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  1. #1
    BPnet Veteran ThyTempest's Avatar
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    ASF Care, Breed, Size?

    So, I after hearing the ASF term over and over, I finally looked it up, and was quite surprised. I noticed that people like to breed these more than traditional mice or rats, mostly because of less smell. I wanted to make sure this is a valid claim, as I will probably breed my own feeders sometime soon. Thursday was the first day my bp Pandora took two adult mice, and seems to have no problem, I am going to check her over today. I was worried about breeding rats because they would get too big, but it seems like ASF's are kind of in the middle as far as size goes.

    Basically, what I am asking is--how big are ASF's in comparison to mice/rats--adulthood and growing up stages, and what benefits are there to ASF's over mice/rats (smell, less demanding husbandry etc)

    Thanks
    -Austin
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  2. #2
    BPnet Veteran frankykeno's Avatar
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    Re: ASF Care, Breed, Size?

    Austin, I wouldn't say people like to breed ASF's more than traditional mice or rats - not at this point anyways. They are becoming more commonplace though and more accepted in the herping community.

    Some of their benefits being the almost complete lack of smell, their colony living arrangement which basically means as long as you provide food and water they pretty much take care of themselves, at maturity they are about 2 to 2.5 times the size of an adult mouse so they don't outgrow the needs of any ball python.

    Some of their downsides can be their tendency to bite first and ask questions later, they are hell on plastic water bottles so glass is a must or a metal bottle guard and if they escape, they are not easy to catch. There is a concern with ball pythons about prey imprinting and that can be a worry if you've started a BP on ASF's but sell it to someone that cannot get those easily. Some of my own BP's will easily switch prey types, others will not.
    ~~Joanna~~


  3. #3
    BPnet Veteran ThyTempest's Avatar
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    Re: ASF Care, Breed, Size?

    Thanks a lot. I was worried most about the size, but that seems perfect. I wouldnt have to feed multiples anymore. About the husbandry, I saw the stickies on diy tubs, and I made one successfully I think, but my tub is not nearly as big as some of the ones in the stickies, and the tubs I am using are the biggest tubs I have ever been able to find. The problem is that they narrow down too much at the bottom. The bottom dimensions are 1 ft x 1 1/2 ft. This is not that big, at least to me. Before I begin anything major, I will try to find some bigger tubs if you think I should. I have a lot of spare tubs the same size as the one I already made, so it would cut a lot of costs to not have to buy new ones. I already used 1/4'' mesh, since there is really no harm in using that for rats either, I wanted to be versatile. Setting up the water bottle may be weird though, right now, my bottle sits in a cup cozy (goes around a can to keep it cold/warm), which i put some holes into and shoestringed it through some soldered holes in the tub. I know it seems rickety, but it works well, and the mice we have had dont chew on it, they seem to like climbing on it. You said that ASF's would tear this to shreds, so would it be best to clip one square of the mesh out in order to just keep the water bottle on the outside of the tub, then I wouldnt have to worry about chewing.

    I think that is all I have for now, thanks for the help and I will ask if I have more questions.
    -Austin
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  4. #4
    BPnet Senior Member Mike Cavanaugh's Avatar
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    Re: ASF Care, Breed, Size?

    If you are having trouble finding tubs, many of us use 10 gallon tanks for our ASF's. they are usually about 9 bucks each. the screen lids if you don't want to make your own are also about 8 bucks each, and the clips to secure them are 3 bucks. a glass water bottle is 6 bucks, and the water bottle holder 4 bucks. so total for each tank would be about $30.

    Caution though... It would be just about impossible with one snake to not get almost immediately over run. These things reproduce more consistantly then any other rodent. When the females have their babies, they will be pregnant again by the end of that day. my average litter size is 12... and that is every 3 weeks. Some will sell mice and rats to pet shops when they get too many... but many pet shops will not take ASF's. Generally speaking, there love to bite makes them undesirable pets for the main stream pet trade.

    To answer your questions, the smell is next to nothing, and that is HUGE to most people including myself. They take 3 - 4 times longer to grow to full size compared to a rat. When full grown they are twice the size of an extra large mouse... about the size of a small rat only fatter. They eat and drink much less then mice and rats (probably 1/3 as much). Rats / mice, to avoid the stink, even with the perfect setup, you have to clean every 5 days. ASF setups can easily go 3 weeks, and even then they don't stink like a 5 day old rat set up. Some claim to have "tame" ASF's. That said, once they have babies, you will need to pick them up with feeding tongs. If you don't, you will likely get bit, and they will draw blood.

    I wouldn't worry too much about the prey imprinting theory. Sure, it can happen, but it is not likely. Haven't talked to anyone yet that was not able to switch from ASF's to rats in time.

    Mike
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  5. #5
    BPnet Veteran ThyTempest's Avatar
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    Re: ASF Care, Breed, Size?

    I see the quick breeding as a good thing, as we can control the breeding by putting the males where we want, and if they are so prolific, they will be more consistent. If they age slowly, I would probably be feeding multiples still, which would also help cut down on overpopulating. I can sell extras to another friend of mine as well, but I see your point with not being able to sell extras to pet stores. There is a pretty reputable exotic pet store near me that breeds their own feeders, which I may be employed at soon, if all goes well. I may be able to convince them to let me sell them extra ASF's, maybe, since I wouldnt ask much, and even then it would be in store credit.

    If I still use a plastic bottle, but just stick the metal tip through the hardware cloth, wouldnt this work? The critters wouldnt be able to get at the plastic to bite at it.

    We have some glass tanks we could use, but they are more of a pain for cleaning, and not stackable without a rack.
    -Austin
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  6. #6
    BPnet Senior Member Mike Cavanaugh's Avatar
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    Re: ASF Care, Breed, Size?

    Quote Originally Posted by ThyTempest View Post
    I see the quick breeding as a good thing, as we can control the breeding by putting the males where we want, and if they are so prolific, they will be more consistent.
    Just keep in mind, that once you seperate, you can not re-intoduce. If you re-introduce, they will kill each other. this is true for siblings, children, strangers, and previous mates.

  7. #7
    BPnet Veteran ThyTempest's Avatar
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    Re: ASF Care, Breed, Size?

    Hmm...was not expecting this. How is it that people move the males around to breed with multiple females in various enclosures then?
    -Austin
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  8. #8
    BPnet Senior Member Mike Cavanaugh's Avatar
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    Re: ASF Care, Breed, Size?

    They do this technique with rats and mice. Not with ASF's.

  9. #9
    Telling it like it is! Deborah's Avatar
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    Re: ASF Care, Breed, Size?

    I noticed that people like to breed these more than traditional mice or rats, mostly because of less smell. I wanted to make sure this is a valid claim
    Definitely a valid claim, I recently got mine (I also breed rats and mice) and I cleaned their enclosure after 2 weeks and there was hardly any smell, not something I can do with mice and rats.

  10. #10
    BPnet Veteran frankykeno's Avatar
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    Re: ASF Care, Breed, Size?

    I never remove and try to re-introduce an adult ASF into a colony. Maybe some people have had success doing it but any time I've tried it the intruder was immediately chased and had I not intervened would likely have been mauled and killed. They are so fast though most of the time the introduced adult gets at least one or two bad bites before I can rescue it. I only tried it twice before realizing, at least for my colonies of ASF's, this will never work.

    They are VERY much colony driven creatures with a strict social system which seems to be from what I've observed, run by the dominant female of the colony. She bosses the other females around, even the male gets his share of her temper if he ticks her off, she will often sort the babies out the way she wants things done even if they aren't her own babies, etc. It's actually quite fascinating watching them interact.
    ~~Joanna~~


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