Switching to live

Would it be okay to switch a BP to live rats if they’ve been eating f/t since they hatched?

imo yes if that is what works for both you and the snake.

Can I ask why you want/need to?
Seems to me F/T is easier amongst other things.


I have a long list of ‘other things’ against it, but you may have good reason before I list them. e.g how its in the animals best interest.


Come on animal lovers? am I the only one with an opinion about this?
I have never double posted but feel I must bump this.

I gave the respected member a chance to explain, They did not, so now I will list my objections,
Firstly its not my plact to tell you what to do. But iI am entitled to an opinion.

Note; according to the post, the snake has been happily and regularly feeding on defrosted since hatching and still is.

1, If the snake has been on defrosted all its life and is happy and thriving that way, there is no need to now feed live.

2, feeding live can physically harm your snake. The food pray can hurt them if not supervised well.

3, Rats have been known to narw on the snake causing the snake to fear rats and gain a phobia and rather starve.

4, if it is not in the snakes best interest (i.e to prevent starvation) It is unnecessary suffering to the live pray animal.

5, with unnecessary live feeding you risk transition of parasites that are killed during the freezing process.

6, Its illegal in many places basically unless the snake would starve or die otherwise.

7, Feeding snakes live food is not a blood sport for fun.

@jdrum6 sorry. but I tried to be kind and give you the opportunity to explain before I posted my strong opinions. But my priority is to protect the hobby and the site, There are people that would use this against the hobbie.


I support the argument against the use of live prey, on the basis of potential harm to the snake. However I feel like people are not in a position to make the argument that live food shouldn’t be offered on the basis of the supposed suffering of the prey animal, unless they are themselves a vegan. The animals that provide products such as meat, eggs, dairy and leather suffer greatly, yet the vast majority of us still use these products. It’s highly hypocritical to use these products and still have a problem with live prey. If anything, I’d imagine that the lives and deaths of feeder rodents are actually less horrible than those of most cattle, pigs and poultry.


I quit feeding live after a rat left a gash in my snake. I only feed live if I have to.

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I personally feed both live and f/t, depending on what is available to me. I don’t feed anything larger than a weaned-small when it comes to live, because bigger rats = bigger teeth = bigger ouch… have a scar on my thumb from a large male rat biting me when I was trying to save one of my snakes from being bit.

I will say that during the period of time I was feeding primarily live, my snakes had a much stronger feeding response. Most know when it is feeding day and are at the front of their tubs, ready to snatch whatever comes their way. Most of them will even take anything I put in front of them; live, frozen, mice or rats. No issues switching back and forth either. I only have maybe 2-3 ball pythons out of 30 individuals that are a little finicky with their food. Most will also feed while in shed.

Before that, when I fed exclusively f/t, I had reduced feeding responses and even occasional refusals. I feel like feeding live makes the snake think more, and be more active with hunting their prey.

Nowadays, I feed mostly f/t as it’s what I can get my hands on the easiest. Once I get my rat/mice colonies going solid, I’ll be switching most of my snakes back to live.

I’ve only had an issue with a severe bite once, and it was because I got the rat from a chain store instead of a specialized rat breeder.
I find that the rodents bred for better temperaments don’t put up as much of a fight as ones that are more “wild”.
Despite the bite, this girl went on to continue feeding the next time she was offered food. She still pounds rodents like there’s no tomorrow, and would eat daily if I let her. (It’s Lucy, for those who may have seen me post about her in other threads. The one who is being put on a diet because she’s fat.)

Because of that, I can’t quite agree with the logic that a snake would become afraid of a prey item and starve itself to death over eating that same prey item. Are you telling me snakes in the wild will avoid a specific prey if it injures them in any way? I’d think snakes as a species wouldn’t have survived so long if they became afraid of their prey.


Yes, self preservation is a main instinct in all animals. Including humans.
Snakes in the wild will not put themselves in the position to have to deal with pray items if they are not up to feeding. They are also not confined to a tub/vivs, were there is no way to distance/move away from the pray or escape if they are not capable, wanting or willing to kill and eat. So they wouuld not put themselves at risk of injury in the same way as we would in captivity.
My points 2 and 3 are well documented, but in captive environments.

Besides my main point to this thread is ----


Fair enough.
Though I closely supervise my live feedings and have the tongs ready to intervene in case of a bad strike. I’ll also remove rodents after 10-15 minutes if the snake doesn’t take, or even sooner if they show 0 interest within the first minute or two.

Live can be dangerous, there’s no doubt about that, but if you take the right precautions I feel at least some those risks can be greatly reduced.

Alternatively, you can also stun or prekill a rodent so your snake is still getting a “fresh” rodent. I do that for my hognoses specifically if I have live for them (I usually just do f/t) because they’re even more likely to get bit because of how they handle live prey.

I will also agree that if a snake is eating f/t, you shouldn’t need to switch it to live. The only main reason I switched to live was because I started breeding rats myself. Except my snake collection outgrew my rodent production so I’m back to mostly f/t for now lol


Does live food make them grow faster?

No. So long as the food item is the same size either way, they won’t grow faster.


