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  1. #1
    BPnet Veteran Caitlin's Avatar
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    Burmese size/growth question

    I have a question about size and growth rate of Burms.

    A good friend of mine takes in unwanted snakes, gets them stabilized, and finds good homes for them. A few months ago, she took in a young python the keeper initially claimed to be a Burmese/Ball hybrid, but they later said they weren't sure. Given the current price of 'Burm/Ball' hybrids, I question that a surrendered rescue would be a hybrid.

    History on this snake is sketchy, but to our best knowledge this is a male (confirmed via probe) and from what we know of his history, we are confident that he is between 1 and 1.5 years old. He is just 24" long, with excellent body condition and an enthusiastic appetite. His history does not include neglect that we are aware of; his original keepers had financial difficulties and felt they couldn't keep him.

    My friend is usually great about rehoming these animals, but something about this snake really clicked for her, and from what I can see it's mutual. He has been extremely calm with her from day one, often 'paces' at the enclosure door when she is in the room, and immediately climbs out onto her hands. She and her family have absolutely fallen in love with him.

    In addition to the rescues, she has a small group of snakes she keeps as her personal pets. She builds her own PVC enclosures, and they are LARGE and environmentally enriched, and she has the resources for another pet. However, she is a single mom and while she's in great condition (she runs and lifts weights), she is a small woman and has always been clear that she never wants to keep a snake more than about 7' long. She feels that she needs to find a home for this snake because of his eventual adult size, but it's breaking her heart.

    I have not had a Burm for decades, though I have a fair amount of experience with them from my years as a vet tech in exotics practices. But I am no expert so I have hesitated to say much. That's why I am posting here. My uninformed opinion is that this snake is either a hybrid or else he's just quite small, and if he is only 2' long at over a year of age, has been on a regular feeding schedule and in good body condition, he is not going to be a huge snake. The Burms I've been around were closer to 4' long or more at his age.

    I'd love to reassure my friend that she can keep him as a pet without being concerned that he is going to be a 12' snake, but I just don't feel I have the expertise to say that for sure. What do you guys think? I'm including a photo of him with my friend so you can see his markings. You can see she adores him


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  2. #2
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    I'm no expert on Burms either (& I'm sure I know less than you about them), so this is just my opinion- take it for what it's worth, & not the "last word".

    I'd agree it seems unlikely that he's a hybrid- & I hadn't realized that a burm-ball is actually a thing now. Also, he might stay on the small size for a burm, but still easily be over 7'-

    Sure looks like a Burm & like your friend, I'd be afraid that he's just a slow-grower. Considering that snakes can live a long time & grow their whole life, she may have some happy years with him but ultimately even that much more heartbreak if (once) he gets too big for her to deal with. It's a gamble at best- he might have some odd genetics & never get full-sized (some chance she'll get lucky?), & in the years to come if she keeps him, she can keep a lookout for someone to re-home him to once he gets too big for her- & maybe even be able to visit him with his future owner-?

    She hasn't had him very long (not long enough to judge his growth rate) so maybe if she keeps him a little longer, she'll have a better idea of what she's up against. And as he grows, his personality might evolve some too, & make her happier to re-home him...

    Taking in rescues sure can tear at your heart- I know all about ambivalence.

    My best suggestion is for her to talk with anyone that's breeding or working with burm-ball hybrids- or even just with burms? I think THEIR opinion would help tremendously as to what this snake is & what he'll become.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 06-10-2022 at 02:48 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  4. #3
    BPnet Veteran Caitlin's Avatar
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    Re: Burmese size/growth question

    Yes, thank you. Agreed on all counts. I really really doubt he is a hybrid; his markings are just pure Burm. And yeah, Burm/Ball hybrids are a thing, unfortunately. He looks NOTHING like them, and their price is well into four figures so I just don't see one turning up as a rescue.

    The good thing is that we have a mutual friend with the experience and means with large snakes who is willing to take this guy if it turns out she can't keep him, so that is a huge relief and gives her time to sort out what's best.

    I also think she could probably safely manage a snake up to 8' if she target trains him so that he is crystal clear about when it is or isn't feeding time and if she trains him to be held/carried the way the veterinarians at Snake Haus (the rescue facility for unwanted giant snakes) train their big guys. Her emphasis is on enrichment and quality of life with much, much less emphasis on handling - so she could conceivably find or hire someone to act as a spotter/helper when needed.
    1.0 Jungle Carpet Python 'Ziggy'
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    1.0 Green Tree Python (Aru) 'Jade'

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    Re: Burmese size/growth question

    Quote Originally Posted by Caitlin View Post
    ...if she trains him to be held/carried the way the veterinarians at Snake Haus (the rescue facility for unwanted giant snakes) train their big guys....
    Can you elucidate further on that- it sounds interesting?

    When I had a large BCI, she was pretty good about encircling my waist, but I also carried her on my shoulders fairly often, just not allowing a full loop. She was a very mellow snake that never once put any squeeze on any part of me, but I'd still acknowledge that for carrying large snakes, human shoulders are still a risky option "as a rule".
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 06-10-2022 at 04:02 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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    You peaked my curiosity so I just looked them up- for anyone else that's also curious, here's a link- This is the first I've heard of them.

    https://www.snakehaus.com/frontpage/about/
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  10. #6
    BPnet Veteran Homebody's Avatar
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    Re: Burmese size/growth question

    Quote Originally Posted by Caitlin View Post
    I have a question about size and growth rate of Burms.

    A good friend of mine takes in unwanted snakes, gets them stabilized, and finds good homes for them. A few months ago, she took in a young python the keeper initially claimed to be a Burmese/Ball hybrid, but they later said they weren't sure. Given the current price of 'Burm/Ball' hybrids, I question that a surrendered rescue would be a hybrid.

