Bitis caudalis and cornuta

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Postby dave » Sun Jan 07, 2007 2:11 am

wow what a bunch of beauty's here :o :D
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Postby Rob » Sun Jan 07, 2007 9:44 am

That's very interesting.

Marco - How much are you giving a baby caudalis? Or do you just use your own descretion?
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Postby Pythonodipsas » Sun Jan 07, 2007 9:52 am

What I like about this method is it is a quick, non-stressful way of feeding the snake. Sometimes a pinky head can be large for a newborn dwarf Bitis and can take time and strain to get down.
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Postby Rob » Sun Jan 07, 2007 10:20 am

Yeah I don't like the idea of having to massage a pinky down a tiny caudalis if he wanted to regurge.
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Postby Bushviper » Sun Jan 07, 2007 11:23 am

I prefer the idea of mincing a pink mouse. I have no idea if a snake can taste (I know they can smell) and if this is not going to make it easier to switch them to pinks in future.

I also pick up road kill lizards and if they are fresh I mince them in as well. To make a paste (like the Hills) is not that difficult and you can add more calcium as well. Lizards and geckos have far more calcium per gm than what mice have.
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Postby Pythonodipsas » Sun Jan 07, 2007 8:37 pm

In many ways I would also rather go for the minced mice/lizard idea. This way one can be almost sure they're not putting to much strain on the kidneys or liver...and 'mince' is also easier to get down.

I also believe that snakes that would normally eat more lizard/gecko food in the wild than say rodents shouldn't be fed on a diet of only mice. They should be supplemented with lizard/gecko wherever possible. I think a constant diet of mice (for predominately lizard eaters) can be very fatty and put strain on the liver and shorten the lifespan of the snake. Then again the problem with feeding lizards to snakes is the parasite problem. This is especially true if the lizard does not occur in the same area as the snake and therefore the lizards parasites will be foreign to the snakes' immune system and could become pathogenic.

The debate in my head goes on...... Are caudalis/cornuta, etc predominantly lacertid OR rodent feeders in the wild?
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@ all

Postby Horned Adder » Mon Jan 08, 2007 7:43 am

Hello Bushviper an Craig,


It definitely is correct that Baby Caudalis are eating lizzards to grow up, and maybe later also accept small rodents as food.
But here in Switzerland it is absolutely impossible to get small SA or Namibian Lizzards as food items. And tropic Asian and African lizzard species aren't good for thes snakes, for obvious reasons - Craig allready mentioned it.
I have never had any problem to get the small Bitis on mice, after I have feed them for several months with Hill's A/D, they easely accept mices as soon as the have grown a little bit.

It is absolutely correct that only rodents isn't the perfect way to feed the snakes with. But the problem isn't that a mouse has more fat, or has less calcium and stuff. The real Problem is their water content ! The biggest ''ingredient'' of a lizzard is water, much more then in a bigger mouse. So I always inject some ml of water, into a dead mouse, before I offer it was food item.
Without giving that extra water, a Dwarf Adder will sooner or later die because the kidneys will stopp to work, because they have dryed out.

That a mouse consists of more fat, you can easely compensate by offering it every now and then only. My animals receive a mouse about every 3-4 weeks, that's enough for them. Feeding on lizzards should be done every 2 weeks, for a big Bitis caudalis or peringueyi for example.

As long as I find some babies in the cages, from time to time, it can't be that wrong what I'am doing ;-)

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Postby Rob » Mon Jan 08, 2007 10:48 pm

Its a very interesting point Marco makes.

Question - I feed live prey, I cannot inject the mouse with water. I do however mist my cages from which the snakes always drink. Does this not solve the liver problem for me?
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Postby Pythonodipsas » Mon Jan 08, 2007 11:15 pm

Good points Marco! Do you mist your snakes/cages? I always did this and thought it should be enough?
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@ Rob and Craig

Postby Horned Adder » Mon Jan 08, 2007 11:46 pm

Additionally I also mist the, cage of course guys, about every 3 days or so....but in my eyes that's not enough. If you want to keep the Dwarf Adders healthy for years, it definitely is a must to solve the water problem. It shouldn't be a too high level of rel. humidity, but on the other hand they need much more water then we probably would think.

