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  1. #1
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    Feeding question

    Hello,

    I have a Honduran milkshake that is about 3.5-4 years old. The guy at the pet store told me he could live to be 30 years old and I would not need to
    start feeding adult mice until he was an adult. In my ignorance and stupidity I didn't realize that he would be an adult at 4 years old. I'm terribly
    scared that I have cause him health problems as I have been feeding him 1 fuzzy a week this whole time. I just fed him a medium sized arctic
    frozen mouse and he handled it fine, I will be moving him up to the large frozen mouse next week. Any information on how I can feed him from
    now to until the end of his life would be greatly appreciated. I want to mitigate any of the damage I have already done as I think I have stunted
    his growth at this point. Here's a photo of him attached.

    Thank you

    https://imgur.com/a/1BDnYo7

  2. #2
    BPnet Lifer dakski's Avatar
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    Re: Feeding question

    Quote Originally Posted by jensond399 View Post
    Hello,

    I have a Honduran milkshake that is about 3.5-4 years old. The guy at the pet store told me he could live to be 30 years old and I would not need to
    start feeding adult mice until he was an adult. In my ignorance and stupidity I didn't realize that he would be an adult at 4 years old. I'm terribly
    scared that I have cause him health problems as I have been feeding him 1 fuzzy a week this whole time. I just fed him a medium sized arctic
    frozen mouse and he handled it fine, I will be moving him up to the large frozen mouse next week. Any information on how I can feed him from
    now to until the end of his life would be greatly appreciated. I want to mitigate any of the damage I have already done as I think I have stunted
    his growth at this point. Here's a photo of him attached.

    Thank you

    https://imgur.com/a/1BDnYo7
    First, stunted growth doesn't always mean (major) health issues.

    He looks okay to me, although I don't keep milk and king snakes. My colubrids are corn snakes, so let someone else chime in here.

    I also wouldn't go from fuzzies (mouse) to large adult mice either. I would go from fuzzies to adult mice.

    Three reasons for this.

    1. He's used to fuzzies. Don't shock his system with large adults. Move up from fuzzies to adults (as you did) and that should suffice for a bit. Keep feeding 1X a week (at least for now).

    2. Milk snakes and king snakes aren't too stretchy, pardon the term. The shouldn't eat more than the size of their body around. There shouldn't be large bulge after meal.

    3. Large adult mice are usually ex-breeders and very fatty. Not ideal for most snakes.

    Again I'll let other chime on what to feed as he grows, but my best guess would be 1 mouse for a while. Keep in mind that snakes are very efficient with digestion and use very few calories to sustain. We spend 90% +/- of our calories maintaining our body temp. Snakes don't have to do that.

    Finally, I would make sure temps are spot on. If not sure, ask what temps should be. Larger meals mean proper temps are more important because snakes need heat to digest.


    From https://reptilesmagazine.com/hondura...and-care-tips/

    Feeding Honduran Milksnakes

    Feed young milksnakes an appropriately sized meal every five days and adults every seven days. Hondurans will feed on mice throughout their lives, beginning with large pinkies and ending with adult-sized mice. Simply choose the size of mouse having a body diameter equal to or very slightly larger than the girth of your snake at mid-body. Most Hondurans will accept frozen/thawed mice without hesitation. Do not handle the snake for a few days after feeding, as this could lead to regurgitation.

    P.S. Moderators - this should be moved out of BP's and into the appropriate forum section.
    Last edited by dakski; 11-22-2022 at 05:50 AM.

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  4. #3
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    Re: Feeding question

    Quote Originally Posted by jensond399 View Post
    Hello,

    I have a Honduran milkshake that is about 3.5-4 years old. The guy at the pet store told me he could live to be 30 years old and I would not need to
    start feeding adult mice until he was an adult. In my ignorance and stupidity I didn't realize that he would be an adult at 4 years old. I'm terribly
    scared that I have cause him health problems as I have been feeding him 1 fuzzy a week this whole time. I just fed him a medium sized arctic
    frozen mouse and he handled it fine, I will be moving him up to the large frozen mouse next week. Any information on how I can feed him from
    now to until the end of his life would be greatly appreciated. I want to mitigate any of the damage I have already done as I think I have stunted
    his growth at this point. Here's a photo of him attached.

    Thank you

    https://imgur.com/a/1BDnYo7
    Hi, & welcome. First off, your snake appears to have a healthy body weight in the photo- I can't tell his actual size (length) as there's nothing for size reference, but keep in mind that in the wild, many snakes eat far less than our captive pets do & manage just fine. Snakes grow their whole lives (they slow down when they're older, but they do keep growing), & yours will most likely catch up in time. The main this is do not try to rush his growth or weight gain by feeding much larger prey.

