Frozen Thaw, Defrost Wrong?

I was always told to defrost any meat for myself either in the fridge or in cold water. When the cold water gets room temperature to then replace it with cold water again. This prevents bacteria from growing. But everywhere I see people suggest to leave it out all day, put it in hot water straight from the freezer, heat them on a lamp for fully defrosting. I defrost by putting them in a bag and keeping them in cold water until defrosted. A little before offering I place them under a heat lamp to warm them slightly nothing extreme. Am I wasteing time or being safe? I also don’t submerge the FT in the water, that seems like forceing liquid when it’s not needed.

We use fast food restaurant heat lamps to heat them up. They are dethawed in buckets of room temperature water. The reason for this is we can do lots of rodents at a time. Some feeding days are hundreds of hatchlings so this speeds up the process a bit.


I think the main reason why we use warm water or lamps a lot is just to speed up the process. You have to remember most reptiles stomachs can handle way more bacteria than we can. Lizards that eat meat (especially monitors) are known to scavenge from rotting carcasses. I have heard (and seen videos) of snakes coming across dead animals and eating them too. Given that hundreds of people thaw their rodents using some amount of heat, and from what I know none have had issues, I would say it is fine. You also have to remember rodents have skin/fur on them still. It isn’t open flesh like chicken or pork chops, so I doubt the same amount of bacteria can grow on it as quickly.


Wasting time. They have strong stomach bacteria you’re food to use a lamp or warm water. I leave them at room temp for a few hours then turn a light on above them. Many methods work fine


I use hot water for mine and ensure they are fully thawed, as well as warm (not hot) when i feed them to the snake. The heat helps hold interest. If the snake does not accept the food item within 30 minutes, i toss it because i dont want it to rot in their stomach.


As humans, we cook our meat. Reptiles aren’t eating improperly cooked chicken at 155°. Snakes are conditioned to eat raw meat. If you swallowed a rat you just suffocated, odds are, you would get sick. Apples and oranges.

That being said, you don’t want to push your methods too far. I wouldn’t thaw a rat on a kitchen counter for two days prior to feeding it to a snake. It might work, but the gasses built up could contribute to difficult digestion.

On the other hand, I fed my cornsnakes last night. My palmetto male decided he wasn’t as hungry as normal, he ate one of two fuzzies I left overnight. At 1 pm today, I fed the remaining fuzzy to my female amel het palmetto.

Use your judgement. It was a slight risk I took with my palmetto project, but the prey item did not appear bloated and was not on the heat element. Had it been, it would have gone to my garbage disposal; a common snapping turtle.

Food safety is geared primarily at us. Wild colubrids do not need pasteurized eggs to ingest, salmonella is a common bacteria safe in normal numbers. I personally eat farm fresh eggs, and my preventative maintenance is to wash my hands just a bit between cracking eggs. To date, I’ve not suffered salmonella poisoning.

Lastly, cooked prey is not forbidden to reptiles. A great example I learned recently is that hatchling grey banded kingsnakes will readily eat boiled pinkies when refusing the normal variety.

Don’t overthink it. As humans, we suffer from oversterilization. Still have some native alaskans/Inuit/etc eating raw fish they seem to have conditioned themselves to eat over generations.

For what it’s worth, I thaw my rodents in tubs full of hot water. Probably about 115 to 120°, maybe a tad more. If the water is scalding hot, 135 or above, then I dial it back. It’s not a science, but squeezing a rodent to ensure no cold spots remain internally has served me well. I grab the biggest one and squeeze for at least 30 seconds to make sure. At that point, they all stop floating and Pennywise the Clown Ball Python is safe to start feeding :wink:


I have always thawed in room temp water. If you use hot water straight from the tap there is a chance of cooking the rodents. The tails, toes and other small parts can cook long befor the rest has begun to thaw I have always heard cooked meat can make snakes sick.

Nah. Tap water isn’t going to cook anything LOL. Maybe someone out there has insanely hot tap water but most water heaters only go to a certain temp.

Yeah,. I personally run my hot on the hotter side to give me the option to scald myself and * clean stuff.

Gotta love a good occasional scalding. :joy: But yeah, I don’t think anyone is gonna use water hot enough to cook em from their tap @jackiendan I use warm/hot water from my tap all the time and it isn’t hot enough to cook anything. This is why I gotta put it on the stove in a pot to cook stuff.

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I keep mine above 120. We never seem to have enough of it if I dont. I’m probably too cautious any way.

You can also just use warm water and not turn the hot on full blast. You have a temp gun to use, correct? Use that if you don’t want the water over a certain temperature.

Your probably right. I’m sure no one has ever slightly cooked there rodents with hot tap water.

I was wondering last night if you could use one of those rolling hot dog cookers to thaw rodents. As long as you kept it on warm instead of the cook settings it seems like it would be a good way to evenly heat them

“Oh you are making hotd-OH GOD WTF” :joy::rofl: I wouldn’t recommend it but, for science I guess? :joy:


It was just one of those passing thoughts, not sure it would be worth it to buy one just to see, but if anyone has one lying around and decides to try it, let me know! It seems like it would work well…

They have a roller grill at the local Speedway…I know what I must do. I feel like the legs or tail would get stuck in the rollers though tbh.

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:grimacing: Yeah…that’s a good point. Now I’m just picture a mouse slowly getting dragged through the rollers and can’t stop laughing

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I could see that getting messy. Lol

I take my feeders out of the freezer and let them thaw in the fridge for about 12-24 hours depending on feeder size.
Then I use a heat lamp and warm the feeder up to about 82-90 degrees body temp. Right before I offer the feeder to my snakes, I heat the head of the feeder up to 120 degrees. I use the same method as Royal Constrictor Designs.
Works 99% of the time.