Best way to thaw food for snake.

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KarenJet

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HI all, Im new to snakes and have had this nearly 2yr old Stimpson python since May. Don't know whether male or female. It was eating fine initially, the first 2 months, taking mouse and eating straight away. Now it takes the mouse eventually but will hold it for a very long time before eating. Is this normal for this time of year? Its making me wonder whether or not we are preparing the food right for it or not. At first, we had the fireplace going so the mice were thawed near fireplace, that was working well, not thawing too quickly and they were being taken. Since the fire has been put to rest for the year, is when our problems started, as it wasn't really warm and the nights were still quite cool. I am thinking the snake feels as though winter has just hit and is slowing down the food intake, but not totally sure.
I was placing the mouse in a sealed bag and placing this mouse in a bowl of warm water and thawing that way. Then I was told to place the mouse in a steel bowl and float it in another steel bowl filled with hot water, cover with another bowl and thaw that way, but I tried that last night but I think that method, the mouse thawed too quickly. The snake took it instantly though but took about 15 mins to start to eat it. I had let it cool first before giving it to the snake but maybe it was still a bit hot and that's why it wouldn't eat it..??? Im a bit lost as to why its not eating as well as it was when we first got it. Im thinking maybe I should just take mouse from freezer the night before Im going to feed to thaw in fridge then take out an hour or so before feeding to allow it to get to room temp. Any suggestions>?
 

twistedFrog

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Can you shed some light on some more info i.e. where you live, cage conditions, eg has that changed at all? you mentioned the fireplace is the cage in the same room? what are the temp gradients of the cage? So many things can effect the way a python eats coming into a slough, temps habitat?
The method I use to defrost is plastic clip lock bag in hot water from tap, checking regularly so that when I take it out to feed it feels like a warm blooded animal if that makes sense. Sometimes it will hold before trying to ingest because of the position it took the prey and figuring out the best angle to get it past the jaw.
My guess from what you have said is that the fireplace going off has changed the cage temp and therefor winter cycle feeding habits are being displayed. I am quite new too in comparison to some of the folk here so hopefully someone else will chime in with some more help too
 

alexbee

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hello

ok so pythons use pits on there head that help them find food.. warm food is what you want.. i personally put the rat straight into the hot water and change the water a few times... i know some people do it differently but yeah.. this works for me and ive never had a snake refuse a feed.. i dont undersand the whole inside a plastic bag thing.. how is water bad for a rat? i would think heating up plastic next to a rat would be worse...

good luck
 

twistedFrog

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yeah water is not bad for a rat, I just do it that way so that it is dry, my first attempts failed with a wet rat (mind you this is with the first feeds of the first snake I ever had), so i figured that was the issue and never had a missed feed since doing it in the bag. the point I was trying to make was to get the prey/food to imitate live prey temps and they accept readily then.
 

Rob

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As has already been mentioned, straight into a bucket of hot water is fine. Unless you're thawing a lot of product at the same time, water changes probably aren't necessary. You do need to use your own common sense when it comes to how hot the water actually is. eg. One frozen pinky mouse in a bucket of HOT water will start to cook in no time. Bear in mind that a wet prey item will likely stick to your substrate so you can either pat it dry with absorbent paper first or place the item on something (ice cream container lid, etc.).
 

ronhalling

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[MENTION=41637]KarenJet[/MENTION]

The method i use is a small (around 2 lt) click clack type of container with a flat bottom and a lid on a 7W heat pad with a cheap $9.00 Thermostat with the probe held in place on the bottom with gaffa tape and a couple of layers of kitchen paper under the food item, the thermostat is set to 36 deg C and is turned on first thing in the morning with the rat/rats placed in it at the same time and the lid put on, it usually only takes a couple of hours for the food item to get to around 34 deg C from frozen (less if allowed to thaw overnight in the fridge) this method works just as well for pinkies/fuzzys/hoppers as it does adult items and all my snakes have taken the food items at that temp (unless there has been some mitigating circumstances) just make sure to clean the thawing tub well after each use and replace the tape holding the probe regularly, i hope this has been of some help. :) ....................Ron
 

pythoninfinite

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Jeebus, all of these complicated ways of thawing rodents to feed a snake... As a couple of others have suggested, drop the food item into a container of hot water (from the tap, not the kettle!) and leave it until it is warmed through - press your thumb into the belly to ensure it is fully thawed, and then offer it nose first on tongs of forceps, while still wet. Snakes are opportunistic feeders which take advantage of food when it is available. Very few are as fussy as these threads would make out, temperature isn't as critical in most circumstances as long as the food item isn't cold - room temperature is usually fine. Novice keepers seem to arm themselves with kitchens full of stainless steel bowls, hairdryers (and probably curlers), fluffy towels, heat cords and thermostats when a bucket of warm/hot water works just fine. When collections which number in the hundreds or thousands of animals need feeding, how do people think the keepers go about this? Time is critical, as is freshness, so the hot water method fits the bill perfectly - leaving dead rats lying in a warm environment for hours while it begins decaying as it thaws is far less hygienic than thawing quickly (minutes in most cases) in hot water.

The smaller Antaresias, by the way, are generally reptile feeders so temperature is even less critical for them.

Jamie
 
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GBWhite

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Karen,

Your original suggestion of taking the mouse out of the freezer and putting it in the fridge overnight to thaw before taking it from the fridge and leaving for a while to take the chill off it should work just fine. Just don't leave it too long to avoid it decaying. Snakes, be they a python or not, also recognise food by the scent of the animal so it is not critical that it is hot.

