• Check out the new Feedback and suggestions forum. This adds the ability to add ideas for the site and upvote/downvote them. It would be great to hear from you all in how we can boost site activity and who would like to assist with some exciting ideas from Rob and I.

Feeding wild birds to my snakes

Status
Not open for further replies.

n3xia

Active Member
I was explaining to my colleague today how animals are bred and euthanised for snake food. She said she gets suicidal birds smashing into her windows all the time and just has to throw them over this hill near her place, and offered to freeze them for me. I said no initially, but now I'm reconsidering the risks. My colleague lives on a big block 100km out of town and the birds - mostly peaceful doves/pigeons, she reckons - are probably in better health than the ones in the city where I live. They'd still carry diseases though, right? Okay, a bit more background:

When I went to buy my adult MD, the previous owner said his last meal was 'a couple of pigeons' (peaceful doves). I was shocked at his lack of ethics in feeding 1. a live, native animal to a captive reptile, which from my understanding is illegal for multiple reasons, and 2. risking the reptile's life with what are essentially winged vermin.

I later saw an American woman posting photos of roadkill on Instagram that she regularly fetches to feed to her rescued green anaconda. I was highly skeptical and she was adamant it was safe :/

More recently I spotted 'wild Victorian rabbits' for sale in a reputable reptile vet's.

All of the above has made me reconsider how risky wild food really is. What's everyone else's thoughts?
 

PythonLegs

Very Well-Known Member
Worms, ticks, belly full of pesticides..I cant imagine why you'd consider it. Rats must be super expensive in Darwin.
 

ReptilianHybrid

Not so new Member
Wild animals have worms, parasites , allot of mites even ticks in the bush seems a bit risky.
the pidgeons you talk about could of been excess from a breeder or whatnot perhaps ?
Id say the rabbits wouldv been a wild strain if anything, wild caught rabbits are insane:)
But all of the kangaroo meat in butchers is wild so I dunno myth vs fact. but in the same area the roo's are shot for food in woomera theres fox's with mange and featherless birds from mites so maybe it depends on the type of animal?
 

n3xia

Active Member
Pesticides in the bush? From eating plants or something? The only crops we really grow in quantities here are mangoes, and I don't know if there's a real need to use pesticides on them. And yeah, rats can be expensive. I paid $70 for 5 jumbo rats (didn't look very 'jumbo' to me) the other day. I'm not considering this just for cost reasons though. More so making use of what would otherwise be wasted. The birds didn't die from ill health, after all.

But all of the kangaroo meat in butchers is wild so I dunno myth vs fact. but in the same area the roo's are shot for food in woomera theres fox's with mange and featherless birds from mites so maybe it depends on the type of animal?
I've wondered about that too. I eat roo meat on a regular basis, and I know the wallabies up here are full of worms so I assumed they must test the roos or something before they're allowed to sell it for human consumption.
 
Last edited:

PythonLegs

Very Well-Known Member
Bloody hell, they'd need to be pedigree rats for that. If you can't breed your own, have you looked at rodent farm?
 

n3xia

Active Member
Bloody hell, they'd need to be pedigree rats for that. If you can't breed your own, have you looked at rodent farm?
Yep, and ordered with them, only to be told I'd need to order 16kg worth of stock to meet the minimum thermal mass for freighting across the country. I think I need a chest freezer lol.
 

Performa

Not so new Member
Imo I feel it would be fine to feed your pet snake wild animals. Like alot of people have said, they may have mites, tics or worms so eventually you neeed to treat your snake to eradicate any medical conditions.
 

Amberbubula

Not so new Member
I've wondered about that too. I eat roo meat on a regular basis, and I know the wallabies up here are full of worms so I assumed they must test the roos or something before they're allowed to sell it for human consumption.

My pop used to live on property and he would to shoot roos for dog meat and occasionally people food. They would chop the thing up then give the dogs their share and deep freeze the rest for a couple of days/weeks for human use.
I would figure the extreme cold must kill the worms and such.
So IMO I guess as long as the animal is frozen beforehand, as you suggested, there wouldn't be much of an issue.
 
W

wokka

Guest
Yep, and ordered with them, only to be told I'd need to order 16kg worth of stock to meet the minimum thermal mass for freighting across the country. I think I need a chest freezer lol.
We regularly freight to Darwin, or other distant locations, but we value the quality of our product, and so require minimum quantities to allow shipment. Maybe you can work in with fellow herpers to make up a reasonable order to optimise freight.
 
P

Pythoninfinite

Guest
The debate about feeding wild food is generally a no-brainer. The notion that feeding a prey item taken from the bush is going to be harmful to your reptile pets is ridiculous - the prospect of worm infestation is a possibility, but all this tripe about "mites" and "ticks" and "germs" is just plain stupid - what do these respondents think wild snakes eat (and thrive) on. Even if a snake has worms, they are very rarely a problem, but if you feed your snake wild food, just worm it every 12 months or so and it will be fine.

Now that I've got that out of the way... Wokka's option sounds like a great idea to me - excellent quality product which is available on demand, unlike many rodent suppliers who can't always supply what you want when you need it.

Jamie
 

ssssnakeman

Almost Legendary
I was called out to rescue some ducks,

Some asshat had driven through the family as it was trying to get across a road, right in front of a school bus stop to.

