Feeding a Pet Reptile Frozen Foods
Frozen and thawed foods tend to be safer for your pet reptile to consume then live bait.
Reptiles and Amphibians
Many people have started raising various reptiles and amphibians as pets, in place of the common cat and dog. These unique creatures may include frogs, lizards (iguanas, bearded dragons, geckos, monitors, etc.), turtles, tortoises, and snakes. Traditionally, live rodents were fed to these reptiles as a primary source of nutrition. However, studies have shown that frozen foods may be more healthy and beneficial to your pet. Converting a live bate eater to frozen foods is also not as difficult as some may think.
Frozen Foods are Safer
Frozen and thawed foods tend to be safer for your pet reptile to consume then live bait. When feeding your reptile live bait, they are at risk of getting clawed, bitten, or attacked by the rodent. If the reptile is uninterested in eating the rodent at the time, the rodent may become aggressive and injure the reptile, leading to gashes or even blindness. When your reptile is in captivity, you are responsible for its care. Reptiles act much different when enclosed in a home and do not necessarily need the "thrill of a kill". Providing frozen and thawed foods can eliminate these unnecessary risks.
Benefits of Frozen Foods
There are several benefits that come along with feeding frozen foods to your pet reptile. Most commercial pet stores now sell frozen foods for reptiles as a substitute for live bait. Frozen foods also take up less room and eliminate the need to care for and feed the bait while waiting for it to be fed to the reptile. Live baits may also contain parasites that can enter the reptile, resulting in illness or other conditions. All parasites are killed when frozen. Another benefit of using frozen foods is that they are usually cheaper then live bait. They are also humanely euthanized according to government regulations.
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Types of Frozen Food
For your reptiles' enjoyment, there are several choices of frozen food to choose from. Most commonly, pinkies are used as reptile food as they are small in size and usually hairless. Pinkies take about 30 to 45 minute to thaw in cold water. The next smallest type of mouse is known as fuzzies which take between 60 and 75 minutes to thaw. The next size up of mice without fur takes 75 to 90 minutes. Adult mice and rats are typically used to feed large reptiles and can take 2+ hours of thawing time in cold water.
How to Thaw Frozen Food
It's important to never feed your reptile frozen food. The food first needs to be thawed and warmed slightly so that it's above room temperature when fed to the reptile. It's best to avoid using the microwave to thaw the frozen food as it can leave cold or frozen spots in the middle. To thaw out frozen food, first remove it from all packaging. Next, put the food into a container with cold tap water. Leave the food in the water for the suggested thaw time. Once the time is up, fill the container with warm water and allow to stand for 15 minutes. Prior to feeding, run hot water into the container to warm the food above room temperature. Shake off excess water before feeding your pet reptile.
Feeding your pet reptile frozen foods instead of live bait has several advantages. It's important to gradually introduce frozen foods to your pet and back off if it becomes stressed. Remember that it will take time for your reptile to accept his new choice of food and do not give into your pet too easily.