Best way to thaw rodents

Discussion in 'Feeder Forum' started by Crazy4Herps, Jan 18, 2009.

  1. Crazy4Herps

    Crazy4Herps Hooked on Reptiles

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    How do you thaw your frozen rodents? I want it warm; I'm trying to get my BP, who only eats live, to take f/t.
     
  2. JEFFREH

    JEFFREH Administrator

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  3. DaKing25

    DaKing25 Embryo

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    I just dunk the rat in warm water for about twenty minutes. I have also heard of people microwaving their rats but I've never done that. Once you go live you can never go back (most of the time this ends up as true). I have been having trouble recently feeding my snake but she's probably just off feed for awhile.
     
  4. JEFFREH

    JEFFREH Administrator

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  5. bruno

    bruno Moderator

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    Hi,
    All my reps take f/t no problem.
    To thaw I usually put them in very hot water for about 20 minutes or until you can feel there is no ice left in them, thats for mice, rats will take longer. If you dont want to get them wet, use a plastic freezer/sandwich bag and put in hot water, this way will take longer, just make sure they are fully thawed and warm all the way through.
    NEVER microwave them, for two reasons, 1) they are likely to explode and that is very messy....ewww.... 2) the legs, tail and head are likely to start cooking before body thaws, and that changes the taste and most reps wont eat them. Some poeple just leave them in warm room to thaw naturally but this can take 8 hrs+.
    I've always used hot water with no problems, when I say hot I mean you cant put hand in water but not boiling.
     
  6. JEFFREH

    JEFFREH Administrator

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  7. Crazy4Herps

    Crazy4Herps Hooked on Reptiles

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    Thank you both!
    I have tried f/t over and over again with my girl. She's a ball python, so I understand refusing f/t is pretty common. Anyways, I'm going to keep at it and at least use up my stock of f/t rats trying.
    Do you think snakes care whether their prey is wet or not?
    Actually, I have tried warming a rat in the microwave. Just like bruno said, parts stayed frozen while other parts burned. The fur on part of its belly burned off and the skin had started to turn black. And boy, did it smell!! I immediately threw it outside, expecting the raccoons to eat it later that night. Apparently, raccoons don't like their rodents cooked, and that is saying something, as raccoons will eat nearly anything! In short, I'm not going to try that again.
     
  8. JEFFREH

    JEFFREH Administrator

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  9. bruno

    bruno Moderator

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    I've never had a problem with wet rats, I do drain them off and using an old towel pat them so they are damp. One thing I should have mentioned, be careful where you feed as substrate will stick to them. Just make sure they are really warm, even hot, that may trigger it to take it. When you have finished your supply of rats, try getting frozen Gerbils, these are their staple diet in the wild, worth a go.
    Here in the UK, most BP's take f/t. The reason being you can be prosecuted for causing cruelty to animals, ie, the rats/mouse, basically it's illegal to feed live here. There probably are cases where live is fed but obviously no-one makes it known, also they will have to breed their own rats, because if you went into a petshop every week for a live one, they would soon realize why and they would probably report you. In 16 years of rep keeping I have never known a BP that hasn't taken f/t's.
     
  10. JEFFREH

    JEFFREH Administrator

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  11. Crazy4Herps

    Crazy4Herps Hooked on Reptiles

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    That's interesting. I didn't know there were laws against live feeders in the UK.

    So, I tried a f/t last night. I hadn't held her in over 24 hours. At around 10:00, I turned out all the lights in my room except my bedside light so I could see. I put a frozen rat in warm water for a half hour so it was totally soft and warm. Then I cut a little hole in its head, as I read somewhere that exposing the brain can help with a feeding response. Using tongs, I wiggled it by the tail outside of her hide. She appeared very interested. She stuck her head out of her hide and approached it. Then she retreated. I moved the rat around her hides, then wiggled it in front of her again. She really did seem interested, but only for about 5 minutes. Then she started drinking from her water bowl and seemed uninterested. Anyways, I left the rat to the side of her hide. I expect she could smell it; there was blood all over the newspapers. But she didn't take it!!! I'm guessing she's on fast again, most likely due to the breeding season. She went on a month fast in November, and has eaten once or twice since then. Her last meal was on Christmas eve.

