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Q: How do you thaw your FT Rats and Mice?
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OK, I'm just curious to know how all of you thaw and warm your prekilled FT mice and rats.  I suspect there maybe good ways and bad ways to do it.

I usually use a spare heat lamp that I set on an empty spot on a table.  I place the mice and rats on paper towels under the heat lamp and turn them around occaisionally, untill they are thawed and warm, but not cooked.  Sometimes, if I get distracted, I've left them too long and they get cooked....very gross!  I've wondered if there is a better way to do this.

I've thought about putting the mice in baggies in hot water.  But what about when I am doing a lot at once?  And what about big jumbo rats?  Some of my jumbo rats are huge and take a long time to thaw.

What do you all do?  

Points: 50
Topics: Feeding
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Member Comment 2/25/2009 10:50:33 AM

I havent gotten to the point where i need to thaw anything but pinkies. Since pinks are hairless i just dump them in hot water and leave the bowl on my space heater. Most of the snakes will drink the water that drips off of the prey before they eat it.
I would imagine that once i need to do f/t mice, i will probably bag them and let them sit in warm water.
You could also simply bag them and leave them over night to thaw using room temps and then warm them under a lamp or hair dryer when its time to feed.
Accepted Answer 2/25/2009 11:08:30 AM

Sonja K. Reptiles

We thaw our mice, rats, rabbits, chicks and quails in ziploc baggies in hot water. We just fill the sinks with hot water... when the water cools off, we drain it and refill with hot, etc. We have found it best to place the different prey items in their own bags - for example, we don't thaw mice and rats in the same bag. We have 90+ snakes, and this method works for us. With the rabbits or something like a XXXXL Guinea Pig, we do take them out of the freezer the night before to start thawing.

Member Comment 2/25/2009 11:53:38 AM

I feed snakes the snakes at Animal Trax and most of my collection is on F/T. I don't care for the "under a heat lamp" method. Very stinky! And will definitely compromise the quality of your prey. I simply thaw them out in warm/hot water. I have old tupperware I've set aside just for the purpose, all different sizes. Small items like pinks take no time to thaw, for larger items I refresh the water just before feeding to make sure they are good and hot. Quick squeeze with a paper towel and you're done! I've never used baggies to thaw things out, never saw the need. Never had to fluff with a hair dryer, either.  If it's a good eater, it won't make any difference. Also, try setting a timer!
Member Comment 2/25/2009 12:46:53 PM

I use the same method as Sonja does and thaw feeders in a bucket. Occasionally I will let feeders thaw out at room temps but that's only if I just picked them up and they will be used in a few hours. Even then I may toss them in hot water after they've thawed just to warm them up. Also note that a lot of plastic bags end up leaking and the feeders will get wet. Most of my snakes aren't fussy and will eat anything but I've found some snakes won't especially ones that have just been converted from live or p/k.
Member Comment 2/25/2009 1:25:39 PM

I only thaw mice and the occasional small rat so I use the medium critter keeper (plastic thing for moving reptiles). I tried the bag method, the rodents sweat and it's still wet and smells a lot worse.
Member Comment 2/25/2009 1:27:58 PM

We have a large bay window in our living room that gets great sun from the southern exposure.  I just put the prey in the sun and come back after a bit and they are thawed and nice and warm.  On cloudy days we thaw in warm water in the sink.
Member Comment 2/25/2009 4:20:54 PM

I have a cheap pot on a hot plate, and I "simmer" them.  I had one picky eater who would not eat wet rats (when I was first switching him to frozen from F/K), so I thawed them in ziplock bags, but he has since adjusted and will eat them wet or dry.  So I just toss them all in the pot and turn it on low!
Member Comment 2/25/2009 4:23:49 PM

I feed anywhere from 25-40 snakes at once and thaw all of my rodents in a bowl of hot/warm water. I'll take them out of the freezer and separate the small rats and larger from the weaned rats and smaller. I fill the bowls with hot tap water out of the faucet and then refresh the water when it gets cool. It usually takes once or twice (at 15min or so intervals) to thaw and warm up the smaller rats. By the time I'm done feeding the babies, the larger rats are ready.

Dry with a towel and then feed with tongs to all my guys.
Member Comment 2/25/2009 4:34:04 PM


My rats and mice go into the same bin under hot or warm water.  Then I dry them off with a paper towel, damp dry.  Snakes that don't care whether it is warm or not (most of my ratsnakes, take it at room temp thawed sometimes.  The only glitch for me is small hairless prey can start to "cook" under the hot water that I use for the larger prey, so I take them out quicker.

Author Comment 2/25/2009 4:42:20 PM

Oh My....I'm the only one with the silly heat lamp?  I guess I'll go home today and try the hot water method....that seems to be almost universal.

Thanks everyone for your responses!  I think this is very interesting.
Member Comment 2/25/2009 5:13:44 PM

The Master
I use the heat lamp after they thawed just to give them a little heat  before they eat  
I tryed the water thing and my snakes wont eat because they are wet from sweating  
They do smell worse then letting them defrost on there own
Member Comment 2/25/2009 8:58:51 PM

For the most part, I set mine out on a piece of tinfoil or plastic or some random object I can throw away afterwards. Let them spend the afternoon there and they're good by evening. 
This takes longer, but if you plan ahead there's no worries..
I also thaw them out in bags in warm water on occasion-- but I have accidentally cooked a few that way! As in, turned the heater on 'low' setting and forgot about it.. for a few hours. That was absolutely disgusting.
Member Comment 2/26/2009 1:10:25 AM

I wrap them in a Sham-WOW!!!!! It's made by germans. It does everything.

