Experiences Feeding Exclusively Frozen Thawed Rats for 5+ years

I have been thinking about this topic for a while. Other then the first few hatchling meals, I am now 5+ years in on feeding exclusively Frozen Thawed Rats to my collection (about 19+ snakes) and have started to make some observations that I would like to share and would like to hear other experiences.

First off, I have never had a problem transitioning a ball python to Frozen Thawed Rats. This goes for adults and juveniles although I have never tried to transition a “mouse eater” although I’m confident it would transition eventually. It all comes down to patience and how long you are willing to wait. If the snake is from another breeder and is a juvenile, I will feed live to get them “started” if they don’t eat in a couple weeks after coming to my collection. Once I feel like they have enough weight on them, I let them fast until they are ready and they always take, eventually.

The other major observation I have is that my snakes tend to be a lot more of binge/fast eaters. Sure, I have a couple snakes that I barely have to even defrost a rat and they will take it every week, but most tend to go through periods of binge eating whereby they will feed weekly for 4+ weeks to a few months in a row and then go off food for a period of time, sometimes a few months. In the past, I would lose patience and feed them a live rat during this fasting period and they would always take it. Now, however, I just let them fast and let them tell me when they are hungry and they always go back on food. They seem to breed well and grow at the same rate, maybe slightly slower, but otherwise are perfectly healthy. I suspect most fasting has to do with breeding and sexual maturity, the 1000g wall.

I suspect live rats are more of a reaction to food while Frozen Thawed are more of a “hunger” thing (*non scientific opinion). They eat when they need to as opposed to eating just to eat. Would love to know others experiences here. Thanks!


Interesting read!

I had the same problem with the random fasting when I was feeding only f/t. Once I switched over to exclusively live/prekilled, I’ve never had anyone go off food besides known reasons such as breeding or the “1000 gram wall” in the case with one of my females. Or a couple who were stressed but I fixed that by giving them a hide or moving into a smaller tub.

Mouse eaters I’ve been able to transition to rats fairly easily, they seem pretty timid at first but once they reach that stage where they’re at the front of their tub waiting for the food, I’ll usually toss in a rat and they have always taken it instead of a mouse. Most of my snakes have such strong feeding responses that I can feed them f/t, prekilled, and live with no issues. Sometimes I even switch it up and throw in a mouse if I have extras, but this hasn’t caused them to stop eating rats either.


Thank you for the info. Sounds like a similar experience.

I especially like what you said about tossing in a mouse every once in a while. I think there is a real fear that they can get addicted to mice so it’s good to hear that it’s likely a myth.

I’ve only ever had one live-eater (as far as rodents/vertebrates are concerned): a ball python that was 5-6 years old when I first started trying to switch him. Took me 1.5 years and a lot of creativity to get him to start eating f/t, and a couple years beyond that before he took f/t for every feeding.

I also found with him that overfeeding and stress have just as much to do with fasting as anything else. He went through a 3-4 year period after I moved the first time where he may have eaten a handful of times. But the other 9-10 years of his life he never missed a meal. If I fed him too large of rats, he’d space his feedings out. A medium rat he’d refuse to eat except every 2 months on the dot. He’d take a small every 2-3 weeks, and probably every week if I let him. He reached his record heaviest weight of 1,400 grams eating only a small rat every other week, and I was debating on spacing his feedings a little more at that time if he continued to gain excess weight. Moving cages, or moving houses generally would have him fasting. Even just lifting his hide would cause him to go from tracking food to running away. So I’d have to not only make him hands-off as much as possible, but also watch what I fed him.

But all of my snakes since have eaten f/t from the start. The only live I feed are earthworms to my garters, and it’s definitely made it way easier to care for my snakes than having to worry about live for everyone.

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This is great. I noticed a similar behavior of one of my young girls (ball python) going off feed after bumping up to a small FT Rat from weaned. She finally started eating again but only after a few weeks and only on smaller prey items. This kind of supports the theory of some snakes only eat when they need to. Perhaps having to do with stress. Thank you!

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