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  1. #1
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    About thawing and the rodents

    On the internet there are way too many different infos and opinions so I hope you guys can enlighten me

    When thawing out rodents I take them out of the freezer and put them in hot water for 15-20 minutes, changing the water after about 10 minutes to make sure it's still warm.

    Many seem to bag them up in a plastic bag first, is that actually necessary?

    I always thought of it as free additional hydration for the BP.

    Also how can I make sure the rodent has the right temperature on the inside? I use a temp gun for the outside but how do I know it's not frozen/too hot inside?

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    Welsh-Richie (09-05-2019)

  3. #2
    Registered User Luvyna's Avatar
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    Re: About thawing and the rodents

    There are many different ways to thaw rodents and no one "right" way, as you've seen across the internet Many people thaw directly in water while others use a plastic bag. Both ways are fine and have their own advantages--thawing in water provides more hydration, as you said, while thawing in a plastic bag minimizes the risk of ingesting substrate if the snake happens to drag its prey around (and possibly off the piece of cardboard or plastic many snakes are fed on in their enclosures to prevent substrate ingestion). There are however some picky BPs who might only eat if their food is prepared one way or another.

    If you want to make sure your rodents are not frozen in the middle, it's best to thaw them out in the fridge for a few hours to a day, or leave the rodent out of the freezer at room temperature for 1-2 hours before warming. Some people like to leave the rodent out in the same room as the snakes to get their appetites going.

    Heating a rodent too quickly straight out of the freezer can cause rodents to explode, get nosebleeds, or disintegrate during feeding, so you might want to be careful with that!
    Last edited by Luvyna; 09-02-2019 at 06:48 AM.

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    cMoonrise (09-08-2019)

  5. #3
    BPnet Senior Member dakski's Avatar
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    Re: About thawing and the rodents

    Hot water for more than a short period of time is not good as it can "cook" the rodent.

    I use hot water for about 30 seconds at the end to entice my Pythons, who have heat pits.

    Below is my step by step list on defrosting F/T rodents.

    Others may do it differently and that's fine. This how I do it and it works for me.


    1. Put prey item(s) into appropriate size plastic bag . I use Quart size ziplock bags up to a medium rat. NOTE: Bags are optional. Some people just throw the prey in the water. I like the bags, but you have to squeeze the air out of them.

    2. Fill the container/storage box 3/4 of the way with room temp to slightly warm water. If you have a temp gun (which you should, so if you don't, get one), make sure the water is not hotter than 85-90F, or there about.

    3. Put F/T prey item(s) in water. Cover (optional) and leave for an hour +/-.

    4. After an hour, rotate/flip prey. If in plastic bags, they often will stay on whatever side you put them in on. So if mouse is on left side, turn to right side, etc.

    5. Leave for another hour +/- for a TOTAL of about 2 hours (up to medium sized rat - longer if bigger prey).

    6. Check that prey is defrosted totally through. Squeeze at different sections of the preys body. Should be cool/room temp to touch, but be soft with no cold spots. If hard (except for bone), in abdomen, for example, or cold, put back in water until room temp and soft.

    7. Take prey out of the container/storage box and put aside. THEN FOLLOW STEPS 8-11 OR STEP 12

    8. Fill container with hot water from tap. If using temp gun, water temp should be 110-130F, not more.

    9. Drop prey item into water for 30 seconds +/-. If multiple prey items, do one at a time. You want each item hot when you offer.

    10. Remove (if hot water, with tongs).

    11. Dry as best as you can, and is quickly as you can, with paper towels. I dry with paper towels while I am walking from the bathroom where I defrost to the snake tanks. I kind of wrap the prey item up in them. It's ten feet, so by the time I get to the tanks, the prey is drier, but still warm.

    12. If not using hot water, use a hairdryer to heat rat so it entices snake

    13. Open tank and offer ASAP.

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    cMoonrise (09-08-2019)

  7. #4
    BPnet Lifer Zincubus's Avatar
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    About thawing and the rodents

    I thaw ours out naturally in the snake room to get their juices going ..then when thawed I feed in the evening and blast each one with the hairdryer for ten seconds .. have the viv door open then offer INSTANTLY

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Last edited by Zincubus; 09-02-2019 at 07:53 AM.

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    Sonny1318 (09-08-2019)

  9. #5
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    As stated 100+ ways. Wet if freezer burned, in the bag if not. I use hot tap water in a Yeti style cup ($7 Wallyworld type). Then after the thaw change water again five - ten minutes. Snakes are healthy an happy, that's all that matters.

