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Feeding Pets Live Food Is Cruelty

Frozen rodents
Frozen rodents | Source

Live feeding is animal cruelty, no matter how you dress it up, no matter how 'happy' it may make another animal, and not even when it is necessary for picky feeders (this is partially 'justified' animal cruelty, but it has its own set of qualms). It is wrong, inhumane, unethical, and cruel to inflict a torturous death upon prey animals, regardless of whether or not they were 'bred' for this purpose.

Cruelty:

1. deliberate infliction of pain or suffering

2. the quality or characteristic of being cruel

3. a cruel action


Therefore, feeding captive animals live vertebrate prey is animal cruelty.

“Why are you always so negative?” Many variations of this question are asked to me by the few people who know me.

I guess one of the answers to that question is that the absurd lack of logic that is often used and accepted by many to support and continue horrendous practices such as trapping live mammals in cages to be subdued by (many times often far less intelligent) predators.

I wish to inform people; but excuse me if the tone of this article is a little ‘scathing’. People annoy me when they complain that zoo tigers are not given live prey and the excuses that they delude themselves into believing are upsetting.

What leads people to defend obvious acts of animal cruelty, including even those vile animal 'snuff' clips that haunt on youtube?


Common boa eating
Common boa eating | Source

Various live feeding excuses, some stupider than others

  • It's natural
  • I want my animal to experience killing things (they NEED/ love it)
  • It's healthier (fresh nutrition)
  • These feeder animals were BRED for this!
  • Don't you eat hamburgers?
  • My animal won't eat anything else

The absurd excuses

There appears to be three types of live feeding supporters; people who genuinely care and think they are doing what’s best for the captive animal (although many delude themselves into thinking this is the case when in reality, they feed live for their entertainment), people who justify their actions because it ‘occurs in nature’, and people who are, to be quite blunt, depraved individuals who have ‘anti-social disorder’ qualities yet have enough restraint to conform to society so they don't take their cruelty out on people (usually).

Sometimes these malicious latter individuals commit particularly disgusting and painful methods of live feeding just to stir a negative reaction (one video I certainly won’t post involves alligator snapping turtles and drowning mice).

Stupidest Excuse: ‘Live Feeding Is Natural’

Number one, no it isn't. In nature, cages do not exist, and the prey actually has a chance of escape. Number two, to proclaim that "live feeding is natural" as an excuse suggests that everything natural is desirable— everything from shorter lifespan, disease, exposure to predators, and other forms of negative stress.

It also suggests that the mission of keeping captive animals is to replicate every aspect of nature. In reality, when people keep animals, we select which aspects of nature we want to preserve for the health and wellness of the animal (nutrition, metal stimulation, adequate space) in the hopes of managing a happy and healthy specimen. It is similar to the life we design for ourselves.


Lions need raw meat, not live prey.
Lions need raw meat, not live prey. | Source

We omit many aspects of nature that are pointless, and the idea of keeping an animal captive is not natural from the start. Generally, nowhere in this objective is a live feeding needed to achieve this goal. Also, the ethical animal caretaker should not cause any harm to any feeling being unnecessarily. Caring for a captive animal does not mean that the keeper doesn't owe welfare standards to the prey, and this should apply to the animals you choose to consume yourself as well. Your captive animal's environment is NOT nature—this is an environment you are managing.

Some people become wrapped up in the ‘beauty and wonder of nature’ that they forget (or sugar coat) that pain and suffering is a part of it. Picture tragedies in the news and the sense of horror that goes through your mind when you learn that a person was attacked by an animal or person. Picture the solemn sadness experienced when a child dies of a terminal illness. Those are all real natural life events that are inevitable. Why is predator-prey drama so beautiful and wondrous unless it’s happening to a human?

Encouraging a tiger's hunting instincts with non-living objects

Do Animals Enjoy Killing?

Animals in the wild must kill to obtain their nutrition, but does this equate to enjoyment? Yes and no; animals need an outlet for their energy, but it absolutely doesn’t need to be taken out on a live animal. I’m sure domesticated cats achieve great fun when torturing their prey, but the same level of enjoyment can be achieved with an unfeeling plastic mouse attached to a piece of string—this is hardly a tremendous inconvenience to the pet owner.

Dogs possess chase instincts that are retained from the prey drive of their ancestors, and a ball and a non-lazy owner will suffice over a living rabbit. Perhaps a living animal to play with will occasionally be a tad more exciting for some animals, but does this justify ignoring the welfare of the animal you are feeding it? It does not begin to approach ‘cruelty’ to disappoint an animal by disallowing them to kill, but causing the prey to suffer DOES.



Some idiots actually feed live prey to ferrets.
Some idiots actually feed live prey to ferrets. | Source

It confounds me how basic ethical standards evaporate when it comes to the welfare of the prey. Even seemingly decent people are willing to forfeit a painless death for an animal in the name of their pet’s ‘playtime’. This just adds insult to injury when it comes to the questionable status of captive animal ethics. If animal rights groups ever had a good reason to be anti-pet ownership, they can start with people’s attitudes regarding live feedings. Perhaps it would be easier for most people to see the horror of live feeding if it was done with puppies and kittens to zoo tigers. In actual cases, some people have purchased free dogs and cats to feed to their pet snakes.

If baby large pythons refuse to take dead food, don’t shrug you shoulders and submit to feeding them live for the rest of their lives. It’s your responsibility as a pet owner to continue the process of trying to get the animal to convert. Aside from the welfare of the prey, if you take no initiative to get a baby ball python to eat dead food, once the animal reaches an adult size you will be dealing with live rats. Live rats can maim a snake even if you are watching the entire time. Is laziness worth this?

Don't reptiles enjoy killing?

Don’t be ridiculous, reptiles respond to stimuli. They do not ‘enjoy’ killing in any kind of way, especially snakes, and snake owners are often the biggest offenders.

I have eight snakes (although one feeds exclusively on eggs, and I can pretty much guarantee she doesn’t enjoy the process), and I’ve learned just how stimuli-strict they are. None of them will see live prey as long as they are mine, and I’ve dealt with some finicky feeders. Ball pythons are immensely popular but they can have feeding problems, even with live prey.

When experiencing feeding problems, stress plays an important factor. Wait until your snake is searching for food (all of my ball pythons sit with their heads out of their hides) and gently introduce the prey. Make sure the situation feels ‘secure‘ as ball pythons are a very timid species. And lastly, don't blame lack of moving prey for your husbandry error or stressful environment.

Two of my Ball Pythons
Two of my Ball Pythons

The ONLY good excuse

Some people are concerned that the methods used by most frozen rodent dealers are inhumane, based on some studies that challenge whether or not CO2 methods of euthanasia are pain-free. If it is you're actually, truthful belief (not wishful thinking to suit your own entertainment desires) that strangulation by snake/bite to the carotid artery/ ect. is a more desirable death than some of the listed effects of CO2, that is more understandable. However, I strongly doubt that any person, if forced to choose, would opt for a wild animal death over that of a gas that causes asphyxiation of the brain (and whatever other unforeseen circumstances this may lead to). There is also the option of pre-killing the animal yourself in the method you deem the most suitable.

