Feeding live bunnies

I’m considering offer my retic a live bunny since she’s been on a fast, so as to avoid refreezing or discarding a bunny every other week.

I’m aware feeding live is dangerous for the snake.

My question is-are there any methods that could mitigate the threat of the bunny gutting my snake? Perhaps binding the bunny’s feet, covering the feet, or somehow weakening/sedating the bunny?

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I know that with mice and rats you can “stun” them so they are less likely to harm your snake. So maybe try that?

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This is an extremely bad idea. Please rethink this.


I’m with @westridge on this.

Here is a picture from Reddit, and this is just from a rat.


So many things can go wrong, that the money you may save on not discarding unwanted prey will nowhere near match a visit to the vets.

Kill the rabbit before hand, either with Co2 or a hard blunt blow to the head… if she eats it then :+1:, if not then freeze it and try in a week or two.

I don’t wish to start a FT vs Live argument here, but when a prey gets to a certain size you have to take all risks you can out of the equation.


Saw a live feed video where the guy had clearly snapped their legs himself before tossing them in. It was revolting. I didn’t watch long.

Don’t be that guy. I echo the above sentiments. C02 or stick to frozen and accept that throwing out prey items sometimes is the price of doing business.


Yeah, when I said stun I basically meant hit em hard in the head. They usually twitch for a bit after you do that, which is what usually triggers the snake to strike. Did that with my picky eater when I fed her a couple live mice.

Stunning is the worse thing you can do to a rat a mouse or any other feeder.

A feeder coming out of it’s daze and it happens will be even more dangerous.

While live feeding can be done with some species based also on the prey size it is important that it is done humanely (being hit hard on the heat does not qualify) without stressing to the feeder as the snake itself maybe in even more jeopardy. Live feeding should be done under certain guidelines and done responsibly.

Now for larger species capable of eating large rats and up it is highly recommended to feed f/t and since retics are strong feeder the conversion is usually not an issue.


I make sure the blow to the head is fatal. I hunt squirrels and sometimes when you get to them after shooting them they aren’t completely dead so you have to kill them with a blow to the head so they don’t continue to suffer or try to attack you. If you know how to do it then it is quick for the animal. However, since it is a very quick death, their nerves make them twitch afterwards, which is usually all it takes to make a snake want to eat something. Unlike with a suffocation based death with co2. People swear by co2 being humane, but no one can know for sure if the animal isn’t in pain while it suffocates. I am more for the quickest death is the better one. Also, as someone with asthma and that has nearly died from an asthma attack I can say that just because you pass out if it is bad enough, or in the case of the rodents “fall asleep”, that doesn’t mean it isn’t the worst feeling in the world to not get oxygen in. There is a reason I put “stun” in quotations in the beginning. More instant brain death than stun. If you do it correctly that is.


I have fed live food for over 20 years. I have never, not one single time ever had an injury inflicted on any of my snakes from food items. I understand everyone’s concern but unless your snake is special, like knowing has a deformity, I think you have zero to worry about. The worst I ever had was a rabbit scratch one of my retics with it’s back foot.

The next shed and the scratch was gone. Before anyone starts to wonder, I fed on average 100lbs of rabbits every other week. The only thing I ever fed that was always frozen was piglets and that was only because I got still borns and ones that the momma pig rolled over.

I always supervised rat feeding for new snakes and baby-juvenile, once they were eating rats small or larger they were on their own.

At the end of the day you do you, I’m just telling you what my experience has been. In my opionion there is no reason to terrorize prey items by crippling them before you feed. I’ve seen some Burms and Retics put a hit on prey that actually knocked them out before they even squeezed the life out off them.

Passing out from Co2 and an asthma attack are absolutely nothing alike.


I can tell when I am not getting oxygen in. Like when I hide under covers to get warm, I can feel the lack of oxygen. It doesn’t feel pleasant and you don’t just fall asleep. Just because a rodent loses consciousness and dies quickly to us, doesn’t mean it is quick and completely painless for the rodent. You have to remember that their perception of time and their reflexes are a lot quicker than our own. No matter what way you kill an animal, it will never be 100% pain free or “humane”. I personally just choose the quickest way.

