The snake has been a common household pet for quite some time now, and mice have always been a top choice of prey for many wild species.
But the diet of a captive snake differs from that of a wild one. Unsurprisingly, due to the many different species of snakes and intricacies of a snake’s diet and eating habits, there is much to know when it comes to feeding mice to snakes.
This article will be helpful for snake owners who want to know about the best ways to feed mice to their snake.
Are frozen mice bad for snakes?
In terms of diet and nutrition, no, frozen mice are not bad for a snake. Believe it or not, all snakes are carnivores (yes, even garden snakes). Therefore, no need to second guess feeding them mice. In fact, you should be feeding them mice, or other rodents or small game, for they form an integral part of their nutritional requirements.
However, it is common to wonder if a snake should be fed frozen mice or live mice. In short, a pet snake should always be fed frozen mice. The confusion of this can likely be attributed to the fact that a wild snake usually kills and eats live mice (although also occasionally eats rodents that have already been dead).
But, as I’ve mentioned, a snake in captivity lives a very different life than one in the wild.
Therefore, it is recommended that you feed your snake frozen feeder mice!
Should I use live mice for snakes?
While you should feed your snake frozen feeder mice, you should NOT feed him live mice. Put simply, there is absolutely no need to do so and it can actually be dangerous for the snake.
For starters, by feeding your snake live mice, you will be intentionally and pointlessly putting each mouse though intense suffering and psychological stress while he is being hunted by the snake.
Also, even worse, a live mouse put into a snake tank could attack a vulnerable snake and cause serious injury, and in the worst case scenario, even kill the snake.
The bottom line is that there is no need to incorporate live mice into your snake’s diet. Frozen feeder mice do just fine.
Where can I buy frozen mice for my snake?
Frozen feeder mice can be bought in numerous ways, typically either through an online vendor or retail pet store.
The options that are available online are extensive, but it may be beneficial to first visit your local pet store. Pet store staff members are generally quite knowledgable when it comes to your pet’s diet and nutrition, and regarding a snake, certain species require different sizes of feeder mice.
However, if you’re already familiar with what your snake’s specific diet requires, there are plenty of convenient options to choose from online, even on Amazon, which offer easy shipping.
How do you thaw frozen mice for a snake?
When feeding your snake feeder mice, you should always thaw the frozen mice before giving them to your snake. As a general rule of thumb, a frozen mouse should be warmed up until it is at least room temperature.
There are a few correct ways to thaw frozen feeder mice. You can place them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and leave the bag in there overnight. Or, if can’t wait overnight, you can place the plastic bag in a bowl of cold water and then place it in warm water after its thawed right before you feed your snake so your snake gets a warm meal.
Also, don’t use the microwave to thaw frozen mice. The mouse may explode in the microwave due to the harsh heat, or even worse, your snake may be burned by a microwaved mouse due to an uneven heating of the mouse. Therefore, always opt for the longer, but more evenly thawed methods.
How are frozen mice killed for snakes?
The frozen mice (and other rodents) that are used for the purpose of feeding snakes and other carnivorous pets are euthanized using carbon dioxide (CO2).
This method has become the industry standard because it is considered to be humane and not cruel. The process is usually done in mass, with large amounts of pinkies (baby mice) being killed at once. They are put in a room or chamber and are slowly exposed to a calculated amount of CO2. The CO2 dose is low enough that they don’t feel out of breath, slowly feel their health deteriorate, or begin to panic. The dose is calculated so that the increase in CO2 levels slowly makes them sleepy, making them unconscious, and eventually killing them without any unnecessary stress.
How long can I leave a frozen mouse in my snakes cage?
It is actually quite common for a snake to not eat dead mice, and there are a number of reasons why. For example, you could be feeding your snake too often, mice that are either too big or too small, or you could be feeding your snake when he’s shedding his skin (none of which are recommended to do).
You really shouldn’t leave dead mice in a snake’s tank for more than 15 minutes at a time. This is because the longer dead mice remain untouched with a snake, the more desensitized the snake becomes to the mice. If you let the dead mice sit there for longer, the mice will eventually rot or get covered in harmful bacteria, in which you have to throw them away and cannot refreeze them.
If you remove dead mice away from your snake soon enough, there is no need to throw them out. You can refreeze them with no problem and try feeding them again to your snake under better conditions (if the mice are not properly sized for your snake, you might want to throw out).
The takeaway message is this: only feed frozen mice to your snake (never live mice)!