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Q: Problem feeding frozen-thawed to blood python!
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I've been feeding my borneo blood python pre-killed rats for the past 4 months that I've had him. I've been gradually trying to get him to take frozen-thawed, but he never went for them in the past. Tonight I tried, and he actually took the thawed rat! I was really excited until I realized that, as usual, he coiled up the prey and squeezed as if it was his regular meal. All of the insides of the rat spilled out all over the place, and my buddy obviously lost his appetite. I bought these frozen rats from Petsmart, because that is the only place around here that carries them. They have a big slit down their bellies, which is clearly how it was so easy to squeeze everything out. I'm not sure what to do. Do all frozen rats have that slit? Should I buy them from someplace else? Any comments would be appreciated!! Thank you!

Points: 100
Topics: Feeding
Tags: Blood, Feeding, Frozen, Python, Thawed
Species: Pythons > Pythons > Python breitensteini
Administrative: Show/Hide

Member Comment 11/11/2008 11:00:03 PM


I buy my f/t from petsmart sometimes and I have never seen a slit like that. I think you just got a bum rat. I could be wrong it could be different where you live but...again I never have seen that done before. Where were you getting prekilled from? Maybe you can kill and freeze them yourself if you get them from there? Ordering them can be expensive with shipping unless you buy in bulk your not saving yourself alot. I would call around nieghboring towns and check with the small pet stores. Some of them may breed, kill and freeze there own. Maybe give petsmart one more chance. Is yours the artic zone brand rats? maybe call that company beccause mine from them from petsmart didnt come with a slit like that. Good luck.

Author Comment 11/11/2008 11:05:27 PM

This is the second time I've bought them from Petsmart and both times I've noticed that slit. Both were the Arctic Zone brand. I think I'll call around tomorrow, but when I checked before, I didn't find anyone who freezes their own. =\
Member Comment 11/11/2008 11:10:50 PM

Look around if your open to it, there are plenty of good places that you can order frozen rodents from that ship to your door next day. As far as I can tell anything beats petsmarts frozen rodents. I personally get live from work, kill them myself and freeze em for future use like LokisKafka said. But also like she said most small hole in the wall specialty pet stores usually carry their own and possibly even breed them. I would even suggest looking around and see if you can find any snake breeders near you, i would bet you anything they breed their own and if not would be able to point you in the best direction.
Member Comment 11/12/2008 1:56:11 AM

Ive never seen any pre killed with a belly slit.

I guess you all have sucky pet stores around. Or maybe im just awesome. I used to work for a mom and pop place and people would call ahead of time and i would pre kill whole bags of live and freeze them for next day pick up. Honestly, killing them yourself and freezing them isnt a bad idea. It will give you a good idea of the health of the prey item and it beats having them shipped unless you need to bulk order food.
Member Comment 11/12/2008 2:02:37 AM

It's obvious that no one's ever taught him how to eat one!  Put your head in his tank really close to his face -- this way he can watch and learn -- then take the thawed rat, open wide, and...  :)

Hmm, I've never heard of slit rats.  And the only time I've ever seen rat guts spill out all over the place was the one time I thought it might be a good idea to try warming frozen rats by boiling them like hot dogs.  Learn from my mistake... 

Sounds like Arctic Zone has a disgruntled or very bored employee.  RodentPro has great prices if you buy in bulk.  Bite the bullet and buy a full year's supply of rodents at once, or if you don't have the money or freezer space, try splitting a big order with a fellow herper.  This is pretty common practice for those with smaller collections.
Member Comment 11/12/2008 8:17:33 AM

I but from rodent pro....there is no reason for them to slit the bellies of rats...... I would buy your rodents from somewhere else if that's the kind of rats they sell
Member Comment 11/12/2008 12:30:45 PM

I agree with everyone else in that frozen rats are not usually slit open. If you're getting them that way from Petsmart, I'd take the rats back and either get better ones or your money back.

