Read these 3 Care & Feeding Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Reptile tips and hundreds of other topics.
Warm water works well for thawing frozen mice and rats before feeding them to your snake or lizard. Be sure to dry them off to avoid substrate sticking to their fur and becoming ingested.
Don't thaw frozen whole animals in the microwave. They do in fact explode. The smell is not good and the sight not pretty. Also, hot spots can be left inside the carcass, potentially injuring your snake.
Don't leave live food in with your reptile unsupervised. Mice and rats bite back, and sometimes they even win. King mealworms and crickets can also do some damage to your pet, though they can usually be safely left in a cage that has a bit of apple or bran in it so they'll chew that instead of your reptile.
Live animals also carry diseases and parasites, which can be killed by freezing and thawing the animal before feeding.
Tired of opening the cage and getting nailed by a tame snake that thinks you're food? It's not that he's a bad snake, it's just that he's an overly eager eater who doesn't understand that today isn't feeding time.
Every time you go in to feed your reptile, do something unique. Always feed the animal from one specific location, such as the far end of the cage, or open the cage in a certain way. Don't use this conditioned stimulus if you aren't feeding the snake.
When you go in to handle your snake, give a different stimulus. Knock three times on the cage, then reach in with a stick to gently but firmly stroke its body. The combination of the knocking and the touch stimulus should serve to alert the snake that it is to be handled, not fed, and to keep it from directing a feeding response to an inappropriate target, like your hand.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|