    Thanks for the help! I'm going to keep trying!
     
  12. jeffg46

    jeffg46 New Member

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    I place them in ziploc bags, then in hot water. I use it from the tap, as it's hot enough, but if you need the rodent right away you might microwave it to get it hotter. I usually thaw them (I have a few snakes to feed) early, and then "warm" the food up right before feeding time. the bag keeps the rodent from getting wet, for fear the snake might not think it's natural enough. Realistically, they get wet once in a while anyway, and I've never had a problem with it. Some moisture makes it easier for powdered vitamins to stick. I usually put a little Neckton Rep on the rodents once or twice a month. It probably does nothing, but make me feel good.
     
  13. Herp__Kid

    Herp__Kid Embryo

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    i do the ziploc bag in hot water too. i find that when they get wet they like to explode. it's really not good to microwave the rodent.
     
  14. Crazy4Herps

    Crazy4Herps Hooked on Reptiles

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    I microwaved a rat once, and its fur burned off and its skin turned black. It was revolting. Don't worry, I won't be doing that again! I'll try the ziploc/water thing, but first I'd like her to eat live.
     
  15. Herp__Kid

    Herp__Kid Embryo

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    If the snake doesn't eat, wait at least week before Any feeding attempt. All this does is stresses the animal out and lowers you're chances still for a meal. Don't stress, bp's, and snakes in generral, can go along time without eating. My corns went from halloween to v-day without a meal, given they were brumated, thats still a long time.

    Chill, give him time to calm down, and then try a f/t prepared with one of the recommended methods and leave it overnight.

    As a last resort try thawing it all day, and then the ziploc trick for about a minute to get it above room temp. After the first one, they generally have no problems after that.

    Good Luck.
     
  16. ikermalli

    ikermalli Embryo

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    The way I have seen most commonly is people just leave it out in a bucket... Microwaves are a very bad idea, as there are radiation waves in there which are bad, plus you put your food in the same microwave as a dead rat... eww!
     
  17. Crazy4Herps

    Crazy4Herps Hooked on Reptiles

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    I have been offering live food every week or two for the past three months. She hasn't eaten.... UNTIL LAST NIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I am so so so so so so so so so so so happy!!! She ate a mouse last night, which is way too small for her, but SHE ATE!!! :p :D :D :lol:

    I know its normal, but its so weird to think of any animal going for three months without food.... I am just SO glad she ate!!

    So she ate the live mouse, now I also have to get her to eat the live rat I have, then I'll continue trying with f/t.
     
  18. jeffg46

    jeffg46 New Member

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    Just to make sure it came out right, I didn't mean to microwave the rodent. I was referring to the water, to get it hotter than from the tap. I would never recommend the microwave for the food. What happened to you surprises me, but the inside of the mouse/rat would get hotter than safe for the snake, and you can't tell.
     
  19. jeffg46

    jeffg46 New Member

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    Congrats on the success. FWIW, but I know this won't make it any easier, I have a Rosy Boa that went from mid Sept to mid Jan without eating. He started the fast at a mere 100 grams, and weighed 110 g the week before he finally ate (go figure). I finally turned down the temps (to room temp, 66-70F vice 85-90F) to reduce his metabolism for fear he would die, and slowly raised them again. Either it worked, or he was just hungry, but he hasn't missed a meal since.

    My attitude is, if that little guy can go so long without food (starting otherwise healthy), my larger snakes would have to really lose a chunk of weight before I get nervous. It doesn't mean I don't get frustrated though.

    Jeff
     
  20. teiryklav

    teiryklav Member

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    great!

    btw going somewhere herps?
    :)
     
  21. scooter1685

    scooter1685 Embryo

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    Once again, it's probably been long enough that my input is now useless, but I'll give it anyhow, lol. I've dealt with many difficult feeders. I help the local pet shops in town care for their stock (they're so ignorant!) for free, and occasionally they'll give me a snake for free. I usually don't keep those because boas are all I want, so I'll sell them.