Exo Terra Vivicator Vibrating Feeding Dish
Exo Terra Vivicator Vibrating Feeding Dish

Something for those who don't like dealing with live insects, but pay attention to nutrition.

 

Insects/arthropod live prey

There’s no data that I’m aware of that confirms a ‘humane’ way of dispatching small arthropods (and limited data on whether or not they can experience pain or stress in the manner of vertebrates) so in this case I won't complain about live feedings with these animals, especially since the process replicates natural feedings with no laziness of the predator to cause prolonged suffering. Although, I admit I have a panther chameleon that is trained to take non-live insects. It certainly was a tedious process, yet it provided a lot of perspective at reptilian ‘thinking’ for myself. The fact still remains that the idea that reptiles enjoy or get anything out of killing is laughable.

Nutrition

Even if you are a food purist who believes that food should be consumed in its raw form to achieve optimal nutritional, you can still feed humanely pre-killed prey (this is also another option for finicky eaters). I'm not convinced that freezing would degenerate nutritional content of whole prey to any level that would be even moderately harmful. The success of millions of animals sustained on this type of diet is testament to that. If your snake or mammal is receiving whole prey, it’s already much better off than the millions of dogs and cats receiving only processed and cooked kibble.


Be a humane animal caretaker

If you claim to be such, or care at all about animal welfare, excuses for live feedings do not exist in reality. It all comes down to how concerned you are with the welfare of the animals you keep, even if it is temporary. The ‘wonder’ of nature does not cancel out suffering, and captivity is not nature. If you feed a mouse to a snake that willingly takes non-live food, you might as well have strangled the animal and committed the resulting suffering yourself. There is a significant difference between suffering leading to death, and just death. As we bring up reasons to justify keeping captive animals, we should never allow the living prey to experience fear and suffering in our closed human-controlled environment to the most reasonable extent possible.

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Comments 94 comments

Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 5 years ago from South East Asia

Very good. I am glad we agree. You might to look out for my hub on the same subject....slightly different approach but with the same decision. Keep up the good work.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 5 years ago from New York Author

Thanks, not sure why it's not letting me reply to comments but anyway, I linked to your article.


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

My daughter's leopard gecko just won't eat dead stuff frozen or otherwise, I wish he would it would make it easier to feed the guy. But I get your point. There are California nature preserve/zoo safari with hundreds of acres, I've always wondered if there are more live feed situations there? Interesting topic. I always think of that brave grey squirrel that dares run across the lion's cage! I somehow see them becoming more companions than anything.

Ben


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 5 years ago from New York Author

Yeah, that tends to be the case with most insect eating lizards. I stated that I wasn't against that, but I just listed something that works sometimes, the vibrating feeding dish. I've only used it with a bearded dragon. It didn't work with a chameleon, but they are unique. I don't think/hope that live feeding large animals is a common practice in the US.


Joe Macho profile image

Joe Macho 5 years ago from Colorado

Great information! This hub really clarifies why Live feeding is just wrong. I'm not a reptile owner, but I've heard through the peanut gallery that feeding your snakes live mice/rats can introduce diseases. Any word on this?


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 5 years ago from New York Author

I think that's usually more of a concern with live prey caught from the wild, or if the prey bites the reptile. Thanks!


IRENE 4 years ago

HOW DID THE DEAD PRAY DIE ???????


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

This article is not against killing the prey, it's about giving them a good quality of life and a humane death when it is needed. Small prey like mice and rats should be euthanized with CO2 gas, which is quick and painless. I would choose this death over being strangled by a snake any day.


Shaddie profile image

Shaddie 4 years ago from Washington state

Great hub. Live feeding really is sad.


Linda Sue 4 years ago

Excellent Article, Thank you for taking the time to write this. Also please see the below reference.

In my opinion, the need to live feed is a myth and has not been proven.

http://www.repvet.co.za/food_ratsmice_livevsdead.p...


jennzie profile image

jennzie 4 years ago from Lower Bucks County, PA

Great hub. I also hate to feed animals live prey. I work at a pet store and we feed our snakes frozen mice, which I am very grateful for. However, unfortunately we have to feed our reptiles live crickets and worms. As much as I feel bad for them every time I place some into a habitat, I think I've become so used to it now just because I've been doing it for a while that it doesn't bother me as much as it did when I first started working there.

But if one day we were suddenly forced to feed the snakes live mice, I would definitely quit. I'm just a lot more fond of the little furry animals than the insects or worms. :)


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Thank you for commenting jennzie, it's wonderful to see that you care about the insects being fed. It's very unfortunate, the live feeding of others also has a significant impact on those of us who do not think it is ethical, because it eliminates potential job opportunities for those of us who want to work with animals. That is another excellent point. My soul would shrink if I had to do that for a living. It's not worth it.


amber chen 4 years ago

I wish that someone like you would advocate the welfare of all life "grown" for consumption. Chickens and Cows are farmed in the U.S. to feed the meat-hungry population(as well as for cat food) and I feel that human treatment of these animals(pastured/grassfed instead of packed-like-sardines) would be more important to advocate. I would consider the majority of the meat in the U.S. (and other industrialized areas) to be inhumane. These animals suffer CRUEL treatment for months or years, instead of a few hours. CONFINED CHICKENS PECK EACH OTHER TO DEATH through stress, not even as a source of food– And there is a high rate of this in commercial farming. I suspect that these dead chickens, although not good enough for human consumption, sometimes go to hogs or even your cat or dog food.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Amber Chen, I DO advocate humane treatment of animals raised for food. This article is about one subject and it does not represent my entire library of thoughts.


Maria Cecilia profile image

Maria Cecilia 4 years ago from Philippines

I saw one in our local TV, a python inside a cage and a small dog was given to it as prey, I was not able to watch it I was furious. I know authorities acted on it....


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Thanks for commenting Maria...that's very unfortunate. Some people in the US do that kind of thing for shock value, even though it is illegal. Some people actually end up defending it because they consider that there is no difference between a dog and a rodent. That just shows what kind of cruelty would have to be accepted if living feeding is to be considered ethical.


Brandon Smith 4 years ago

I see you mention CO2 as a humane method of killing. There are now studies that say they may endure a lot of pain, similar to drowning. I choose a method that kills them near instant 80 - 90% of the time, putting a pencil on there neck and pulling on the tail internally decapitating the mouse. But occasionally it wont kill them instantly and Ill have to do it again.

both are better than what some snake keepers do, throw them in the freezer to freeze to death.

