Pets -- even snakes -- require food, care and attention. Though having snakes is less work than having a dog, you have to make sure you feed your snakes the types of foods required for optimal health and nutrition. One of the main foods captive snakes eat is live mice. Breeding your own feeder mice can help to ensure that food is always readily available when your snake is hungry. Successfully breeding mice will likely prove to be more cost-effective over time than buying from a pet store.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Aquarium with lid or cage (minimum size 10 gallon)
- Food and water
Set up your cage or aquarium that will house the mice. Make sure to have food and water available for the mice. Ensure that water bottles are easily accessible to keep the mice alive and healthy. Use cedar shavings or bedding on the bottom of the aquarium or cage for the mice to sleep in and to catch waste.
Purchase one adult male mouse and two to four females. Start with only one male to ensure the mice breed. make sure the mice are adults to speed up the breeding process. Place all mice in the same cage or aquarium.
A female mouse is fertile every three to five days and can become impregnated by a male within one day of entering a fertile cycle. Mice remain pregnant for at least 19 days, with live litters being born by the 24th day. You will notice the female gaining weight and appearing bloated in the belly, which is a sign the mouse is pregnant. If a female does not become pregnant over a period of three to four months, the mouse may be infertile. Feed her to the snake and purchase a new adult female breeder mouse.
Feed the mice daily, using a high-fat-content rodent food available at pet stores. Adults and baby mice can eat the same food, as newborn mice will nurse from the mother mouse until old enough to survive off of mouse food. Water daily and clean the cage on a weekly basis to promote a healthy living environment. Know that you must care for the breeder mice so they will breed. Unhealthy mice will not breed as fast and successfully as healthy ones.
Feed the snake both adult and baby mice as needed. Make sure to keep one adult male and four adult females in the cage at all times so the mice can continue to breed. Mark the backs of the males with a permanent marker by placing a dot on the back of the neck to make identifying them easier. Avoid feeding the snake all the breeder mice, or you will need to buy new ones and start breeding all over again.
Tips and warnings
- Keep the breeder mice cage in an area away from the snake, as mice who are threatened or feel threatened may have reduced breeding success due to stress.
- Use caution when keeping large quantities of live mice in your home. You must clean the cage or housing often to avoid promoting disease.
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