    History on this snake is sketchy, but to our best knowledge this is a male (confirmed via probe) and from what we know of his history, we are confident that he is between 1 and 1.5 years old. He is just 24" long, with excellent body condition and an enthusiastic appetite. His history does not include neglect that we are aware of; his original keepers had financial difficulties and felt they couldn't keep him.

    My friend is usually great about rehoming these animals, but something about this snake really clicked for her, and from what I can see it's mutual. He has been extremely calm with her from day one, often 'paces' at the enclosure door when she is in the room, and immediately climbs out onto her hands. She and her family have absolutely fallen in love with him.

    In addition to the rescues, she has a small group of snakes she keeps as her personal pets. She builds her own PVC enclosures, and they are LARGE and environmentally enriched, and she has the resources for another pet. However, she is a single mom and while she's in great condition (she runs and lifts weights), she is a small woman and has always been clear that she never wants to keep a snake more than about 7' long. She feels that she needs to find a home for this snake because of his eventual adult size, but it's breaking her heart.

    I have not had a Burm for decades, though I have a fair amount of experience with them from my years as a vet tech in exotics practices. But I am no expert so I have hesitated to say much. That's why I am posting here. My uninformed opinion is that this snake is either a hybrid or else he's just quite small, and if he is only 2' long at over a year of age, has been on a regular feeding schedule and in good body condition, he is not going to be a huge snake. The Burms I've been around were closer to 4' long or more at his age.

    I'd love to reassure my friend that she can keep him as a pet without being concerned that he is going to be a 12' snake, but I just don't feel I have the expertise to say that for sure. What do you guys think? I'm including a photo of him with my friend so you can see his markings. You can see she adores him


    Has your friend ever kept a large snake as a pet? If not, a rescue with a sketchy history seems like a bad choice to be her first.
    Last edited by Homebody; 06-10-2022 at 03:30 PM. Reason: for clarity

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  12. #7
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Re: Burmese size/growth question

    Quote Originally Posted by Homebody View Post
    .... a rescue with a sketchy history seems like a bad choice...
    This is really a bit off the topic, especially as it was only the holding-technique used by Snake Haus that was being discussed, not sending a snake there...but what's the issue?
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

  13. #8
    BPnet Veteran Homebody's Avatar
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    Re: Burmese size/growth question

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    This is really a bit off the topic, especially as it was only the holding-technique used by Snake Haus that was being discussed, not sending a snake there...but what's the issue?
    I think you misunderstood my question. I was responding to Caitlin's original post. In that post, Caitlin sought advice about whether a possible Burmball would grow too large for her friend to handle. My question to Caitlin, then, is whether her friend has experience keeping large snakes. She mentioned that her friend keeps snakes but not which species she keeps. I didn't mean to add to the discussion about Snake Haus's holding technique.
    Last edited by Homebody; 06-10-2022 at 04:13 PM. Reason: for clarity

  14. #9
    BPnet Veteran Caitlin's Avatar
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    Re: Burmese size/growth question

    Quote Originally Posted by Homebody View Post
    I think you misunderstood my question. I was responding to Caitlin's original post. In that post, Caitlin sought advice about whether a possible Burmball would grow too large for her friend to handle. My question to Caitlin, then, is whether her friend has experience keeping large snakes. She mentioned that her friend keeps snakes but not which species she keeps. I didn't mean to add to the discussion about Snake Haus's holding technique.
    She's kept for years and currently has an adult BCI and an adult Dumeril's. She has no experience with adults of the true giants, but she's an excellent keeper overall and does well with both of her Boas. She's just concerned about keeping a snake large enough to require a 'spotter'.
    1.0 Jungle Carpet Python 'Ziggy'
    0.1 Brazilian Rainbow Boa 'Mara'
    1.1 Tarahumara Mountain Boas 'Paco' and 'Frida'
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    1.1 Children's Pythons 'Miso' and 'Ozzy'
    1.0 Anthill Python 'Cricket'
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    1.1 Rough-scaled Sand Boas 'Rassi' and 'Kala'
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  16. #10
    BPnet Veteran Caitlin's Avatar
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    Re: Burmese size/growth question

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    You peaked my curiosity so I just looked them up- for anyone else that's also curious, here's a link- This is the first I've heard of them.

    https://www.snakehaus.com/frontpage/about/
    The veterinarians who run Snake Haus are amazing. I don't know of any other rescue facility that works with unwanted giant snakes. They do work with 'spotters' on their staff but also train the snakes to be carried with tail wrapped around handler's waist, one loop of the snake over a shoulder, and no snakes ever with any positioning across the handler's neck. Of course, even this won't work with some of their really big retics.
    Last edited by Caitlin; 06-10-2022 at 04:44 PM.
    1.0 Jungle Carpet Python 'Ziggy'
    0.1 Brazilian Rainbow Boa 'Mara'
    1.1 Tarahumara Mountain Boas 'Paco' and 'Frida'
    2.0 Dumeril's Boas 'Gyre' and 'Titan'
    1.0 Stimson's Python 'Jake'
    1.1 Children's Pythons 'Miso' and 'Ozzy'
    1.0 Anthill Python 'Cricket'
    1.0 Plains Hognose 'Peanut'
    1.1 Rough-scaled Sand Boas 'Rassi' and 'Kala'
    0.4 Oregon Red-spotted Garters
    1.0 Ball Python (BEL) 'Sugar'
    1.0 Gray-banded Kingsnake 'Nacho'
    1.0 Green Tree Python (Aru) 'Jade'

  17. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Caitlin For This Useful Post:

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