Omen the Diamond Python looking full after a big feed on Tuesday.
Leading up to and over the winter months, my snakes feeding schedules change from smaller, more frequent feeds, to infrequent larger feeds. I find it’s important to taper this rather than having them just stop feeding completely, and here’s why:
During the warmer months when they’re more active, they are constantly burning off what’s going in. Snakes under my care are all lean and have excellent muscle tone over the warmer months, as this causes less strain on internal organs. However as ambient temps drop, so does an organism’s metabolism. To go from surplus to famine is fine for some animals, both mammalian and reptilian, but there is always mandatory preparation done prior. A bear will build fat stores before the winter as they await their seasonal slumber, and although brumation is a different process as reptiles are ectothermic (require environmental thermoregulation rather than relying upon homeostasis), the principals are almost identical. For the safety of your beloved pets, it is crucial that fat stores must be built up as the breakdown of new fat serves as energy in lieu of a consistent food source (research cellular respiration and ATP production for more information on energy input vs output). Your animals will thank you come Spring when they aren’t just skin and bone after not feeding for months on end. Remember that your role as a keeper is to replicate natural cycles to the best of your ability for the heath and wellbeing of any animal in your care.
(Morelia spilota spilota)
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