Can I just preface this with I’m sorry for all the questions, but y’all are so helpful thank you!
Okay, so can someone explain to me like I’m 5 about proper thawing for baby pinky rats?
They’re so small, I don’t know if I should be thawing them in the fridge before heating?
How do I heat them? Blow-dryer?
How do I know if they’re warm enough?
I have zero experience with this. I don’t have them yet and won’t be feeding for a bit, but I’d like to make sure I have all my bases covered!
Firstly, don’t be sorry for questions, we are all learning, also listen to others who may know more, this is just a suggestion.
Just make sure its defrosted thoroughly (floppy) before heating, and use the method its used too. e.g. water or hair dryer or heat lamp.
You can then change it to your heating preference once its established.
How heavy is the snake? What its used to is important for a start but mostly the weight of food item relative to the size of the snake matters.
There are a lot of different methods to thaw rodents.
I would say one of the most important things is to never put the rats in the microwave, they will explode.
I thaw mine by putting them in ziplock bags inside a Tupperware with warm water from the tap. Once they are fully thawed I refill the Tupperware with hot water let them heat up for around 1 minute (for the smaller rats like pinkys-pups) and that’s it.
I used to let them thaw slowly like in the fridge but the drastic change from a cold fridge to warm water would cause them to pop. so I would be careful with that method.
Also some snakes readily take rodents that are wet and some don’t. It really depends on your snake but I would try to keep them dry for the first couple feedings
For thawing out my pinkies I put them in a sandwich baggy in warm water for an hour. It doesn’t take an hour to thaw them but I like to make 100% sure they are completely thawed. I heat them up using the same method. That said, rat pinkies are very tiny and generally too small of a meal for BP hatchlings unless you are dealing with a runt.
I thaw in warm water from the tap. It needs to be warm enough to thaw but not hot enough to cook. You may need to rewarm the water a time or two because the frozen feeder is basically an ice cube. The final temp should be roughly between 98 and 100 degrees F. I feel the head and the chest as they are typically the last to thaw completely. A snake may refuse or regurgitate if it isn’t completely thawed so it’s best to err on the side of thawing it a bit more than you think is necessary. Shouldn’t take more than 15-20 minutes. I would think it’s safe to let thaw as long as an hour in water. I pat the mouse dry so their substrate doesn’t stick to it and the snake doesn’t inadvertently eat substrate.
What do you recommend for my 2-4 month old BP?
Hard to say for sure without scale but looks like it can handle small to medium mouse to me. General rule of thumb is the feeder should be about as big around as the thickest part of the snakes body.
I usually thaw rodents by leaving them out in room temperature until they’re thawed (I like to leave them to defrost near the snakes’ enclosures, so they can smell it and whet their appetite), then I seal it up in a ziplock bag and submerge it in warm water from the tap for a few minutes until it’s warm. I check the temperature with the infrared temp gun I use to monitor the temps in the enclosures.
I find this method easy and effective, though it’s by no means the only way to do it.
No worries about all the questions - we all had to learn the basics before we could answer questions. Like many, I use a small bag (sandwhich or snack sized, depending on who i’m feeding) and some room temp water.
- Toss rodents into the water straight out of the freezer and let them thaw for 1 - 1.5 hours.
- Perform the “squish test” where I take my tongs (and hands) and gently palpate the rodent for frozen spots. If everything squishes, on to step 3!
- Put rodent under heat lamp for ~2min 30 sec.
- Repeat on other side of rodent.
- Check temp, no higher than 98F. If too warm, let cool. If too cold, warm in 10sec incriments.
- Once warmed, grab rodent by tail with tongs and offer to snake.
I have also used water I have microwaved, but some of my kiddos are picky and don’t like wet food or are very picky on temp so the heat lamp method has worked well for me. I’ll probably get a dedicated sous vide as my collection grows, but it gets by for keepers with only a few animals.
I will say that if using a heat lamp you need a method of checking temperature because you may accidentally give your snake burns or pop the feeder, neither which are fun to deal with.
Best of luck!
EDIT: As for feeder size, I would say he could probably handle a medium mouse or rat fuzzy. You can offer either at this stage in life but it’s important to remember he’ll be on rats for his adult life so if you want to try those out of the gate there’s no harm in trying! I’d say maybe get one or two feeders to start out since you don’t know him yet and he may have preferences to one feeder type. Plus it hurts less financially to toss out a single rat vs six months worth of rats.