    Then you have a better way. Get them live an gas them. If the snake won't eat you freeze it. Thaw it later an try again.

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    cMoonrise (09-08-2019)

  11. #6
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    I tried the bag method and did not like it. I would thaw them all (mix of rats and mice of different sizes) in a container using room temp water. I let them sit for several hours until they are thawed out. For the good eaters (ie woma, Children, king, etc), I would take their food out to dry on a basking lamp that I already use for my skink. Ten minutes later, food is served to the good eaters with zero issues.

    For the more difficult feeders, I drain out the water and refill with warm water. I let the food sit in the warm water for no more than 10 minutes and then pat dry, and blow dry next to the room of where the picky eaters are. I mainly focus on drying the face of the rodent, into the ears, and rear area.

    If I have a new snake that has a reputation of being picky, or the breeder has trouble feeding (Or the seller knows nothing), I would leave it to thaw on top of its cage hours before I warm it with a blow dryer.

    Lastly, and this is with my baby kenyan sand boa, sometimes small babies need a little bit of help. Dry like the above but go easy on the blow dryer as it is probably a day old mouse pinkie that you are heating up (Dry by placing it inside a napkin). I would nudge the pinkie at her face until she understands it is food and takes it. Don't zombie dance the prey too much as it may scare the baby or shy eaters.

  12. #7
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    I thaw in cool water until rodents are soft thru-out (feel by hand, takes longer for larger ones, especially rats). I change water a few times when it gets too cold
    to be effective, but I never use warm water until thawed. Then I'll use warm water to bring rodents up to a more normal temperature, depending upon what I'm
    feeding- very few of my snakes care much: I'm not keeping BPs- the only snake I have with heat-sensing pits currently is my Aussie Spotted python, but she is
    NOT a bit fussy anyway...she grabs the prey from my tongs no matter if it's cold or warm.

    This method reduces spoilage, by the way, whereas thawing in hot or warm water allows bacteria to flourish on the outer part of the prey while the inside is still
    thawing. It's no different than thawing food for our own table, except that we kill germs by cooking, whereas our snakes are eating it raw. The best way to thaw
    meat is either in the refrigerator (where it takes much longer), or under water, where the transfer of cold is the fastest. None of my snakes object to wet rodents
    (though they're blotted off on paper towel as I'm serving), & I've noticed that thawing in plastic bags also takes MUCH longer to thaw...because the air in the bag
    is an insulator. So IMO, the best way to thaw is in cold water, not bagged.

    Then, if you're feeding a snake that needs some "life-like warmth", use a blow-dryer on the rodent just before offering. -hair-styling is optional
    Many friends in low places...

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    cMoonrise (09-08-2019)

  14. #8
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    Re: About thawing and the rodents

    All of my rodents are frozen in individual packs, so I take one out and let it sit in lukewarm water for a while. Once it is fully thawed, I run it under hot water for about 30 seconds, then take it out of the bag and feed.

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk

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    cMoonrise (09-08-2019)

  16. #9
    Registered User sur3fir3's Avatar
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    Personally I do it how I was taught many years ago. I put the rat or mouse on top or in front of enclosure and leave them out to defrost for a few hours. For my Boa I just feed no need to heat up. For my Blood I heat it up flipping the rat over every minute. then I flip the rat once more and I take the temp. If the temp opposite the side I was heating is at least 105 I attempt to feed. I found the best way to feed my blood is to actually place the rat on top of one of his coils. Don't ask me why or how it works, but it works. I found it out by accident one day. I had accidentally dropped the rat on the blood, and decided to leave it there. A few minutes later the rat was consumed
    1.0 T- Blood Python - Sangre
    1.0 Kahl Albino 100% Het Anery - Floyd
    0.1 - Human - Nebraska Locality - Tiara

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    cMoonrise (09-08-2019)

  18. #10
    BPnet Senior Member AbsoluteApril's Avatar
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    Re: About thawing and the rodents

    Quote Originally Posted by cMoonrise View Post
    Many seem to bag them up in a plastic bag first, is that actually necessary?
    I prefer to bag them so they aren't wet and dripping on my snake floor when being offered to the collection but my b/f just puts them directly in the water when he feeds. Either works, nothing wrong with either way.
    I use warmer water than most, especially for the bps, and haven't had any issues although really hot water is only for specific picky feeder issues otherwise it can cause the rodent to 'cook' and burst when being constricted.
    For the Horde!

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    cMoonrise (09-08-2019)

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