Anyway... hot water FTW.
Member Comment 2/26/2009 1:14:12 AM

Oh, you know what, I'm sorry, I actually did have something to say that was beneficial here.

I thaw them in Zip Bags... Never a tub that is reused, and I never put the hemos directly in the baggie to pull the mouse. I use my hands, tongs on mouse, mouse in cage, and tongs switched for different groupings of animals.

I used to use the same rubbermaid container, but I didn't like the reusability of it, and the potential for any cross contaminatino. 

But then again, I'm a very paranoid individual when it comes to that.
Member Comment 2/26/2009 2:54:17 AM

We let our F/T rats thaw out on the counter until the rat has no noticable cold spots (We check the head and hips throughout the thawing process), then submerge the sealed ziplock baggie in warm water to raise the core temp, without cooking it.

We got the method from http://www.frozenfeeder.com/thawing_instructions.html, which says:

"Remove prey from freezer and place on counter, in a cupboard, on top of fridge or freezer, etc. (Thawing times chart at bottom of page.)

Once the prey item has been thawed it needs to be heated to above room temperature. This can be done by:

  • Placing the prey, submerged, in hot water. 
  • Placing the prey item under a heat lamp. 
  • Placing the prey by an electric heater. 
  • Using a hair dryer or heat gun.

(The above methods should not be used to thaw the prey ... only to warm them to above room temp).

Check the prey items head and hips, these are the thickest areas and usually the last to warm up. If they feel cold more warming is required.

The first few feedings may require a “jiggle or shake”. Hold the prey by the tail (with hemostats or tongs) and “shake” the prey lightly about 2 inches from the reptiles nose. Once it strikes the prey release your grasp on the prey item.

The prey can also be left on the under tank heat pad or under a heat light for the shy eaters.

CAUTION: Do NOT use a microwave to thaw feeders, this may cause them to explode or will cook inside of prey.

Reptiles cannot digest cooked food. For this reason you also should not use boiling water to warm prey.

Pinkies and fuzzies are highly susceptible to “popping” when warmed too fast.

Member Comment 2/26/2009 5:45:03 AM

Hi bob here from england, the way i do it is to take one or many as you need from the freezer ,and put in one of those tubs which you get from buying crickets (or tupperware)then place in top part of fridge till the morning,take out first thing which will be defrosted  and fresh and within hour will be warm enough to feed   all the best  bob
Author Comment 2/26/2009 8:59:33 AM

You guys are all awesome.

Aaron, I think I should get a Sham-WOW.  I bet there are 100 uses for herps!

BTW, I tried warming in a sink full of warm water last night.  My carpets didn't seem to like it as much.  They gave me a funny look but then they eventually ate.  But, my picky ball that never eats all winter finally ate his first food of the spring, nice and warm from the water bath.

Thanks everyone.....this was very educational.  Now, maybe I should use that heat lamp for another snake rather than for warming mice!!!!
Member Comment 2/26/2009 7:58:59 PM

I feed live, but when i do feed frozen, I use the hot water method with mouse in a bag. It seems to work, sometimes, I will use hotter water at the end to warm up the mouse a little more to make it look better for my snakeee poos.  Good luck
Member Comment 2/26/2009 7:59:52 PM

Hey Aaron, I like the shamwow method,  its made by Germans so you know its good quality!!!  LMAO
Member Comment 2/27/2009 8:46:26 PM

Hot water...bunch of frozen mice and rats....leave in hot water for a while. Renew hot water.....Go in snake room with said hot water and thoroughly melted mice and rats....dry with paper towel...offer on tongs....watch snakes eat...that's it.  No baggies...hot mice...
Member Comment 2/28/2009 3:53:39 AM

I will take out as many feeders as I need and place them in ziplock bags. I let them defrost for several hours. When I am ready to feed, I place them in hot water, replacing the hot water after 10 minutes. I do this about 3 times. I then test them to make sure they are warm. If they are, I feed.
Member Comment 2/28/2009 2:12:17 PM

i have an old big gulp cup and i put them through 3 cycles of hot water baths in ziploc bags.

always does the trick and fast too.
Member Comment 3/1/2009 10:36:59 PM

yeah hot bucket of water, and for jumbos i just empty the water every 10 mins and fill up with more hot water.
Member Comment 3/6/2009 6:52:05 PM

I've found that the best way is, take them from the freezer and put them into the fridge the night before or a day or two in advance..Once thawed out in there, take them and sit them down next to something warm...the snakes heat light..is what I use..put the ziplock bag ontop of the tank next to the light..After about an hour or two, they're warm and ready to go.

I used to use hot water, but I find the way I just described much better.
Member Comment 5/15/2009 10:16:10 PM

Triangle Reptiles
Freezer into hot water.  Thaw.  Feed wet.  When I have the occasional problem feeder, I take their water away for 2 days and when I put a dripping mouse to it's nose, it begins licking up the water, then eats!  Try it next time you have a problem feeder.
Member Comment 5/16/2009 5:37:08 AM

I tried that method on a couple of non feeding cornsnake babies, but it didn't do the trick.  You can try it though.  I had the same thing suggested to me.
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