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Mice. Rats. Rodents.

Discussion in 'Feeders' started by wickedrabies, Aug 13, 2016.

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What is the next best rodent for a boa?

  1. Stick with mice.

    1 vote(s)
    100.0%
  2. Hamster

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Gerbil

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Other (explain in comments, but know rat is not an option)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. wickedrabies

    wickedrabies Member

    So I have a curious question to all those that specialize in boas and pythons! I have to drive an hour from home to get my boa her food. Which isn't too much of an issue. But I'm looking into starting my own breeding of small animals to provide for her. However, and y'all can laugh and criticize me all you want, but I cannot bring myself to feed her a rat of any age. It kills me inside. I can do mice. Mice are easy. But I was raised with rats and I see them differently. I know, it's not healthy for me or her. And I'd like input on what other rodents can substitute for a rat.
    In our local petstores we have:
    Mice
    Hamsters
    Gerbils
    All of variant sizes, breeds, and colours. So. According to everyone here, in respect of my inability to sacrifice a rat, what would be the next best thing to get her the needed nutrition that I can also breed here at home?
    No, I can't get her to eat frozen. I've tried. I've even tried pre-killed, braining, cooking in broth. Nothing turns her on faster than a beating heart and a moving live target. :I
     
  2. Garters45

    Garters45 Well-Known Member

    You can heat up dead rats, rub them in the mouse scent, then use tongs to move the rat around her face. Usually works, but if not, the largest sized mice and gerbils will probably be fine for her. Could you feed the snake rats that didn't look like the usual "pet rat," or is it just the thought that bothers you? Some people will not feed their pets white rats or mice, but are fine feeding them brown ones, because they say they seem less domesticated. It all seems the same to me, but I know it is very different to some people. Good luck with your snake!
     
  3. wickedrabies

    wickedrabies Member

    I've actually gone as far with frozen as heating them up and rubbing them on live mice or rats. I've even pre-killed just before offering it to her and she has absolutely no desire. Now, mind, she's a hungry little lady and at the time she was two weeks without because my man had to work harvest and those are some wicked hours. I've tried in the past to feed a snake a rat and I couldn't do it. I had to have my ex-husband feed it while I cried on the patio. :I I didn't go inside or look at my poor snake for a whole month. He had to clean the droppings while I wallowed. I can't even begin to explain what makes it so hard for me. It's frustrating beyond belief. But that's also like, I cannot and will not eat rabbit. The idea of eating something I was once so emotionally attached to makes my stomach turn over like an Olympian gymnast. -_-;; So that's going to be my next giant hurdle to come one day, I'm sure.
    If I can keep and breed gerbils to feed her, that'd be fantastic. Are they hard to breed, do you kow?
     
  4. Garters45

    Garters45 Well-Known Member

    No worries, I can relate. I've heard gerbils are pretty easy to breed, but I'm no expert. Good luck feeding your snake!
     
    wickedrabies likes this.
  5. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi, if you can`t bring yourself to feed a rat, how can you bring yourself to feed other (live) rodents, do you take into consideration the unnecessary suffering to the prey and the very real possibility of injury to your snake?
    You mention you tried feeding dead prey and the snake wasn`t interested even after not being fed for 2 weeks, that amount of time is nothing, try leaving 3 to 4 weeks before offering (dead) food.
    How big is the snake?
     
  6. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Part of the issue you face is the sheer numbers of small rodents you will need to feed as a large snake matures. With each individual rodent there will be an amount of undigestable material which the snake must expell. By feeding multiples that amount of material also multiplies.
     
