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RE: Want info on hibernating metabolism

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Posted by: Richard F. Hoyer at Tue Mar 22 11:37:19 2011  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by Richard F. Hoyer ]  
   

Lisa:
I don't frequent this particular Kingsnake forum very often so missed your post of last December.

Cannot guide you to the literature you seek dealing with metabolism during the brumation (hibernation) period in herps. There are some older published information on weight loss that occurs in species of snakes during brumation but it has been many years since I came across that information. From recollection, I recall that some species like rattlesnakes, lost a significant fraction of their pre-brumation weight during the winter months and I believe some other species such as Gopher Snakes and Racer experienced the same.

But that is just the opposite of what I have found in the species I study, Charina bottae, the Rubber Boa. Both in captivity and in the wild, weight loss is usually marginal and in a few cases, weight gain has been recorded which can be explained by water intake.

I cannot speak for other species but in the boa, most if not all meals taken late in the year are fully digested before the boas enter brumation. It is very, very uncommon to have a boa that has come out of the brumation period to produce a scat with undigested material. Both in captive and wild specimens, I obtained weights in late Oct. or early November then again when the boas (males) emerge from brumation in February. Just off the top of my head, weight loss is usually less than 2%.

Richard F. Hoyer


   

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