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  1. #1
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    Any negatives to indefinitely feeding fuzzy rats (in multiples)?

    Quick backstory: I have a ~2 year old ball python who I've just never been able to get on frozen-thawed consistently. I've had some success and have used different thawing methods and frozen rats from different sources.

    Also, early on (1.5 years ago now) I'm not sure but I think my snake for a bite from a too-big rat at the time (rat was wrapped, rat got away, and snake didn't eat for a while) so I'm completely on board with the idea that live feeding can be dangerous.

    Recently I've been feeding multiple largest-with-still-eyes-closed rats, essentially fuzzies, and he eats them consistently. I tried frozen thawed again the past two weeks and the first time outright failed and the second time I tried to prime with feeding a live fuzzy and he readily ate the live fuzzy and balked at the frozen/thawed.

    All this to say, I'm thinking of doing however many baby rats it takes to meet his weekly needs in weight. For example, as I write this I'm in the middle of feeding 6 pinkies because the fuzzies at the store this week are too big, basically hoppers, and he's taking each within a minute of dropping them in and I'm putting the next in soon after he's swallowed and returned to his hide.

    My question: besides the inconvenience and cost and time on my part, any negative to this in terms of my snake's long-term health?

  2. #2
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    How big is this snake? Pinkie mice or rats have very little nutrition- mostly water. Fuzzies are better, but heavy on fat (nursing!) & low on protein (no muscle development) & low on minerals (small bones), so yes, nutritionally speaking, it does matter. A 2 year old snake needs more than that for best health & function. (Pinkie mice OR rats are never a meal for a BP- hatchling BPs usually start on hopper mice unless very small.)

    You mentioned trying a f/t after a live "appetizer" fuzzy, but did you try sneaking the nose of the warmed (!) f/t mouse right into the snake's still-open mouth before he swallowed the fuzzy? It's hard to do, I know...you have to move slow & stealthy so your snake doesn't curl up his neck in a refusal, but it can usually be done that way until the snake learns to accept the new taste of the f/t prey. You might also try fresh-killed prey if possible- after a live fuzzy, at least the first time.

    And believe me I know how frustrating some BPs can be.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 05-16-2024 at 04:56 PM.
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  4. #3
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    Dang. I was hoping for a different answer, haha, but it's better to know. I haven't tried that method yet but also our BP has always been a little jittery, retreating to his hide whenever he sees us.

    I'm almost out of rats this week (about to give the 6th) so no time to thaw a rat (I have a frozen one from the last batch I bought) so I'll try this next week. Maybe I'll get two fuzzies and if I fail on the first one, I can try on the second, and best case scenario he can have the second fuzzy after the f/t.

    All that said, though, feeding pinkies was definitely a, just this week thing, but do you think small hoppers would be relatively low risk of biting or is really anything with eyes open too unsafe to consider?

    I appreciate your help and guidance!
    Last edited by MedicalAuthor; 05-16-2024 at 05:05 PM.

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    Re: Any negatives to indefinitely feeding fuzzy rats (in multiples)?

    Quote Originally Posted by MedicalAuthor View Post
    .....All that said, though, feeding pinkies was definitely a, just this week thing, but do you think small hoppers would be relatively low risk of biting or is really anything with eyes open too unsafe to consider?

    I appreciate your help and guidance!
    Are you asking about hopper mice? or hopper rats? Small hopper mice are relatively low risk- but not zero. And actually, rats aren't normally referred to as "hoppers" ever- usually "pups" or weaned, etc. I wouldn't feed eyes-open baby rats- best avoided, as rats are much better at self defense than mice, & eyes-open means they'll fight back. There is a difference too, between eyes only JUST opened, & the next day...but buying from a shop, you probably won't know or have that much choice.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
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    All rats. Apologies, got the terminology mixed up but I meant rat pups.

    Okay, this all makes sense. Thank you.

  7. #6
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    Images: 3
    Nutritional info on rats, pinks (~10 grams) and small (~54 grams), per the chart in Mader's Reptile Medicine (p. 218):

    Water content: pinks 79%, smalls 70%

    Protein: pinks 58%, smalls 56%

    Calcium: pinks 1.8%, smalls 2% (no data on phosphorus content, but author notes that pinks have a roughly even Ca/P ratio, which becomes Ca-positive in fuzzies and older)

    Fat: pinks 23.7%, smalls 27.5%

    The calcium content of pink mice is considerably lower than that of other ages of mice (pink mice have half the calcium content of weaners, by percent of body mass), but in rats this difference is not so pronounced. Also, it isn't obvious that more water in a prey item is a bad thing in general.

    I agree that trying prekilled is a good idea. Sometimes that's the best compromise between the snake not eating vs getting bitten.

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    Success! Unsure why, but success!

    Got two live fuzzies today. Fed the first and snake was swallowing from inside the hide so best I could do was dangle it outside the hide. Saw tail hanging out mouth and snake striked the small f/t rat I had ready but it was only a half wrap. Came back a few minutes later and it was hovering over the f/t but not seeming interested. I finally took the f/t out and offered the other fuzzy, which it quickly ate. Again, it did the swallowing from inside the hide but I dangled the f/t as it was finishing and it struck fairly quickly.

    This time I left it alone for like an hour (had to run an errand) and when I got back it had eaten.

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    Re: Any negatives to indefinitely feeding fuzzy rats (in multiples)?

    Quote Originally Posted by MedicalAuthor View Post
    Success! Unsure why, but success!

    Got two live fuzzies today. Fed the first and snake was swallowing from inside the hide so best I could do was dangle it outside the hide. Saw tail hanging out mouth and snake striked the small f/t rat I had ready but it was only a half wrap. Came back a few minutes later and it was hovering over the f/t but not seeming interested. I finally took the f/t out and offered the other fuzzy, which it quickly ate. Again, it did the swallowing from inside the hide but I dangled the f/t as it was finishing and it struck fairly quickly.

    This time I left it alone for like an hour (had to run an errand) and when I got back it had eaten.
    Sometimes an "appetizer" is exactly what a snake needs to get on f/t. Probably best to do the same thing for the next couple feedings before you try just offering the f/t by itself- by then, your snake will hopefully respond without the live fuzzies- but some snakes learn faster than others.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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