    Anyhow, some snakes will never eat anything but live. Ever. My first boa was that way. About three days after I first bought her I fed her a live mouse. From that time on I offered nothing but frozen/thawed. I tried braining (the incision behind the head you mentioned), I tried spraying it with rat urine so it would smell like it was alive. I tried jerking it around in front of her face as though it were alive. I tried leaving it in the vivarium overnight. I tried soaking it in cows blood (recommended by a local breeder). I tried EVERYTHING, including medications from my vet to stimulate her apetite. She wouldn't eat, and I wouldn't offer live. For two years I had to force feed her for her to eat at all. It's a bad bad thing, never force feed if you have an alternative. I regret doing it. Finally I asked my vet to take her for a week and do what he could. He took her and had no luck, so he simply fed her live. The day I was supposed to pick her up, the vet techs left her IN HER ENCLOSURE WITH HEAT PAD IN DIRECT SUNLIGHT for about 6 hours during a bright sunny day. Morons. She died. When I checked the temperature in her traveling enclosure, it was over 140 degrees. The vet gave me a new boa of my choosing (how I got my hypo), but still, Slink was my first boa ever. I was very upset at her loss.

    Anyhow, the point I was trying to make through my long story is that some snakes will never take anything but live no matter what you try.

    The hypo I mentioned that I recieved as a replacement for Slink (Petunia) was purchased from a large-volume breeder at the age of 17 months. He hadn't handled her except to move her for cleaning of her tiny cage so she was NOT used to people at all. She had never been fed anything but live. I've had her for some time now, and I've never fed her live, lol. She ate frozen thawed at first, and now that I breed my own she eats fresh killed. However, she will never eat unless she is angry. I have to bump the rat (not hard, of course) against her side and her head until she strikes out of anger, and then I have to begin jerking the rat immediately so she thinks it's trying to struggle it's way free. Only then will she hold on, constrict, and finally eat. She eats every week and grows rather well, but she will only eat when she's angry.

    One of my snakes (Buffy, albino aberrant cal king, gorgeous animal) that I sold a while back would ONLY eat if I left it in her vivarium, on the warm side, over night. It didn't matter how dark the room was or how long I left it in there during the day. Somehow, she always seemed to know. I had to thaw the food and put it on a paper towel on the warm side of her enclosure over night. In the morning it would be gone and she'd have a little tiny bit of a bulge.

    Alecto, an EVIL boa that I rescued from a poor poor poor keeper, would only eat if the rat had blood and brains exposed. She had been mistreated and very poorly cared for her entire life, and my guess is that she was at least 7-8 years old (about 9 feet long). She was missing most of her teeth because she would strike at the glass if anything moved. Poor girl, it wasn't really her fault she had been mistreated, but I didn't want to run the risk of her hurting my kids while I tamed her, so I sold her to a herp student.

    Another rescue boa I had (never did name him actually, gave him to my vet for breeding projects about three weeks after I got him) would only eat if I started him. I didn't force him, but I would hold his head and place my thumb and index finger on either side of his head behind the jaw bones, and GENTLY push forward just a bit. This would cause him to open his mouth just a tiny bit, but it was enough to fit the rat's nose into his mouth. I just pushed the nose in slowly and gently until the whole head was in his mouth, and then I'd set him down and he would eat. I never pushed the rat far enough for his swallowing reflex to take over, so it wasn't that. For some reason he just wouldn't eat unless I had put the head in his mouth.

    So, lol, in conclusion there are many methods to try for switching your pet to frozen/thawed. I would say try one method per week, DON'T offer live food in between. Once you've tried all the methods you can find (except for force feeding), if your snake still won't eat frozen thawed, then it's probably a lost cause. Some snakes will simply not do it. Instinct tells them to squeeze until there is no more pulse, and if there's no pulse to start with they might not eat at all, regardless of how much time and effort you spend trying to condition them.
     
  22. Crazy4Herps

    Crazy4Herps Hooked on Reptiles

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    Thanks for all the advice! I will try some of those.
     

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