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09 January 2007 @ 04:17 am
"You can't save them all.." (xposted EVERYWHERE)  
Doesn't mean i can't bloody well try and save as many as i can, thank you very much certain unamed-person. 

Well guys, i was at the pet store near my house the other day (unfortunately the only decent place to get mice around here, we have no breeders). Normally i absolutely avoid them cuz i can't handle seeing all the critters knowing that most of them will end up as reptile food :( but a friend insisted we stop in as she wanted to get some more goldfish. So.. I'm there and i'm like ok, i just won't look at the mice.. Of course my OTHER friend is over at mice ooing and awing at their cuteness and is like, "Come see how cute they are!!!"

*eye roll*

So.. I do.. And they're adorable.. I will say that for still being feeder mice, they're all bread at the shop and are all healthy looking and are very quick to bond with their human companions (my most 'skitish' one is currently sleeping on my shoulder as i type..) Also, they actually have a gorgeous array of colors and if there were mouse shows out this way i swear i'd be taking home so many prizes with some of the little ones they've got.

Ok, well i know that they *are* in fact feeder mice.. But.. I'd never actually had to witness someone buying them as that.

One of the employees says "excuse me" politely so of course i move.. And she scoops some of the mice i was JUST petting and playing with up and puts them in a box as if they were bulk dog treats or something.. And hands them to a woman beside her. I'm automatically just about to cry.. AHhh hard to type!! (Sorry, there is nothing funny about this story but my mouse decided to suddenly stand on it's hind legs and lick the side of my ear a whole bunch..) 

Agfff...! Pepper! You CAN'T burrow into my head through my ear! Cut it out!! (one of my mice meant for food. Ooo yes, vicious evil rodent with no feelings or personality at all, can't you tell! Pepper says "lick, lick, lick..")

Annnyways.. So I know a little about the dangers of live feeding and am ready to as respectfully as i can, give this woman a piece of my mind but my friend pushes me away and says something along the lines of, "You know that's what happens to them. You can't save them all you know.."

And so i watched, pretty much stunned with the whole situation as the lady carts the little mice i was so enamored with off to become dinner.
I'm sure most have you have experienced this situation but it was a first for me. I'd promised myself no more mice. I really shouldn't get more mice. But.. Despite the fact that i know by buying them they'll just be replaced and i'm feeding the system.. I had to save at least one. Another friend of mine who was on my side is allergic and can't have any hereself so she bought me three mice. So yep, i have another three now. (Well, five.. But that's another story..)

This got me thinking.. I would love to be able to inform people about the dangers of live feeding because even if someone hates rodents and thinks they all should be killed, any one who cares at all for their pet is not going to put it in situation they know is dangerous on purpose.  I, however, only knew a little on the subject and didn't want to miss inform someone or say something wrong thus voiding my own argument. So.. I pop online and right away, i find so many websites ready to prove my point!

Found all this in under two minutes. Taken directly from the website;


Yes, these are quotes taken DIRECTLY FROM a reptile page (so yes, these are people who have experience with and do CARE ABOUT their pets!) 

The introduction:

"I see many individuals here and across the net who feel that feeding live prey to their snakes is a safe and natural idea. While it's true that wild snakes eat live prey at times, it is a completely different ball game for captive animals. In the wild, a snake will often choose to chow down on prey that is already dead. In the rare instances that they hunt live prey, they have the upper hand. Snakes are generally ambush predators, and as such, the prey almost never see it coming. This of course is not always true. Many snakes in the wild still die or get permanently scarred from stubborn prey maulings. In captivity however, they prey sees the danger. Its survival instinct may take over and pose a very serious threat to your snake. This is especially true of rats and rabbits. These creatures are intelligent, strong and ornery. They don't like to die without a fight. This is assuming your snake even tries to fight. In many circumstances, a non-feeding reptile will get mauled by a live prey item. The prey item takes the snakes' lack of interest as an opportunity to start gnawing on it out of self defense. They have been known to strip snakes of their scales, bite out eyes, chew through the spine and much more. In the blink of an eye, a scared rat can easily kill or permanently damage your pet. Below is a story from one of our very own members. Please take a few minutes to read through her story, as it not only describes the wounds inflicted by live prey, but also the expensive vet bills and emotional stress of trying to rehab an animal that in no way had to go through this."

There are many graphic pictures and stories that prove all of this is true. The lady below posted a whole big story about the awful surgeries her rescue boa had to go through due to rat bites.

"Feeding live...to me, there is nothing worse to do to a snake. I got a rescue a little over a year ago."

"Please, don’t ever feed live. I have had many people tell me their snakes will only eat live… this is just not true. I have helped many people in threads and on yahoo to switch over. If you need help with it, I’d be happy to go step by step with you. I promise we can get it switched over."

- Louise.

"Feeding live is totally stupid in 99.9% of cases but one of the most common mistakes people make. The snake that "won't eat anything but live" is a rare beast in my experience, usually the owner simply didn't do it right or didn't try hard enough."

- wreckwriter

Someone posted in response:
"Thank you. i'll create a thread in the boa section to help me raise this fellah. at the moment though, i'm feeding it tiny baby mice. i don't believe there's any real threat at first is there."

- Prince the king

And the louise lady wrote back directly below

"yes there is always a threat. please feed it nothing live. no reason not to give the snake frozen/thawed right away."

