Why won’t my snake eat frozen mice?

In this article, I will answer the following question: Why won’t my snake eat frozen mice? We will discuss how to properly thaw mice for feeding your snake, and how often you should feed your pet.

Why won’t my snake eat frozen mice?

One of the main reasons why your snake won’t eat frozen mice is because you are not heating it properly. It is very important that the prey you feed your reptile is correctly thawed. 

If you carelessly feed your snake some still frozen prey in the center, it will cause digestive problems and may cause regurgitation. You can find frozen prey at several pet stores and breeders. Prices will vary particularly depending on the size of the prey desired. Obviously, the bigger the prey, the higher the price will be.

It is very easy to thaw prey. You take a container where you put the prey and run hot water in it. But be careful never to use boiling water, you must thaw the prey and not cook it. The time required to thaw your rodents varies widely. 

To make sure your prey is ready, you should grope the prey with your hands to make sure there is no more ice in the center and that you do not feel a still cold region. If necessary, do not hesitate to change the water if the prey has not completely thawed and the water has become too cold. Once your prey has thawed properly, you can wipe off the excess water and you are ready to go and feed your snake.

Under no circumstances should your prey be thawed in a microwave. As explained above, you need to thaw your prey, not cook it. Also, do not leave the prey on the counter during the day to avoid encouraging the proliferation of bacteria. Thawing the prey in hot water is still one of the best methods.

How do you give a rat or mice to a snake?

It is highly recommended and safer to use a long pair of tongs to feed your reptiles. One of the main reasons is of course to avoid the risk of the snake biting your hand rather than the prey. 

Do not approach the prey abruptly, using the tongs, simply move the prey in front of the snake, and in most cases, your snake will grab the prey during the first few seconds. You can also just drop the prey in the terrarium and leave, your snake will go look for the prey later. 

Once the prey is given, leave the snake alone, so as not to distract it. In some cases, snakes may be a little pickier than others, and if they are bothered or feel unsafe, they will refuse to eat their meal.

It should also be noted that, in the event that your snake refuses its prey, you cannot under any circumstances refreeze the prey again to try to give it back later. But if after a few hours the prey is still not ingested, you can try to pick it up with the tongs, reheat it again for a few minutes in hot water and try again to feed your snake by shaking the prey before him. 

Once thawed, if the prey has not been eaten, it is lost and you must discard it. If you have several snakes, there is the possibility of giving this prey to another snake, but in this case, you must be careful because by transferring the prey from one terrarium to another. 

If you have multiple snakes but aren’t feeding them all at the same time, be careful not to handle your snakes for a few hours after you’ve fed some of them. Even though some have not been in contact with prey, they can smell the scent very well, so if you put your hands in a terrarium while the scent of prey is still present, the snake can easily mistake your hand for it. prey. 

Make sure to wash your hands well. This also applies if you have or know someone who has rodents as pets and have handled them, for example, house rats or mice, guinea pigs, or even a rabbit.

For snakes, the size of the prey matters 

Snakes in general can eat large prey. On the other hand, it should not be abused. Most snakes can eat prey that is slightly larger than most of their body without any problem. On the other hand, it can happen that some individuals are more difficult and require smaller prey. Just because your snake can eat prey twice as big as it does, doesn’t mean you have to feed it exclusively that way. If your snake ever eats prey that is too big for it, it may have a hard time digesting it and will eventually regurgitate.

How often should I feed my snake?

Several factors will play a role in the frequency of meals to be given to our snakes. In addition, a young snake may be fed more frequently than an adult snake. It is during the first two years of a snake’s life that it grows fastest, so this is when the frequency of meals will be closer, but be careful not to overdo it. 

For example, a young snake will typically be fed once every 7 days, while an adult snake can easily be fed once every 2 to 4 weeks, or more in some cases. On the other hand, it is important to give prey adapted to the size of your snake.

After feeding your snake, it is important to leave it alone and not perform any manipulation. Complete digestion of the prey will take several days. When your snake has a full stomach, it becomes more amorphous and is not as fast. So if you try to take it it can stress him out and can sometimes cause your snake to regurgitate. 