  7. wickedrabies

    wickedrabies Member

    To those that have not commented and wonder how I can feed other rodents, I can't even begin to explain it. I wish I could, it would shine light on so much. However, I can't even bring myself to kill spiders. I trap them and put them outside. Flies and mosquitos are easy peasy. Spiders. Nope. I even have a powerful fear of spiders the compelled me from avoiding our crawl space even during a tornado. We drove to my partners mother's instead because I will not, under any circumstances, go under my house. I watch my boa eat her mice pretty easily. Nature shows are a breeze. But actually submitting a rat throws me into an unhealthy depression.
    Rose is about two and a half feet yet, she should be eating rat pups or a little larger. Instead, we feed her two to three mice every two to three weeks.
    Merlin, the numbers is what concerns me. I'm looking for an alternative rodent that while not the sheer size of a rat, could at least provide her with better nutrition she will need as she matures. Once I can get over that hump of rodents, I will have to move on to larger prey. And I have no idea what that will be. I keep and raise laying chickens? Maybe by the time my flock has established and matured, she will be large enough to take out extra roosters I might have hatched? Is that a thing? Offering chickens? I've heard of people feeding day old chicks to ill snakes, is that better?
     
  8. Garters45

    Garters45 Well-Known Member

    Chicks can definitely be eaten. Myself, I am too attached to my birds to feed them to snakes, but have no problem with rats. Honestly, do you think you could feed your boa chicks? It's pretty upsetting for most people. If you can though, they are a viable alternative.
     
  9. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Poultry is a viable part Of a diet. However feeding poultry tends to result in very loose and extra smelly stools.
     
    wickedrabies likes this.
  10. wickedrabies

    wickedrabies Member

    That is good to know Garters and Merlin.
    I love my chickens as much as the next, but when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, we cannot have roosters in city limits. I'm lucky I even have hens. So feeding excess roosters wouldn't be an issue, especially if they're flock raised as opposed to the one roo I raised myself. But then taking to consideration smelly stools, I'll definitely keep it in mind the cons, too. We have a verbal agreement with my partner's Dad that he has pick over my flock if he wants a meat chicken, but for now - he's happy with eggs. He says he only wants the roosters to help keep my numbers down and my neighbors happy.
    So for breeding small animals, mice and gerbils are viable options?
     
  11. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    I take it you have no intention of making a more concerted effort to feed dead prey, instead you`ll continue putting the snake at risk of quite serious injuries and will not worry too much about any unnecessary suffering to the prey (so long as it isn`t a rat or rabbit)?
    The times captive snakes refuse to take dead prey to the point of actually starving themselves to death are quite rare.
    I also get the impression there`s at least a degree of "entertainment value" in watching your snake "hunt" live food? " I watch my boa eat her mice pretty easily".
    I wish your snake a long and healthy life.....
     
  12. wickedrabies

    wickedrabies Member

    As I said originally, I expect a lot of criticism and negativity.
    Yes, I understand the risk of live food.
    Yes, I understand she needs to be on rats.
    Yes, I understand the benefits of frozen.
    Yes, I am a absolutely horrible snake keeper. And if you think for one moment you can live in my boots - they're a size nine and lace'em on up. I also care for five dogs, one with PTSD, another that is people aggressive, and a female that has a kill drive longer than Jack the Ripper. I also have a molly that urinates in my bed if I do not close my door. I have a FIV tom in a kennel. And my PTSD dog is a cat killer. I have Animal Control breathing down my neck for my dogs. And I have a neighbor that wants to kill my twelve year old tom. A bird that loathes me. And a boa that has a bottomless pit for a stomach and at no point has she ever turned away food.
    (If it feels like I'm becoming defensive, I am. I came here looking for HELP not criticism. Just because I know it's there does not give anyone permission to shame me. I do that all on my own without anyone's help, thanks - but keep your shaming to yourself.)
    So with that said.
    I have frozen in my freezer still. I do still try to get her to accept it. And it has not been successful. Assuming I simply quit trying is an absurd and wrong notion. I would like more than anything for her to take dead. Not for entertainment value - but for safety and to me - it feels as though it's a bonding method. I had hand fed poisonous fish, and I curretly hand feed my FIV tom. It's not that I don't want to do it - trust me that is far from the question. I would be absolutely Honoured if she would take food from me via tongs. That would make my entire month every week or month.
    So please. Keep your negativity to yourself. I am here for Help.
     
