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Q: Is it safe to feed prey that has been thawed and refrozen?
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ok, i bought two frozen pinkys because of the place being out of live ones. i brought them home, thawed the two and fed her one, then wasnt sure what to do so i stuck the other back in the freezer. if i were to thaw it out a second time will it be dangerous to feed to the snake?

it was a buck, im not worried about having to buy another, just taking my precations in feeding her something that would maybe cause problems. it has been 5 days since i fed her. which is longer then i usually go. for a 5 month old king, is that too long?

Points: 100
Topics: General Health , Feeding , Digestive
Tags: Frozen, Pinkys, Thawed
Species: Kings and Milks > Kingsnakes > Lampropeltis getula californiae
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Assisted Answer 1/12/2009 11:35:35 PM

Triangle Reptiles
As long as it didn't sit out too long and start to spoil, it should be fine.  I have refrozen pinks and fed them to my snakes with no problem.  Even to my box turtles.
Pinkies, because of their size, will spoil quicker than older mice, but it certainly can be done.
Member Comment 1/12/2009 11:52:59 PM

agreed; it depends upon how much time the pinkie spends thawed

if in doubt, smell it -- if it stinks more than a mouse should, toss it!  :)

I hope this is helpful
Assisted Answer 1/13/2009 12:17:44 AM

Katie M
I feed my juvenile snakes every 5-7 days, so in response to your question about how often to feed (I'm tired, and I could have sworn I saw that question in there), 5-7 days is just fine - you don't want to powerfeed - often time, snakes will eat as often as you offer, just because of the instinct they have to eat when the opportunity arises - they don't know they're on a schedule
Member Comment 1/13/2009 12:50:39 AM

i order pinks frozen by the hundred and i have to thaw them and divide them into several baggies to keep from thawing them all everytime i need a few. I  have never had an problem with them being refrozen and fed.
Assisted Answer 1/13/2009 8:48:45 AM

There are many documented cases of wild snakes scavenging on carrion - something that many folks don't realize.  I personally witnessed a 7 foot black ratsnake peeling off a pancake road killed squirrel off of a road!  Obviously, you don't want to feed putrifide food to your snake but like the others have said, if it smells really bad, it's bad.
Member Comment 1/13/2009 8:57:16 AM

Iwould say throw it to be safe..... after all it's a cheap pinkie
Member Comment 1/13/2009 9:00:51 AM

hey i refreeze all the time:) but i only do it once and if the food item doesn't get eaten after i thaw it out again i throw it away.
Member Comment 1/13/2009 10:24:59 AM

Sonja K. Reptiles
Jennifer, why do you need to thaw to divide out the pinks? We order by the 100, too, and have never had a problem with just taking what we need out of the bag.
Assisted Answer 1/13/2009 12:28:05 PM

I have refrozen and thawed in the past, actually, numerous times ... I have never had a noticeable problem, however within the last three or so years I have taken a very strong stance on my food for the chondros -- never refreeze, and 1 food item per animal, no exceptions. That is to say, if I have a snake refuse a meal, that meal is flushed. Once a food item enters an animals cage, it is tainted.

I think I'm paranoid. 
-- Garbage
Member Comment 1/13/2009 9:48:33 PM

the pinks i get come 50 to a vacume sealed package and they are a pretty solid brick. I dont thaw them out all the way just enough to break them apart rather than have a bunch of damaged pinks with guts spilling out. It also lets me seperate them into dinner day packs. its everything i need for feeding day in one freezer bag. No counting no fussing just take out a bag and toss it in hot water. The pinks are at the top they thaw fast so the babies eat first then, the fuzzies come next on the thaw list. so it works out well.
Member Comment 1/14/2009 9:19:08 AM

I think that you should throw it away.. I mean, would you like to eat something that had been frozen, thawed and then frozen again? I wouldn´t..
Accepted Answer 1/14/2009 9:58:22 AM

Morbid: That really comes down to   1) How long has the food in question been thawed in total, and   2) Personal preference.

As part of my degree, I took a few Meat Science courses, and we discussed this very point, as it relates to human food safety issues.  The safety of the food in question really does come down to the total amount of time it has spent thawed.  Freezing does not in itself do anything to either damage or enhance the food.  Freezer burn on the other hand is a different issue.

