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Old 01-29-2005, 05:47 PM   #1
Skinny, just right or fat???

I have some questions for you all. How do I know if my snake is just right (I don't think she is skinny) or getting too fat?

She is a Pacific Gopher. I don't know what is her age for sure, but I think around 6-8 months old. she is about 18-20" long, her diameter at the widest point is 5/8", with a much slender neck area (aroun 5/16"). She eats every 4-5 days. She used to eat fuzzy mouse, now she eats pinky rat. After she swallowed her food, she did not have a nice lump, but just a little more bulk around the belly from her food (I gave her the smaller rat pinky). She has a dent along at the side of her belly (is this normal?) Sometimes I think she is getting to fat but yet I tend to wonder if the dent along the side of her body means she did not eat enough...

She NEVER refused any food and sometime I even think she would like to eat more LOL... I like the way she bulked up in the middle (that's why I like BP )but doesn't want her to be too fat! Any help would be great!

Priscilla Neergaard

PS: how often should she shed?
Old 01-29-2005, 09:41 PM   #2
Tripple H Herps
Feed her two of them! I dont mind fat snakes, its only thin ones that get me Post a pic and I or anyone else could tell you.
Thanks, Jim
Old 01-29-2005, 10:08 PM   #3
Wink I Like fat snake too, but...

Isn't that bad for them??? I love meaty snake, but don't want them to develop a health problem LOL... I will take a picture and try to post it soon. I never post a picture before, so we'll see if I could handle it

Priscilla Neergaard
Old 01-29-2005, 11:12 PM   #4
Tripple H Herps
Isn't that bad for them???
well..... sort of. I mean very few people have a truly fat snake. A nice plump snake is always a good sign. A very obese snake on the other hand would be bad. I highly doubt that there is a large amount of people with obese snakes. Typically a snake will finish a meal and call it quits until he is hungry again. Or at least most. I know my young bullnose will eat until he pukes. I once went as far as I would let him and he took 6 large mice! "keep in mind he could go further but I would not let him." I would not worry about your snake getting to fat if I was you. Its rare, and as long as you are feeding it the "normal" proportions for its size, donít worry. Its only him being thin I would worry about. Post a pic if you can & we'll all know.

P.S. For the record, the snake being overweight is a health issue that can and should be adressed. Its just not as common as the snake being to
Old 01-30-2005, 10:05 AM   #5
Glenn Bartley
I have been a judge at my local herp society's show each year for a few years now. I can tell you outright that yes plenty of people seem to have what I would consider obese snakes. Other judges who know a lot more than me about the topic also agree that lots of the entrants are obese. We arrive at this decision first of all just b comparing the snake at which we are looking with other apparent healthy individuals of the same species. If the snake literally looks as if it is fat or plump, then it is possibly obese. A closer look will often reveal a good tell as to whether or not the snake is obese, and that is if you can see the skin between the scales on a straight portion of the snake (not on a curved part of its body) while the snake is lying there at rest. What that often means is that the snake is so overweight that it is stretched to the max much like a 5 pound sausage in a 3 pound skin; of course it could also be indicative of any disease that would bloat the snake. I don't know if all snakes would develop this condition but I have seen it in, to name a few, such snakes as Corn Snakes, Hog Nose Snakes, Sonoran Gopher Snakes, Kingsnakes, and as I recall some sort of python.

I have noticed that when a snake appears overweight and, when we tell the owner such may be the case, the keeper usually says something to the effect that: 'Oh no my cute little baby is just well fed and not overweight. I love it so much I would never feed it too much.' I definitely think that the lovey dovey attitude of the keeper toward the animal may have something to do with it. I am not saying that just those who have this attitude toward their snakes are all who ever feed them too much but; I am saying that obesity seems more prevalent among snakes kept by owners with that attitude. I guess it is sort of like mom wanting to make sure you ate everything on your plate even though your belly hurts. That is just what I have noticed in my limited experience with seemingly obese snakes.

Just for the record, my guess is that each year, using corn snakes as an example, 10 to 20 percent shown at our annual show are likely overweight. We of course try to discourage overfeeding, but lots of people don't seem to get it. I do not know for certain that a snake's being somewhat obese would greatly effect its health negatively but, it is possible that its life span could be shortened, or that breeding capabilities could be lessened. Then again, obesity in a female before the mating season may help her produce eggs; but I would tend to think that a healthy weight as opposed to being overweight would be best for any critter. I can say that obese snakes do seem more lethargic than those that appear to have a weight more proportionate to length.

As far as too skinny goes, if you can see loose skin folds on a snake easily at any point (this goes for most commonly kept species), and or if the snake looks skinny with the backbone almost looking as if it is protruding or just has skin draped over it, then the snake could be underweight. If the snake is seriously underweight the backbone thing is almost always evident, the snake may appear sunken in at the sides, and it will look like little more than skin draped overs its bones. This can be caused by being underweight due to too little food, or due to a parasite load, and can also be caused by dehydration.

A healthy snake, in my opinion, looks well filled out, not stretched out diameter wise. While there may be some places where the skin looks loose as the snake curves or coils, it is overall fairly taut looking in most species. The snake is strong and the muscular development is evident as opposed to being lacking in a too thin snake, or hidden under plumpness in a too thick snake.

If you want an idea of how your snake should look, go out and look at others of the same or similar species. After seeing a large number of them, you will develop a prett good picture of fat versus thin versus healthy weighted snakes.
Old 01-30-2005, 10:37 AM   #6
Tripple H Herps
do not know for certain that a snake's being somewhat obese would greatly effect its health negatively but, it is possible that its life span could be shortened, or that breeding capabilities could be lessened.
- This was what I was worried about.

I can tell you outright that yes plenty of people seem to have what I would consider obese snakes.
- Really?? Iv'e only seen a couple. Most snakes I have seen are just right or a bit to fat. Maybe its the motherly thing you were saying, I tend to treat my snakes a bit like, However I don't own any obese snakes. All of mine are just right.
Old 01-30-2005, 02:13 PM   #7
Hi, thanks for all of the answers! The only reason that I started to questions my snake body size is because of several reasons:

-She looks fine, not to stretch or loose. But I do notice on the side of her body, there is a body length indentation. I have no idea if that is normal or means she is on the skinny side. There is no other sign of being skinny though. No loose skin, no spine line visible, etc
-At the same time I'm wondering if she is getting fat because the part of her body that meets the tail (right after her cloaca), there is a pronounce change in thicknes. Hopefully you can see it in the picture (I will try to post it and hopefully it will show).

That what makes me wonder and think which one is she, or if she if just right. I feed her every 4-5 days, she is about 18-20" long, her widest point on her body is 5/8" in diameter.

OK, I just upload the picture but no ideaif it will work or not. The last picture (the one with her tail's area), my son (6 yo) who held her. That way you won't think my snake is sooo big comoare to my finger LOL...

Priscilla Neergaard
Attached Images
Old 01-30-2005, 02:37 PM   #8
Tripple H Herps
From the pics you took, it looks healthy to me
Old 01-31-2005, 01:27 PM   #9
Thanks Jim!

I feel better now. So I assumed that dent a long the side of her body is normal (not the sign of being to thin). Also the different in thickness around her tail area is normal too. Thanks again!

Priscilla Neergaard
Old 01-31-2005, 02:31 PM   #10
Tripple H Herps
I really did not notice the dent. As for the tail thickness as opposed to the body, that is completly normal. As long as there is not a large swelling that is thicker then the body or tail right above its vent. That would meen a heavy load of parasites coupled with a disorder. I forgot the name of it but almost 90% are fatal.
Thanks, Jim

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