I’m very surprised that i missed this thread somehow but yes you are completely right about the damage they can cause. I will try to look for some saved pics I have from when a live jumbo rat got ahold of the skin between my thumb and index finger, as you could have guessed it was not pretty and the rat did a number on my hand. Some people dont truly realize how well a rodent can defend itself so they just assume a snake can tak ecare of it no problem but that is far from reality.


I remember an episode of a vet show on Animal Planet, though I can’t remember which one but I think it may have been Dr. Pol, and an owner left a live rat in with their snake overnight. The snake had a large amount of its back eaten and you could see the spine and ribs with no flesh. They can do a lot of damage with just one bite though. I got bit by one of our old pet rats once and she bit through my fingernail (she was very protective of the other rats lol). And that is just a rat, bunnies have huge teeth compared to them.

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That’s a good point, if a rat can do some damage then just imagine what a rabbit could do. not to mention they have much stronger hind legs than a rat, a buddy of mine has two younger nieces and he got them a rabbit for one of their bdays and the rabbit panicked for some reason and kicked with its back legs and scratched my friends arms pretty good. Its amazing that despite how helpless or harmless a animal looks they can still handle themselves well

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Yeah, I volunteered at an animal shelter once and we had some rabbits there. The sign said not to pick them up because rabbits hate being picked up and freak out over it, and a parent let their kid hold one. I had to quickly get the rabbit from the kid and it kicked me and sliced my hand open pretty bad. The parent was angry I didn’t let their child keep the rabbit and blamed me for the situation. They weren’t allowed back at the shelter after that lol. I probably could have used some stitches with how bad and deep the cut was, but I didn’t have the money for that at the time and just kept it closed with butterfly bandages and cleaned it everyday.

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I personally refuse to feed live if there is any other option. I fed a live mouse once to a ball and he grabbed it wrong so it chewed him pretty good. It did heal after a shed but I still won’t feed live if absolutely possible.

I have an adult ball python that has a couple small chunks missing from her chin/lip from where she used to be fed live. They are permanent scars she will have.

I have had rabbits before and had a 4 month old bite me once when I was moving it. With me being as gentle as I could she still got scared and bit my shoulder. It hurt and I still have a scar from it. If there is any other option, do not feed live.

If his snake isn’t eating he might have to try a live feed it’s not ideal but you have to do it sometimes and as long as you don’t leave it in there forever and you watch Carefully your snake should be able to avoid injury. There’s always a risk but there’s also a risk your snake will starve itself. The stunning thing is old school and it’s pretty messed up hard to stomach for some people but it’s also gotten a lot of snakes to eat in the past. it’s a predator prey relationship and we’re focusing on the keeping and reproduction Of the predator so sometimes it’s not always gonna be ethical. rodents are going to be dying to feed our pets either way we can try to be as ethical as possible but I’d do whatever I had to before I let my snake die


We feed live, I firmly believe feed what your prefer and what your animal will eat. My kings will eat anything doesn’t matter, none of my ball pythons will frozen thawed or fresh killed. We tried in the beginning, it was just wasting it all. I personally feel starving them to eat what you want is cruel. If you feed live, never ever I mean ever leave your snake unattended for even 1 second. You need to be able to intervene if needed. It takes us almost 2 hours to feed everyone because its 2 people 2 snakes at a time, and we don’t take our eyes off the snake until the rat is dead. We never have had anything happen to our snakes. People use photos of a snake eaten up horriblely to push the feed pre-killed agenda, what they don’t tell you, us those photos are from a neglectful owner who let the rat stay in for many hours unsupervised and hungry. The snake wasn’t injured because it was fed live, it was injured because someone was being stupid. If the rat wasn’t left unsupervised with the snake for many hours, it wouldn’t have happened. Know your animals and feed what they will eat. As for live rabbits, just do not leave them unattended and be ready to intervene.

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Of course it is. No one suggests “starving.” There’s a HUGE gulf between missing a couple meals in captivity where a meal comes every single week and starvation.


Just to echo @thecrawdfather… Pythons evolved to eat meals few and far between. If a normal, healthy ball python can go on fast for 6-8 months then a retic can easily miss a few meals and not be anything close to “starving”, especially given the fact that nearly every retic in the hobby is grossly overfed