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Raising mice/rats for snakes and pets

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Our craigs list has postings looking for them pretty regular. Just asking if anyone here raises them or buys them for their snakes? I don't know if I could do it or not. In a way seems cruel but I understand snakes have to eat also. I could never do it with a chick.  

 

  1. Are there permits?
  2. How much do they cost when you buy them for your snake.  pinkies, fuzzies, grown.
  3. What are the most economical feeds for breeder mice and/rats?
  4. Do snakes eat certain colors better?

 

I have googled a lot of info and will some more, just trying to get others opinions.  I am aware that they stink. 

 

                                                    Thanks,

                                                           Micah

post #2 of 23

I used to have pet rats and mice, but I have no issues with someone keeping a breeding colony or program to feed their snakes.  For me, my reluctance to own snakes stems solely from my concerns about being able to feed them.  Yes, you can buy pre-killed, frozen rats and mice in all sizes easily enough and I have no qualms about feeding them, but I do worry that the pre-killed rodents were not killed humanely.  I would never feed live prey as I think that can be cruel to the rodents and can be potentially dangerous for the snake as well, but I am not currently confident in my ability to humanely kill a rat or mouse.

 

1.  Like with keeping chickens I suppose this would depend a lot on the local laws in your city/county/state.  I doubt there would be an enforceable permit for raising a few rodents for your own personal consumption.  If you were raising a large number and selling them to pet stores or individual snake owners there might be.

 

2.  It's been a long time since I've looked at the prices of feeder rats, but I want to say a med-large rat was around $5, less for smaller rats, mice, and pinkies, and more for large rats.

 

3.  The most economical, and nutritiously complete, feeds are going to be lab blocks.  Rodents and their nutritional requirements have been so closely studied in laboratories for so long that I would argue no other domestic animal in the world has a more nutritionally complete commercial diet available.  Harlan-Teklad and Mazuri are the only two brands I am familiar with, but I'm sure there are more.  And anywhere that can order you chicken feed should be able to easily order lab blocks for you.

 

4.  Snakes don't care one way or the other what color the rodent is.  Their prey drive is based more on smell...so if a snake owner is having a hard time getting a snake to eat a mouse or rat it is often recommended that they rub the rodent on a prey species that the snake would prey on naturally in the wild to entice them to eat.  White and brown agouti are the most common colors for feeder rats but probably just because they all kind of look the same and the people feeding the snakes are less likely to get attached or feel sorry for them.  Black hooded rats are also pretty common, although they tend to have patterns that are somewhat unique from individual to individual.  For someone with an interest in color genetics, culling the extras or rats/mice that don't quite meet the color standard to which they are trying to breed as snake food can be an ethical practice (although many pet rat/mouse owners/breeders don't see it that way).

post #3 of 23

I believe a snakes prey drive is stimulated by their heat sensors and smell. Pretty sure color doesn't matter a tiddly bit to them.

 

Most of my reptile friends with breeder colonies use co2. They've told me it's quick and humane, and they are not ones to let the animals suffer. One also breaks their necks by hand. That's an instantaneous death.

 

 

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post #4 of 23

Not sure on the permits. But it would be a good idea if you are wanting to sell feeder rats to public for feeding snakes.

 

I agree with feed blocks, don't feed them fancy foods that you see seeds, pellets, etc. in the bags. IMO they are wasteful when our hammies are picking thru and leaving alot behind. Once I run out of this food, I'm going block foods.

 

As for cost, maybe you can check around pet stores in the area and see how much they are selling them for. Ours were roughly three dollars a mice, not a pinky or full grown.

 

I've seen pet stores feeding their hammies, mice and gerbils to snakes after they could not sell them for a long period of time and public wants certain sex or certain colors.

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post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 

Great replies, everyone, thanks.  Feed  blocks about $26.00 a big bag. Looked about 40# (guessing) on the video. That ought to last a good while I would think. If I decide to do this I can assure that these animals would be treated with respect and properly stimulated with wood blocks, wheels, climbing  apparatus etc. Ugg... then humanely euthanised. Or possibly just let snake owner do the deed.