After the meal, the snake will go to bed warm to calmly digest its prey. So make sure you don’t pick up your snake until the prey lump is gone. A few days later, your snake will urinate, this can be in large quantities depending on the size of the prey ingested. It will follow a little after the stool.

The main food of a snake

The majority of the meals that our snakes are fed in captivity are made from rodents – rats, mice, guinea pigs, and rabbits. From time to time we will also see owners giving chicks. Some snake species will also be used to eating other snakes and lizards. But the vast majority of snakes found in captivity will be fed rats and may be fed throughout their lifetimes. 

If you wish, you can vary the rodents you offer them, for example with a large boa constrictor, rather than giving him two or three rats, you can offer him a rabbit, and then he can wait a few weeks before the next meal.

In the vast majority of cases, when a prey presents itself to a snake, the latter will seize the prey at the speed of lightning, often a simple second is enough for the snake to spring up, seize, and effect a constriction on the prey. Their teeth are hook-shaped to prevent the prey from breaking free and coming out of their mouths. 

Since the snake’s upper and lower jaws are not connected, snakes can swallow prey that is impressive in size compared to the size of their heads. To swallow, the snake will alternately advance the two sides of its mouth to push the prey into the back of its throat. It will then contract its body in an “S” shape and then stretch to push its prey up to its stomach.

It is more convenient to offer thawed prey

The vast majority of people with reptiles will keep prey in their freezer to feed their snakes. It is not uncommon for people to stock up on frozen rodents for several months at a time. This has the advantage of being able to keep a very large quantity of meals without having to travel every week to get food. 

Moreover, it is strongly recommended that you give your snake dead prey, this will prevent the prey from successfully defending itself and seriously injuring your snake by biting and scratching it. If you give your snake live prey, the prey will sense that it is in danger and will want to escape. The problem is that she is restricted to a terrarium with no exit, in which case she has no choice but to defend herself. 

If by bad luck your snake catches its prey badly, there is a high risk of a bite. Some bites can seriously injure your pet and leave scars for life, for example, if the rodent manages to bite your reptile in the eye. The chances of such injuries happening are much greater than one might think.

It is very important to leave your snake alone after a meal. It should therefore not be handled until the lump is gone and it has finished digesting the prey. Digestion can take several days depending on the size of the prey. Snakes need heat to digest well, so it is mandatory to provide them with the right storage conditions. 

During the digestion cycle, your snake will be less active and will stay close to your heat source, since this heat helps him digest his meal properly.


Our final and most important tip is to keep the prey and the prepared pieces are sold frozen that way until before offering them to your snake. This is to guarantee good conservation of the piece and prevents your snake from eating something in bad condition that could make it sick.

 It will be necessary to let the dead prey or the piece chosen to feed it thaw and, if our hissing friend is a species without thermoregulatory pits, it will be enough to stimulate it by moving the food in front of it with a rocking movement.

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FAQ on Why won’t my snake eat frozen mice?

Will snakes starve themselves to death?

Snakes will not starve themselves to death unless they are neglected or ill. Some of the reasons why a snake may starve itself is overfeeding is their breeding season or they are stressed. The stress comes from living in poor conditions or because of being neglected. 

How long does it take for a snake to die of starvation?

It may take about six months for a snake to die of starvation. However, in the wild, snakes are used to living for many months without eating anything. Snakes don’t usually starve themselves unless they are stressed or ill. 

How long do Ball Pythons fast?

Ball Pythons usually fast up to 6-8 months. However, there is a record of ball pythons fasting for up to 22 months. Fasting is not recommended as it can make your pet ill or cause unnecessary stress. 

How do I get my snake to eat frozen mice?

To get your snake to eat frozen mice you have to warm the prey. If you carelessly feed your snake some still frozen prey in the center, it will cause digestive problems and may cause regurgitation. You can find frozen prey at several pet stores and breeders. 


PetMD – What Do Snakes Eat?

Animal Corner – Snake Characteristics

MSD Manual – Nutrition in snakes

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