No “need” sure…but you obviously have never done it. A nice fat live prey item is so much higher quality than those shriveled frozen things especially if you get from a big box brand equivalent.

So supervise (like DUH)…why would anyone feed live any not supervise :laughing::laughing:). And it’s very rare one would be injured significantly.

Never EVER heard of that happening (the phobia part)…but even so that’s a repeat point, again supervise. Gnawing happens if a prey item is left for hours. That’s a terrible owner problem not a live prey item problem. Like yes, if you’re a terrible owner then f/t is better.

Just literally incorrect. They die as quickly or quicker from constriction as from gassing or some of the horrific methods people use to put rodents down. How exactly do you think the frozen thawed ones in those bags get there, they die in their sleep of natural causes surrounded by loved ones?

Very very small risk if you are sourcing your rodents well from a good source. If you’re using wild caught rats yeah…probably gonna be a problem. Never heard of someone having an issue with this but it’s theoretically possible. Minuscule risk.

Again, literally incorrect. Have absolutely no clue where you got this one from. Fortunately no state I’ve ever or will ever live in.

No sh**. Who the heck have you been talking to that treat it like a blood sport? Like WUT? They shouldn’t have animals, PERIOD. Once again that’s a people problem, has nothing to do with live feeding.

Snakes gotta eat. It’s how it works. I do not enjoy listening to a rats death squeak at ALL…but it’s their purpose. There’s nothing evil about that. Realizing the cost of life for my snakes is death for a warm blooded creature instead of being so disconnected from it has given me a much greater appreciation for rodents. I treat them as well as I can and I appreciate the meaning behind their death. Pulling something frozen out of a bag and heating it doesn’t do that. It’s like shopping for hamburger at a grocery store vs killing your own meat, there’s a much greater connection to the resource when you’re harvesting it yourself. The best conservationists are hunters…not some activist in a city who is terrified of a deer. ANYWAY…

I say do f/t if they’ll take it, it’s easier, and there’s nothing wrong with avoiding even the small risks.

But your reasoning is absolute garbage. It’s very obvious you’ve never done both, you’re going solely off someone else’s word. If you’re “uncomfortable” with something dying and want to stay disconnected then do it.

Reality is that rat died and the idea that it died a more humane death because it came frozen in a bag instead of having its heart stopped in seconds is laughable.


Sorry if I went too hard there! Not a bad opinion…Just bad reasoning!

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Apparently it’s illegal to feed live in the UK unless you can prove the snake won’t eat f/t and that their health is declining. I realize many of us live in the United States, but it’s a big wide world out there with different types of laws in different places.


That’s pretty funny…but of course if someone lives there follow your legal obligations! Don’t need all those other “points,” lol

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I do not agree with live feeding, unless it is absolutely necessary. In fact, it is illegal where I live (UK) unless you can prove you have tried everything else and the snake is on deaths door or have been told so by a vet.

There is so much wrong with it, yes they eat live in the wild… But captive snakes do not get everything wild snakes get and snakes get attacked and eat in the wild, so is this is irrelevant.

Rodents that you have looked after, will be much better for your snake as you don’t know what the frozen rodents have been fed etc… But I still believe they need to be humainly killed.

I am an animal lover and I hate saying that, but it’s the way of life!


Guys and gals can we continue to keep the conversation civil. Some of the comments are bordering on personal attacks. Thank you :smiley:


I can see I wound some people up. controversial subject i guess.

I have previously fed live when it was the only option to save the snake.
However, the first post says the snake in question has fed on defrosted since hatching.
I asked what reasons a person would have to want to switch to live. I still have not herd a compelling argument to feed live if the snake is happy on defrosted. Only people attacking my reasons for preferring non live feedings.

Like you said yourself, you supervise the live feeding. There would be no need to supervise if it was always over in seconds. That’s not always the case. The snake can just defensive strike if it doesn’t want to eat and/or not kill it at all.

I stand by my reasons for preferring non live feeding when the snake is happy on defrosted.

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That is an assumption you are making and not based on facts you know.

No need for cussing everyone knows what the** stands for.

This is also your opinion right or wrong your tone is condescending.

Another assumption not based on known facts, and another condescending statement.

We are here to learn from each other and share experiences not to trash people who disagree with you.


Just have a look on youtube.

I agree that is a people problem.

The hobby has enough prejudice, false information and people that want to stop the hobbie with their misguided activism. They can use the ‘people problem’ on youtube and other platforms’ as alleged ‘evidence’ to further their cause.
The first post sounded like the person would rather live feed when the snake was happy on defrosted with no reason given. That can be quoted and could be twisted to look like the ‘people problem’ is all of us and not the minority by these misguided activists.
That can then be misinterpreted or twisted and used against the hobbie.

That was the main reason I posted. I was hoping members or the thread starter would give a balanced response and clarify and justify their reasons so it could not be used against us.

Its not bad in the UK where i am, (other than the live feeding restrictions law ) but from what I read in this forum, in the USA the hobby is being attacked and the attackers are winning with all this new legislation in some states.

We have to be careful and choose our words carefully or they may be used against us.