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  1. #1
    Registered User widget's Avatar
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    Max food size for carpets?

    I just got my jungle carpet python today. Just taking her out of the bag she looked so tiny and thin (not underweight). The breeder had told me before I ordered that she should be able to eat small rats soon. She’s currently eating large mice. I was ordering food for my snakes anyway so I got both large mice and small rats in case she didn’t want to switch to rats right away.

    I weighed the rats and separated the smallest ones for her. But seeing her in person I just don’t know if they’re safe to feed her anytime soon. I weighed her and she’s ~142 grams. The smallest of the small rats that I weighed are 42 grams. So this would be about 30% of her body weight. So I’m just wondering based on those weights if anyone can tell me when they would be okay to feed, and am I okay with waiting to switch her to rats until then or should I get some smaller sized rats before then?

    Just an edit: By when I don’t expect anyone to give me an exact date, I meant in terms of what would be an okay weight for her to eat a rat that size, if anyone knows how to determine based on that. Ive heard 20% as a max percentage for other snakes but then people also say carpet pythons can handle bigger meals than other species.
    Last edited by widget; 01-07-2022 at 12:18 AM.

  2. #2
    BPnet Lifer KMG's Avatar
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    I have never gone by weights. I simply go by size and try to match the feeder to the size of the snake at its widest part. My Carpet eats small rats but has taken a medium without issue, but he is an adult. They are thin by design. My GTP, ETB, and Carpet all eat small rats regularly.
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  4. #3
    BPnet Senior Member EL-Ziggy's Avatar
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    Re: Max food size for carpets?

    Congratulations on your first carpet. They’re awesome snakes to keep and probably my favorite snake species. I think you’ll be fine if you feed the smallest prey items first just to see how your snake handles them. You can also alternate between the mice and rats to offer a variety of prey types and sizes. I do this for all my snakes. I don’t feed my snakes based on weight ratio formulas either. I do weigh my snakes on arrival for baseline information, but once I believe the animal is healthy and thriving in my care, meaning it’s eaten, pooped, and shed a few times I see no reason to weigh them anymore. I got my first carpet in 2015. It was a yearling 2014 male coastal. He weighed 125g on day one. I asked the breeder, Nick Mutton, what I should feed the snake since it was my first carpet and he told me the snake could easily eat a jumbo mouse or equivalently sized rat. I had adult kingsnakes and young bullsnakes that were eating jumbo mice at that time. I thought there was NO WAY this skinny python could handle a meal that size. According to the Big Cheese website jumbo mice are 30-50g. Since Nick literally wrote the book on carpets I trusted his advice and watched that skinny python effortlessly smash that jumbo mouse. I was shocked and amazed. That snake eats large and jumbo rats these days and he could eat even larger prey. Don’t push the envelope too far but don’t underestimate your carpet either.

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    Last edited by EL-Ziggy; 01-07-2022 at 02:00 AM.
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    BPnet Senior Member jmcrook's Avatar
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    Re: Max food size for carpets?




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  8. #5
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    Thank you everyone, I think I’ll feed at least a couple mice meals before trying one of the rats. I kind of wanted to do that either way just to make sure she’s eating (if I fed her a rat and she refused I wouldn’t know if she didn’t want to eat at all or just doesn’t want rats).

    Also, I like going off of weights because I’ve always been bad at estimating by visuals. When my hognose was a baby I thought there was no way she could eat a fuzzy but my brother convinced me to try and once she was actually eating it I realized even the fuzzies were too small. And I had thought they were way too big.
    Last edited by widget; 01-07-2022 at 05:45 PM.

  9. #6
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    Re: Max food size for carpets?

    Quote Originally Posted by widget View Post
    Thank you everyone, I think I’ll feed at least a couple mice meals before trying one of the rats. I kind of wanted to do that either way just to make sure she’s eating (if I fed her a rat and she refused I wouldn’t know if she didn’t want to eat at all or just doesn’t want rats).
    That's what I'd do- it's always better to feed on the small side, than to cause a regurgitation, & like you say, this way you can better judge her appetite too.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
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  11. #7
    BPnet Lifer Gio's Avatar
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    Carpets, are very capable eaters. In the wild they will take very large prey. Smaller sized family dogs and cats have been taken (mostly by coastals), larger wild prey is also on the menu.

    https://www.news.com.au/technology/s...49bd825de46bc8

    Use your judgement and feed what is reasonable. KMG made a good point about visually matching the size. Weight isn't much of a factor in my opinion.

    A heavier boa isn't as capable as a lighter carpet of the same length.

    I wouldn't push anything to extremes but once you get your carpet out of the juvenile stage, upsizing the prey size is certainly OK.

