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Thinking About a Kingsnake

Discussion in 'Snakes - General' started by awall3202, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. awall3202

    awall3202 Elite Member

    were thinking about getting a kingsnake in a few months and found a breeder in our area. but i dont know what to use for substrate and is there a way around feeding live mice and rats? i used to have rats and mice as pets and don't think i can handle feeding them to anything.
     
  2. HERPies

    HERPies Elite Member

    Aspen shavings is the best bedding. Frozen rodents are readily available online and at petco/petsmart.
     
  3. awall3202

    awall3202 Elite Member

    aspen shavings? would you get that at a pet store or a hardware store? how would you feed them a frozen rodent? jus hang it in front of them til they eat it or do you put it on a rock or something? i have a lot of research to do before getting one. i want to have everything set up and ready before bringing one home.
     
  4. aquarles

    aquarles Elite Member

    HERPies took the words right out of my mouth. I use aspen bedding with both my corn snake and sand boa and feed both of them f/t.

    I buy in bulk at a local exotic pet store since the drive is not too close and they keep in the freezer for a long time.

    Thawing out the frozen mice is not hard either. Just put the mice (however many you plan to feed your snake that day) into a plastic bag and let it sit in cold or warm water until thawed out. Right before you feed them to your snake you can heat them up with a hairdryer or the heat lamp you use for your snake's enclosure. (That's what I do).
     
  5. aquarles

    aquarles Elite Member

    You can buy aspen at almost any pet store. I'm sure lowes or Home Depot has it in a bulk size too but it might not be as finely shaven as a pet store would have it. I have used both with no problem.

    I use grilling tongs to feed my snakes. I just pick up the thawed out and warm pinky mouse by the bottom (so the head of the pinky is facing the snake) and wiggle it in front of them a little bit. I have never had any trouble with my corn snake taking it immediately.
     
  6. awall3202

    awall3202 Elite Member

    i'll have to ask the breeder i found if he uses frozen, if not is the transition from live to frozen difficult or would it be better to find a breeder that has always used frozen with them?
     
  7. aquarles

    aquarles Elite Member

    I don't know a lot about kingsnakes but I do know that the transition for most snakes is definately do-able with some techniques and ways of getting the snake to think it's live prey before they get used to taking f/t.

    If it's possible to find a breeder near you that only offers f/t to their snakes, that would be much less stress on you and your snake than trying to transition them from live to f/t.

    I am a new time snake owner and have picked up a lot of helpful information from this site and everyone on it. You will learn quickly once you ask a lot of questions and read a lot of caresheets specifically for kingsnakes. :)
     
  8. HERPies

    HERPies Elite Member

    Don't have a king, but I feed all my boas frozen and there has never been a transition period, they eat it! I thaw mine in a bad floating in water, then before feeding I just change the water out with hot water and let them sit in that for a few minutes. I use tongs, hold it by the tail and jiggle it in front of their face (and try not to flinch). I use kaytee brand aspen, if you can't find it at a pet store (which all petco/petsmart stores will have some sort of aspen shavings) you can order online from many reptile supply stores.
     
  9. aquarles

    aquarles Elite Member

    I also do that sometimes, or I run hot water over the mice in the bag for a minute or so.
     
  10. HERPies

    HERPies Elite Member

    I like the blow dryer idea, I just don't think my wife would like me dangling dead rats over it!
     
  11. Dragonflies

    Dragonflies Banned User

    I would say the more responsible thing to do is find a breeder that feeds F/T. If it was me, I would tell the other breeder that I didn't buy from them because they feed live, if enough people did that, he might stop. But that's just me? :)
    I can think of two reasons for people feeding live: Laziness - and if he's lazy in that respect, he's probably lazy in others, which could mean he sells snakes that aren't in the best of health. The other reason is he gets a kick out of it, which would suggest he cares less about his snakes than he should. Which could also suggest his snakes are in less than optimum health.
     
  12. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Many very responsible breeders start them out on live pinkies, since they have no way of injuring the hatchlings.
    However, kingsnakes have such a strong feeding response that they will hit just about anything remotely smelling of food!
     
  13. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Some snakes have to be started on live for their first few meals. Just to get them eating, and worry about switching later.

    Most Kingsnakes though, do not. My MBK was started on frozen with her breeder, and has never had a live meal a day in her life. She is only 8 or 9 inches long right now - so not very old.

    You shouldn't have a problem getting your king to eat frozen, just make sure it is properly thawed, as incompletely thawed rodents can make your snake sick, and cause them to regurgitate - which isn't pleasant at all, for you or for your snake.

    When you first get your snake, I would recommend using paper towels as the substrate so you can quarantine properly. This makes it easy to watch for mites, or other pests, and generally keep a close eye on the snake's health. I would recommend a one-month minimum for quarantine, longer if problems arise.

    Hope this helps.
     
  14. KristenNC

    KristenNC Elite Member

    My king was a rescue from a classroom where they fed live. She requires gloves to handle because she was tormented in the classroom, but she is an awesome feeder. She switched from live to f/t with no problems (she was 3-4 years old at the time). I just put the f/t in the feeder bin and then put her in. She pounces like she hasn't eaten in a year! She's very easy to care for and I wouldn't trade her for anything.
     
  15. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Kings are a relatively easy snake - some have temperament issues, and some do not. If you can come to term with that, you should be fine.

    At any rate, most Kings are not big enough to inflict a very damaging bite. And like most snake bites, they sre more startling than they are painful.
     
  16. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Unless they latch onto your finger and start to grind trying to swallow your finger. LOL!
    My wifes cal king was baaaaaad about that. No real damage was involved but it was a bit painful.
     
  17. Dragonflies

    Dragonflies Banned User

    In the UK where it is illegal to feed live, I'm not aware of any snakes not being bred
    because of this. What are the reasons you believe "Some snakes have to be started on live for their first few meals."?
    I'm just asking out of curiosity. :)
     
  18. awall3202

    awall3202 Elite Member

    Thank you so much you've all been very helpful. I'm made a few contacts with people in my area that buy from breeders and found one guy (he actually runs a reptile rescue in my area) ill probably end up buying from. I didn't realize there are so many different kinds of kingsnakes til he told me about a website Reptiles for Sale from GeneralExotics.com - Online Shopping for Lizards, Frogs, Snakes, Tortoises, Toads and more. to look at them and let him know if I find one I like because they use the same breeder he does who only feeds f/t. Im gonna get everything set up and since he's in my area see if he would mind stopping by to see if its good or if I need anything else before I bring one home.
     
  19. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Depending on where you are in Texas, there are a few reptile expos coming down there. Then you could see, and handle the snakes and talk directly to the breeders.
     
  20. Jflores

    Jflores Elite Member

    Personally I like to feed my snakes live rodents, In a way I feel it lets them keep that hunting mind frame intact. I have seen pythons who are accustomed to being fed F/T mice and instead of striking and constricting they simply adjust the rodents head and start eating. Then again as I stated this is based on personal experience. However that not to say that F/T rodents are bad, if you feel bad about feeding live then F/T is the way to go, not to mention it's easy on the wallet.

    As far as bedding goes aspen is the way to go!!

    Quick question to the seasoned pros, Are the nutritional value of live feed different than that of a frozen?
     

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