Feeder rats


Feeder rats

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On every rat forum I’ve visited, there has been discussion about feeder rats at some point or another. Strong opinions are held by people on both sides of the issue, and it is one of those topics that consistently causes arguments to break out, along with abortion and religion.

I’ll be the first to say that this page won’t be objective. But I’ll outline the counterargument made by the opposite side so you can decide for yourself.

Firstly, what is a feeder rat?

Since they are not recognized by law in the UK, you probably haven’t heard of them.

A rat that has been raised specifically to be used as live food for snakes is known as a feeder rat.

We don’t see them since live feeding is prohibited in the UK, but I wouldn’t be so naive as to assume that simply because something is forbidden, no one does it.

Even if they don’t advertise it, I’m very certain that some snake owners in the UK buy live rats to feed to their reptiles.

Rats in a tank for sale in a UK reptile pet store are very certainly not being offered for sale as pets, but they cannot be represented as snake food due to legal restrictions.

However, feeder rats are a very typical appearance in many pet stores in the USA. They are frequently offered for sale as “pinkies” to “jumbos,” which are full-grown adult rats.

Feeders are frequently not kept in good condition because most businesses do not consider them to be viable pets.

No rat enthusiast worth their salt would argue that feeding rats are undesirable. That is one point on which all sides of the debate concur. Live food is generally frowned upon by skilled reptile keepers and those who enjoy rats. Frozen food is another story.

In addition to being cruel, feeding your snake live food puts the snake in risk.

A rat or a mouse is not helpless and won’t just wait to be devoured. The rat can gravely harm or even kill the snake if it isn’t quick enough to avoid it. The image below shows a ball python being attacked by a mouse that was meant to be its meal:

Imagine what a rat that is fully grown can accomplish if this is the harm that a single mouse can inflict on a snake. Since they believe it to be more natural, some reptile owners insistence on feeding live animals.

That is untrue.

Putting a prey species in a small glass box with the predator is not a natural situation.

The rat would have a chance to flee in the wild.

The belief that a snake won’t eat pre-killed is another reason why people continue to feed live snakes. It’s true that a snake that has been fed live all of its life may occasionally have difficulties adjusting to pre-killed, but it IS completely possible to switch them over.

Live feeding is never a good idea, and many reptile keepers won’t even think of doing it because it puts their snake in such danger.

However, the issue is not whether feeding living animals is appropriate. The majority of rat owners concur that it most certainly is not. Is it appropriate to get a feeder rat as a pet?

Any rat enthusiast finds it difficult to enter a pet store and witness a tank of rats they know will perish horribly. The impulse is to remove them from that predicament. But is doing so ethical? At first glance, those who are against purchasing feeder rats as pets seem to have good points.

Every time you purchase a feeder rat as a pet, you are making room for another rat to move in and take its place.

There is no way to save everyone.

By purchasing a feeder rat, you are giving the shop money and the perception that there is a demand for live rats, which will encourage them to keep selling them.

This is the main thrust of the defense put forth by those opposed to the purchase of feeders as pets.

They will argue that it is preferable to avoid entering the store altogether and putting yourself in a situation where you could be persuaded to save the feeders.

This is the straightforward approach to feeders, and it initially seems like a good point.

But it’s not as logical as it seems in practice. The sole purpose for which feeder rats are produced and maintained is as snake food.

Therefore, those who frequently visit the store and buy rats for their snake are the ones who maintain the market for feeders alive and flourishing, NOT those who occasionally buy one or two as pets.

Since the number of people who buy feeders for pets is so negligible in comparison to the number of people who buy feeders for reptile food, it would have little impact on the store if they all suddenly stopped doing so.

Simply put, as long as reptile owners continue to buy, fighting the impulse to purchase a feeder rat won’t have any impact on the market.

But the rat you save will notice a huge difference.

Some opponents of keeping feeders as pets will liken the situation to puppy mills. While we are all tempted to buy the puppy we see in the pet store display and bring it home, we are aware that by doing so, we are supporting puppy farms. Regarding feeder rats, this analogy is incorrect because there is only one market—the pet industry—for puppy farm dogs.

Therefore, if everyone gave up getting pups as pets from pet stores, there would be no longer be any customers for puppy farms.

The industry would continue to grow even if everyone stopped purchasing feeder rats as pets since they are still being purchased as snake food.

We won’t see any change until reptile owners quit purchasing, though.

I find it very upsetting to witness vitriol directed at those who have saved feeding rats. I begin to question the heartlessness of those who abuse rats and how much they truly love them.

Even though I consider myself to be realistic, I find it impossible to understand how removing a rat from a potentially fatal circumstance could be considered as anything other than ethical and moral.

I do not suggest getting all of your pet rats from feeder rats.

Although I recommend purchasing from a breeder or a rescue organization whenever feasible, if you stroll into a store that sells feeder rats and fell in love with one, it won’t matter to the store whether you leave with it or without it.

If you don’t buy it for your snake, someone else will. Because reptile owners still have business, it is not a case of “don’t buy the rat and the shop will see that it has no business.”

If you decide to adopt a feeder, be ready for some resistance from certain rat owners. Some people are rather obnoxious when they criticize your decisions.

Personally, I advise you to disregard them and focus on the tiny life you have just rescued. Knowing that you have prevented an animal from suffering a terrible end is an incredible feeling.

If you do decide to occasionally take on feeder rats, keep in mind that they don’t always come without issues.

No consideration is paid to the health of the animals because they are raised primarily for food and are not anticipated to live a long time. If you adopt a feeder, be aware that he might not be the healthiest animal and might incur high vet expenditures.

Be cautious when bringing in female feeder rats as they are frequently mixed up with the males without distinction and may very well be pregnant. Naturally, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take her; in fact, doing so is probably a good idea as you’ll be saving both her and her young. However, you should be ready to find homes for the young and do some research on how to care for a mother rat.

Do I recommend making routine purchases of feeder rats? Not really, no.

Do I recommend bringing home the creature you fell in love with at the neighborhood pet store since they would otherwise suffer a horrible death? Absolutely.

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How long do frozen rats last?

The rats should last for 12 months or longer if the freezer bags are securely and tightly resealed after each usage. 5. How should frozen rodents be defrosted?

Why did Petco stop selling rats?

Rats cannot be sold by Petco in an ethical manner. RBF cannot be stopped in rats purchased from Petco. The company’s own infectious disease specialist testified that due to the possibility of cases of the sickness, he does not advise having rats as companion animals.

Does PetSmart sell feeder rats?

Only frozen feeder mice are offered at PetSmart. Other than comet goldfish, rose red minnows, and different insects and larvae, we do not sell live feeders.


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Sarah Green

Wildlife and Nature Fan & Author