    One thing I've noticed is that feeding a chick that weighs less than a rat challenges them more in terms of gape.

    Variety is important and recognizing that a larger lump in a carpet isn't a major concern when comparing them to boas.

    Keep it reasonable.
    Last edited by Gio; 01-08-2022 at 01:23 PM.

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  13. #8
    Registered User plateOfFlan's Avatar
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    Re: Max food size for carpets?

    Quote Originally Posted by widget View Post
    Also, I like going off of weights because I’ve always been bad at estimating by visuals. When my hognose was a baby I thought there was no way she could eat a fuzzy but my brother convinced me to try and once she was actually eating it I realized even the fuzzies were too small. And I had thought they were way too big.
    The guy at my local herp store taught me a good trick for this - wrap your hand around the thickest part of the snake, or if it's to thick you take a strip of paper and mark it. Then he has people bring the paper strip into the store and drop frozen rats through the loop - the biggest rat that can fall through without touching the sides of the loop is the right size, no guesstimating. When I got my first BP he was eating small rats and when I saw them I was like "there's no way that's going to fit" but once he showed me how it would fit through my hand when I held it at the size of the snake it made more sense.

  14. #9
    BPnet Lifer Gio's Avatar
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    Folks,
    Don't make this more complicated than it is. While I certainly appreciate and understand wanting to do the right things for your animals you should not have to look at weight percentages or exact sizing measurements when feeding a carpet python.

    The FIRST step you should take is to ask the breeder what they are feeding the snake before you get it. There are some breeders that will never feed mice (to carpets), they start out with the smallest of rats. However if you have a snake that is established on mice, look for the rat equivalent and start making the transition.

    I mentioned earlier that chicks are a good way to get the snake's gape size to increase. Small chicks are very light but the shape of a chick VS a rat makes them more challenging to eat.

    "Guesstimating" is fine, if you are off, it won't be an issue. Unless you have problems telling the size difference between a marble and a bowling ball you are not going to screw things up.

    I posted the above picture link and now this video to show just how much the species can handle.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpG4SsFd05U

    That said I'm not advocating that you find the largest prey item your snake can handle and feed it that, but I am stressing that moving up to something that may be a challenge isn't going to hurt the snake.

    The frequency of feeding as the snake grows is more of an issue than the size of the prey.

    Normally, a snake will back out of a prey item that is oversized or it simple won't take it at all. While they may not have the intelligence some other animals posses, they instinctually know how to figure out what they can handle.

    I know there are stories of small snakes trying to eat humans, the King snake comes to mind. They go for a finger and think they've got something special until they figure out it is attached to somebody that weighs 100 plus pounds.

    I typically move my carpet pythons up in prey size as soon as they'll take something larger. Each time I do that, the frequency they are offered food decreases. I may go to something smaller than normal on the next feed and come back with something a bit larger after that.

    If that sounds how a wild snake may feed, you are thinking correctly.

    A lot of the stress and worry over proper feeding comes from wild animals that were brought into captivity long ago. Boa Constrictors from Suriname come to mind. There is a long story that goes along with BCC regurgitation issues that you can research at another time if you'd like, I won't get into it here.

    Carpet pythons are more hardy in general and they can handle and digest a lot. Unless you are completely unreasonable and feed something large enough to cause a problem: Your snake will either not attempt to eat it, try to eat it and then back out, fully eat it and regurgitate it, or it will eat it and succeed. If you happen to feed something quite large and you are a bit uneasy, raise your temps a couple degrees while it digests.

    A big food lump in a carpet python is not the same as a big lump in a boa.

    That is a lot of words to simply say, this isn't rocket science.

    I trust most people here have common sense and will eventually get to know their animals.

    You would really have to do something ridiculous to mess up a carpet. Don't fret over weights and measurements, enjoy your snake.

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  16. #10
    BPnet Senior Member jmcrook's Avatar
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    Max food size for carpets?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gio View Post
    Folks,
    Don't make this more complicated than it is.

    "Guesstimating" is fine, if you are off, it won't be an issue. Unless you have problems telling the size difference between a marble and a bowling ball you are not going to screw things up.
    One. Hundred. Percent.
    Trying to use a “recipe” for feeding animals, which are all individuals with different needs, is nonsense. Train your eye to recognize the relationships in size between different things and become a more “intuitive keeper and student of the serpent” than “robotic manager of ophidian nutritional intake units.” You’d be amazed what you’ll learn by being attentive and observant rather than just blindly following formulas.


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    Last edited by jmcrook; 01-08-2022 at 07:39 PM.

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