FT Vs Live feeders

Personally only owning a snake I am on the side of frozen thawed feeders but I have heard that is a necessity for people who own lizards and other animals as such they need live feeders because of the fact that it’s movement. I don’t know because I don’t know lizards but why can’t lizards eat frozen thawed mice/rats like my snake does and then you can feed live insect feeders? I feel like there’s such tension on both sides of this fence I’m just hoping to resolve some of the misunderstandings, I just want to know everyone’s opinion.

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Comes down to being prepared and be willing to feed what works, for the animal and do it safely and make it convinient as well. It’s about educating people on feeding not scaring the with pictures that do not reflect the reality of responsible feeding etc.

To me it will depends on life stages, species, managing feeder stocks (I breed my own) etc

Over the years I am pretty sure I have fed well over 50K of live rodent and likely as many F/T


I know I had to tell my mom that their was a chance that Kai might never take FT mice/rats. That was almost a deal breaker for my mom. It sucks that snakes have to eat pray items, but that is part of owning and caring for them.

Yes it does suck. Personally I love both snakes and rodents. I always prefer to feed a humanely euthanized prey item - but like you said, sometimes feeding live is necessary for the sake of the animal we’ve chosen to care for. To answer your other question - a lot of lizards that are capable of eating rodents will accept frozen food. I think a lot of monitor keepers follow that practice and would agree with it. Morals aside the biggest reason not to feed live is to prevent the chance your reptile is injured.


My ankle monitor will eat the occasional FT pinkie, both my huge male African Bull frog and my Parkman frog will take FT. My tegu will also (Tegu is a fish,meat,insect,fruit garbage disposable)

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Just want to chime in that it’s important to make sure you’re feeding species-appropriate prey items. There is another recent thread that also drives into the topic.

I have leopard geckos that were fed nothing but F/T pinkie mice for a few years out of genuine ignorance. I’m extremely ashamed of that; I was very misguided by an uncaring exotics. Though that wasn’t recent, they are now showing signs common in amphibians they have a diet too high in fat (corneal lipidosis, clefts of cholesterol in the reproductive and neuro tracts, etc.- ‘xanthomatosis’). I have had to euthanize 4 geckos that developed vestibular and neuro signs that reduced their quality of life below an acceptable level. I have necropsies performed on all my geckos that pass away, and the xanthomatosis is thought to have possibly played a role in a few additional deaths.

Two of my geckos, Pablo and Impi, have developed glaucoma as a result (Pablo in one eye and Impi in both). Pablo’s eye recently ruptured and Ive had to fight tooth and nail to get her veterinary attention and get someone qualified to perform the enucleation. (Don’t worry- everything is finally under control.)

I’m sharing this story, of which i am profoundly ashamed, because it’s an example close to my heart of lizards being fed inappropriate prey items. Please learn from it as I did, I want to tell as many people as will listen so their deaths weren’t for nothing.


@mblaney I always wondered about this,. If it was just too taboo and most leopard owners were unaware or if it was just an old practice. I guess I could speculate on, in the wild that if a mature leopard came across a small field mouse or recently dead field mouse or something similar they might eat it or have a go at it anyway. Could there be any benefits to something like this? (As a treat or as a good once a year type deal). I feed my leopards every appropriate insect I can get my hands on. If that’s even good I don’t know. *I don’t mean to be ignorant of your hardships either.


I haven’t looked into it that much either, and I’m grateful to @mblaney for sharing her experience so that we can learn from it. But I’ve heard the most common practice of feeding leos pinkies is to females shortly after laying for one or two meals to help them bulk their fat stores back up. I don’t see any other reason to do it, but I only have the one male that gets fat enough on his insect diet. :sweat_smile:

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I did it because I was misinformed. At the time I was looking for a healthy alternative to mealworms that wasn’t crickets. I’d been unable to find silkworms for awhile, didn’t know the nutrient content of hornworms (they were newly available), and BSFL weren’t around at all. I was a veterinary assistant at the time, and I asked their exotics vet, and he said pinkies were ideal. He said to avoid hornworms. Moron.

Years later, he failed to submit any neural tissue or even grossly examine the brain of the first affected leo of mine. I put it together myself, much later, when I was suspicious and had my veterinary school perform the next necropsy. I’d go after their original exotics vet’s license if I had any proof, but all I have is that he charged me for a necropsy with histopath, but failed to submit any part of the central or even peripheral nervous system for a patient with neuro signs. I wouldn’t even know that he hadn’t sent any in if I hadn’t asked him directly. At most he’d get a slap on the wrist, whereas I’d probably get a LOT of negative attention, as another vet.

Leopard geckos aren’t detrivores and generally will not eat anything that’s not moving. The pinkies fed were F/T but I don’t recommend doing that ever. I can’t imagine wild leos would have any rodent component in their diet, as pinkies generally come with a mama mouse that could easily kill a leo eyeballing her brood.

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