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Lazy snakes! Pythons can be couch potatoes, too

following ingestion.
  • Protein meals that induced the greatest SDA (casein, mouse, and chicken breast) were also those highest in essential amino acids.

    Conclusions
    The results revealed that single and dual element sugars caused the pythons' metabolic rate to increase two-fold, however complex carbohydrates were unable to elicit a significant metabolic response, and were not assimilated by the snakes. Protein meals caused variable SDA responses that appeared to be related to the amino acid composition of the specific meals. Casein caused a four-fold increase in metabolism, while gelatin caused no detectible changes and was not assimilated. Various lipid meals did not cause any significant change in oxygen consumption and were generally not assimilated. The findings suggest that a large serving of one particular type of food does probably not trigger the large SDA increment well known in this species. The researchers' next steps are to investigate SDA induced by specific amino acids and amino acid mixtures and digestive assimilation efficiency of meals that induce SDA.

    Essentially, pythons are governed by physiological principles that encourage consumption of specific foods, to optimize their metabolic rate, and allow energy expenditure for activities other than digestion.


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  • Contact: Donna Krupa
    djkrupa1@aol.com
    703-967-2751
    American Physiological Society
    26-Aug-2002


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