Either way, some level of pain is going to happen.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Thanks for the comment Brandon. CO2-induced euthanasia is a currently accepted and widely implemented method among rodent breeders and laboratories for small rodents. Those doing research to suggest that this isn't an ethical approach really need to come up with ways and devices that large-scale rodent breeders can utilize. I don't know what else I can do about that, they need to create a method or sell a device to change the current standard. I haven't heard of any rodent breeders using any alternatives so I have no choice but to recommend buying from them or researching and doing it yourself. Decapitation isn't practical obviously for people who need to dispatch about 300 rodents a day and as you've stated, it's not effective 100% of the time and I myself wouldn't choose a death for myself like that which can be botched at the hands of a beginner. I still think gas sounds better than death at the grip of a predator in which that could also be 'botched' if the snake or carnivorous mammal grabs the animal improperly. People who freeze mammals to death shouldn't be in this 'hobby' and really ought to be prosecuted.


Chris van Kalken 4 years ago

As an experienced reptile keeper I would like to give my opion on this subject.

Many female reptiles just don't eat enough before and in the breeding season when given dead prey only. The ball python is a very good example of this. A mature female has to gain so much weight in just 4 months or so. This is not possible with dead prey only. Egg retention, bad or small clutches is the result with suffering of the mother or babies. So it is not best in all cases to feed dead prey.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Thank you for offering your perspective Chris, I've never heard that one before. My question to you would be this; how much and how often are breeding snakes expected to eat and why can't this be accomplished with F/T or pre-killed rodents? I didn't know ball pythons had to eat any more than once a week. Many top of the line breeders shun live feeding so I wonder if this is based on your personal experiences or that of others? And is this risk, which i haven't even heard of before, worth the drawn out suffering of hundreds of intelligent mammals?


Chris van Kalken 4 years ago

Hi Melissa,

A female ball python has to add almost half her pre-breeding season (normal) bodyweight to be able to produce a good clutch of eggs. She has to do this in about 4 months. After the start of follicle development, sometimes even some time before too, females won't eat until two or three weeks after the babies have left the clutch. This way females often don't eat for about 4 months or so. During the summer they also have to regain the weight they lost to get to a normal body weight again before they can bulk up again prior to developing follicles. Dead prey just doesn't give them the stimulus to add the body mass they need for good reproduction.

For males it is more or less the same story. They stop eating at the beginning of the breeding season and often start again 5 or 6 months later. Dead prey makes it more difficult to get them to eat again. Some males will never eat dead prey again and just die if one doesn't feed live prey.

This goes for much more reptile species.

I am also not fond of feeding live prey animals but in some cases it is just necessary to avoid suffering from the predator. For boa constrictors and burmese pythons this isn't an issue at all they eat so well one doesn't have to use live prey animals.

Maybe something to think about:

A healthy snake kills a right-sized prey animal within 10 to 20 seconds by compressing the chest and causing cardiac arrest within 10 seconds, probably even less than that.

Gassing mice with CO2 gives stress for mice too. Being in a large group with rivaling males and females together in a surrounding they don't know. They sense something isn't right and see their companions reacting in a non-normal way.

So, it is never that black and white. In my 35 years of experience with reptiles and other exotics I learned never to use the words 'never' and 'always', lol.

By the way I love rodents and would do anything to reduce suffering as much as possible.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Chris, I hope you will return and cite some sources for these claims, as I can't find anything. From my understanding, you are saying that your snakes have refused food too often to eat enough for the pivotal 4 months before laying, and about 4 months after laying. I wonder why that is, since the snake should have more of an appetite if by nature they are supposed to eat more.

Does this also mean that the snake, off breeding season, eats just fine? I would think that snakes with illness and stress would be the animals in most need of extra stimulation, not healthy adults with an increased appetite. Have you ever had, or witnessed a snake die solely from refusing food (it's OK to admit that)? I still tend to think that rodents are likely to be more conscious than snakes as they are clearly more intelligent, and saving one snake from its self-inflicted starvation with the multiple traumatic deaths of rodents wouldn't make me feel more ethical.

Could it be possible that non-feeders exist in the wild? I think it's possible.

I would like to know if this is a problem you've had or if it is common with other people. Ball pythons are probably the number one snake being bred and I can't find people suggesting this problem. How many snakes have you had that have had egg retention as a result of going on and off feed and gaining insufficient nutrition? What methods have you tried with the frozen thawed (it is imperative that the prey is warm and dry), and have you tried pre-killing?

I also couldn't find a source on how fast rodent prey loses consciousness, if you by any chance know of a source. I understand that CO2 euthanasia entails much discomfort, what I'm really concerned about is which death is more painful and frightening. I myself wouldn't prefer a death due to severe compression of my chest by a predator.

Also remember that the prey can harm the snake. When we're talking about breeding females, they must eat rats, and this is the most dangerous prey. Especially if we are talking about snakes that are refusing food. In addition, once you start feeding live, some tend to get addicted to it.


Chris van Kalken 4 years ago

Any big ball python/snake breeder will probably tell you the same story. I have a nice example of trying to feed a live-eater a dead pre-killed rat. I killed a rat and put it in front of the snakes nose within 2 seconds or so. Even before the snake touched the rat it refused because it probably could smell or sense it was dead.

There are many cases of snakes dying of starvation in veterinarian literature. Although stress plays a large role in most of these cases, I am sure there are healthy snakes that never get used to dead prey and starve if you don't feed them live prey.

I have bred thousands of snakes and lizards, mainly snakes. I kept hundreds of them and never had a serious wound in one of my snakes or other reptiles. A healthy snake can handle a right-sized prey without any problem.

But let's face it; in nature snakes almost never eat dead prey they didn't kill by them self. Feeding live prey is the optimal and natural condition for them. In most cases feeding dead prey isn't a problem but not in all cases, like in breeding ball pythons.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Yes, spoil a snake with only live feedings and it may be aversive to anything else. Hence why I see a lot of issues with feeding live during breeding. It's also possible for a frozen/thawed eater to be aversive to live. Maybe you've never had an incident with the prey hurting the snake, but you seem to be the exception and not the rule. Most professional breeders who are well-respected in the industry also agree with my sentiments. This is why I can't take your word for what you say, I need to see the evidence.

I'm certainly interested in reading about the death of snakes due to pre-killed refusal. It's also true that wild snakes are killed in nature by their prey just as sometimes big cats are. They would probably die way too quickly to be discovered by humans. Their chances of being attacked in captivity however, strongly increase because their rodent prey is forced into a small, enclosed space with them with no escape, and whether or not the snake is hungry.


Augusto Haro 4 years ago

Dear Melissa, congrats for the article.

Do you know how can I feed a small colubrid snake without giving it live prey, killing the animal myself or buying a pre-killed animal?

Also, it belongs to a species (Waglerophis merremi) which does not take insects.

