Pet snakes generally eat frozen mice and rats. There are a few snakes who will need bigger prey or some that enjoy a bit of variety. I’ll be going in-depth and discussing everything you need to know about feeding frozen mice, rats, and other rodents. You’ll learn everything you need to to start feeding your snake(s) frozen feeder mice.
What are frozen feeder mice?
Frozen feeder mice or rats are precisely that. Frozen rodents, frozen for the primary purpose of being snake food, though some lizards can be fed frozen and thawed mice.
Feeding frozen vs live
There is a lot of debate surrounding how you should feed your snake. Should it be frozen-thawed, or should it be live? Sometimes this will depend on your snake. I’ll be going over the pro’s and con’s of both frozen and live.
Pros for feeding live mice
- Natural, A lot of snake-owners believe live is a better option because it’s natural for the snake.
- Healthier. After a rodent dies and is frozen, some of those nutrients are no longer there, but not to a dramatic effect. Frozen-thawed snakes still thrive on frozen-thawed
Cons for feeding live mice
- Inhumane leads to unnecessary suffering for the mice.
- Higher chance of parasites (there is always a chance of parasites, but the risk goes down significantly with frozen because the cold kills off a good portion of those parasites)
- Rodents can bite and attack your snake, causing a vet trip and vet bills (you can supervise your snake and rodent to keep this from being worse than a bite.) There is always a risk factor with this option.
- They are not as easy to store. You will need a habitat, even if only for a short while, along with food and bedding. (you may bring home a mouse the day of a feeding, but if your snake chooses not to eat that day, you are stuck with a mouse till next feeding)
Pros to feeding frozen mice
- No suffering. It’s more humane for the mouse or rat.
- A much lower chance of parasite infections (researching facilities and finding one that really takes care of their rodents will also help lower the risk.)
- Your snake is safe from injuries.
- You can toss them in your freezer or deep freezer. No cage, food, or bedding necessary.
- Since there is no chance of your snake getting attacked, it’s ok to leave a frozen-thawed mouse or rat in the tank with them for a few hours or overnight for picky eaters.
- Feeding frozen will typically save you a little bit of money.
Cons to feeding frozen mice
- Sometimes snakes will take a while to switch over to frozen-thawed, or maybe you have a snake that’s been refusing to eat because live is natural. It gets a snake’s instincts going and can get a snake that has refused past meals to eat.
- Less healthy, but honestly not in an impactful way. Even though this doesn’t make much of a difference in a snake’s health. It is mentioned frequently in snake-owner circles, so it’s worth a mention.
After hearing the pros and cons of both, you can now best decide what you feel is the better option for you. I do highly recommend feeding frozen/thawed mice, I have always used them for my snakes, and I’ve never had any problems. I love the ease of storing frozen, and I’ve never had a problem with my snakes attacking a dead rodent like it was alive. They always make sure it’s deceased.
Where to buy frozen mice and rats – top 12 places
You can buy frozen rodent’s from numerous places online and locally. I’m going to discuss where to buy and find frozen mice and rats. I’ve provided a list of a few of the top and most convenient places to shop for rodents. I’ll go into further detail about each place and what they have to offer.
Top 12 places and ways to buy frozen mice and rats
- Rodent Pro
- American Rodent Supply
- Big Cheese Rodents
- Layne Labs
- Perfect Prey
- Cold Blooded Cafe
- South Florida Rodents
- Order online from big box stores like PetCo or PetSmart
- Local reptile shows and expos
- Buy from local pet stores
1 . Amazon is a fantastic option for frozen rodents! Shipping is included with the price, which is quite helpful when shopping for rodents. You won’t find yourself checking out with a surprise 50$ added charge for shipping. Amazon is a perfect one-stop-shop!
2 . Rodent Pro is an excellent option if you have a snake that is going to need bigger prey or enjoys a variety. Rodent Pro offers Frozen mice, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, chickens, & even quail. They also treat their animals with great care and believe in the welfare of the animals.
3 . American Rodent Supply is a fine choice if you live in the midwest. American Rodent Supply is based in Indiana, so states in the midwest have cheaper shipping costs, which can help save midwesterners money. If you live close, they allow you to pick it up at their facility, saving even more money. They also attend Reptile shows all over the midwest. You can find out where they are going to be and buy up six months worth of snake food.
4 . Big Cheese Rodents Take’s the time to provide their rodents with great food and water, ensuring they are very well taken care of and a very nutritious option for your snake. Not only do they think how a mouse or rat is treated and fed is crucial, but they vacuum pack their rodents in Cryovac bags to extend the shelf life, keeping your rodents very fresh and buying in bulk easy and convenient.
5 . Layne Labs is another superb choice if you are looking for larger prey items. They provide frozen chicks, guinea pigs, quail, and rabbits. Layne Labs is also a very charitable company donating thousands of feeders to wildlife rehabilitation centers and now allowing you to, to the wildlife center of your choice.
6 . Perfect Prey Is a top choice for frozen feeders! Snake owners have a lot of good things to say about this company. Perfect Prey is fast, decently priced, they care about their animals and give them proper care while they’re alive, and they euthanize humanely. Everything you could ask for in a feeder company.
7 . Cold Blooded Cafe is a little less known feeder supplier, they only offer mice and rats at this time, but they do offer a flat rate shipping anywhere in the USA. Cold Blooded Cafe has a helpful filters panel on the left side of their website to help you find what you need quickly, making them a convenient option.
8 . South Florida Rodents is great if you have snakes and lizards. They offer a large variety of frozen food of all sizes, from mice to rabbits, and they also offer multiple species of worms and crickets to cover all your reptile feeding needs.
9 . You can also choose to order online from large pet chains like Petco or Petsmart.
