Here in Colorado we enjoy some of the most abundantly available live feeder rodents, at some of the lowest prices, in the country. Live rodent feeders in Colorado are often similar in price to their F/T (frozen/thawed) counterparts. For some of us with picky ball pythons that comes as a blessing. But, that being said, the broad availability of live feed sometimes means we don't stop to consider whether frozen food might be right for some of our captive animals.
In many parts of the world snake keepers feed exclusively frozen foods to their snakes for many reasons.
One being that the rodents just aren't available. Keepers must maintain, clean, and breed their own supply if they want to feed live to their animals. This can be time consuming, costly, odorous, and could irritate allergy sufferers.
Two, in some parts of the world it is illegal to feed a live vertebrate animal to another animal! Meaning reptile keepers could face serious consequences by feeding their snakes live food. This can be seem shocking at first to those of us accustomed to live prey, but rats and mice are living animals too and some countries have decided to give them certain protections.
Many keepers realize and appreciate the benefits of the freezing process in greatly reducing, or eliminating entirely, the risk of pathogens such as parasites being transmitted to their pets.
Also, rats and mice can bite! A struggling rodent has the potential to inflict serious harm on even the biggest and toughest of snakes. In the wild the snake has the option of releasing the prey if it feels like it is too tough to subdue or too dangerous to eat. In captivity the snake has no escape from the angry rodent.
From a time, and cost, standpoint it is much more effective to keep many rats frozen than it is to keep those rats alive. Especially when you factor in our duty as keepers to provide a high standard of captive care, including enrichment, to any live animal being held.
One reason many people feed their snake live food is because they believe their snake enjoys hunting live prey, and that it must be beneficial to their health and welfare. This is inaccurate since snakes tend to be ambush predators and almost always wait patiently for their prey to come to them.
One thing we can all agree on is that we want our animals to be happy, and healthy. No one knows your pet like you do and we as keepers have to make personal decisions, based on information given, on care and treatment of our captive animals.
Thanks for tuning in and see you next time!
Get it before it's gone for good!!
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