Breeding Reptiles as Feeders? (Hyopthetical) - Reptile Forums

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Old 08-10-2019, 05:54 PM
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Default Breeding Reptiles as Feeders? (Hyopthetical)

Okay I thought I'd ask this here instead of causing an absolute shit show on a facebook group...

We're pretty limited when it comes to feeding our animals but in the wild they have a much varied diet, from rodents, birds, amphibians, reptiles and eggs. Im curious whether it would be viable to breed and use reptiles and amphibians, including eggs and snakes, as feeders?

I've seen people feeding infertile eggs from their clutches or hatchlings that didnt make it but haven't come across a commercially available option. I can't see a problem with it myself as long as the parents are certified disease and parasite free. Many would probably be uncomfortable with it but seems a little hypocritical.

I guess if you bred with the sole purpose of being food the breeder would be losing out if they had to then euthanize these otherwise healthy animals. And might give breeders an excuse to get rid of any morphs that dont fetch a high enough price or theres no demand for. Cant work out if thats a good thing or a bad thing! The other option would be just keep the slugs and dead hatchlings from a clutch intended for sale.

Any thoughts on this?

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Old 08-10-2019, 06:02 PM
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Iím assuming youíre not from the UK? As Iím pretty sure itís illegal here just like the breeding of mice and rats for snakes etc.
Iím personally against any breeding of any animals to feed others live myself! I know people breed mice and rats in America for their snakes but in the uk again as said itís illegal though I wouldnít do that either way. I also wouldnít breed reptiles to feed mine. I breed Cresties, frogs etc and just because I could get a Ďnormalí morph etc thatís not worth as much I wouldnít feed it to something else! Even if anything died, I know full well my Chameleon would eat it but I couldnít do it!
Everyone has their own opinions obviously! Though for me itís a No. I think itís wrong. Insects are the only things I breed for my guys!
Each to their own though!


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Old 08-10-2019, 06:44 PM
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i woukdnt have a problem with it at all and completley agree it seems hypocritical.

i have a friend that keeps king cobras and they often get fed frozen thawed snakes, some are slugs from clutches & others died of natural causes and why not? snakes make up a large part of a king cobras diet.

As a commercial option, i cant really see it working. perhaps due to the fact that rats & mice breed like crazy & whilst some snakes may be easy to breed they are not going to be able to produce any where near the numbers of rats & mice.

Also, i feel like most people whom need to feed reptiles/amphibians to there pet know enough useful contacts to be able to help (breeders for example) or perhaps they even breed there own food sources.

regardless, i've never noticed a huge demand for it, perhaps thats just me not taking much notice.
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Old 08-10-2019, 06:55 PM
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It's not very viable - no. High numbers, multiple enclosures and a lot of time.

Geckos aren't the easiest to breed in numbers - for them to breed they need to be kept in top condition, laying takes it's toll on females. You'll end up taking more care of the feeders than your actual reptiles - you also need large numbers to try and maintain things, I have a group of around 40 morning geckos, they churn out hatchlings great however when you start to need bigger sizes it can become a pain to grow them out, which takes extra time.

Amphibians aren't easy either - breeding frogs requires a lot of effort too, I had the issue with froglets growing at different rates and the bigger ones eating the smaller ones which was annoying. So more enclosures were needed.

Snakes typically only breed during certain times of the year - so again, you'd need a lot of females.

Honestly there's a lot of variety around in general frozen thawed - mice, rats, multis, hamsters, gerbils, quail chicks, chicks, pigeons, guinea pigs, squirrels, rabbits, fish, and you can get creative with the odd treat of frog legs or other incomplete meals like pieces of raw exotic meat as a rare treat.

Or if you know breeders of other species - they may be willing to give you still borns, deformed hatchlings etc...
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Old 08-10-2019, 07:13 PM
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I didn't think it was illegal to breed rodents for food? As to feeding live I think it is a grey area. It is illegal to cause unnecessary suffering to a vertebrate, I don't think invertebrates are covered? So if you have an animal that will only eat live, is it causing unnecessary suffering by not doing so?

Commercially I doubt it would be financially viable.

I would imagine that many individuals that keep snakes with a specialist diet are good friends with commercial breeders or importers.

I have been weighing up getting some corals and then breeding feeder snakes, still not 100% on it though.
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Old 08-10-2019, 07:16 PM
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[QUOTE=GT2540;13320539]I didn't think it was illegal to breed rodents for food?