Calcium, Fat etc. this are problems you can handle or compensate extremely easy. But if you have a look at the natural habitats of Bitis peringueyi oder caudalis for example, you can see that these habitats are very complex microhabitats and therefore hard to understand, and much more difficult to imitate in a cage then we probably thought first. Especially the water balance in the nature is extremely cleverly devised, so you have to give your best to organise it different.

Unfortunately it is almost impossible to imitate morning dew, this would be the best way to solve the water problem.

Unfortunately most of the Dwarf Adders available on the market, end up in wrong hands, hands with the needed money, but without the needed experience and sensitiveness a - especially for WC animals. Most people think they are desert animals, and need only water every 1-2 weeks or so.
This must result in a tragedy for the snakes....

That doesn't mean that I'am to 100% right on that all, but so far I have only had succes yet. And as long as it works for my whole collection, I am happy and will proceed this way.

I think that a sensitive desert or savannah species is easely the same difficult to keep, as rainforest animals like Corallus caninus etc. Of cousre you have to fight against different problems, but in the end a problem is a problem. What means it must be identified, and solved.

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Postby Pythonodipsas » Tue Jan 09, 2007 12:10 am

Very valid points there Marco - I agree and I think in the wild these dwarf adders get a lot of moisture from there food anyway as a way to combat the sometimes rarity of water sources.

I think injecting mice is a good idea to give more moisture, it also solved the humidity problem nicely. To combat the humidity problem, I gently place my place my dwarf adders in a sand filled container (which I put in their cage) and mist them with a fine spray until they have drank there fill. I do this weekly. Often they are soaked ot these times and thoroughly enjoy it! I tried it more often than weekly and then they don't seem to want to drink sometimes. After misting I remove the container and this keeps the snakes' cage dry. I live in a very humid area and I need to be careful as the relative humidity is already high.

I also think that where the species schneideri come from, the humidity is relativley high. Maybe not as high as the tropics but higher than the inland desert areas where other species come from (caudalis, xeropaga). So I think scneideri are better equipped to deal with high(er) humidity.
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@ Craig

Postby Horned Adder » Tue Jan 09, 2007 7:44 am

@ Craig

You are definitely right on that. Biti schneideris is extremely resistant against water and a higher humidity, they even seem to like it very much everytime I spray out the cages. The same for the Lüderitz Cornutas, they also are enjoying it.
It is possible that they stop drinking, if you try it mor then once in a week, but I think this doesn't really mean that they do not need the water.
It is worth to try it once again,and again until you know what is best for your animals. Don't forget, also not all animals do have the same demand for food and water. It also varies a lot within just one species, probably depending a lot on where they do origin from. A Different location probably requires a different strategy to get some food and maybe also water.

So especially Bitis caudalis can be very tricky......because of the huge area you can find them. From the Namib desert, Kalahari, Savannah, Karoo etc etc..

But hey, I know that you are very skilled Bitis keeper, so I do not have to tell you how it's working ;-) lol

just my two cents
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Postby Bushviper » Tue Jan 09, 2007 7:55 am

Something to remember is that B. caudalis from areas that are not desert drink water from a water bowl like any other Bitis species. In the wild they find standing water and drink from this. In the desert there is no standing water so they have to drink mist.
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Postby Pythonodipsas » Tue Jan 09, 2007 8:36 am

All too true BV.

Hey Marco, the only reason I may have some know how is because I have learned a lot form other skilled people like you. I will definitely try the Hills A/D thing mixed with water on babies, especially caudalis if i ever get.
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Postby Rob » Tue Jan 09, 2007 9:02 am

I agree. Very interesting topic.
I must now consider dead prey for my bitis in order to 'Fill em up'

It does make sense though, I've heard from so many people that wc caudalis survive a year in captivity then die, so it makes sense that from the start something is slowly killing them. Lack of water seems a valid answer
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