10 . Chewy is another place to buy your pets food and all manner of supplies, including feeder mice.
11 . Local reptile shows and expos are a great way to buy feeders and find out about other companies and locals who may also be selling feeders close to you. Reptile shows and expos is also a great chance to get to know the people your buying from first hand.
12 . Local pet shops are also a wonderful choice. You are buying your feeders and supporting local and small businesses.
Feeder mice and rat sizes
Rats and mice come in multiple sizes, from pinkie mice to Jumbo rats.
Mice have fewer size options because they are a smaller rodent. Mice sizes range from:
Rats have a couple more options. Rat sizes are:
- rat pups
- weaned rats
How to know what size mouse to feed your snake
When feeding your snake, the rodent shouldn’t be larger than the width of the thickest part of your snake’s body. Another way people figure out what size their snake should be eating is by calculating what 10-15% of their total weight is and feeding them nothing larger in grams than that.
Where to store frozen mice
Your frozen mice, rats, or other frozen rodents, should be stored in a freezer. You can store them in your regular freezer or a freezer you buy specifically for keeping your snake’s food. Buying a second freezer is especially helpful if you buy in bulk. Here are two freezer options from Amazon value option and premium option.
You can also buy freezer bags and double bag your rodents. Freezer bags will help keep them fresh. Tupperware also works great for this.
How to thaw frozen mice
When thawing frozen mice or other rodents, there are a few do’s and a few don’ts
What you want to do is sit your frozen rodent in a bowl of warm water. You can place them directly into the water or keep them in a ziplock bag and place that into the water. Using a ziplock bag will keep you from having to pat the rodent dry afterward.
Tip: When thawing mice or rats, never boil your rodent! Boiling will lead to a huge mess! Avoid microwaves because they can cause hot spots in your rodent that can be extremely dangerous to your snake. Hot spots can cause burns on the inside of their body.
The size of your rodent will decide the time it needs to sit in the water. For instance, pinkie mice can thaw in as little as 15 mins while large mice will take a few hours, and Jumbo rats even longer. You will change out the water every so often to keep it warm. It’s important to make sure they are completely thawed before feeding. You can buy a reptile thermometer temperature gun to help with this. You scan their food to make sure it’s at the right temperature and thawed all the way through. Once thawed, it’s time to feed.
How to feed frozen mice (to your pet)
When feeding your snake, feeding tweezers are your friend. Make sure you have a set. You can choose to feed your snake inside their tank or in a separate area. Some snake owners believe designated feeding spot prevents and stops tank aggression. You can decide what you think is best.
Once the mouse is done thawing, you’ll grab it with the tweezers and lower it into the tank or container. You can get your snake’s attention by moving it around. Once your snake sees it, they should come to eat. If they do not, you may have a snake that prefers to find it on their own or prefers privacy while they eat. You can lay the mouse in a shallow dish and wait for them to find it.
Some examples of popular pet snakes that eat frozen mice are:
- Ball Pythons
- Burmese Pythons
- Red-tail Boa Constrictors
- Corn Snakes
Some lizards also eat frozen-thawed rodents. You will need your tweezers. You can wave the food in front of your lizard’s face and wait for them to grab it.
Some examples of popular pet lizards that eat frozen mice are:
- Larger Iguanas
- Adult Bearded Dragons
- Large Geckos
FAQs about feeding frozen
How are frozen feeder mice killed?
Mice and rats are gassed, using co2. They will slowly drift off to sleep, then pass away without fear or stress.
Do frozen mice expire?
Frozen mice can last 3 to 6 months in your refrigerator freezer and up to 12 months in a deep freezer.
Do frozen mice carry diseases?
There is a risk of disease with any animal, but this risk is minimal. The CDC recommends you wash your hands and keep rodent related objects away from your food preparing area to decrease the risk of salmonella poisoning. Rodents bred to be feeders are regularly looked after, kept clean, and away from outside sources such as wild rodents to ensure diseases are not a problem. Sick rodents are immediately isolated to keep from spreading any possible diseases.
Should I feed my snake live or frozen mice?
I highly recommend feeding frozen or switching to frozen as soon as possible. Frozen feeders saves the rodent from suffering and prevents your snake from any possible rodent inflicted harm. Mice and rats can attack and bite your snake.
Is feeding snakes live mice illegal?
Yes and no, this depends on your country and its laws.
How can I tell if a frozen mouse has gone bad?
You can tell if a frozen mouse or rat has gone bad due to a change in appearance and smell. Frozen mice that have gone bad will have a strong odor.
How are frozen mice shipped?
Frozen mice are shipped with ice, sometimes secured in styrofoam in a box. Dry ice is often used.
What else can you feed a snake besides mice?
What you can feed your snake depends entirely on your snakes’ species. Certain snakes can eat lizards, other snakes, eggs, rabbits, chicks, fish, guinea pigs, and even worms.
Why won’t my snake eat frozen mice?
Your snake might not be eating frozen if your snake recently came from a breeder who only feeds live. Your snake will need to be introduced to frozen slowly. You can start offering frozen every feeding. Usually, snakes can be transitioned without a problem, but some might be harder and take a little longer, possibly never switching, although this is rare and usually not a problem.
How long can I leave a thawed mouse in my snake’s cage?
You can leave a thawed mouse or rat in the tank for a couple of hours and at the most overnight, but no longer.
Can you refreeze a thawed mouse or rat that’s already been thawed out?
Yes, you can, but only if it hasn’t sat out for a prolonged time.
What happens if you feed a snake a frozen mouse?
Honestly, I highly doubt a snake would even think about eating a frozen mouse. If your snake did, they would most likely regurgitate or die. Even partly frozen could cause this. A feeder mouse should be properly thawed before feeding, so don’t do it.