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How to Feed a Snake Frozen Food

Feeding captive snakes live prey is difficult and hazardous, both for the owner and snake. Feeding frozen rodents reduces the risk of harm to the snake, reduces stress for both owner and reptile, and prevents you from having to watch a cute little mouse suffer. They are often cheaper too!


  1. Image titled Feed a Snake Frozen Food Step 1
    Thaw the rodent in a bowl of warm water. Do NOT thaw it in the microwave! As tempting as that may seem, it will cook the meat and make your snake ill. Take a frozen rodent from the freezer, and place into a separate plastic bag. Place the bag in a bowl filled 3/4 of the way full with warm water. Put a cup or mug on top of the bag to keep the rodent completely submerged. Leave the mouse there for two hours, and don't forget to set a timer to remind yourself!
  2. Image titled Feed a Snake Frozen Food Step 2
    Take the mouse out of the bowl when the timer goes off. Prepare feeding tongs if you have them to pick up the mouse and keep your hand a safe distance from your snake's hungry mouth.
  3. Image titled Feed a Snake Frozen Food Step 3
    Put the snake in its feeding area. It is highly recommended that you do not feed a snake in its enclosure, as this causes to the snake to associate anything coming into the cage as food (your hand, perhaps, could be mistaken). You can use a bin with high sides, another tank, or a bathtub even. Just make sure to close the drain!
    • Remember some snakes don't like being handled before or after feeding. In this case, you can feed your snake in it's tank as long as you use feeding tongs or place the mouse on a rock or branch within the cage. This will reduce the risk of you being bitten.
  4. Image titled Feed a Snake Frozen Food Step 4
    Place the rodent in the area with the snake. Some snakes have no trouble eating a thawed rodent, and will begin eating in around 15 minutes or so. If so, you are done and you can return the snake to its usual enclosure.
  5. Image titled Feed a Snake Frozen Food Step 5
    If your snake is a picky eater, or has not eaten dead food before, you may have to work a little harder at it at first. You can try wiggling the rodent by the tail in front of the snake. Use a pair tongs if you do, to prevent an accidental bite. If the snake seems afraid of the rodent, wiggle only a little and further away. If the snake is in strike pose but not attacking, try bopping the snake gently on the nose. However, don't do this if your snake is a Ball Python, as this may actually frighten the snake and have the opposite effect than you intended! With patience, you should find that the snake will strike and strangle the already dead rodent, and eat as normal. You may have to let the snake "kill" the dead rodent more than once the first few times. Don't be discouraged! Pre-killed food is a much safer and more humane way to feed your snake.
  6. Image titled Feed a Snake Frozen Food Step 6
    Put the snake back in its enclosure and let it digest its meal in a warm dark area. Use caution when removing the snake, as it may still be in eating mode. Letting the snake crawl out of the bin and then picking it up usually fixes this.


  • If the snake still won't eat, the magic cure is called MouseMaker. This is a product you can buy online or at a pet store to put on the rodent. Simply opening the bottle drives snakes crazy. A drop or two on the nose of the rodent will entice even the most reluctant eater. Eventually you can wean them off once they get used to dead food.
  • Frozen mice can be stored frozen for very long periods if kept airtight.
  • If your snake doesn't want to eat, it may be close to shedding.
  • Alternatively, coat the mouse in a little bit of chicken broth. This should have an effect similar to the MouseMaker drops.
  • Sometimes snakes will not notice still prey, a quick jerk of the mouse can cause a strike for the prey item. The opposite happens as well for some snakes where they like to be kept alone with the mouse in a warm dark spot to consume their prey in peace and silence.
  • Keep in mind though each snake is different! Keep trying these different techniques
  • Use the hook training method: take a hook and if you aren't feeding your snake, then tap them on the nose before you get them out. This cancels their feeding response and lets them know they aren't getting food.
  • Braining mice is also an option if you have the stomach for it! simply crush the head so some brain matter comes out. This has a similar effect as chicken broth.
  • Remember, do not force feed your animal! Some snakes will never eat frozen food.
  • You do not need a separate container. Snakes can get stressed and won't eat if they are handled before being fed.


  • Make sure that the rodent is not too large for your pet, as that can cause serious damage.
  • If a snake does bite you, unless it's venomous, don't worry but do attend to hygiene straight away. To get the snake to let go, gently apply pressure to the back sides of the head where the jaw separates. Don't pull your finger (or whatever else it has) out until the snake opens its mouth, as snake fangs slope backwards, and you can tear your skin or break your snakes teeth. Disinfect the bite area, and don't try to punish the snake. It will not understand, and you may only induce another bite. Time with your snake and getting it to trust you is a much better way of preventing bites.

Things You'll Need

  • Frozen rodent
  • Tongs
  • Separate container to feed the snake in

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