I happen to be vegetarian, but have to take care for a wounded snake until it recovers.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Hi Augusto. The snake will have to eat some whole vertebrate. I have no experience with that species and its feeding habits, but it seems to me that there is no other way to not feed the diet the snake should be eating. I don't know if you have access to a dealer that can provide frozen thawed rodents. I suppose some people have had success with some snakes eating things like hard boiled eggs or pieces of meat, but should you have success with that it should only be temporary as snakes need nutrition from whole prey. The only other thing I can think of is force feeding the snake a 'slurry' of combined nutrition sources via a syringe, and this is very stressful for the snake and should strictly be done only as a last resort (if the snake is dying) by someone who knows how to do it. Maybe you can just wait for the snake to recover (a month or so), they can go a while without food.


Augusto Haro 4 years ago

Thank you very much Melissa for all the good ideas! Will make a try on them all.

Cheers and good luck,

Augusto.


colton 4 years ago

Dude let me make this simple do you feel pain for the occasional burger you slam down your mouth ,,, rhetorical question ,, I know you don't , its the same alive or dead. It happens to all. Plus I made a duel cage and give the rat plenty of space , I even feed the rat, some bite back and I usually have to let them go, unfortunately there are like a thousand mangy cats where I live, but the rat is still free, but now he is in a world of much more chaos and suffering so before u degrade the evolution of this planet understand you are in a world where you can die I'm sure you thought of this when you were young,,,,nothings changed you can die any moment, so please calm your passive aggressive hatred towards feeding, its a real procedure, even when you eat your big Mac humans are just a little lazier. Weelllll I got some biochemistry tip do,,later and welcome to earth.btw there are ways of dealing with a violent nature every bodies got one. I certainly don't get off feeding a rat to my snake. What's your verb why are you fighting so hard against creatures working to obtain food, and trust me the rats don't just give it up, furthermore your argument consist of mutational break down via the process of dubbing down the very concept of keeping every creature on this planet coming out of there mother alive and strong and healthy ,,,,natural selection. Without it every species would bottleneck into a self defeating environment into where something was simple as a storm would finish them off. Get Real you live in a dog eat dog world my friend. You can either step up to the plate, or be eaten yourself. What about people that are picked on at school, abused by there parents, raped, betrayed, divorced,,,what should you do about them are you the hippy version of judge dred. I say you grow a pair. Save who you can and worry about what you got to take care of and feeding a snake dead rats is way more cruel partner. So what's it gonna be do you feel lucky.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Thanks for bringing up 'burgers', I indeed have seen live feeding done with cows (to tigers) and I think anyone with simple empathy can see that it is exceptionally cruel vs. a quick death (hopefully) brought on by a gun shot or cattle gun to the skull. Humans have always killed animals for sustenance reasons (and to feed their pets) but we can hopefully make their existence less cruel than what has happened in the past. My hatred for live feeding is not "passive aggressive" it is FORWARD aggressive because it is totally unnecessary in most cases and nothing will change that. If I must die, I hope it will be quick, I hope I don't get kidnapped and slowly tortured by a psychopath. This hub isn't about anti-death, it's anti-torture. I'll just conclude my response by saying that you have an absurd understanding of evolution and ethics involving captivity, from what I can understand through your pathetic grammar and phrasing.


Michelle 3 years ago

What a great Hub. Thank you Melissa for your thoughtful insight into this subject. My brother had a Burmese Python and he insisted on feeding the snake live prey all the time saying that the snake wouldn't feed on pre-killed or frozen thawed. Here where I live feeding live is illegal so I reported him and had him fined.

I was able to adopt the snake and was very disappointed that I couldn't get the snake to feed on anything other than live. So....long story short, I had the snake euthanized rather than have any live prey suffer. My sincere hope is that you realize your dream and that no predator should ever be put in captivity and no prey should have to be killed to feed them. Personally I would rather see the extinction of the predator so that no prey has to die or suffer to feed them. I hope you succeed in your grand scheme


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

So what I'm getting from your sarcastic post is that it is perfectly fine to allow hundreds of animals to suffer to avoid humanely euthanizing one snake. No, that makes no sense at all. A large majority of common pet snakes that did not come from the wild will take frozen thawed or pre-killed. I don't judge people who actually made an effort to convert their snakes, but obviously, most do not. I also don't find it unethical to euthanize the snake. Failure to feed may highlight inefficient acclimation to captivity. The snake will not suffer if humanely put down. You probably think you're clever suggesting this hub is about 'the extinction of carnivores'. This hub is clearly not anti-death, just anti-suffering. Many snake owners give a rat's ass (no pun intended) when the prey successfully fights back and eats its way through their beloved pet. Then suffering means something to them. Rodents are more intelligent than snakes. To treat them like they're disposable and their suffering irrelevant is far more sick than euthanizing any snake.


D4 3 years ago

I have a turtle that I feed live fish and live insects. I find the pros of live feeding (a healthy, happy, well exercised turtle) far outweigh the cons (a few dead guppies and crickets). I also feed him pellet food, dead shrimp, frozen food and veg matter. All of this constitutes a healthy, balanced diet and I don't believe anyone has a right to tell me what I can and can't do and what I should and shouldn't find ethically and morally right or wrong.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

D4, you only hold your opinion because the welfare of the prey is of little value to you. As you've just said, your turtle is healthy and well-exercised, as opposed to "a few dead guppies". This article is not about anti-meat feeding, it is about painful methods of dispatching the prey, which you've failed to grasp.This is a typical response that I receive to my position. Turtles kill pretty horrendously. There was a video circulating on youtube depicting live mice being fed to a snapping turtle. I consider that torture and animal cruelty to say the least, and it would be unethical and immoral in my opinion to not speak out against it.


rod 3 years ago

So would y'all consider hunting cruel/inhumane since the animal they are hunting will experience a painful death from a rifle?its not like the animals can get out of the cross hairs of a rifle alive


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Hi rod, good hunters will deliver instant death with the use of a rifle. If you're not a good hunter, let someone else take care of this please.


Maria Cecilia profile image

Maria Cecilia 3 years ago from Philippines

I am currently writing an article about Pythons converted from live feeding into thawed feeding, and I can understand your point very well. The owner that I know feeds his pets thawed chicken neck with head, the one he bought directly from Supermarkets in our country. I just feel better to see pythons eathing all together, no signs of violence(sorry for the term). would like to read more this is very informative


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Maria, sounds good.


jose 3 years ago

Wouldn't is still be animal cruelty breeding rats/nice to be food for animals? At least when the rats/mice are sent to pet shops, they have a chance for life.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

No, cruelty involves harm, not death. Everything eventually dies, but not everything will suffer. Rats and mice in pet shops also have a chance to be tortured by whackos (live feeding is also one way of doing this)..


