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  1. #1
    Elite Member Electrophile's Avatar
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    Best Way to Pre-Kill Rodents

    So I've seen a lot of stuff on the internet about people's opinions on how best to dispatch the rodents for either fresh or frozen pre-killed food, so I figured I'd put in my $.02 for this little mini article. To give you guys some background, I'm a grad student in biology (emphasis on environmental and reproductive toxicology) and I've probably directly or indirectly killed about 2000+ mice in my career as a grad student. Here is the way that I have found to be the most humane:

    ***NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART!***

    If you have access to carbon dioxide or dry ice, you can make a "charged" chamber by filling a bucket or some other container with the gas directly or put in some chunks of dry ice. Let the dry ice sit for a few minutes to let the gas (which is heavier than air) sit at the bottom of the bucket or tank or whatever. Place the mouse or rat in and hopefully the charged container will knock the mouse or rat out in just a few seconds. They will usually pass out, release their bladder, and kick for about 10-30 seconds. When they are barely breathing or completely out, make sure to dispatch the animal using some other method like cervical dislocation (see below). I have seen mice which I thought were in mousie heaven come back after what looked like was their last gasp! Especially if you freeze your food, it is no fun to wake up freezing cold in a freezer!

    If don't have access to CO2 or dry ice, cervical dislocation is probably the next best. I personally think picking the mouse or rat up by the tail and whacking it hard on a table or something is quite cruel and you might just severely injure it and not deal it a lethal blow. Instead, I prefer to get a blunt object (the dull side of a butter knife or the closed blade of scissors works fine). For juvenile animals, hold the mouse/rat gently but firmly by the tail so that it is calm and minimizes struggling (you don't want to miss because it is freaking out), put your instrument about 5-7 cm above the target, and quickly give it a blow about a centimeter right behind the ears. It should have broken its neck quickly and the animal might kick a bit with the nerve reflexes. Check to make sure that the neck is indeed broken. For adults, you can do the same thing, but pull at a 45 degree angle backward on its tail just after you hit its neck (keeping the blade of the scissors or whatever on the neck to hold the body down) and you should hear the vertebrae separate. I wouldn't try this on mice younger than 3-4 weeks since you could pull off their tail.

    An alternate method I've heard is getting a bucket, putting a live mouse/rat trap in the bottom, and placing the mouse/rat inside. Listen for the snap, look to make sure you don't have to finish it off, and collect the prey item.
    Maren Bell Jones DVM, MA

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  2. #2
    Elite Member Bitis Gabonica's Avatar
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    Well, that was certainly graphic

    In all honesty I believe C02 to be the kindest way of killing, although I'm not sure i could do either of the other tricks. I personally just prefer to buy my food frozen, but Joe would one day like to breed his own.. I'll leave the HUMANE slaughter to him!
    "If you know everything you may as well blow your brains out because the reason for existence is to learn more everyday." - Mark O'Shea, 2004

  3. #3
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    I used to work at Zoo Basel years ago,and we killed the mice (and they still do so) by picking the mouse up by the tail and whacking it on a table or rock,and it is quick and it always works.But I couldn't to it today;sometimes I still feel bad about it and think of how on earth was I ever able to do such things,but in those days my dream was working in a zoo, so I just accepted that this is part of the job,but never again;I like mine frozen now,thank you very much,lol!

  4. #4
    Elite Member furryscaly's Avatar
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    Yeah, I've always used Jacky's method. I'd put the mouse in a plastic bag, and slam it down on a table or against a wall. It happens so fast, the mouse doesn't see what's coming, and then BAM, its all over, so no pain. Just make sure you don't slam TOO hard. I've done that a few times. NOT a pretty picture. Wastes a perfectly good mouse too. lol, maybe I'm just cold, but I;ve got pet mice, and I'd never even think of doing that to them, but to a feeder? Sure, its different.
    Hi.

  5. #5
    rbl
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    MacGyver in real life rbl's Avatar
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    When I bred hamsters sometimes I had to put some to sleep permanently due to health problems that would take away their life quality (birth deformities, diseases, etc).
    I used propane or butane gas (can't remember each one) and it works great but I don't know if the gas intake can poison the snake or whatever animal you are feeding the mice to.

    Correction! This method is not safe for killing animals to be used as feeders! The following text remains here for your information only! Thanks Merlin!

    Anyway, the process is quite simple, painless and humane. The mice just falls asleep and never wakes again.
    Take a large jar, punch two small holes in its lid, one large enough for the gas hose to pass through and the other large enough for a cork.
    Open the jar, put the mice in, close the jar, put the gas hose in the hole, pull the lever and let gas fill the jar and push the air out, you know when It's fill when you can smell gas through the second hole, turn off the gas, put the cork in the second hole (in fact you can put corks in both holes for security), and around 15 min later the mice would be dead.

    The only thing I don't like about this process is the unsafe aspect of it. You can't forget you are dealing with a combustible gas. Lighting a cigarette in the middle of the process would have disastrous results =)
    Wish list: Blue Tongue Skinks and Uruplatus =)

  6. #6
    Reptile Rescue esbat's Avatar
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    I worked with birds of prey for 11 years and used the same method as Jacky and FurryScaly, an added measure was the cervical separation. We used a pencil to push down on the neck just to be sure. It all seems so cruel but it was really quick and allowed us to cull the amount we needed.
    Val


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  7. #7
    Elite Member steel rip's Avatar
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    I'm just glad I can buy frozen, I couldnt kill one it would go through me and prey on my mind for days and days, probably have nighmares, they are so small and cute.

    Although saying that we had mice many years ago in this house we lived in, and they are horrible, I killed it with my husbands boot, it was a natural instinct lol through fear, it came running by and I just whacked it.
    Donna

    0.0.1 Uromastyx named Bailey
    0.0.1 Savannah Monitor named Cujo
    Rosehair Tarantula

  8. #8
    Administrator Merlin's Avatar
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    • My Reptiles
    I used propane or butane gas (can't remember each one) and it works great but I don't know if the gas intake can poison the snake or whatever animal you are feeding the mice to.
    Do NOT use this method for dispatching rodents to be used as feeders! There will be residue left from the gasses that are toxic!

    For those who want something a bit less dramatic than the grab and thump routine, here is a link to an article on humane euthanasia. It also uses CO2 but uses common household items to produce it.
    http://www.alysion.org/euthanasia/
    Merlin,
    What's Life Without A Little Magic!

  9. #9
    Contributing Member smallgrayfox's Avatar
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    Thank goodness for frozen rodents!
    ~Juliane~
    0.1.0 Bearded Dragon, Macha
    1.0.0 Demon Spawn...uh, cat, Oberon
    0.1.0 senile Spaniel mix, Daisy
    1.0.0 Babylonian god, er, ferret, Pazuzu

    Still missing my snakes...
    0.1.0 Childrens Python, Ky-Lin (my avatar)
    1.0.0 Okeetee Corn Snake, Jack
    0.1.0 Normal Corn Snake, Sally
    0.0.1 Anerythristic Type A Corn Snake, Spectre

    Wishing for another Childrens Python...maybe hubby will change his mind someday?


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  10. #10
    rbl
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    Thanks for the tip Merlin! =)
    Wish list: Blue Tongue Skinks and Uruplatus =)

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