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GROWTH CURVE AND FEED EFFICIENCY OF BOA CONSTRICTOR SUBSPECIES KEPT IN CAPTIVITY

Erin Caperuto Almeida, André Saldanha, Igo Gomes Guimarães, Leonardo Boscoli Lara, Tiago Oliveira Lima, Walter Motta Ferreira

Abstract


The growth curve is an important parameter for estimating the development of an animal and assisting breeding programs and assessing welfare. However, little data is available on the growth curves of snakes, including native species such as Boa constrictors. Therefore, the objective of the present study was to determine the growth curve of three subspecies of Boa constrictor juveniles (B. constrictor constrictor - Bcc, B. constrictor amarali - Bca and B. constrictor occidentalis - Bco) using data from a commercial breeder located in Brazil. Thirty-seven newborn snakes were placed in individual plastic boxes and kept in a temperature-controlled room (30±2°C and 70-80% humidity) until they reached commercial size (58 days). The snakes' weight and food intake were recorded weekly. These data were used to calculate total food intake, relative weight gain, feed efficiency and growth curves for snakes, comparing animals within subspecies and sexes. There was no difference in growth between genders for Bcc (p = 0.9844) and Bco (p = 0.9845), while for Bca females presented a greater growth (p = 0.0052). There were no statistical differences in relative weight gain and feed efficiency among subspecies. The parameters and growth curves determined in this study can be used as an initial reference guide to monitor the growth of Boa constrictor newborns and contribute to the establishment of an adequate food management for snakes kept in captivity, being a possible parameter for quantifying to determine welfare during the development of newborn snakes.

Keywords


exotic pets wildlife; pet market; reptile; snake

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5380/avs.v26i3.80709