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Old 06-07-2006, 04:34 PM   #1
Feeding Wild Caught

I was wondering what the general opinion was of feeding wild caught animals to your snakes? The reason I ask is because I have a very large population of grey squirrels in my yard. While sitting on my deck the other day I counted 27 within eyesight. I used to catch them in harvahart traps and bring them to my brothers house many miles away. Now he has too many and my population hasn't changed.

Anyway they look healthy as hell. They are a terrible nuisance with the bird feeders and thoroughly hated by my wife. Looks to me like a win/win.
I am interested in the draw backs. If freezing would kill any parasites? And what parasites are we talking about.
I am not really interested in the animal rights aspect but feel free to give that view if you like. Just keep in mind that it will be hard to convince me to feel sorry for the tree rats.

Old 06-07-2006, 04:53 PM   #2
I've done it in the past, and thought nothing of it...nor did I have any problems. A friend of mine used to shoot chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits & throw them in the freezer for me. I was feeding crocodilians, large monitors, and big imported rock pythons. These were all animals that I really considered pets, and if I thought it would have been harmful to them I wouldn't have done it. Freezing kills most of the parasites...I don't recall the required time, but have 2 months in my head (maybe that was what was recommended to me).

Of course, there are risks. Exposure to herbicides or pesticides, something in their diet that might prove toxic to your animal, etc
Old 06-07-2006, 05:08 PM   #3
i've used wild caught/killed prey before with no problems . i agree freezing is a must first , but i dont see a problem with it .
Old 06-07-2006, 05:33 PM   #4
I should have added that I probably wouldn't do it now, with the animals I currently keep...just a reflection of added years, and dollars spent, I guess. If I were to find myself in possession of another gator, or water monitor, sure...I would do it in a heartbeat.

After a bit of thought, I also decided that I would feed a shot bunny to my bloods or big dums (as long as I considered the source safe). Hmmmm, I wonder why the idea of feeding one to my albino boas just doesn't sit right then.
Old 06-07-2006, 05:44 PM   #5
Doesn't some shotgun shot have lead in it? How could you tell if it was all out? I don't think lead is good to eat.
Also, be careful yourself. A kid in Houston died recently from rabies from a bat bite; all of these rodent type critters can carry rabies.
Old 06-07-2006, 05:53 PM   #6
I should have mentioned that, Lucille. I would only use something shot (straight thru) with a rifle, entry and exit wounds are a must. I wouldn't take the risk of ingested pellets (leaded, or not).
Old 06-07-2006, 09:20 PM   #7
Most of the shot you buy nowadays is lead-free, I believe.......or at least the lead free is very common. I know you can't use lead shot anywhere around here for hunting any kind of waterfowl.

That said........I still wouldn't take the chance with any of my critters feeding wild-caught prey when food items that you KNOW are healthy is so readily available. Besides the parasite factor, who's to say that animal hasn't just finished ingesting some poisoned bait that someone tired of all the squirrels or rats or whatever put out for them?

That, and maybe I'm just used to feeding my picky Ball Pythons, but I wouldn't want to take the chance of my snakes deciding they like squirrel better than rats or rabbits, and deciding to only eat squirrel. That could get inconvenient to say the least when your population runs out.
Old 06-07-2006, 09:35 PM   #8
I will say this, I do not agree with feeding wild caught prey. But I will tell you this. If you have a RTB that goes off food, a squirrel will put them back to eating. I learned this a few years back, I bought a non feeder. I could not get him to eat for nothing. I contacted a friend of mine that told me about it. Well it works. As far as I know he is still feeding great today. He had no hang ups going back to large rats.

But if they will eat healthy captive raised rodents, then that would be best.
Old 06-09-2006, 10:27 AM   #9
I probably won't end up doing it. Buying rats are so much easier. Shooting them is not an option as I live pretty much in a city, although in Maine we have pretty bigs yards. My neighbor occaisionally shoots a woodchuck out of his garden, from his kitchen window.
Anyway the babies are all over the place now. Hopefully the neighborhood cats will pick off a bunch of them.
If anyone has a problem feeder ala Bobby's post, let me know and I'll be glad to donate as many as necessary.

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