In the UK it is illegal to breed mice and rats to use for live food.




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Old 08-10-2019, 07:21 PM
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I must say Iím animal mad, we have a lot here and I agree that they should eat what they do in the wild plus the extra foods we give them, as in captivity they donít get everything they would do out there as youíve said all the other reptiles/amphibians a lot of reptiles actually eat. But I couldnít possible breed lizards, frogs, Snakes etc to feed to another animal.
Our Panther would love to eat them all, he will smash anything and did try lunging at our Crestie once as my girl was sat too near his Viv when holding them (Viv was shut thankfully!) I just couldnít put a live animal in with another for them to kill... Dead ones maybe...? But I couldnít be the one to do it! Itís weird I suppose as Iím happy to give them all insects...


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Old 08-10-2019, 07:29 PM
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[QUOTE=elishacoombes9;13320541]
Quote:
Originally Posted by GT2540 View Post
I didn't think it was illegal to breed rodents for food?


In the UK it is illegal to breed mice and rats to use for live food.




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It's not - as mentioned it's a grey area. No one, yet, has been prosecuted for feeding live so there's no precedent set.

Thankfully in the UK it's frowned upon, and typically not glorified.
Some species, in some circumstances might need live - often done as a last resort when all other options have been exhausted. It's a big risk to the reptile to feed live. Which would be more cruel a few seconds of suffering for a rodent or months of starving to death for a snake? Often the reptile is quickly switched to frozen thawed asap.
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Old 08-10-2019, 08:02 PM
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Firstly I don't see anything in the OP about live prey... but there is no law whatsoever in the UK stating it is illegal to breed rodents to use as food. If there were, then a whole load of companies would be out of business that provide us (and the bird of prey and mammal hobbies) with their prey items.

There is currently no law that out and out states it is illegal to feed live prey either, providing it is done without undue suffering to the prey.

This debate has been done to death, it has been discussed in parliament, the transcripts for these discussions are freely available online. Not even the animal rights industry has questioned this.

It is illegal to exhibit live feeding for entertainment purposes.

There has never been a prosecution explicitly against somebody feeding live rodents to their reptiles, and until there is any and all opinions on the subject remain hypothetical. There have been prosecutions where people feeding live prey to their snakes have been charged for poor welfare of the feeders they maintained, but not for the act of feeding them to a snake.

The same would apply to reptiles and amphibians used as prey (although I see no reason why reptiles and amphibians bred to be used as prey would necessarily have to be fed live, they could be euthanised prior to being fed (not all snakes will accept this though), but either way many people currently do this - they just don't advertise it online, presumably because they are fed up of hearing other people incorrectly stating it is illegal.

It all depends what you are feeding and how many. It is pretty easy to maintain one small lizard- eating snake - I do this myself, feeding it on surplus Podarcis, Stenodactylus, Tarentola , Eublepharis and others that I breed myself. I could not keep more than one, s I would not produce enough to feed more than one... and the one I do keep (a Psammophis praeornatus) will not take anything else, live or dead - and indeed was passed to me because I breed enough to keep it alive.

You could probably keep a single, small snake eater (let's say a Coral snake) quite easily with just a couple of Corn snakes producing clutches, and feeding a couple of the resultant young per month to it. Then again you couldn't do the same for a Mussurana or King Cobra that would require much larger prey (unless I suppose you are crazy enough to have a breeding Burmese or Retic and use those). Typically keepers of such snakes are donated dead or excess snakes from breeders (lots of photos on FB of Kings eating Royal pythons, for example).

If you had an outdoor greenhouse, it would be perfectly possible to breed hundreds of frogs a year to keep a small amphibian eater happy. Good candidates might be White's or Cuban tree frogs, or water frogs (Pelophylax), or Discoglossus scovazzi.

There are even people that breed all sorts of reptiles including snakes and iguanas, that then use the unhatched eggs as prey for everything from Blue-Tongued skinks to Oligodon.

So yes, it is possible to do, it is very work intensive though and the more animals you have that require this kind of food, the more work intensive it becomes.
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Last edited by Thrasops; 08-10-2019 at 08:42 PM..
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Old 08-10-2019, 08:08 PM
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Well this topic was brought up back along and I along with others thought it was illegal, was told it was illegal also. People have been prosecuted and are in jail because of this. Itís actually on the internet as was just reading a few cases on it..


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