So in the herpetocultural realm, if you leave a prey item in with an animal overnight, find it uneaten in the morning then refreeze it, it will probably smell awful when you next thaw it.  I personally wouldn't leave prey sitting that long to begin with, as towards the end of that window of time I would already begin questioning the safety of the prey item.  If however, you offer a prey item and it is refused, and it is thawed for about 1-2 hours before you refreeze, it should be perfectly fine to thaw and feed out later.  Once the prey item spends more than 4 hours or more thawed, I would go by the "smell test," as at that point I would start to be concerned.  These are my personal preferences anyhow.
Member Comment 1/14/2009 11:10:19 AM

oh and if you eat fast food ever then you are bound to eat meat that has been refrozen
Member Comment 1/14/2009 12:23:45 PM

I'm kind of cheap, I do it all the time.  We don't buy a lot at one time, so if one doesn't get eaten it's back into the freezer.  I just make sure that the next time it's thawed it doesn't get re-frozen again (you might want to keep a seperate baggy for these).  The breeder I got one of my snakes from suggested it.  He was really awesome.
Assisted Answer 1/14/2009 1:35:11 PM

I have enough animals not to have a problem with leftovers. Kind of like feeding a footbal team I guess. If you thaw out a bad feeder you will know it. The smell is pretty distinct even if it's a pinkie. I think I've bought some feeders that were either refrozen or they sat too long before being frozen and you can smell the difference right away even if they look fine. Some of my snakes will refuse them (they must be connoisseurs of fine rodent cuisine) Picky buggers....Oh and when you get to feeding adult mice and the feeder smells ok but the hair is falling off in chunks I would say it's bad. I've seen some weird things....
ps: you can always buy a caiman or monitor and you'll never have to worry about wasting feeders again
Assisted Answer 1/14/2009 1:56:37 PM

Jeff brings up a good point; some of the frozen prey available for purchase is not of good quality -- don't automatically trust every supplier!

In the early '90's (between about '92 and '94) I remember very clearly overhearing a conversation between two guys at a show who were both selling bulk frozen rats.  It was a miserably hot summer day, maybe in July or August, and sunny.  One told the other his favorite method for killing them in large numbers:  place them all in a black plastic garbage can, snap on the lid, and leave it out in the sun.  He gestured to the door as he said this, as if he had a group in process at the time.  I can't imagine that any of those rats would have been any good to feed to a snake after that!  :(

I sincerely hope that rodent suppliers like these have been pushed out of business by now, but you can never be sure!!
Most reputable suppliers now seem to prefer suffocating groups of rodents with CO2 -- much cleaner, more humane for the rats, and safer for the snakes!

Just some 'food for thought' while we are talking about feeder rodents
Assisted Answer 1/14/2009 5:18:19 PM

I have refrozen thawed feeders before, but only once again then it's disposed of.  After the second time of freezing/thawing/tongs/dangling, appendages start falling off.  ew.

Amarilrose, I agree on the suppliers comment - I got a whole bag once that none of my crew would touch.  I ended up pitching the whole thing.  I found out later through some other herp friends that he sells used/dead lab rats - who knows what they were injected with?  One of their friends who had a prized breeder stopped using him when the snake developed a blockage - surgery had to be done - to remove all the microchips from the rats he had been feeding her. 
Member Comment 1/14/2009 5:50:56 PM

Yikes.  Those sound like what you described them as: used lab rats.

Those are very different from my understanding of rats that are "lab surplus," which is what most of the large suppliers utilize.  There are many different research labs in this country, many of which breed their own mice & rats.  Typically, due to the way funding works for research, large lots of rodents of the same age and genetic line need to be available at the same time, but the researchers typically want  specific number.   My understanding of "lab surplus" rats is that these are the rats that did not become part of a research group; they are extras that ended up being born to ensure that there were in fact enough rats to cover the needs of the researcher -- and so for all intents & purposes, they are just rats that were born in a lab rodent colony that were not needed and so became food.

All told, it is good to ask where your feeders come from and how they are euthanized!!
Assisted Answer 1/14/2009 8:12:45 PM


I would not re-freeze meat that has been thawed to room temp for reasons indicated in the link, whether I am eating it or my animals are eating it.  This is fairly common knowledge in the food industry and a serious health code violation if it is done, even for fast food establishments.  I realize we are not talking about meat that is being used for human consumption, but the health risk is the same.
Member Comment 10/4/2010 4:17:45 PM


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