When I got there, I scraped the dead ones of the road and bagged them for the bin, but some of the young duck bodies were still good.

I hate waste so my olive python got a duck dinner.

PS, I did not find any survivors
 
P

Pythoninfinite

Guest
I hate seeing duck families by busy roads - probably one of the most stressful things for me, along with uncontrolled dogs near roads. It always surprises me how few people even slow down when confronted with the possibility of killing things with their cars... I saw a long-necked turtle crossing the Pacific Hwy the other day, couldn't stop because of the trucks behind me, but I could only hope that by some chance it missed out on being mashed into the pavement.

Jamie
 

Allan

Well-Known Member
Trusted Seller
I have used the "Victorian rabbits" for my scrubs for years without any problems. 3 months in the freezer (probably less) takes care of all parasites. I couldn't see any problems with wild birds.
 

n3xia

Active Member
The debate about feeding wild food is generally a no-brainer. The notion that feeding a prey item taken from the bush is going to be harmful to your reptile pets is ridiculous - the prospect of worm infestation is a possibility, but all this tripe about "mites" and "ticks" and "germs" is just plain stupid - what do these respondents think wild snakes eat (and thrive) on. Even if a snake has worms, they are very rarely a problem, but if you feed your snake wild food, just worm it every 12 months or so and it will be fine.
Don't wild snakes also have shorter life spans than captive ones...? I would rather not compromise the health of my snakes or knowingly put them in a position where I would need to worm them if I can prevent it, so if there is a significant risk of the animals containing parasites or worms then I won't use the wild birds.

Now that I've got that out of the way... Wokka's option sounds like a great idea to me - excellent quality product which is available on demand, unlike many rodent suppliers who can't always supply what you want when you need it.
I don't doubt the quality, I just haven't got around to organising a group buy or getting a chest freezer for snake food, which I was thinking about doing anyway.

Tha adults might, but the eggs of some things can take a bit of freezing, they do eventually die though.
I found a few articles last night after the freezing suggestion was posted, which seem to indicate that 1. bacteria can survive freezing, and 2. the only way to be sure that no parasites will survive is by freezing at -20C as some simply go into stasis and then 'come back to life' and multiply when defrosted. I also read that Freezing wild game meats, unlike freezing pork products, may not effectively kill all worms because some worm species that infect wild game animals are freeze-resistant. and that home freezers do not freeze cold enough.
Couldn't find the original article where I read most of this info, sorry.

I think this might be a question for the vet :p
 
P

Pythoninfinite

Guest
We have no idea if wild snakes live shorter lives than captive ones. I don't know where you got that idea from. It may be that our captive snakes live shorter, more unhealthy lives because we continually pump them with food they don't need, and they are invariably fatter than their wild counterparts. As far as bacteria go, even the best grown captive rats/mice are LOADED with bacteria of all sorts, on the outside and the inside, and are full of faeces as they are eaten. You are on the way to over-intellectualising the problem of parasites, as I said, even the roundworms commonly found in snakes guts will cause little harm to a snake - they are a natural part of the gut fauna of most animals, even humans.

It's entirely up to you whether or not you feed wild stock to your snakes, but it's also unlikely to be a problem if you do. The only way to ensure your snake never encounters parasites of any kind is never to feed it.

Jamie
 
C

Cold-B-Hearts

Guest
anyone that breeds rodents know they pee and poop all over one another when culled just adding onto what pythoninfinite said,
personally I wouldn't like to see lives go to waste when they can be recycled saying that I maintain a population of captive rats that will feed my snakes.
 

n3xia

Active Member
We have no idea if wild snakes live shorter lives than captive ones. I don't know where you got that idea from. It may be that our captive snakes live shorter, more unhealthy lives because we continually pump them with food they don't need, and they are invariably fatter than their wild counterparts. As far as bacteria go, even the best grown captive rats/mice are LOADED with bacteria of all sorts, on the outside and the inside, and are full of faeces as they are eaten. You are on the way to over-intellectualising the problem of parasites, as I said, even the roundworms commonly found in snakes guts will cause little harm to a snake - they are a natural part of the gut fauna of most animals, even humans.

It's entirely up to you whether or not you feed wild stock to your snakes, but it's also unlikely to be a problem if you do. The only way to ensure your snake never encounters parasites of any kind is never to feed it.

Jamie
Like I said 'significant' risk :) I think we have an ethical responsibility as pet owners to reduce the health risks to our pets as much as possible, so if there's significantly higher risks associated with feeding wild food, then I'll stick to captive bred prey.

I just spoke to a VET nurse (not sure if we're allowed to name vets or their staff) and she said that even with freezing there would be a risk of contracting worms, and she would recommend regular worming if I was to go ahead with it. The pigeons don't smash into windows very often anyway. The nurse also pointed out that wild snakes would have always been exposed to these parasites and built up an immunity whereas my captive ones never have. She didn't seem to think mites would be a huge issue with wild pigeons as the type of mites they're prone to would be different to reptile mites and might not feed on snakes. The nurse said I should keep an eye on the fat content of the birds impacting on the snake's weight as well, and the possible legal issues with even feeding a dead native animal to a captive animal. Of course she didn't rule out any risk completely, but it sounded like the risks were low enough. I think I'll give a suicidal pigeon a go after freezing for a few months :)
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top