  13. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Ok ease up a bit. When you ask questions you are going to get some feedback that you may not want to hear. Nobody is deliberately trying to make you feel bad, just giving you things to think about. Many of us have been doing this a loooooooong time and at times we may be a bit on the blunt side. We aren't trying to upset you just trying to give you the best advice we can.
     
    Qwerty3159 and murrindindi like this.
  14. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    In your opening post you said people could criticise you all they want, so I criticised you, but only in the interest of both predator and prey! ;)
    My idea of helping further is to reduce the feedings to every 3 to 4 weeks (so long as the snake isn`t losing any noticable weight). That way he/she should be quite hungry and you might just get a better response to a prekilled item.
    It can take many months to convert them but in the main the end result is the amount of effort YOU put in!
    A fresh killed item (still warm) moved artificially by you should get the snake`s attention, movement is movement it`s unlikely the snake would differentiate if it`s hungry enough (we hope)...
     
  15. Garters45

    Garters45 Well-Known Member

    Oh yeah, watching the snakes hunt down and slowly strangle their prey is such fun...But seriously, :). I think Wicked meant she doesn't have an issue feeding mice. As long as feeding is supervised, live prey is completely a risk you can take, and usually have success with. I would never leave a snake alone with prey though. And live, IMHO, is much more enriching for a snake then dead food. It's just nature.
     
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  16. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    ? Your assertion that feeding live (if supervised) "is completely a risk worth taking because it`s usually successful" is quite irresponsible, what about the "unusual" times when it fails and both predator and prey suffer unnecessarily?
    Your idea that it`s perfectly "natural" is the usual explanation of the "pro-live feed brigade", but there`s nothing remotely natural about sticking a snake in a confined space and tossing a live rodent in with it, the latter of which will realise it`s a life and death situation and do it`s very best to protect itself.
    The fact that the prey is alive is much more "enriching" for keepers like yourself, it has no known health benefits to the snake!?
     
    Merlin likes this.
  17. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I agree. There is really no reason to feed live except in the exceedingly rare case of snake which just will not convert. In several decades of snake keeping I have yet to encounter one that wouldn't.
     
  18. Garters45

    Garters45 Well-Known Member

    Just my opinion. I have never had a snake injured by its prey, and I feed mostly live, though admittedly it's mostly prey that won't injure snakes, like fish for my garters, etc. With mice/rats, I would never feed anything but frozen, but I have no issues with other people doing it. If you watch your snake, you can do it quite responsibly, especially if you are using pinkies or fuzzies. No, I didn't mean enriching for me, my first sentence was a joke, I meant enriching for the snake. Mine much prefer live when dead are also an option in the tank, which makes sense. Would you rather eat a steak well done, or medium rare? Well done is probably safer for you, but, in my case, medium rare sounds much more appetizing. Sorry, not the best analogy, but it's all I can think up at the moment. I love all my animals, and feed them as is natural for their species, or as much as possible. I have never had any problem with live foods, and in fact, the one time I fed my leopard geckos dead mealworms, my female got mouth rot and died. Of course, it's all opinion, and I don't want to upset anyone, but it's just my view, and I believe in it the same way you do yours. Have a nice day. :) I do enjoy a nice discussion on live feeding.
     
  19. Qwerty3159

    Qwerty3159 Elite Member

    Just to put it out there, the mealworms are almost surely not the reason for either of those things
     
    Merlin likes this.
  20. Garters45

    Garters45 Well-Known Member

    I know it sounds strange, but here's what happened. The female usually eats live, so when she got a dead mealworm in her mouth, she didn't swallow it. It became lodged in her mouth, and unbeknownst to me, rotted, causing severe, deadly mouth rot. When she stopped eating I inspected her mouth and found the problem worm. I was too late though. It was sort of a freak thing to be fair.
     

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