see, but Jeffrey was having exactly none of it. And then I had to back up, because even completely frozen, sealed in the bag, she could still smell it and started lunging at anything that moved.



    But the bigger ones are barely 3/4 as big around as she is, and they're mediums. You're saying I should feed her even smaller ones than this?

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

  5. #5
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    She looks excellent to me, I recommend you keep on doing what you’re doing!
    Last edited by PartySnake13; 06-26-2020 at 12:48 AM.

  6. #6
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    Re: Is my BP overweight? Pictures

    Those rats look fine, there's no point feeding smaller as they aren't huge like you said.

    I would probably stop at that size cause the next size up might be too big.

    In reality, it doesn't really matter what size (as long as not too big) and how often you feed (not every day obviously), as long as their weight is fine.
    In the wild they don't go round with weighing scales and a calendar, they just eat whenever they can. If they kill something to big, they would just have to leave it if they can't swallow it.

    I'm thinking if she eats all year round she would typically put more weight on than a snake that doesn't.
    That GoHerping guy on youtube had a BP that went 13 months without eating and hardly lost any weight, so metabolism is a factor too.

    It wouldn't really make much sense to just be overweight by the tail, I think either she is going to the toilet soon, or maybe I just read the picture wrong cause its normal for the skin to sort of fold like that where there is a lot of skin.
    In the pic near the bend by the tail, if it feels tight then she would have trouble bending (but again that could just be a poop on its way out making her a bit wider there), but if its more saggy, then its just skin, and that's fine.

    I would just keep doing what you're doing, try to weigh her from time to time so you know if she's getting fatter or not.
    Be grateful you have a BP that is a great feeder.
    Last edited by colin-java; 06-26-2020 at 07:06 AM.

  7. #7
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    Re: Is my BP overweight? Pictures

    She looks great but maybe a tiny bit chonky to me. I tend to look for the "rooftop" angle at the spine, but it's also your preference as an owner. Some people like their's chonky! Obese pythons have shorter lifespans so just something you'll want to watch if that's a concern for you.

    It also sounds like you could benefit from target training. There are a ton of good threads on here on how-to!
    /chris

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    1.0 Leopard Gecko / Leonard
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    1.0 Normal Ball Python / Edward
    1.0 Banana Ball Python / Bartholomew
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  8. #8
    Registered User ApathyAngel's Avatar
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    Re: Is my BP overweight? Pictures

    Thank you everyone! I feel a little better now. I still think I'll slim her down a tiny bit so she's not quite as chonky, but I won't worry about it so much. She just had such a rough start before I got her, I want to make sure I do right by her.

    And... maybe it's time to invest in a scale. We're having some financial things going on (which will be a separate post) so I don't know when I'll be able to get one, but I think it'll be worth it.

    My vet says that after my state opens up a little more, I can bring her in and they'll weigh her for free, but right now they only allow people who have appointments in their lobby.

    And I'll definitely look into target training. I don't really mind her food response, but I do eventually want my daughter to be able to pull her out of her tank, which we can't do now.

    Yes, I'm very grateful she's a good eater! My very first snake was a retic (yes, I know it was stupid, and I was stupid. I don't regret owning him, he was amazing. But I very quickly learned why experienced owners tried so hard to advise me against it. Turns out they were right, what a shock), so I'm used to that super eager food response, and can handle it just fine. I'd definitely prefer her being a little overzealous than refusing food, so I'm grateful she's overzealous.

    Also, somewhat related question:

    Her tank is still a tad too small.

    I know, I'm working on it, both my husband and I got laid off right before we were going to get a 75 gallon for her and upgrade everything. We still upgraded her accessories and equipment, but are holding off on the new tank. So she doesn't have much room to move around (it's temporary, I WILL be getting her a properly sized tank literally the first possible moment).

