Knowing how to feed your snake frozen mice is an essential aspect of snake care. It’s just as important as getting the right size enclosure, figuring out their ideal temperature range, and understanding the quirks of that particular species. Yes, feeding your pet is a basic concept, but extra consideration needs to be taken when cold-blooded animals are involved.
In this article, we’ll cover the different steps of preparing and serving a frozen mouse to your snake. This knowledge will allow you to safely feed your pet snake in a way that enhances its health and strengthens your bond.
4 Steps to Properly Using Frozen Mice
As fundamental as the knowledge of what to feed your snake, so too is how to feed it. Frozen rodents are the de-facto standard, providing the snake’s natural prey in a way that’s convenient, economical, and most importantly, a lot safer for all parties involved.
1. Thaw the mouse
Defrosting a frozen mouse is easily the most important aspect of the preparation process. Ectotherms (cold-blooded animals) cannot regulate their own body temperature and are at the mercy of external heat sources. Colder temperatures slow the snake’s metabolism and other key bodily functions, such as digestion. Still-frozen mice, then, can be extremely difficult for the snake to digest and result in harmful health issues.
There is a slow and fast method of thawing a frozen mouse. Both involve removing the mouse from its packaging and putting it in a separate bag as it comes to the proper temperature. The fast method takes around 30-60 minutes (the precise time frame will depend on the size of the mouse). Put it in a bowl, run cold water over it, and let the mouse sit out until thawed. The slow method is equally simple. All it requires is putting the mouse in the fridge for about 12-24 hours.
Both methods are equally viable, however, there is a wrong way to do it. It is strongly recommended against thawing a frozen mouse in the microwave. It will likely cook the mouse rather than warm it (and probably unevenly at that) which could then make it too hot for a snake to safely consume. It may also result in an exploding mouse.
2. Warm the mouse
Once the mouse has been thawed, the next steps on how to feed a snake frozen mice are all about making said mouse more appetizing. Warming the mouse both aids in digestion and mimics the body heat given off by a live animal. You can use a heat lamp, the sun or a hair dryer to warm up an already thawed out mouse.
3. Dip the mouse in broth (Optional)
This step is recommended if you have a picky snake or are trying to feed your snake a frozen mouse for the first time. Dipping a frozen rodent in broth gives it a stronger, more enticing, scent. Chicken broth is the most commonly used but any sort of animal stock broth will work.
4. Offer the mouse to the snake
Any snake owner will tell you that it’s best to use forceps or tongs when presenting your snake with its meal. This prevents your snake from mistaking your fingers as food. While this advice isn’t exclusive to frozen rodents, feeding forceps do offer another particular benefit. They allow you to dangle and move the mouse in a way that triggers a snake’s instinct to strike. If your snake doesn’t seem interested in their food initially, sometimes a gentle tap on the nose (with the mouse) can do the trick.
You can also utilize forceps to your snake’s advantage by holding the mouse from either its head or tail. This allows the mouse to be at an optimal angle for digestion when your snake strikes.
Why Use Frozen Rodents To Feed Your Pet Reptile
The benefits of frozen mice and rats boil down to cost, convenience, and safety. Using pre-killed mice saves owners the cost of having to care for living mice or paying a premium to a pet store that does. Freezing mice allows them to keep much longer than a freshly killed mouse would. Frozen mice are easy to store in your freezer without additional preparation. Simply grab as many (or few) as you need.
The most important benefit is that frozen rodents are a much safer way to provide a snake with its prey. A living mouse has sharp teeth and claws and even though the snake will eventually overpower it, a tiny mouse can still do a significant amount of damage. This means less stress for both the snake and the snake owner. You and your beloved pet snake have nothing to lose, bet everything to gain, by switching to frozen rodents.