    As already mentioned in previous post, milk snakes are slender-bodied anyway, so large ("jumbo") mice do not belong in their diet (those are fatty old breeders that are hard to digest AND too big for even an adult milksnake anyway). BTW, I've raised several milk snakes (not Hondurans) in the past, also many king snakes. You're lucky that he handled the larger mouse you already gave him- I'd probably just given him 2 fuzzies per meal for a few times- & then went to hopper mice (1 per meal) for a while before going to a modest sized adult mouse. Be patient- there's no need to rush this. Overfeeding a snake can cause harm- especially if it causes them to regurgitate.

    Keep in mind that prey doesn't need to be "exact" or "perfect" sizes for snakes- it doesn't happen in the wild either. Same goes for the scheduling- hey, I realize that when you're new to snake-keeping, it's reassuring to have a schedule to stick to, but for snakes-when you feed them larger prey, remember they usually need more time to digest also. Hatchlings eating pinkies can easily eat twice a week (assuming adequate warmth is provided) because they're so digestible, whereas fuzzy mice or hoppers will keep them full for a week, & adult mice might be better off being fed every 10 days. It's all very adjustable- depending on what you observe with your own snake.

    And when they're in shed- they normally don't want to eat & I recommend NOT feeding them at that time, even if they're willing to eat. I only mention this because it's obvious you're worried about this beautiful milk snake being underfed. Some snakes in shed will eat, & some won't- some have no trouble shedding on a full stomach, but many will end up with a "stuck shed" that comes off in a zillion pieces & may need your help to finish- it's not fun for the snake or for you. That's because both digestion & shedding requires adequate hydration from the snake's body- doing both at the same time is sometimes just asking too much.

    By the way-
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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    Re: Feeding question

    Quote Originally Posted by dakski View Post
    ....
    2. Milk snakes and king snakes aren't too stretchy, pardon the term....

    P.S. Moderators - this should be moved out of BP's and into the appropriate forum section.
    "aren't too stretchy..." I gotta remember that one, that's a good way to put it.

    And yes, it's been moved now, thanks- I was at the dentist this morning, and I can assure you, I'd much rather have been "here".
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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    Wow thank you so much to both of you for taking the time to share such great information.
    I really appreciate the reassurance and knowledge that you both shared.

    Me and my snake both thank you!

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  10. #6
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    I hope you'll give us an update on him now & then- we love a "change of scenery" around here -especially such gorgeous "scenery". And questions are welcome, always.

    Oh, while I'm thinking about it- one reason to size up on rodents for growing snakes is that more mature rodents are more nutritious- they have more minerals (to build strong snake bones) & more protein- whereas "baby rodents" are either "watery" with little nutrition (that would be "pinkies"), or they're higher fat, because they're still nursing (that would be "fuzzies").

    Also- your snake doesn't appear thin in that photo, but some snakes sort of hold their breath in when stressed (as when photos are taken) so it can be hard to assess their body weight & condition from just one photo. But if he normally looks like he does in that photo, then I'd say he's in decent shape. But yes, for the sake of his nutrition (more minerals & protein), gradually sizing up his prey will do him good.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 11-22-2022 at 07:40 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  12. #7
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    My first snake ever was a honduran, and I've bred a couple of the smaller species/subspecies (can't keep up with taxonomists -- those people do good work, and a lot of it) and currently breed Costa Rican Blacks.

    Your snake looks really decent. I agree that retired breeder mice aren't the best feeder, but 'large' mice are usually just adults; retired breeders are 'jumbo'. I also agree that increasing feeder size gradually is best.

    Hondos are pretty forgiving (the best kind of friends ). Don't sweat the past -- it looks like you've done a nice job, based on the snake's appearance. If the photo is taken in the snake's enclosure, it looks like more "decor" (climbing/hiding/enrichment stuff) might be nice.

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    Re: Feeding question

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    I hope you'll give us an update on him now & then- we love a "change of scenery" around here -especially such gorgeous "scenery". And questions are welcome, always.

    Oh, while I'm thinking about it- one reason to size up on rodents for growing snakes is that more mature rodents are more nutritious- they have more minerals (to build strong snake bones) & more protein- whereas "baby rodents" are either "watery" with little nutrition (that would be "pinkies"), or they're higher fat, because they're still nursing (that would be "fuzzies").

    Also- your snake doesn't appear thin in that photo, but some snakes sort of hold their breath in when stressed (as when photos are taken) so it can be hard to assess their body weight & condition from just one photo. But if he normally looks like he does in that photo, then I'd say he's in decent shape. But yes, for the sake of his nutrition (more minerals & protein), gradually sizing up his prey will do him good.

