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Using Mice, Rats and other Mammals for food

If you keep larger carnivorous animals, especially snakes,
lizards or large frogs, you will probably need to feed them
rodents. Rodents have the best nutrition to cost ratio for
reptile food, and few carnivorous animals, even the
notoriously hard to feed snakes, will turn down a mouse or
rat since they are basically their natural prey.

However, there are some real problems to consider if you
plan to feed your pet live mice or rats, especially if your
pet is a reptile. One of the biggest dangers is that, if you
are not knowledgeable and vigilant, your pet could wind up
being the rodent's meal rather than the other way around.
Some reptile keepers believe that rodents should be killed,
frozen, and thawed just before feeding them to your pet
because dead food can't bite back, and freezing can also
kill any parasites the mouse or rat may carry.

Another thing you will need to consider is whether you will
purchase live rodents to feed to your pets, purchase fresh
frozen rodents, raise your own and feed live, or raise your
own and freeze them yourself. You can find experienced pet
owners and professional breeders who swear by each of these
methods, so you will need to decide what seems best for you
and your pets.

Here is a little information about rodents as live food, to
help you decide:

Feeding purchased Living Mice and Rats to your Pets

The first thing you will need to do is to find a good
reliable source of the right sized mice or rats for live
food. You may find a nearby pet store or breeder that keeps
a good stock of healthy, clean, well-nourished rodents and
sells them for food animals at a reasonable price. If so,
you are in luck. But be sure to investigate the level of
care your feeder rodents have received, an ill or poorly
nourished mouse or rat will not be good nutritious food for
your pet.

Feeding home bred living Mice and Rats to your Pets

If you can't find a good source of live animals, you can
breed your own. Mice and rats are not hard to breed, but be
aware that they need daily care, more care than your reptile
or amphibian likely requires. Rodents need plenty of food
and water every day, and if you don't change their bedding
very regularly you will have a bad odor problem.

More about the Dangers of feeding home bred living Mice and
Rats to your Pets

Snakes in particular are often injured either by the prey or
by striking the cage wall while attacking live prey. Snakes
and lizards have lost tongues or eyes in such battles. Or,
if the snake is approaching molt or just not ready to feed
and the rodent is left live in the tank, the mouse or rat
may nibble on the snake. Such injuries can become infected
with bacteria or fungus and can even lead to the snake's
death, and at the least may cause the snake to become a shy,
poor feeder and to refuse to ever again strike the type of
animal that injured them. If you do feed your pets live
food, no matter what species your pet is, try to oversee the
process and make sure that your pet is safe and able to

For information about feeding fresh frozen rodents to your
pets that eat live food, please read the article on this
website called "Feeding Frozen Mice, Rats or other Mammals
to your Reptile and Amphibian Pets

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