Feeding live prey vs pre-killed

Discussion in 'General Snakes' started by wreckwriter, Jun 13, 2005.

  1. wreckwriter

    wreckwriter Embryo

    I find it disconcerting that a lot of folks here seem to be feeding live rodents to their snakes, and that its even being recommended by some who seem to have good snake knowledge. I really don't want to start a big furball but I think its a very important topic, something that new snake owners should pay considerable attention to.

    Feeding live rodents is warned against in pretty much every care sheet and snake care book out there and very few experienced keepers recommend it or do it. Yea, some large volume breeders may do it because its expedient, not because its best. Most that I have been around whack the prey on the table then toss it in. I've rarely had a snake fail to recognize what it was and eat it.

    It is true that a few snakes, very few, will only eat live. If that's the case you have to watch every minute. It doesn't take days for an attack to happen, it takes an instant when the circumstances are right. Snakes are not good at defending themselves. I've seen it happen and eventually you will too.

    Particularly aggressive are rodents other than mice and rats, gerbils and hamsters for example. Cute little Chucky the hamster will turn into a raging demon if tossed in with a snake. Don't do it if you value your snake. :!:
     
  2. Janice

    Janice Embryo

    I don't really think you want to open up this discussion. I don't think anyone would recommend feeding live, but as a last resort. We don't need a big argument here. There are way more cons to feeding live. No one would disagree with you there, but why start an argument.
     
  3. wideglide

    wideglide Well-Known Member

    I fully agree with you and so will a lot of other experienced people here. This argument has gone on in the past and feeding f/t or f/k has always been considered the best and safest route to go. Sure, you'll have those who will argue and say breeders do this and breeders do that but there's usually more to those types of claims that doesn't seem to get said initially. The chances of a breeder who breeds 200 ball pythons keeping and treating the snakes the same way the average hobbiest with one or two snakes does is pretty slim so those types of comparisons should always taken with a grain of salt.

    Yes, it is considered best to feed frozen or freshly killed. I've read of numerous times where a snake got bit by a mouse or rat within minutes of entering the snake enclosure and then the snake became hesitant to eat after that. It doesn't always take days for this to happen by any stretch of the imagination.
     
  4. Janice

    Janice Embryo

    I feed live to our ball python, I'll admit. Had quite a time getting him to eat. Is it what I would have preferred? no, for obvious reasons. If our ball gets spooked at all by the rat, then he will not eat, and just balls up. We take the rat out when this happens. We would never leave the snake unattended while being fed. That would be irresponsible. It would be a lot easier to keep our rats in the freezer, but I rather like keeping rats and breeding them. I definately never run out!
     
  5. wreckwriter

    wreckwriter Embryo

    Its not meant as an argument, its meant as an educational discussion. Isn't that the purpose of this forum?
     
  6. wreckwriter

    wreckwriter Embryo

    Why do you feed him live? He won't eat pre-killed? How many times have you tried? Have you tried fresh killed? Different colors? No, right?

    The reason most people who feed live do so is because they can't stand killing the rodent. I guess the thinking is that if the snake does it then the owner is somehow absolved from the responsibility, even though they tossed it in there...
     
  7. shrap

    shrap Embryo

    I do not recommend new snake owners to feed live. However...... we all knew there was going to be a however right?

    Experienced keepers know their animals and their behaviors. They also set up consistent feeding routines so their snakes KNOW when it is feeding time. I can tell 90% of the time before I ever introduce a rat whether they are going to aggressively eat or not because of my routine and intimate knowledge of my snakes behaviors. I can tell 99.99% of the time within 10 seconds of putting the rat in their enclosure.

    It also helps that I breed my own rats. All of my breeders are very tame and passive. Aggresive rats are quickly euthanized and are never bred. Most people do not have this advantage.

    Like I said though, I do not recommend new keeprs to feed live. When feeding live it comes with much more responsibility and risk. If you are not prepared and willing to accept those responsibilities and risks it is a disaster waiting to happen.
     
  8. Janice

    Janice Embryo

    WRONG! White, black, brown, spotted, rats, mice, you name it, we tried it. Yes, fresh killed, we tried. Our corn snake eats f/k. It's not a problem. I don't think you have the right perception. If our ball would eat f/t, or f/k, I would gladly feed him that way.
     
  9. wideglide

    wideglide Well-Known Member

    Yeah I'm pretty sure Janice has been through all of this before. :)

    Well said, Shrap!

    I think it's more along the lines of ignorance. I think most people that are just starting out aren't even aware there's such a thing as f/t and a big part of the fascination is how a snake eats. As far as being absolved from the responsibility it's a heck of a lot easier to plop a frozen rat into a pot of warm water than to even deal with one that's a live in the first place so I have to say I think that's probably not the case most of the time.
     
  10. Janice

    Janice Embryo

    I haven't bred any aggressive rats yet, but I have had a couple that are not afraid of my ball. I have had 2 different juveniles, sit on my snake and groom themselves. Can you imagine? When this happens, the rat gets put back, there is no way Sampson is going to eat. We can tell when he is going to eat. He goes into his clay pot hide and sticks his head out the top and watches his prey. If he is out of his hide when we put the rat in, and he just stays put, then I know he isn't going to eat. It's a ritual with him. He likes to stalk his prey from the top of his hide.
     
  11. wreckwriter

    wreckwriter Embryo

    My apologies if I got the wrong impression.


     
  12. wreckwriter

    wreckwriter Embryo

    <shrug> I still think I'm right :)

     
  13. wideglide

    wideglide Well-Known Member

    I suppose there's a chance that you might be. :)
     
  14. wreckwriter

    wreckwriter Embryo

    Heh, you too! I bet between the two of us, we're right!
     
  15. wideglide

    wideglide Well-Known Member

    I'll go with that!
     
  16. Janice

    Janice Embryo

    I totally agree with all three of you. I do feed live, but I don't recommend it. There are way too many cons. I forgive you, wreckwriter, , don't worry about it! I very rarely admit that I feed live. I won't deny it if asked, but I don't want to appear to be in support of it, either.
     
  17. garybingham

    garybingham Embryo

    my corn got lose i found it 4 month later in my garden i have tried all colors and sizes and even fresh killed he didnt eat for a month when i found him so it was a live mouse or a dead snake and i like snakes
     
  18. It's definately better to feed prekilled things. But I'm curious about the health factors. The snake owner I got my snake from said that feeding mice that had been pre-frozen was bad for their digestive system. But at the same time, even though he's a friend of ours, it's possible he lied to get us to buy from him knowing how far we live. And for awhile we did, of course we only dropped little pinkies in there alive, but I always felt bad about it. Up until recently I had a pet mouse too. And as gas prices go up we have stopped going that far and have settled for frozen for awhile, and Demon (my california king) doesn't seem to mind in the least. He is happy with the frozens, so I wonder if it really is bad for their digestive system. I know it's bad if the mouse is not thawed all the way, but when they are... Does anyone know?
     
  19. wideglide

    wideglide Well-Known Member

    There are $50,000 snakes that get fed f/t and they do just fine. Either your friend didn't know what he was talking about or he was indeed lieing to you.
     
  20. Thanks, it's good to know I'm not doing him any harm. And it saves gas money too. :D
     

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