Saturday, January 30, 2010

Why Feed Frozen Thawed?

Frozen thawed prey items are just as nutritious as live ones, without the risk. Feeding your snake or lizard live prey might be cool to watch or make you feel tough, but it can actually be dangerous for your pet! Mice and rats of all sizes have teeth, and they aren't afraid to use them. If your snake or lizard doesn't grab a mouse just right, or misses on the first strike the mouse will fight back. A rodent bite is not only extremely painful but can become easily infected. A rodent bite at the very least needs to be kept clean and dry and monitored for infection and at the worse can cause serious tearing and infection which will need veterinary treatment.

Frozen prey items are not only cost effective, but pose no threat to your herp. Once your snake or lizard grabs the mouse it's just as cool to watch, without the guilt. To feed frozen follow these few easy steps 1 - thaw out your prey item in hot water, just like you were defrosting chicken. NEVER use a microwave as this can super heat the center of the prey item and cause internal burns to your pet. 2 - Once your item is thawed dry it off on a clean paper towel. 3 - Using tongs (you don't want your hand to be associated with food in the mind of your snake!!!) dangle the prey item over your snake and wait for it to strike. 4 - Sit back and watch, it's like having the discovery channel in your house.

If you get a snake or lizard that is only used to eating live you can transition them to eating frozen. One of the best methods for doing this is scenting your mouse. This will trick your pet into thinking the item is alive, you can do this several ways 1 - after thawing the prey item place it in a container that has mouse or rat feces and urine in it while keeping it warm. 2 - thaw out your prey item in hot chicken broth. 3 - brain the mouse. This means puncturing holes in the skull so your snake/lizard can smell blood and brains. It is gross but very effective. 4 - rub the thawed prey item with a small lizard or frog. Anoles and tree frogs work well. Many reptile species consume smaller reptiles or amphibians in the wild. The most important thing with any of these methods is keeping the prey item warm. Your snake isn't going to find a cooled body appetizing.

So keep your pet safe and your conscious guilt free... feed frozen thawed.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Last but not least, especially in the amount of work I've put in, is Ziggy. Ziggy ended up being my birthday present this year. I gave up getting a Wii and a tattoo in order to bring him home and fix him up. Ziggy, a bearded dragon, was surrendered in a 10 gallon tank with no lighting or heat source to the pet store. He couldn't walk, his femurs were bent, his jaw was bowed and mushy, he was missing most of the toes on his back feet and part of his tail and he hadn't shed in a long time (layers of skin were built up on top of each other). We brought Ziggy to the vet, he was malnourished, dehydrated and diagnosed with metabolic bone disease. Ziggy was in worse shape than Be Bop (see previous blog). I knew he had to come home with me.

Ziggy was put on a course of liquid calcium supplement, and properly fed fresh salad and lots of yummy bugs. I put him into a 40 gallon breeder with proper heating (hot spot of 100 degrees give or take 5 degrees and an ambient temp of around 85), full spectrum UBV lighting and good hides and basking spots. Ziggy eats like a pig. He is successfully shedding on his own and walking! Ziggy's jaw bones hardened, but he still has a characteristic under bite. I don't think Ziggy will ever catch up in size to his brother Be Bop but he has more than enough personality to make up for it!


Sticky is a Crested Gecko. The species was actually thought to be extinct until a group or research scientists found a colony of them alive and well on the island of New Caledonia. Of course, specimens were taken into captivity and now they are becoming one of the most popular lizards in the pet trade. Sticky is an arboreal lizard and spends his days relaxing in a naturalistic terrarium set up, complete with elevated feeding dishes and live plants. I recently received a waterfall kit from a friends and will soon be adding a cool water feature to his tank to complete the natural look and feel of his habitat. The more naturally you have your herp set up, the more natural behaviors you can observe.

Sticky is yet another rescue. He was the smallest gecko in his tank at the pet shop and was being picked on by the bigger males. Sticky had also lost his tail. This occurs in a good percentage of captive geckos, but research shows that most male Crested Geckos are tailless in the wild. The lack of tail makes Sticky look like a strange frog/dragon cross which is actually pretty endearing. In Crested Geckos the tail does not regenerate as in many species. I couldn't help but bring Sticky home and add him to my scaly family. He's now full grown and super handsome. I'm thinking about getting him a girlfriend or two but don't tell my girlfriend because Crested Geckos are rather prolific!