If you don't have the space of money to make an order from Rodent Pro or one of the other suppliers feasible, you might want to check around locally and go in on an order with someone. If there is a herp society in your area check with them. I bet someone sells Frozen rodents or you could get in on an order with someone.
Member Comment 11/13/2008 7:35:35 AM

Hi! You have good advice but before you look around, you should go back to Petsmart and tell them what happens! I would even bring the rat back in a baggie to show them what happened. Get your money back! Maybe it was just a bad batch... Anyway, they should be aware of that. Have a nice day!
Accepted Answer 11/13/2008 11:11:57 AM

Hey I called T- Rex products who makes Artic Mice products, I spoke with Tom White, he said that this is NOT normal. They dont make the rats but rather liscense someone to make the rats for them. All they do in house is mice and pinkies. Still he said that its federal regulation that mice and rats used as feeders for wholesale distribution on large scales have to be gassed as euthanization and there is NO reason for a belly slit.  He said if you call him he will be happy to help you with this problem.  He also said to take them back to petsmart and if petsmart wont take them then get the store number and manager name and he will straighten that out to. I would have to give them A+ on customer service. The number is 800.991-T-REX(8739) ask for Tom and if he isnt available leave him a message and he will get back to you.
Member Comment 11/13/2008 11:31:08 AM

Just an FYI - Usually this type of damage to frozen rodents comes from the item being thawed and refrozen. The skin gets thinner and when you thaw it out the second time, it's likely that it can split. If you have more of the rodents from PetSmart that you haven't thawed out yet, I'd take them all back because of this issue.
Member Comment 11/13/2008 11:41:54 AM

If there was a shipping problem, a stocking problem, or any problem that caused these rodents to be thawed and refrozen then I think Tom over at T-Rex still would like to know beccause this also would be unacceptable to his company. I have used the petsmart artic mice for a couple of years and NEVER had a problem one with them. They were always clean and always thawed to look very fresh. They never smelled bad or any other thing. Beccause they dont do the rats in house then the problem might be with the people who liscense the t-rex label for those rats and t- rex would need to be made aware of quality control issues to keep it from happening again.
Member Comment 11/13/2008 11:52:07 AM

My thoughts were to PetSmart not holding them correctly over the supplier having the problem.

Either way, I would think those in the know would want to be informed, just so they can maintain quality.
Member Comment 11/13/2008 12:08:05 PM

Yea the guy at T-Rex was VERY interested in getting to the bottom of this.
Author Comment 11/13/2008 3:17:29 PM

Thanks guys, I'll go back to Petsmart and tell them about the problem. I'll let you know what happens!
Member Comment 11/14/2008 5:57:35 AM

Scott Smith
Ask  were thay get the rats. I got some form a lab. They were all slit.

Author Comment 11/14/2008 1:34:41 PM

Well, I went to Petsmart and talked to the manager, but he couldn't have cared less about the situation. He just gave me my money back and sent me on my way. So, I'm definitely not going to be buying from there anymore. Now I've just got to find a place to get them from. Should I give Tom a call?
Member Comment 11/14/2008 1:44:09 PM

I'd give him a call just so he knows what's going on since he expressed an interest in being kept informed.

I don't know where you're located but I would look around your area and find a local herp society or close by breeder of rodents. If you're anywhere in the central or eastern part of the US you can get an  order of Frozen rodents from a supplier for pretty cheap compared to what you're paying at PetSmart.
Member Comment 11/16/2008 7:59:08 PM

For what it's worth, I often open the bellies of pinkies to help get babies interested in eating them. I've never had a snake put off by the guts...usually the opposite.  No matter the condition of the rat though, I find I get a much better feeding response if the mouse or rat is well heated. Luke warm doesn't cut it...or soaking wet...when you're first transitioning them to f/t.  My w/c animals all take f/t, but when I feed them for the first time, I make sure that I take a paper towel and really dry the fur.  As long as it was hot...they took it.  Helps if they are hungry too.  Since I only feed my snakes every 2 weeks, they are all VERY hungry by the time I feed. No one takes their time taking a rat or mouse off the tongs.  For large boids and pythons I'd feed even less often.  My stuff are the smaller arboreals.
Member Comment 10/29/2009 2:59:50 PM


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