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Health Issues/Feeding Problems Anything related to general or specific health problems. Issues having to do with feeding problems or tips.

Obesity in snakes.
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Old 09-30-2008, 02:16 AM   #1
jennrosefx
Obesity in snakes.

I've got an ongoing problem with Pumpkin. Over the past couple years, she's become rather plump. It's been a gradual thing, I suppose, so it wasn't until recently when the severity of it smacked me in the face. I noticed her developing "Hips" if you will, sometime back. I reduced her feeding schedule to 1 mouse every 10-12 days (before that is was 1 every 7, so it's not like she was ever power fed or anything of the sort). It's been that way for the past year, and she's just gotten... fatter. I don't know what it is. Do you think some snakes within a same species might just have different metabolisms and hers is just abnormally slow? Is less frequent feeding then hurting her metabolism like in humans? Would more frequent, but smaller meals do her better? Can snakes develop thyroid problems? (do snakes even have thyroids?)

I love her regardless of how she looks (and in my eyes, she's still beautiful), and have no intentions of ever breeding her. But, I am concerned for her general health and quality of life. Is this something vet-worthy in your eyes? Is there an obvious change in diet I should be making? I'm trying to up her handling to 5 days a week instead of 1 or 2... that should help perhaps? I might try moving her cage to a darker area of the house. Maybe more privacy will encourage more activity?

Am I over thinking all this?

Here's some pics. You know me... you know I take good care of my babies. I feel awful looking at these pics. I know a little bit of heft in female corns isn't unheard of... but she's only 4 1/2 years old or so.







 
Old 09-30-2008, 09:12 AM   #2
diamondlil
I read that up and down stairs is good exercise for snakes too. I don't think the slow metabolism would be the same as in humans, because we use a lot of energy in thermoregulation. And exercise would increase her metabolic rate anyway.
I feed my adults on 14 day schedules, except the post breeding girls who are currently on weekly feeds. I'd say a longer interval between feeds would help make her more active, so she's out actively hunting for food after she's digested.
Regardless, she's a lovely snake, and will be even lovelier when she slims a little bit.
 
Old 09-30-2008, 09:35 AM   #3
bitsy
My (healthy) adult non-breeding males are given one large mouse every 3-4 weeks during the winter and are perfectly OK. As long as she has no other issues, I think you could gradually ease her down to that sort of regime for the next 4-5 months and see how she goes.

Corns do seem to have quite individual metabolisms - what would be starvation rations for one, could be a perfectly adequate maintenance regime for another. You really have to tailor what you give to each beastie, and in your case, I think Pumpkin does need to just plain eat less.

Here in the UK a few years back, we used to have problems with a metabolic disorder that caused Corns to put on massive reserves of fat, even when kept on a normal feeding regime (I lost one of my first snakes to it). It's gradually been bred out over the generations, but I guess it might still be out there in the gene pool. To be honest, I'd be surprised if that was the problem.

As far as exercise goes, again, each Corn will be more or less active. Putting a less active Corn in a large viv containing loads of ground cover and climbing equipment, won't encourage them to exercise. They'll just find their favourite spot and stay there. A friend of mine who takes in occasional rescues, does swear by supervised stair climbing sessions two or three times a week (as long as the Corn isn't over-stressed by it). Not only does that burn off fat, but it tones up muscles as well.
 
Old 09-30-2008, 09:53 AM   #4
sarcare
You can also let your snake swim, I allow my largest snake to swim in a critter keeper with about three or four inches of water. She is long enough that if she really hated the water she could get out quite easily, but she will usually swim around for a little. It is good exercize, and she inevitably poops in the water. Easier to clean up that way!
 
Old 09-30-2008, 09:55 AM   #5
diamondlil
Quote:
Originally Posted by bitsy View Post
My (healthy) adult non-breeding males are given one large mouse every 3-4 weeks during the winter and are perfectly OK. As long as she has no other issues, I think you could gradually ease her down to that sort of regime for the next 4-5 months and see how she goes.

Corns do seem to have quite individual metabolisms - what would be starvation rations for one, could be a perfectly adequate maintenance regime for another. You really have to tailor what you give to each beastie, and in your case, I think Pumpkin does need to just plain eat less.

Here in the UK a few years back, we used to have problems with a metabolic disorder that caused Corns to put on massive reserves of fat, even when kept on a normal feeding regime (I lost one of my first snakes to it). It's gradually been bred out over the generations, but I guess it might still be out there in the gene pool. To be honest, I'd be surprised if that was the problem.

As far as exercise goes, again, each Corn will be more or less active. Putting a less active Corn in a large viv containing loads of ground cover and climbing equipment, won't encourage them to exercise. They'll just find their favourite spot and stay there. A friend of mine who takes in occasional rescues, does swear by supervised stair climbing sessions two or three times a week (as long as the Corn isn't over-stressed by it). Not only does that burn off fat, but it tones up muscles as well.
Yep, sorry Bitsy, I should have added that I don't brumate, so go down to 3-4 week intervals over the winter.
 
Old 09-30-2008, 10:00 AM   #6
RobbiesCornField
JENNY CRAIG!!!!
No, but in all seriousness, the one thing I did notice when looking at the pictures was that she seems to start getting "chubby" in the lower third of her body, and then it seems to be at the largest right around the cloaca. Is there possibly something that got stuck, and it's causing a backup? I don't know for sure, mind you, but that's just what it looks like to me. The rest of her looks nice and slender, it just looks like she's dragging some extra saddlebags for the hips.
 
Old 09-30-2008, 10:22 AM   #7
Saffleur
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobbiesCornField View Post
JENNY CRAIG!!!!
No, but in all seriousness, the one thing I did notice when looking at the pictures was that she seems to start getting "chubby" in the lower third of her body, and then it seems to be at the largest right around the cloaca. Is there possibly something that got stuck, and it's causing a backup? I don't know for sure, mind you, but that's just what it looks like to me. The rest of her looks nice and slender, it just looks like she's dragging some extra saddlebags for the hips.
I noticed that too and wondered the same thing, the upper 2/3 of her body looks "normal" but then she just kinda balloons out.
 
Old 09-30-2008, 11:01 AM   #8
mike17l
I would recommend feeding every 21 or so days for a while (7-8 months or more), then drop it down to every 14 days.
 
Old 09-30-2008, 01:47 PM   #9
lizardgal06
maybe shes egg bound? i know its rare.. but maybe she should go to the vet.. i had my snakes on a weekly feeding schedule and there all fine. not fat.. i think theres a problem down there. get her to a vet.
 
Old 09-30-2008, 01:54 PM   #10
lizardgal06
one more thing is that "luv handle" hard or mushy? could be a tumor.
 

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