Someone else added:
Prince The King,
feeding live from the begining may encourage the boa to associating food with things that move... and inhibit it from eating non-moving prey. This could make switching it to Frozen/Thawed items harder in the future.
Baby mice (hoppers) do pose some danger to a small boa.... And it's so much easier to keep frozen mice or rat pups than to have to get live ones and keep them in good health.."
- psoulocybe

Ok, so come ON.. Seriously, if even REPTILE PEOPLE think it's bad to feed live animals to REPTILES, not even because they care one lick about what's happening to the mice, it should be a battle we can win guys!!! We really just need to get on making other people aware! I mean obviously, it's not easy to change the whole world or anything, but that doesn't mean that we wouldn't be making a big, big difference to a lot of the little critters out there who would end up dinner otherwise!

And this is an honest compairason again, by reptile people, weighing out the pros and cons of live versus not feeding:

Q. Live food vs. Frozen defrosted. Which is better for me to feed to my snake?

A. There are pros and cons for both feed types. The animals that you purchase from Ultimate Reptile Suppliers have been fed on frozen defrosted and this will become evident in a moment. 

Pros for Live:

Some animals will not accept anything else (although a lot of other people feel that this is just not true as i've read.)

Easy to breed

Are fresher.

Cons for Live:


Live food can bite back! If your animal does not eat it or grabs it the wrong way, there is the real chance that the live feed will defend itself (or even feed itself!). Live food can inflict some nasty wounds to your snake that can become severely infected and can even be fatal! Because a reptile’s metabolism is a lot slower than ours, it can take many months for even a simple wound to heal and often leads to scarring

Live food may contain parasites or diseases that are passed onto your snake

Live food is not easy to store

Live food is not as easily accessible in large quantities (usually).

Pros for Frozen Defrosted

Large quantities can be easily stored and accessible

The freezing process kills off bacteria and parasites that could infect your animals

No danger of injury to your snake.

Cons for Frozen Defrosted

Can not be used immediately (needs to thaw)

Some fussy animals will not eat it

There has been links with vitamin deficiency in animals fed solely on frozen food but this is not a typical occurrence.

We choose to feed with frozen food if not for the most important reason – that the animals you purchase are free from parasites, disease or injury. Also, though there are some pros to feeding with live, we feel they are far outweighed by the cons."

And here is an article advocating the use of frozen/thawed food from yes, none other than PETCO which is a big pet store chain! They even include tips on how to switch your reptile from live!

(Or the html version)

Now i know obviously there are still deranged assholes out there that just want to torture animals BUT there ARE a lot of people who really care about their pets and i think if the rodent community could come together and make a really respectful and informative pamphlet geared towards the pros for THEIR pets as opposed to just how cruel it is to OUR pets.. I think we could make a real difference. There are pet store owners that are dishonest and mean and only care about the money and blah blah blah but the good ones, and even some of the bad ones if we make it worth their while, could be switched to humanely raising and humanely euthanising their feeders.

This is where i turn to you. I really would love for this to turn into a movement. Make a great website (which i don't know how to do) spam every reptile and rodent community anyone can find.

Because I'm not the most informed person, i was hoping that people who WERE informed would be able to tell me what the cheapest, easiest and most humane way to euthanise. Obviously a lot of places want to make the least amoun of effort possible so we need to make the idea appealing.

I mean, i love snakes and agree that they deserve to eat but even if i didn't feel the way i do about animal rights, i would MUCH rather get food i knew was healthy (hence really nutritious and free of disease) as well as unable to physically harm my pet.

The man that runs the pet store i get my mice from is actually a pretty nice guy. His animals look healthy and although they aren't on the absolute best diets, are much, much better than most. He also specializes in being the places with pretty much the only good variety of pet reptiles available in all of Vancouver as far as i know so if i can change HIS mind i think i'd really be accomplishing something! Even with my mice when i got them, he was double checking their sexes for me and was gentle with them and able to place them just on his shoulders while he looked at other ones while in general they were jumpy so it was clear he had at least *some* caring feelings towards them. I think that if i can put it across the right way i can convince him.

The other thing i was thinking, in combination with advocating humane raising and euthanisation, was to hand out facts about rats and mice and why they'd appeal to the 'pet' market. I mean, i'm sorry.. But most hamsters can learn to put up with you if that, whereas rats and mice really bond with you and are interactive, affectionate and caring pets.  I think if we made little posters to just put up beside cages that had some neat random mostly-unknown facts that would really interest children as well as reasons why they're good pets for the parents and simplified care instructions, people would really go for it!

Please give me feed back guys! Because I'm not the best at organising i would love for anyone else to hop on the bandwagon and help me out with this project!!

Ziggy: 2Dsicpuppy on February 13th, 2007 04:49 pm (UTC)
Live feeding is illegal here in the UK, so Im totally not used to the idea of it. I know it goes on elsehwere, but I've never seen with my own eyes rats or mice being sold as snake food, or had to face the difficult situation it brings. Thank god. I find telling people that its illegal in the UK is a good point to make in an argument, because it PROVES that snakes can live without it.

Theres lots of people in the UK who keep reptiles, but none of them are feeding live, and all our reptiles seem to be doing very well. No one has ever been able to give me a reason as to what the difference between UK and USA snakes is, because there isn't one! If we can do it, so can everyone else.