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Best Way To Pre-kill Feeder Mice

Discussion in 'Ball Pythons' started by Atroxus, Jan 24, 2018.

  1. Atroxus

    Atroxus Well-Known Member

    My wife doesn't like having frozen rodents in our freezer, or having to thaw them, however her ball python was bitten recently when eating a live mouse. It was only a minor injury and is healing well, but it turned my wife off on the idea of live prey.(Though not enough to keep frozen rodents in our freezer) So now I am currently feeding our two ball pythons a mix of fresh killed and live mice and working towards all pre-killed. So far only one is taking to pre-killed prey consistently.

    I do have a dilemma though, which is trying to find the most humane method of killing the feeder mice.

    I have been researching this and I found that most producers of frozen rodents kill them using CO2 suffocation. At first glance, I thought this seemed like a great idea, because I have heard that people who die of carbon monoxide(CO) poisoning just pass out and die peacefully in their sleep. Apparently this is not the same case for carbon-dioxide(CO2) suffocation, which is supposedly a closer experience to drowning than just peacefully drifting off to sleep. Drowning doesn't seem all that humane to me, though it could probably be argued that it is still less traumatic for the rodent then being bitten and suffocated by squeezing. I also did some research on the possibility of a homemade carbon monoxide chamber, however I found out that producing or working with CO is much more risky to humans than CO2, even at relatively low concentrations. It also doesn't seem very practical to build a gas chamber to kill 1-2 mice at a time though.

    The owner of my local reptile store recommended smacking live rodents heads on hard surfaces to stun or kill them before feeding. I have used this method very effectively in the past on large feeder rats. The few times I have tried with mice though, it took several attempts to even stun them and I got bit in the process(can't blame the mouse, I would have reacted similarly were our roles reversed), so I stopped using this method.

    Another method I found is placing them on a table with a screwdriver across the neck at the base of the skull, then pulling up on the tail to separate the spine at the base of the skull. The method seems pretty humane, and has been effective 2/3 of the time so far. The most recent though I apparently didn't pull up hard enough on the tail the first attempt and had to try again, so that has me back to questioning if there is a better way.

    Anyone have any better ideas for me?
     
  2. toddnbecka

    toddnbecka Well Established Member

    Personally I just throw them down on the (concrete basement) floor. Kills them instantly, which seems more "humane" than constriction by the snake.
     
  3. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    Using carbon dioxide requires a 2 step process to make it the most humane. You start by adding just enough to get the animals inside the chamber to pass out, then you increase the flow to finish euthanization. But yes, maybe not practical when only doing a couple at a time, cost of co2 would be an issue. Cervical dislocation, the last method you described, is usually the quickest and easiest method, but does take some practice to get good at. And just a tip, you'd be better off getting hold of the back legs rather than the tail, it allows for better control of the force you use and you don't risk pulling the tail off.

    Edit: Forgot to mention, look into getting a dedicated freezer for rodents. A small chest freezer can be had new for less than $150, sometimes a lot less if you catch the right sale, and the newer one don't draw a ton of electricity. You might even be able to find a used one to make it even cheaper. Then you have someplace to keep frozen rodents and all the above becomes moot. I actually have 2 freezers, because my wife got over her issues with mixing human and reptile food when she saw how much she would be able to stick in the freezer, to the point where we had to get another one so I'd be able to find the rodents when I needed them.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2018
  4. AmityReptiles

    AmityReptiles Well Established Member

    I have a little mini freezer in my snake room, bought it on Craigslist for $40... to thaw you just plop them in some warm water and wait a few minutes. If you want to kill your own mice that's up to you, but I've found it's way easier and infinitely cheaper to buy frozen mice.
     
  5. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Something else you need to consider. There will come a time when mice aren't going to cut it. You will need rats.
    The cervical dislocation is easy with mice but a bit more difficult with rats.
     
  6. Atroxus

    Atroxus Well-Known Member

    Currently my wife's the male has taken pre-killed his last 3 or 4 feedings in a row, but I have only coaxed my girl into taking 1, though when she has refused the pre-killed I gave them to Loki and have offered her live after...I am thinking next time I will just wait a few days before offering another pre-killed instead of giving in on the live food.

    If I can get my female ball python to take pre-killed consistently, I will either see if I can find a small freezer to keep in our reptile room or I may take another run at trying to convince my wife to let me store rodents in one of our existing freezers. Maybe point out how much cheaper it would be to get frozen instead of live.

    In the mean time, I will try Darkbird's suggestion of pulling by feet instead of tail for cervical dislocation. Thanks for the feedback everyone. :)
     
  7. dp428

    dp428 Established Member

    I am also going throw this same predicament. I don't like to kill things with my hands (Well in general I don't like to kill things but I understand how the food chain and life works). I tend to be too delicate with my hands when trying to kill a rat or mouse and it turns out not to be quick at all and then I feel like hell for dragging it out for so long.

    I can do the cement smack but I do like the CO2 method better, the 2 step process. I don't know the pricing for a set-up or the CO2 itself.


    Do they make a captive bolt pistol (The thing they use for cattle, sheep and other livestock) for smaller animals?
     
  8. Atroxus

    Atroxus Well-Known Member

    I think I am getting better at dispatching via cervical dislocation. I am still trying to convince my wife that buying frozen is better than live, and of course still trying to get our girl Curly to take pre-killed though. She refused a pre-killed last night, but our male Loki took it with no hesitation so at least it didn't go to waste. Luckily we have some pet mice as well, so I put the second one in with on of our pets, and will kill and offer that one to Curly either this evening, or tomorrow. Wish me luck.
     
  9. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    I think the co2 setup can be done fairly inexpensively using stuff from the paintball industry, but I haven't looked into specifics for that. I'm usually doing a large number at a time if I am storing extras so I was looking into larger regulators and such. A quick Google search would probably turn up lots of DIY options. Dry ice can work as well, but it's a lot harder to control how much gas it's giving off, and it would likely be a pain to buy in very small quantities.
     
  10. Marvin Burch

    Marvin Burch New Member

    These rodents are one of the dirty creatures which litter and urinate around the surroundings of the house. Once they get into the house and apartments, they wander here and there in search of food. It is very important to get it out of the Residence.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 31, 2018
  11. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    We are talking about feeder mice. NOT the rodents which infest homes. Feeder mice are raised in clean environments.
     

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