Monica 3 years ago

Great article! I own a ball python and only in the 6 years I have had him only once did I feed a small live mouse and instantly regretted seeing the animal suffer. Other then when I first got him I have had no issues with feeding, which I am thankful for.

However I am interested in hearing your take on feeding in vs out of the enclosure. I know the standard practice is to feed out of enclosure to reduce tank aggression which gets snakes labeled as 'bad or dangerous pets'.

However; I have always fed in tank and have witnessed no tank aggression. I do handle him 2-3x a week so he does not associate my hands as food ( I use tongs to introduce the food into the tank). In fact in 6 years I have only been bitten twice, both times shortly after I got him and was too eager to handle him.


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Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Really glad you've stopped doing that Monica. I also feed in the tank because I think it stresses them out to do otherwise. Although sometimes my snakes try and bite my hand, but this usually happens if I don't warm the prey. They have heat sensors on their snouts so they go for warm blooded items. It's just a reflex.


jose 3 years ago

so wouldn't it be cruel when fisherman catch fish and they suffocate to death? or what about when people boil crabs/crawfish ect alive for food? that's okay but its the same concept??


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Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

"so wouldn't it be cruel when fisherman catch fish and they suffocate to death?"

I think so, not sure if there's any way around this. I can't say I'm too pleased with crabs and lobsters being boiled alive, but it might be an instant death, at least I hope it is. I don't see people changing their methods regarding this.


Julianna 3 years ago

Hi,

I own a ball python and I believe I commented on a different post earlier stating that fact. Anyway, I give my snake live prey. She won't eat prekilled even if we wiggle it around. I also don't feel comfortable with killing it myself like some people have suggested. In fact, I love every animal and even when I must feed her I care for the mouse and hope for a quick and painless death. So you see, I'm not a weirdo, I don't get any sick enjoyment from my snake eating in fact, I don't watch. My boyfriend does to make sure the mouse isn't attacking and hurting my snake. I don't like how this article paints me out to be. If I had another way I would. We've even tried force feeding which is bad for the snake and dangerous to you.


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Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

What will happen if you break up with your boyfriend Julianna? Will you give up your snake? Perhaps it is not your fault, but there are other ways to try to get a snake to accept frozen/thawed. 'Wiggling it' is certainly is not the most you can do. First off, did you try heating it with a heat lamp? If not, you should do this pronto as it makes all the difference in the world. I don't know how old your snake is, but it will soon require full grown rats. How do you feel about killing something as big as a rat? These animals also pose a massive threat to your snake when they are live. Captivity obviously enhances the possibility that the animal will bite your snake, even if your boyfriend is watching. I think you should try f/t again.


Dafuk 3 years ago

This is stupid ..somethings wrong with me because snakes eat live mice/rats so that's what i give it ..the roadents don't even pay any mind to the snake ...ive have 2 pet rats and a ball python and love them all the same ..so do i feel bad this poor lil mouse is going to die yes . But for you to say we get sick enjoyment out of it really so people killing roadents ok snakes who are instinctly driven to do it not ok . You sound really one sided and not well rounded in life


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Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

'Dafuk', I think this article states there are people who THINK they are doing the right thing for their animals. They are wrong though. Not only are you ignoring the welfare of the mouse, you are increasingly the likelihood that your snake will get bitten and it is completely unnecessary. Your ball python will eventually require full grown rats upon adulthood which are dangerous prey. It must be strange keeping them as pets while prepping others for execution by serpent.


Dafuk 3 years ago

You would be wrong not weird at all because i don't "prep" i don't know how you could prep . I like how your fine with people killing rats/mice but not a creature who is built for it. I don't think im doing right or wrong i think im feeding my pet .. I respect your opinion on the matter but i don't respect you making it out that feeding live makes your disturbed .


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Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Dafuk, read the article again: "There appears to be three types of live feeding supporters; people who genuinely care and think they are doing what’s best for the captive animal...". That must be you. Snakes don't know what they're 'built for', and neither do the rodents. I think you are focusing on everything you shouldn't be. Try focusing on the fact that your snake will need to eat rats in its adulthood, and training it to only eat live will make it harder to convert to f/t in the future. Rats are relatively intelligent animals.


steimlem 3 years ago

hi i enjoyed reading your hub. i am currently facing many moral dilemmas not only with my own consumption of animals but with my pet's and girlfriend's pet's as well. i have 2 crested geckos and have been told to feed them live crickets on occasion as a snack to promote growth in addition to their main staple "crested gecko diet" which is a powder that you mix with water. i feel it is wrong to feed them live crickets when they have this other option so i choose not to feed crickets though sometimes i wonder if they are getting full nutritional value. i then start to question why i even have the lizards as a pet. i am interfering with nature. they should be out in the wild and capturing their own food..but now if i were to release them the geckos would surely die so i must keep them and do my best.

my girlfriend on the other hand has a leopard gecko and it will ONLY eat live crickets. it makes me sick to see it eat so many lives in what looks like a painful death, but i have no idea what else to do. she also loves animals and feels horrible doing it but she has no other choice. the leopard gecko was left behind to her from an ex boyfriend and she feels responsible to care for it and has a very strong bond with it.

finally, we share a pet cat and volunteer at a cat shelter.. and i'm sure you know there is a lot of debate with what various cat foods contain and how the ingredients were acquired which is an issue in itself. and my own personal diet and struggles with being vegan or not. then it goes even further to things like every time i drive on the highway i slaughter countless bugs flying into my car. should i give up cars? what about population control? it just hurts my head thinking of it.

i feel helpless and like no matter what i do in life innocent animals are going to suffer in some way. i feel all i can do at this point is do my best to not personally harm any animal, or to avoid harming any animal whenever possible, and to bring love and comfort to any animal whenever possible.


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Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

steimlem, you can try giving your geckos canned crickets (the 'mini' variety): http://hubpages.com/animals/cannedprey

If your pet is eating non-moving food it should take them, however, be aware that this if for your personal comfort and isn't sparing the lives of any animals. Be sure to use the crickets within 3 days or freeze them. I don't know how to humanely euthanize arthropods because I don't know what pains they feel. My best guess would be to refrigerate them (which kind of puts them into a 'sleep' mode such as what happens in the wild during cold snaps), than freeze them. So that's another option if the quality of canned food bothers you or if you don't think the bugs were treated well.

Your gf's leopard gecko may take dead food with the use of a 'vibrating feeder dish', which is sold online, or it may not.

Cats MUST eat meat or they will die. Use meats that were humanely raised from farms. Orijen appears to be one of the few kibble foods that does this: https://pethelpful.com/dogs/humanepetfood...

Beware that it is expensive. Or you can feed a homemade diet.

