Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Meet the Mice
Age: >1 Year
Nicknames: Momma(all adult females), Bub(all babies)
Mousey Story: I'm posting this with full acknowledgment that I may get a thrashing from those who can not fathom harming something soft and cuddly, and from those well-educated snake owners who know, just as I do, that I shouldn't be feeding my snakes live mice. But I am also posting this because I do respect these animals that help to give my pet snakes life, and I do not want to lie to any of my readers and pretend that they do not exist, and I do want to incorporate and educate those folks who do choose to breed their own feeder animals on the humane care of mice, proper diet, proper enclosure, and so on. Just because they are not our "pets" in the typical sense of the word, they deserve just as much care and compassion, if not a bit more.
The top picture and the picture above this paragraph is Scar. Do you see Scar's scar? lol. The same lady who gave Piggy to me happened to find this mouse at a reptile show, a place where reptile breeders go to sell their animals, feeders, enclosures, and so on. When she found him, the skin on his back was non-existent. Luckily it healed over, but the scar is never going to completely heal. Scar is my breeding male. My breeding females currently include a pink eyed white female(below), an orange female, and a gray(agouti) female. They do, unfortunately, get rotated out sometimes, unlike Scar, because I do not find it humane to keep a female and breed her over and over again until she dies of exhaustion or miscarries repeatedly or has litter after litter that dies because she is not young enough to produce enough milk for them.
Petsmart was our source of frozen mice. After a short while, we had gotten several mice that appeared to have been thawed out and then refrozen. Not only is this unhealthy, but my snakes are incredibly picky when it comes to frozen mice, and if it isn't extremely fresh and free of freezer burn or odors from the freezer, they will not eat it. If ice somehow manages to get into the package, and the mouse gets wet while thawing out, they will also not eat it. To my knowledge, there aren't any other stores in my area that sell pre-killed frozen mice. This lead me to begin considering things: there are truly risks to the snake when feeding live rodents, and there are obvious ethical reasons to not feed live animals to snakes.
On the other hand, consider the condition in which commercially raised mice are bred. If they are anything like the videos I have seen online of warehouses selling small pets to stores, conditions are horrible. Mice turn to cannibalism due to starvation and overcrowding. Even if conditions are optimal, how about the diet? I try to feed my mice fresh foods as often as I can. This is healthier for them and for my snakes. Raising my own mice lets me ensure that they have the most humane life possible prior to death. They have toys, they have fresh food, and they have a reasonably sized enclosure. Eventually, and hopefully soon, I plan on creating a homemade CO2 chamber for euthanasia. It will definitely be a great improvement to the current situation and I'm looking forward to it.
Posted by Cynthia Downer at 4:16 PM