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I had a yellow rat snake, we fed it a live mouse only the mouse turned round and ate the snake! Obviously killing the snake. Why did this happen? I have an albino corn snake now and will only feed her dead rats because of this.

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Sorry for your loss.

This is one of the prime reasons many keepers choose to feed their snakes dead food items. If the snake is not interested in feeding, it will most of the time just ignore the mouse (or rat). Left to their own devices, the mouse will get hungry and start looking for food. They are omnivores, that eat pretty much anything they can put their teeth in. Eventually they will find the snake, with obvious consequences. For some reason snakes, especially the docile species we keep as pets, are for that same reason not very defensive towards the mouse, not realizing before it is too late.

How to prevent this in the future? You can either:

  • Feed dead mice/rats. Those don't tend to bite back.
  • If you do feed live food, always stay in the room and supervise.
  • As soon as you notice the snake is not interested in feeding (ignoring the mouse, actively moving away from it, no tongue-flicking), separate the two again. There is no benefit to keeping them together for longer. The snake is not likely to change its mind.

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