    I know they're ambush predators and don't do tons of exploring and roaming in the wild, but would it help to get her out a little more often and let her exercise? Do BPs benefit from more activity, and could that help her slim down?

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

  9. #9
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    Re: Is my BP overweight? Pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by ApathyAngel View Post
    Thank you everyone! I feel a little better now. I still think I'll slim her down a tiny bit so she's not quite as chonky, but I won't worry about it so much. She just had such a rough start before I got her, I want to make sure I do right by her.

    And... maybe it's time to invest in a scale. We're having some financial things going on (which will be a separate post) so I don't know when I'll be able to get one, but I think it'll be worth it.

    My vet says that after my state opens up a little more, I can bring her in and they'll weigh her for free, but right now they only allow people who have appointments in their lobby.

    And I'll definitely look into target training. I don't really mind her food response, but I do eventually want my daughter to be able to pull her out of her tank, which we can't do now.

    Yes, I'm very grateful she's a good eater! My very first snake was a retic (yes, I know it was stupid, and I was stupid. I don't regret owning him, he was amazing. But I very quickly learned why experienced owners tried so hard to advise me against it. Turns out they were right, what a shock), so I'm used to that super eager food response, and can handle it just fine. I'd definitely prefer her being a little overzealous than refusing food, so I'm grateful she's overzealous.

    Also, somewhat related question:

    Her tank is still a tad too small.

    I know, I'm working on it, both my husband and I got laid off right before we were going to get a 75 gallon for her and upgrade everything. We still upgraded her accessories and equipment, but are holding off on the new tank. So she doesn't have much room to move around (it's temporary, I WILL be getting her a properly sized tank literally the first possible moment).

    I know they're ambush predators and don't do tons of exploring and roaming in the wild, but would it help to get her out a little more often and let her exercise? Do BPs benefit from more activity, and could that help her slim down?

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
    I think I read on your other thread that your (adult) baby is in a 36 x 18 x 12...I wouldn't worry too much. We keep our 12 yo adult in a 36 x 18 x 18 and he thrives just fine! He does like to roam around in the evenings but bps generally don't need a ton of space. Sometimes it can even be counterproductive and they can feel insecure about there being too much open space. As long as you have some form of enrichment in the tank, you should be okay. We add lots of foliage and hides to give him some scenery to roam around in
    /chris

    ---
    0.1 Catahoula Leopard Dog / Zooey
    ---
    1.0 Leopard Gecko / Leonard
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    1.0 Normal Ball Python / Edward
    1.0 Banana Ball Python / Bartholomew
    1.0 Blue Eyed Leucistic Ball Python / Alfredo

  10. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to christineho For This Useful Post:

    ApathyAngel (06-26-2020),dakski (06-27-2020)

  11. #10
    BPnet Senior Member dakski's Avatar
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    Re: Is my BP overweight? Pictures

    As said, your tank is fine for now - especially given your current life circumstances.

    Secondly, if your are comfortable with your BP's weight and food size, I think that's fine. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

    However, I wanted to explain my rationale for smaller prey items. Just so you now where I am coming from.

    It sounds counterintuitive, but when I went to smaller prey items for Shayna, she actually gained weight. However, she likes to refuse prey when I offer larger food items and she fasts in winter. Feeding her small rats instead of medium, she eats regularly in the spring, summer, and fall.

    It's amazing how efficient snakes in general are, but especially "bigger" constrictors like pythons and boas. They can do a lot with very little in terms of prey size. Remember, 90% of our energy goes to maintaining our body heat. They don't have to worry about that. They are also very sedentary. They don't move much. Calorie burn is low on a BP.

    Also, in the wild, the rats BP's eat are smaller than medium rats we offer in captivity. African Soft Fur Rats are about the size of a small rat you would find Frozen or in a pet store.

    Finally, getting a BP to lose weight is difficult. Better to be feeding smaller meals than larger ones for life expectancy and health.

    Whatever you do, good luck with your BP and keep us posted.

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