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  1. #1
    Don't Push My Buttons JLC's Avatar
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    Feeder FAQs -- Non-breeding Q's

    1. What are the different names for the different sizes of rats/mice?

    2. Can disease and/or parasites be passed on to herps?

    3. How do I thaw frozen prey?

    4. How do I get my snake to eat frozen/thawed prey?

    5. Can I re-freeze a prey item that wasn't eaten?

    6. How long can frozen prey be safely stored in a freezer?

    7. How do I pre-kill my feeders?

    8. If my snake has out-grown my stock of feeders, what do I do with the small ones?

    9. Is it true that cutting open a p/k or f/t before feeding aids in digestion?

    10. My thawed prey is soaking wet! Can I still feed it to my snake?

    11. Is there anything I can do to boost the nutritional value of my feeders?

    12. What is "gutloading?"

    13. Does it have to be warm? Or is room temperature ok when feeding f/t?

    ==========================================================

    1. What are the different names for the different sizes of rats/mice?

    Birth to 9 days old - pinks (both mice and rats)

    10 to 13 days old - fuzzies (both mice and rats)

    14 to 24 days old - hoppers (mice) pups (rats)

    25 to 35 days old - weans aka weanlings aka weaned

    After weaning (anytime from 3.5 weeks to 5 weeks depending breeders choice) they are both classed by size...small, medium, large, extra-large, etc. RodentPro (www.rodentpro.com) is an excellent resource for a clear idea of what each prey size looks like.

    2. Can disease and/or parasites be passed on to herps?

    It is generally accepted that diseases and parasites of rodents are specific to their host and cannot be passed on to your snake. It is always stressed however to provide the best quality prey animal to your snake.

    3. How do I thaw frozen prey?

    You can either lay it out to defrost at room temp or defrost overnight in the fridge - either way you will have to warm it up further to attract your snake's interest in it. You can also put it frozen straight into a water-tight ziploc baggie and float the bag in very hot (but not boiling) water. There is a product called an "Arctic Mouse Defroster" which by all accounts works well on smaller prey (mice and rats up to pup size). You can use a hairdryer or a heat lamp to warm up defrosted prey items. The goal, whichever method you use, is to bring the prey up to "live" temps, especially the head and belly area, both so your snake will key into it and also because partially defrosted/ice cold prey is not good for your snake's digestive system. Do not let prey thaw so long it could start to decompose and do not use the microwave.

    4. How do I get my snake to eat frozen/thawed prey?

    It's easiest if you start with a snake used to this method of feeding so ask the breeder to make sure your snake will take frozen/thawed (f/t). When feeding always use hemostats or tongs - do not dangle from your fingers. You may have to do the "mouse/rat zombie dance" with the prey being wiggled on the hemostats to simulate live prey movement. Some snakes will react to this and aggressively strike, some won't. You can also lay the warmed thawed prey outside the snake's hide and leave it alone to eat. With stubborn, reluctant feeders sometimes braining the prey (exposing the brain cavity) is required but this is not a common occurrence.

    5. Can I re-freeze a prey item that wasn’t eaten?

    You can refreeze a fully thawed prey item if you do so within a short period of time. If the thawed item has been left overnight and uneaten, it is best to throw it away as it will have already started to decompose. Some refrozen prey items (especially pinks) will be more likely to have weakened belly skin so take care when re-using those. Separate and mark all refrozen prey items for next week's feeding. If they are unused again, dispose of them as repeated freezing will degrade the quality of your snake's food.

    6. How long can frozen prey be safely stored in a freezer?

    As long as your freezer maintains a proper and consistent low temp (sufficient for your own food storage) and the prey items are kept sealed as airtight as possible, they should be good for at least 6 months minimum. It's a good idea to date mark each package from the supplier so you can keep track of how long each package has been around (handy if you order smaller orders every few months).

    7. How do I pre-kill my feeders?

    You can find many sites online with instructions to build your own CO2 chamber to humanely euthanize live feeders. It is not humane to freeze an animal that is still alive. Alternatively you can also learn to do cervical dislocation, again by reading online about this procedure or better yet having someone show you how to do this. Remember to always treat the euthanization of prey animals in as swift and humane manner as possible.

    8. If my snake has outgrown my stock of frozen feeders, what do I do with the small ones?

    You can try offering multiple small prey items to your snake to use them up. You could also try offering one larger prey and one of your leftover smaller prey items to a snake just transitioning up in size. Alternatively you can always offer them to a herp rescue society as a donation. If you are a member of your local herp group you might find someone to trade your excess small prey items to for a few larger ones.

    9. Is it true that cutting a p/k or f/t before feeding aids in digestion?

    No. Your snake's digestion was designed to deal with whole prey animals. The only reason to cut into a prey animal is for the purpose of "braining" (see #4).

    10. My thawed prey is soaking wet! Can I still feed it to my snake?

    Give it a try. Some snakes will not care if the prey is wet or not, some even seem to prefer it that way. If your snake will not take it wet or you are concerned about substrate sticking excessively to the wet prey item, just use your blow dryer on it or pop it under a heat lamp for a few moments.

    11. Is there anything I can do to boost the nutritional value of my feeders?

    If you are not the rodent breeder there's not much you can do other than to try to use suppliers that have good reputations for supplying quality feeders, whether those feeders are live or frozen/thawed.

    12. What is "gutloading?"

    Gutloading is a term used exclusively by lizard keepers when referring to the insects they feed to their lizards. For snakes you are looking for prey that is in good condition and appropriate body weight for size, not covered in feces or stinking of urine and not obviously ill. When you are purchasing pinks, try to find ones that show a milkband (indicates active nursing and hey it's extra calcium!) If you are buying live from a pet store, offer the prey item food and water immediately to ensure you have a well fed, properly hydrated prey item to offer to your snake.

    13. Does it have to be warm? Or is room-temperature ok when feeding f/t?

    Snakes find their prey in great part by the heat signature of that prey. Prey that does not put off a warm enough signature will not interest your snake as snakes are not scavengers and have no natural interest in dead prey. Make sure the prey is blood warm especially the head and belly area.

  2. The Following User Says Thank You to JLC For This Useful Post:

    CoinOperatedGirl (02-05-2018)

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