Giving up cars would make no sense as you even kill them when you walk. It's impossible to avoid. Hopefully they don't feel the same pain as mammals. Even Jain monks accidentally kill, despite wearing mouth covers to prevent breathing in lifeforms. I'm not sure what population control you're talking about.


steimlem 3 years ago

just simple things such as if humans weren't on earth that the earth would be covered with 3 feet of flies (myth?) .. or the overpopulation of cats and rats in australia etc where they were introduced to the area by humans and now people are killing them on sight.

sadly we have tried the dead food with my gf's leopard gecko and she refuses to eat .. she barely even eats live food. her last owner didn't care for her properly and she's missing quite a bit of toes and has poor eye sight. though i might end up trying it with my own after a little further thought and research.

yes it's impossible to kill bugs.. but you definitely kill more while driving. it's not about avoiding killing completely..but killing as little as possible. i may step on a few ants on my way to work when i walk.. but when i drive i can see a whole genocide on the front of my car. it's a grey area for me and i try to walk whenever possible (also for pollution reasons) but my only comfort is in knowing that hitting a car at that speed would be instant and painless.


steimlem 3 years ago

also here's an interesting article http://www.treehugger.com/cars/trillions-of-insect...

when i make a simple trip on the highway to my favorite mall or restaurant 1 hour away on the highway i have to ask myself is it worth killing so many bugs/lives to please myself with material goods. like i said it's a very grey area. i'm not trying to sound too crazy here but these creatures that people kill without worry are indeed living.


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Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

It's not like you often see the ones you step on, the windshield just makes it easier. Bugs are numerous because they are 'meant' to die by multiple means. They are 'r-selective'. They are extremely fragile and have little defenses. Hopefully this also means they have limited pain capacity. This hub is really about vertebrate prey however.


steimlem 3 years ago

true, it's just been a big topic for me in all aspects.. personally, and with my various pets so i elaborated a bit more than i probably needed to. but it was a good read. i wish more people would do what they can to reduce pain and suffering to all creatures in the world. and i think there is a difference between killing 100 bugs, and 101 bugs, if that extra 1 is preventable, no matter how small it may seem to most. just the other day i saw an only car on the road speed up to intentionally run over a muskrat crossing the road. yeh the muskrat died instantly and probably felt no pain.. but was it that persons right to end the muskrats life for no reason besides its own enjoyment? i say no. anyway i'll stop getting off topic. thanks again !


Janeen 3 years ago

"Lions need raw meat, not live prey"...under a photo of a lion taken in Kenya. Obviously, the raw meat was live prey before the lion killed it.

Original photo source, captioned: "The lion sleep close to its prey."

https://secure.flickr.com/photos/aiace/3213957088/...


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Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Hi Janeen. Does logic defy you?


desolatefox 3 years ago

I'll admit, I haven't read all the comments, and I only skimmed the hub, but I wanted to point out one thing. Some snakes simply will not accept pre-killed food, either at all, or for a period of time that would unsafe. In cases like this, you have only two choices: force feed or feed live prey. Force feeding could do more harm than good, causing quite a bit of stress to the snake.

Luckily all of my snakes accept pre-killed, but I would feed live if it became absolutely necessary. I don't think that is cruel or animal abuse, it's just the circle of life. Snakes aren't carrion eaters, so we're lucky so many are willing to eat dead food! ;)


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Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

I don't judge people if they actually gave a good try and the animal still doesn't accept it, otherwise I find it immoral. Plus there is also pre-killing the mouse, which is what snakes eat.


desolatefox 3 years ago

Ah, well that's good. I certainly support/recommend pre-killed, both because it's humane to the prey and more safe for the predator, but sometimes animals just won't do what we want them to do. (lol) I'm grateful my snakes aren't picky.


Tyler Wilson 2 years ago

Tarantulas need live food. That is how they operate. Next to impossible to feed them dead crickets unless they are baby slings.


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Tyler if you had read the whole article you'd see that I don't judge people who feed live insects (not with mice, that is unnecessary), however feeding dead to tarantulas is not 'impossible'. Sounds like you never tried it.


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Shaddie 2 years ago from Washington state

As a tarantula owner myself, I know that tarantulas will accept dead food. All 4 of mine, which are adults and 4 different species, have and will regularly eat the dead bugs that I give them. Their lack of pickiness comes in handy whenever one of my leaf bugs pass away. I don't like anything in my house to go to waste, so I feed the dead leaf bugs to my Ts. All I have to do is offer the food to them with a pair of feeding tongs, they go straight for whatever is in the tongs, be it alive or dead. I have even fed my largest tarantula one of my scorpions that passed away, she was eating him for a good 3 or 4 days before finally rolling him up and setting him aside for me to clean up.

I have yet to meet an entire species that will not accept pre-killed food. Hawks, canines, felines, snakes, lizards, frogs...all these animals understand that meat is meat. When an animal turns its nose up at a pre-killed animal, it's not typically an issue of liveness vs. deadness, it usually has to do with the subtle temperature differences of the prey's body, the freshness or strength of the prey's scent, or a visual registration of movement. Yet even so, dead animals (such as mice) can be warmed, scented, or "wiggled" to garner the attention of any predator, if need be.


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Thanks for that Shaddie, I have also gotten animals to eat non-live things by attaching clear thread to one of the bug's appendages.


theass 2 years ago

Cruelty is an integral part of the natural world in which we live.

To try to end its existence is as futile as denying your own propensity for it.

When confronted with the proper stimulus and justification you yourself would gleefully commit, or at least cheer for others as the commit acts of cruelty.

You will not recognize this fact. You will despise my assertion and myself by extension.

Forget this observation and continue to rage against nature, it is part of what makes you human.


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

"Theass", your pseudo-intellectual comment is no argument for live feeding because I never said I'm trying to 'end all suffering', just the suffering which is in my control, because it is MY decision to bring animals into my home. So I definitely "despise your assertion" that we should ignore all suffering and anyone else who thinks so idiotically. Recognize that.


Bryce 2 years ago

I would never kill a rodent without good reason (feeding a snake for example), but my snake hasn't eaten in 4 months because he refuses frozen for some reason now I threw a live mouse in today and he instantly turned on. The mouse lived though cause I removed him anyway. I am pretty neutral on the subject and I was wondering how you can say that gassing is humane I mean that's what happened in the holocaust and I don't think that was very painless. Honestly I'd rather die by a snake than being gassed seems more epic to go out like that and if you think about it it's the same thing almost except one is done by a living thing both are suffocated and both ways kill relatively quickly. I can vouch for snakes being quick with their kill as my frien feeds exclusively live and even on a rat a little too big for him his bp kills it or at least knock it out within 10-20 seconds sometimes faster depending on the hold


Bryce 2 years ago

Also your argument that ball pythons will need adult rats when they are grown is invalid because I know a licensed animal behaviorist with many animals who only feeds mice to his adult ball python be it they r frozen but it's all the same for this point and most bps will never be big enough to eat an adult rat could they swallow one yes is it good for them probably not on a regular basis. Most bps will eat small or medium rats which definitely not full grown


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Nice try Bryce, there is no acceptable way to perpetuate genocide and mass murder thousands of people. Would it have been better for the victims of the holocaust to be thrown to giant snakes? Does that sound less evil? The human comparison flounders no matter what way you look at it. You sound like a young person. Sane people don't care about how 'epic' it is to die, they care about pain and suffering. Adult ball pythons should have rats. You CAN feed mice but it is not optimal. A normal-sized adult will have to eat many mice when they should just have one prey item.


