How do you feed snakes frozen food?
Feeding your pet is an essential task. When it comes to pet snakes in particular, however, things can get a bit tricky. As reptiles, snakes are the total opposite of us in many ways. One of which is that our diets and eating habits are completely different. As such, the act of feeding snakes isn’t as intuitive as it might be with a dog or cat. Using frozen food, as opposed to living rodents as prey, can add a whole new level of unfamiliarity. This quick guide will teach you everything you need to know about using frozen mice and rats to feed your pet snake.
How To Use Frozen Rodents
The most essential aspect of feeding snakes frozen food is proper preparation. Just like you would need to with any other frozen food item, food must first be fully thawed. Only take out as much as your snake needs and then put it in a sealed bag. The next steps involve making the mouse or rat more appetizing and then finally, giving the food to your snake in a way that triggers their hunting instincts.
The best way to thaw a frozen rodent is in the fridge. It will take several hours to fully thaw, depending on the rodent’s size. A small mouse might take only an hour or two, while a large rat could take upwards of five. If you’re tight on time, try the quick thaw method of running cold water over the rodent which can have it ready in as little as 30 minutes. The major drawback of using the faster method is that it increases the chance for bacteria to grow on the rodent (potentially making your snake sick) and will be unusable in the not-uncommon instance that your snake isn’t ready to eat that day.
Once the rodent has been fully thawed, it must then be brought up to temperature. Cold food can impair your snake’s digestion, leading to tummy aches or vomiting which can leave your snake very ill. It also has the added benefit of mimicking the body temperature of live rodents, which is what snakes innately prefer. To warm the thawed rodent, pour warm to hot water on the still-sealed rodents. Do not use the microwave. Aside from it very likely making your snake’s food too hot for it to be safe, it could also end up cooking the rodent.
Once warmed, serve the rodent immediately (it will continue to decompose very quickly). The use of feeding forceps or tongs is highly recommended. These protect the owner, preventing the snake from accidentally nipping any fingers. Otherwise, snakes might make the association that fingers are food. Further, these forceps allow owners to wriggle and bounce the rodent to imitate movement (much like you would with a cat toy). This movement encourages the snake to strike by tapping into its natural predator instincts.
Not sure what to feed your snake?
Frozen rats and mice are widely available at places that sell pet reptiles. If you’re not sure which type of rodent to use, refer to rodent-sizing guidelines for help.