It's not just Antaresia that are generally reptile feeders. As Jamie has mentioned snakes are opportunistic feeders and other than the few that are specialist feeders most if not all wild juvenile pythons start out by catching frogs and lizards.

The alternative is Jamie's suggestion about placing it in a container of hot tap water for a few minutes. This might be easier and more convenient as well as saving time. The only thing I would be conscious of when feeding a wet food item is to make sure no substrate sticks to the critter and consumed by the snake.

I've kept snakes for well over 50 years and have worked with large collections on many occasions. I've always adopted the freezer to fridge and sitting to take the chill off before feeding and it has always worked with no problems.

George.
 

pythoninfinite

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As George says, if you have a loose substrate such as bark or a pelletised product, you can minimise the potential for the snake to ingest substrate while eating a wet rat by laying down some newspaper and feeding it on this - use a fair bit though, some snakes drag the food around a bit while swallowing.

Jamie
 

misskirbyd

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Jeebus, all of these complicated ways of thawing rodents to feed a snake... As a couple of others have suggested, drop the food item into a container of hot water (from the tap, not the kettle!) and leave it until it is warmed through - press your thumb into the belly to ensure it is fully thawed, and then offer it nose first on tongs of forceps, while still wet.

I used the hot water method that Jamie mentions. For my 8 month old stimson I put the fuzzy mice in water hot from the tap, press the tummy and head to make sure they're fully thawed as they are the densest parts and usually dry on a piece of towel (mainly for my sake, so I don't drip water everywhere, snake doesn't seem to mind). This is how the breeders taught me and what they do with all their snakes (and in their time they've had hundreds under their belt).
 

alexbee

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I used the hot water method that Jamie mentions. For my 8 month old stimson I put the fuzzy mice in water hot from the tap, press the tummy and head to make sure they're fully thawed as they are the densest parts and usually dry on a piece of towel (mainly for my sake, so I don't drip water everywhere, snake doesn't seem to mind). This is how the breeders taught me and what they do with all their snakes (and in their time they've had hundreds under their belt).

Hundreds of snakes under their belts lol
 

Smurf

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A note I would add is to not have to the water too hot. A snakes digestive track is not evolved to process cooked meat so the mouse/rat, should only be thawed and warm, never hot. I bend mine to ensure thawed right through and warm them so they are not cool to touch, kinda realistic feeling. I use bags as having 20+ assorted feeds bobbing around in a bowl would just get confusing, and the tanks are all over the house so dry feeds are much easier. Works for my managery.
 

hulloosenator

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hello

ok so pythons use pits on there head that help them find food.. warm food is what you want.. i personally put the rat straight into the hot water and change the water a few times... i know some people do it differently but yeah.. this works for me and ive never had a snake refuse a feed.. i dont undersand the whole inside a plastic bag thing.. how is water bad for a rat? i would think heating up plastic next to a rat would be worse...

good luck

i agree ..... straight into hot tap water .... a large container so it wont get cold. Take rat out and rub it dry with an old towel i have in my snake room and give it to the snake while it is still warm. Works all the time . I have up to 20 snakes at a time. I dont know why people make things so complicated. Keep it simple ..... if the snake wont eat it , then wait a week and try again.... and so on , until it does eat . And why feed during winter ????????? I have not fed any of my snakes since April and they all still look the same . I will be feeding them very soon ..... they are more interested in the opposite sex at the moment.
 

Newhere

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KJ you might be putting a bit too much thought into the whole thing, maybe it just likes to admire it's kill before tucking in :)
 

Smurf

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I'd forgotten about that part of the post Newhere, everyone is just going on about thawing methods....
I have a few that like to have a little cuddle first, one of my jungles remained coiled around his rat for almost an hour last week before finally deciding he was ready.
If your stimmie is still hanging onto the feed an eating eventually, I wouldn't be worried. Remember, in the wild coiling is how they kill their prey before eating it, so it's not weird. It could also indicate that their just not that hungry.
 

Pauls_Pythons

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Are we all in such a rush that we need to part poach the food before we feed it too our snakes?
I'm not saying don't do it I'm just blown away that we cant organise ourselves to take food out of the freezer and let it thaw.
I have always thawed at room temp and if I have a problem feeder warm it up in my hand before feeding.
Pots, pans, heat mats, thermostats all to thaw a mouse. Little bit of overkill IMO
 

Wokka

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Are we all in such a rush that we need to part poach the food before we feed it too our snakes?
I'm not saying don't do it I'm just blown away that we cant organise ourselves to take food out of the freezer and let it thaw.
I have always thawed at room temp and if I have a problem feeder warm it up in my hand before feeding.
Pots, pans, heat mats, thermostats all to thaw a mouse. Little bit of overkill IMO
The idea is to minimize the time the thawed food is sitting around and the inconsistency of relying upon ambient temperature. How much longer does it take to thaw a mouse when the ambient temperature is 15 C as compared to an ambient of 30C?? If you use water from the tap it should be consistent (normally just under 50C) as it is thermostatically controlled.
 

eipper

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We generally run 5 buckets per feed here- pink mice, pink rats, mice, rats and chickens. The water from the pinks and chickens is warm, while the rats and mice hot. It usually takes a number of water changes to hear the larger rats through
 

Evil_Birdy

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My spotted python does the same thing. He likes to play with his food. He will remain with half of his body wrapped around the mouse, after he has "killed" it, while the other half goes exploring for a while. Sometimes several hours. He will always eat it eventually. I wouldn't worry so much, so long as the snake is eating.

I thaw my mice with the hot water method.
 
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