    I'll upload some more pictures of him after a few days since I just fed him his first big meal! He definitely would have been holding his breath in that photo as I was lifting up his hide and snapped a photo with flash, so ill get some more pics of him showing better reference size! Thanks for the kind words one of the main reasons why I picked him was I thought his pattern was just so beautiful looking! Thanks again for being patient with me, this is my first and only snake and it seems like everything the petstore told me was just flat out wrong. Like when I first got him they told me to get an UTH pad but never said anything about a thermostat to control temperatures. Luckily I realized that one pretty quick and he was smart enough to stay away from that side of the tank, I guess he knew it was just wayyy too hot.


    Quote Originally Posted by Malum Argenteum View Post
    My first snake ever was a honduran, and I've bred a couple of the smaller species/subspecies (can't keep up with taxonomists -- those people do good work, and a lot of it) and currently breed Costa Rican Blacks.

    Your snake looks really decent. I agree that retired breeder mice aren't the best feeder, but 'large' mice are usually just adults; retired breeders are 'jumbo'. I also agree that increasing feeder size gradually is best.

    Hondos are pretty forgiving (the best kind of friends ). Don't sweat the past -- it looks like you've done a nice job, based on the snake's appearance. If the photo is taken in the snake's enclosure, it looks like more "decor" (climbing/hiding/enrichment stuff) might be nice.
    Gotcha I see, I get the arctic mice brand from petsmart and looks like they do have a medium, large, and jumbo. I will keep feeding him the medium sized ones for a few weeks and maybe try introducing him to large. Thanks a lot I know he will forgive me I am just worried that I stunted the poor little guy but all I can do now is make up for it by getting him on the right feeding schedule. I do have some decor and hiding stuff I just picked it all up and move it out of the way to take that photo! Thanks for the response

  15. #9
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    Keep in mind that sizing up the rodents you feed means feeding the "most mature" rodent that ALSO fits the body of the snake (roughly = to mid-body of snake, and not bigger than). Overfeeding long-term can give a snake fatty liver disease (ie. poor health), or in the short-term, can cause a dangerous regurgitation. Let go of that "guilt-trip" you're carrying & don't over-do his meals.

    Many experienced keepers will tell you that snakes grown slowly & not over-fed are healthier & better off. It's more likely this is similar to what happens in the wild- many captive-bred snakes are unfortunately over-fed. It's a fine line for best health- just like with us or other animals- not too thin & not too heavy. So again, I'd caution you not to jump into feeding him too much- either too large or too often. And in future photos, if you can slip something next to him (like a small ruler) for size reference, that will help us to help advise you.

    Please don't try to "make up for lost time" with too much food, either feeding too often, or prey that's too big- his stomach might not be able to handle it. Snakes do best with gradual adjustments.

    I'm glad you realized that UTH (in fact, all heating devices) need to be controlled.
    And sadly, pet stores are notorious for giving bad advice- you always need to do your own independent research with sources that aren't there to profit from selling you something. Pet stores are there to make money, or they don't stay open. Some stores & some employees are better than others- many may mean well- but you cannot really count on it. Some have experience & give good advice, but never assume that.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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    Re: Feeding question

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    Keep in mind that sizing up the rodents you feed means feeding the "most mature" rodent that ALSO fits the body of the snake (roughly = to mid-body of snake, and not bigger than). Overfeeding long-term can give a snake fatty liver disease (ie. poor health), or in the short-term, can cause a dangerous regurgitation. Let go of that "guilt-trip" you're carrying & don't over-do his meals.

    Many experienced keepers will tell you that snakes grown slowly & not over-fed are healthier & better off. It's more likely this is similar to what happens in the wild- many captive-bred snakes are unfortunately over-fed. It's a fine line for best health- just like with us or other animals- not too thin & not too heavy. So again, I'd caution you not to jump into feeding him too much- either too large or too often. And in future photos, if you can slip something next to him (like a small ruler) for size reference, that will help us to help advise you.

    Please don't try to "make up for lost time" with too much food, either feeding too often, or prey that's too big- his stomach might not be able to handle it. Snakes do best with gradual adjustments.

    I'm glad you realized that UTH (in fact, all heating devices) need to be controlled.
    And sadly, pet stores are notorious for giving bad advice- you always need to do your own independent research with sources that aren't there to profit from selling you something. Pet stores are there to make money, or they don't stay open. Some stores & some employees are better than others- many may mean well- but you cannot really count on it. Some have experience & give good advice, but never assume that.
    Gotcha that makes sense to me, I will keep him on medium sized mice for a while then and then I will buy a large sized one to have so I can continually keep comparing it to the largest part of his body so I will know when he is actually ready for it. Yeah I was definitely going to start guilt feeding him more but you are right I don't want to turn around and cause him other health problems in the opposite direction haha, I want him to be fit and healthy.

    Yeah I should have done my own research, it's obvious in hindsight now that he was just answering my questions in the most generic ways possible.

    Hey while I got you, I have one of the reptile basics large heating pads and I am having a hard time finding a good tape that will stick it to the bottom of the tank. Any thoughts?

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