 

I have an empty portable bldg I could use, 8x10, I think. Couldn't find anything about permits in Texas concerning feeders.  I am about an hour away from a Pet store that sells  these. I think I will go to 1st monday trade days in Canton and see what I can find in the way of housing. Most people I saw on sites use plastic bins. Seems to me cages would be more airy. idunno.gif Well lots to learn and I appreciate y'alls help!

 

                                                                              Micah

post #6 of 23

A long time ago, my uncle had raised hammies, guinea pigs and mice and rats for the pet store he was employed at, and was a manager at that time.

 

He puts them in ten gal buckets, only a hole for the waterer spigot to be inserted from outside. They have beddings changed every day, the buckets get a once a week thorough washing/bleached. They were fed blocks and they didn't do too bad but it was ONE mice per bucket. If you got plenty of room it is doable but takes alot of time however its easier to clean out. If the mice had babies, he would pull them aside along the walls so he would know its the "maturnity" line. Once the babies are weaned, he would put two babies in each bucket until they are either sent to the pet store or mice folks.

 

It got old for him in a year and finally he had enough, it took him two hours to feed, water, clean the mice, and the other critters.

 

We got our first hammies from him and they lived a long time before they all died of old age. Had two litters of hammies and we said never again LOL!

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post #7 of 23

Cages would be much more airy, healthier for the animals, and more secure.  Believe me, rats and mice have no problem chewing through plastic storage bins if they want out.  Most laboratories use a clear plexiglass style cage with a wire top that has an area for a water bottle and an area for food.  Most pet owners use hardware cloth cages with a plastic or metal tray for a bottom.  I imagine they would be pretty cheap to make your own if you get the J-clips and a set of J-clip pliers (from past personal experience, you can crimp the J-clips with regular needle nosed pliers, but it's a royal pain in the butt and I would certainly not recommend it if you are assembling more than one cage) online.  Wire cages also offer infinitely more possibilities for enrichment than glass or plastic boxes with lids.

 

Lab block should be readily available in 40 or 50lb bags, depending on the manufacturer.  You can also get smaller bags, but those are really only worth it if you are just feeding a few animals.

post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 

Interesting concept... Did he use a top on the buckets? wire? I would imagine the buckets were deep enough the little fellows couldn't jump out but what about wild mice jumping in? Seems economical on litter, even  changing daily. Ease of cleaning. Room to hang wire feed cage on side of bucket to prevent waste. also waterer. I will definately check this out. Thanks Ewesheep.

post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AinaWGSD View Post

Cages would be much more airy, healthier for the animals, and more secure.  Believe me, rats and mice have no problem chewing through plastic storage bins if they want out.  Most laboratories use a clear plexiglass style cage with a wire top that has an area for a water bottle and an area for food.  Most pet owners use hardware cloth cages with a plastic or metal tray for a bottom.  I imagine they would be pretty cheap to make your own if you get the J-clips and a set of J-clip pliers (from past personal experience, you can crimp the J-clips with regular needle nosed pliers, but it's a royal pain in the butt and I would certainly not recommend it if you are assembling more than one cage) online.  Wire cages also offer infinitely more possibilities for enrichment than glass or plastic boxes with lids.

 

Lab block should be readily available in 40 or 50lb bags, depending on the manufacturer.  You can also get smaller bags, but those are really only worth it if you are just feeding a few animals.



I think cages would be the route to go with rats. NO buckets for them. Canton has the type of cages you are describing pretty reasonable. Thanks for your help AinaWGSD.

 

post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChickenWisperer View Post

I believe a snakes prey drive is stimulated by their heat sensors and smell. Pretty sure color doesn't matter a tiddly bit to them.

 

Most of my reptile friends with breeder colonies use co2. They've told me it's quick and humane, and they are not ones to let the animals suffer. One also breaks their necks by hand. That's an instantaneous death.

 

 


Tiddly bit, that made me smile... ok...   lau.gif     I think most people use the co2 method.  That will probably be the route I choose if I have to.  Thanks chickenwisperer!
 

 

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