Growth Comparisons

In 2005 David Bellis, a hobbiest keeper, took it upon himself to investigate theories surrounding the growth rates of “dwarf” retics. While not a scientific experiment the results are certainly intriguing and provide an insight into the viability of food related theories surrounding these fascinating sub-species.

He decided that in order to make his test as fair as possible he needed to establish a test group of rough approximate age containing both dwarf and mainland type retics. This test group was established using 3 “Super Dwarf” retics and a single mainland retic (an Amel tiger). All of these animals were born early to mid May in 2005.

In order to look at growth rates the logical factor to alter was the diet. As a result one “Super Dwarf” (Animal A) was fed once every other week, one “Super Dwarf” (Animal B) was fed once a week, one “Super Dwarf” (Animal C) was fed twice a week, and the Mainland (Animal D) was fed once a week. All meals were approximately 25% of the animals body weight.

Animals A, B, C and D are always displayed from left to right in the below photographs with the tables.

9/12/05 - 9-12-05.jpg
Date   Animal A 1.0 SD   Animal B 0.1 SD   Animal C 0.1 SD   Animal D 0.1 Mainland  
9/12/05   70 Grams 85 Grams 106 Grams 622 Grams

 

10/10/05 - 10-10-05.jpg
Date   Animal A 1.0 SD   Animal B 0.1 SD   Animal C 0.1 SD   Animal D 0.1 Mainland  
10/10/05   68 Grams 97 Grams 146 Grams 1026 Grams

 

11/07/05 - 11-7-05.jpg
Date   Animal A 1.0 SD   Animal B 0.1 SD   Animal C 0.1 SD   Animal D 0.1 Mainland  
11/07/05   68 Grams 96 Grams 211 Grams 1387 Grams

 

12/12/05 - 12-12-05.jpg
Date   Animal A 1.0 SD   Animal B 0.1 SD   Animal C 0.1 SD   Animal D 0.1 Mainland  
12/12/05   66 Grams 124 Grams 348 Grams 1969 Grams

 

1/09/06 - 1-10-06.jpg
Date   Animal A 1.0 SD   Animal B 0.1 SD   Animal C 0.1 SD   Animal D 0.1 Mainland  
1/09/06   71 Grams 143 Grams 439 Grams 2811 Grams

 

2/14/06 - 2-14-06.jpg
Date   Animal A 1.0 SD   Animal B 0.1 SD   Animal C 0.1 SD   Animal D 0.1 Mainland  
2/14/06   65 Grams 142 Grams 498 Grams 3425 Grams

 

While the above results were by no means attained in a scientific fashion, they do give us an insight. They clearly show that, over a 6 month period, food intake does have a direct effect on the growth rate of the dwarf reticulated python. However, despite increased food intake, animal C was unable to match the size and growth of animal D.

So, in short, this test demonstrates that while diet does play a significant part in the allometry of these creatures, the defining factor involved is genetics.