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ZookeeperByNature 2 years ago

In my attempt to spread this sort of word among the reptile community including by re-posting this very article, aside from being scrutinized as some sort of disgrace for disagreeing with their "preference", it was brought to my attention by reputable members of the herp community that Melissa Kaplan (who you referenced as a "Reputable source") is a non-credible source and a small amount of investigative work myself has revealed that her personal views are very much in line with animal rights groups such as PETA. Furthermore, many have noted the partial amount of inaccurate information she has given out and that, many of the times she has expressed her personal views, they are sometimes charged with an obvious anti-pet stigma. While I very much agree with your views, and disagree with the views of the some that pointed this out, I recommend that it would be best if Melissa Kaplan was removed as a reference as she is, in fact, a non-credible credible source and many will not take this article seriously because of this alone.

In the mean time, Melissa Kaplan aside, I do agree with this article. It saddens me the disregard for animal life many a self proclaimed "animal lover" will have for the life of the animals being used to feed their pets. Those that argue this stance will blindly accuse the other party of being completely for animal rights and that they must not support animals being used as food at all, but this is simply not the case. It is not about completely banning the usage of animals for what ever intentional service they are to serve, it is to reduce their suffering as much as we possibly can. And to those that argue Co2 gassing is inhumane, there are other options on the table as well, for example, such as cervical dislocation. It is not necessary to ignorantly forgo these other alternatives, and continue to inhumanely feed off feeder animals while alive where they are faced with a painful and cruel death.


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Can you show me what you're talking about? I've visited her site many times and have never seen that. Is this a recent change of thinking for her? I think her website is older, and that might account for some 'inaccurate' information. I don't think PETA would be pleased over her website which teaches people how to maintain exotic animals in a trade that they think should not exist, so if that's PETA thinking, maybe it's not as bad as I thought it was. If her views are not present in the website, I don't see why I shouldn't reference it. The live feeding page is very well done.


Johnny 2 years ago

Wow. You've really opened my eyes to the reality of live animal feeding. it truly is a horrible thing how accepting it is and this just proves that we have a lot of evolving to do. Thank you Melissa. ^^


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

No problem Johnny.


rob 2 years ago

Yes I am disturbed by a video on YouTube showing somebody feeding live helpless newborn baby rabbit's to a Savannah water monitor. My question is can this be reported as animal cruelty??


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

No rob, such a video would be illegal in some areas in Europe, and I believe that is needed here.


rob 2 years ago

Did you watch the video it's on YouTube I commented to the author of the video he said it was OK it's not OK would you please watch it and see what you think.


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Nothing will change their minds, I suggest not giving them anymore views.


midnightsky 2 years ago

None of the reasons I feed prekilled prey to my snake are actually in here. You might find that less emotional arguments have a better impact:

- Snakes can be harmed by live prey. Rodents have sharp teeth and can wound your snake, so you keep it safer by providing prekilled prey.

- Live prey can carry disease; the freezing process and length of time frozen for prekilled prey is usually enough to destroy harmful bacteria in the prey that might make a snake ill.

- Prekilled is easier. Live prey requires feeding and care of its own, and rodent cages will take up more space, resources, time, and money than snake owners may want to support. Both breeding live prey yourself and constantly buying new feeder prey takes time and resources. On the other hand, you can buy prekilled prey in batches that will keep in a freezer.

All of this is why I feed prekilled prey. With regards to your more emotional arguments, anything I would say has already been answered in a way that I still do not consider logically satisfying; it all boils down to certain "moral truths" that some people accept and some people do not. "It is cruel to allow animals to hunt live prey when they do not have to" is a belief, not a scientific fact, and it really can't be debated without attempting to convince someone to accept your morals. In the end, if they choose not to, there's really nothing you can do, because you can't logically convince someone to have or not have certain beliefs about what is right or wrong. It's just something people decide for themselves. Proselytizing, whether for a religion or not, doesn't work so well in the long term, and it annoys the crap out of people most of the time. Inform people and move on; passionate emotional arguments don't really fly. Those are why nobody likes PETA.


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Are you trying to tell me that there's no science involved with morality? Well DUH. I don't actually expect to convince anyone hard-wired to carry on with their ways to change their mind, I just want to shut them down and make them aware that their beliefs are ridiculous. They deserve to get mad, that is a result of cognitive dissonance. Some people flat out don't mind being cruel to animals, others have deluded themselves into thinking it is somehow not cruel to prolong suffering. I'm mainly addressing those people, not the cretins that enjoy cruelty. Unfortunately, nothing can be done about them. Don't pretend that you never express your strongly held beliefs to others...you just did it to me. So it's nice that you can see the futility of advocating for a moral perspective when it is convenient for you.

If convenience and fear or harm to your snake are more important to you than treating the prey humanely, you might be in the same camp with the group I'm addressing. It is sickening that you consider your snake's welfare and not the prey, which is likely far more intelligent. I guess I should be happy that you don't torture rodents because it's 'easier'.


Anthony 2 years ago

i wish i could post a video of my ball python chewing on a live mouses face just to have you gag and foam at the mouth. you're self righteous and delusional. live feeding it happens in nature. stop over analyzing the situation! food will be food. as smart as we all like to think we are - there are animals out there that will snatch us up for lunch without thinking twice about whether or not we will suffer. just because we're humans does not mean were morally obliged to keep the peace in animal on animal feeding. in fact, the world doesn't owe anyone a sense of morality. take that home with you Melissa. You're no one to tell us how we should feed our own animals.


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Anthony, your pitifully stupid comment is unfortunately representative of the pro-live feeding brigade.


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Everyday Miracles 2 years ago from Indiana, USA

It's been four weeks since Anthony posted the comment above, but I hope you don't mind me adding something, Melissa.

Feeder rodents (and larger creatures as well) pose a threat to the well-kept captive reptile, mammal, or potentially bird. They have claws and teeth, and they will fight for their lives. If you are concerned about the health of your animal, live feeding is a mistake, regardless of your consideration for the well-being of the feeder animals.

I've personally seen reptiles that were beaten up by their prey. It's terrible to look at those wounds.


Martine 2 years ago

You are insane. So what do you think of animals killing other animals and eating them live, like almost all predator animals do? NOT feeding snakes live prey is animal cruelty. that's what they would eat if they were free. Expecting a childish level of niceness from the world is sick. You need a psychiatrist.


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

What do I think? I think it's painful and cruel and I'm glad we have better ways to dispatch animals. Snakes need to eat live prey about as much as you do. Your comment is one of the dumbest I've seen here.


Banana 2 years ago

Just wanna say something about how no one cares about some herps or carnivorous pet fish eating live feeder fish while they suddenly become so protective about live feeding mouse.

I mean, I would never do it. I love animals and I could never look into a mouse's eyes and throw to a python for it to eat the mouse. But I understand why people use live feeders and I don't judge what they do. It their choice to make, not mine, and I don't have the right to prevent one from doing it (unless its something absolutely needs to be stopped). Even though I feel kinda sad for the prey animal, I don't feel so terrible or anything (unless the person is laughing about how stupid the rat is and is clearly enjoying the feeding sadistically) by watching one of those live feeding vids.

Disturbing thing is that I would have no problem feeding live feeder crickets/worms to a rough green snake and live feeder fish to a garter snake. No one really screams how cruel it is to feed live fish to a garter snake in the YT comment section at all. Also, I've seen a centipede feed on a live hamster and everyone screamed their head off how cruel and psychotic he truly is to feed such an adorable and helpless hamster to some creepy and unintelligent creatures like centipedes. Other video showed a centipede eating an anole and mostly people were like "Ewww gross","Lol its eyes rolled out", "that's disgusting :P". Another vid showed a cat eating a live mouse, and few were like, "Poor mouse!", some were like, "Cute cat omg", while others were some derpy comments. So I think it really depends on which animals is eating and which is getting eaten to people (most, but not you ). As long as it is a cute and cuddly, it's terrible and horrifying to feed it to any kinds of animals.


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

No banana, it has to do with the victim being a species we are used to seeing as prey for a specific animal. People will turn away to the predation of cats all the time, even cute baby rabbits, because they are, how can I put this simply? Brainwashed. Cat people are some of the most mentally perplexing (putting that nicely) people you will ever deal with. This is not a generalization. You can't make them feel sorry for what a cat kills, but if a CENTIPEDE kills that same prey, most people are not use to a bug killing vertebrates and most people also hate centipedes or are afraid of them (I think they are the cutest animals ever). Feeding rodents to centipedes is not only radically unnecessary but it must be very painful. Humans that get bitten from these animals describe it as one of the most painful events of their lives. It is cruel to do this to a mouse, or sadistic, period. I would support efforts to make it illegal in a heart beat, but I guess most people are just focused on making sure great owners can't own exotics, that is their priority.

Feeding live vertebrates to animals is an inhumane way to kill them. I believe it is animal cruelty so I will "judge" this decision.


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ZookeeperByNature 2 years ago

Is there a possible way to get legislation enacted which cover what you discuss here in this article? As an active member of many reptile and exotic pet-centric groups on Facebook, it disheartens me to see the outrageous amounts of animals being inhumanely fed off without proper justification, and the invalid excuses people to use to defend themselves for committing apparently legal acts of animal cruelty. Furthermore, the people who typically do such things are disgustingly sadistic themselves, many openly agreeing that they would use cats or dogs if they could get away with it and how they hostile they will behave if anyone dares to speak out against them, regardless of how polite a response was. Many fail to realize it's not about being offended - I'm personally rather desensitized to the images and videos themselves - but about the responsible and actual proper treatment of the animals.


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Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

This is why I'm a lone wolf. I have problems with nearly every 'community'. The reptile community has a very sadistic attitude toward rodents, which are much more likely to be far more 'intelligent' than their pets. There are bans against live feeding in some European countries but I doubt it can happen here.


Honor Scholtes 23 months ago

I hate the idea of feeding live mice/rats. My to older snakes both take F/T though the male has been off for a few months, he is big though. My new female pied is just a little girl though. Only 140 grams, she didn't eat for nearly a month after we bought her and I offered her quite a few rat pups. We had bought her from I guy who said she ate F/T, however when we called him back he said no she had been eating live. I wanted to wait and try her with more F/T, but she wouldn't eat even though I tried every trick I could find. My dad talked to an experienced breeder who confirmed that if she didn't eat soon her health would begin to deteriorate. So she sadly had to get a live mouse and may have to have another as I try to convert her. So sometimes it is necessary, circle of life, I mean I would rather not let my snake starve, trapped in a bin where in the wild she would be able to go and get her own food.


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Melissa A Smith 23 months ago from New York Author

Honor Scholtes-- I was in a similar situation with a pied ball python. The seller told me it ate frozen too, and I believe that was just to get a sale. Mine didn't eat for far, far, longer than a month...

I would start with small, furred, *warmed* prey. If the snake is a baby, use a small furred mouse (hopper). If the prey isn't warm, forget it. let it sit under a heat lamp (but not too long, or the stomach will leach out...ew...plus the snakes hate that). If you feel that the snake needs nourishment NOW you can assist feed critical care carnivore (or you can use a very small mouse, hold the sides of the snake's jaw to open the mouth and push the rodent in, then gently put it down and immediately but delicately place a pillow case over it and leave it alone). This is very stressful so be very efficient and keep it short, then let the snake rest in a dark area (if you have a cheap plastic hide, put a pillow case in so it has the option of hiding in there) and leave it alone for a week, then try again.

Remember that I'm not against the 'circle of life', I'm against the suffering. Feed you and yourself meat, but dispatch animals humanely. Nature is cruel. Snakes die all the time for various reasons with no one to assist them.


bob 21 months ago

live feeds are more natural then drowning the mouse myself.... i don't care if there is a wall in the cage and not in nature... did u stop to think there is no cO2 tank in nature... there is no hand of god killing this mouse and feeding it to a reptile... hunter and hunted... that's is it. granted it is still supplied by my hand in a cage... but isn't that the point of habitat? to be as natural as POSSIBLE? why is it any better for someone to drown a mouse with co2 then what happens in the wild? blood can b spilled? go hug a tree and kiss a bee. you mouse murderer... god only a sick mind would think killing a mouse with your own hands is better then letting nature take its course... i step on insects every chance i get... i call it enviromentally friendly pesticide


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 21 months ago from New York Author

You're not too bright bob.


Jane 20 months ago

Your thinking is wrong. I agree that some live feedings are sad but nature its self is cruel. You should've been born thousands of years ago when times were much harder. Then you wouldn't be saying all kinds of nonsense like "its animal cruelty because the animals don't have any chance of escape like they do in the wild." Some animals are used as pets for human entertainment. And some of those animals need to eat like they would in the wild because its natural. Stop being a negitive Nancy and go on with your life. Stand up for something that is of worth. Like racism or world hunger. Not this waste of time.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 20 months ago from New York Author

Jane, pet keeping is NOT nature. Thousands of years ago no one had the luxury of keeping these types of pets for simple pleasure. None of what you say is any type of adequate rebuttal. Your comment is rationally-challenged.

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