Suggestion on weaning snake off live prey??

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whattheheck:
Ok..
So I decided to adopt a 6'6" adult female Boa Constrictor. In speaking with the current owner, I have just found out that they have been feeding her "live" rabbits injected with vitamins. The nice part is that they get thier live rabbits from a small pet store a few blocks from my house even though they live 20mins out of Edmonton. The bad part is that I greatly dislike feeding live prey. Not just for the obvious possible injury to the snake from a quick bunny-bite to the eyeball or elsewhere, but also because I dont like seeing the rabbit suffer. (not to mention at $7+ per rabbit ... ouch!!)

What is the best way to switch this snake over to frozen/thawed prey?? I dont want this snake to become a fussy eater or stress it too much. As it is, for some reason it has only been fed a rabbit every 5 weeks. (possibly the reason for the smaller size of 6'6" for adult 5yr+ female) I will probably be changing the feeding schedule to every 10-14 days over the next month or 2.
I just want to make the transition to frozen/thawed as stress free for this snake as possible as it will be stressed enough by the move to new surrounding and such.
I would appreciate any info anyone might have.
Thanks in advance.
Rob
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Zetekitoxin:
[nq:1]What is the best way to switch this snake over to frozen/thawed prey??[/nq]
Seems to me that the very first step would be to check and see if you need to do anything at all other than offer it f/t prey.

Wait 5 weeks (because that's what the snake is used to at this point, and you want it to be hungry) and offer it a f/t rodent. Get some tongs and do the "I'm alive" dance for a bit. If that fails, leave the rodent in the feeding container with the snake overnight.
If that fails, then you can start getting fancy.

The best first step for the snake (and the worst one for you) is to get a live bunny and kill it just before feeding time so it is still warm and fresh-smelling.
Step #2 - Once the snake is used to this regime and feeding regularly on freshly killed bunnies, try f/t bunnies.

Step #3 - once those are readily accepted, switch to f/t rodents, and scent them with a frozen bunny.
Step #4 - stop scenting the rodents.
Any time a step fails you, go back 1 step and start over.

-Z
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Rev Brian:
[nq:2]What is the best way to switch this snake over to frozen/thawed prey??[/nq]
[nq:1]Seems to me that the very first step would be to check and see if you need to do anything ... #4 - stop scenting the rodents. Any time a step fails you, go back 1 step and start over. -Z[/nq]I just switched my Red Tail to F/T a couple months ago after 20+ years of live. I just put a F/T rat in her cage. She ate so i have been giving her F/T ever since. When she was younger she wouldn't even eat a rat she had killed if she dropped it she lost interest. She has calmed down alot since she started eating F/T. before she would strike at anything that moved.

just walking past her cage would get a strike. She would strike at water when i filled her dish. No more Yippeee. With Rabbits it's not the bite so much has the damage they can do with their hind legs. Rabbit were the only thing i would pre kill or stun before i fed her. Rabbit scream very loudly when they are grabbed by the snake. I hated it.
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Slither Factory:
[nq:1]What is the best way to switch this snake over to frozen/thawed prey??[/nq]
Most red-tails aren't as fussy as other types of Boids, so you may just be lucky enough to simply offer a f/t animal on the next feeding. One of the biggest mistakes people make when offering f/t feeders is that, for whatever reason, they tend to put their hands all over the food item.

Treat a f/t as you would a live or fresh-killed food item, and handle as little as possible. Also, it is important to ensure that the food item offered is adequately thawed to room temperature(s).

If the simple act of offering the f/t doesn't work, read what "Z" suggested in the other post as this is a fairly common step-by-step procedure that works very well.
~Wade
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Zetekitoxin:
[nq:1]Treat a f/t as you would a live or fresh-killed food item, and handle as little as possible. Also, it is important to ensure that the food item offered is adequately thawed to room temperature(s).[/nq]
I would go even one step further and heat the rodent up to slightly warmer than what a living rodent's body temp would be.

-Z
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Snake Whisperer:
Don't feed the snake for 2 months.
later,
Snake Whisperer
Teach the Children
"Back to the Garden"
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Anonymous:
[nq:1]Ok.. So I decided to adopt a 6'6" adult female Boa Constrictor. In speaking with the current owner, I have ... also because I dont like seeing the rabbit suffer. (not to mention at $7+ per rabbit ... ouch!!) SNIP Rob[/nq]
I feed my larger boids live rabbits & none have ever suffered an injury. Zeketoxin gave you great advice in switching over prey items. However my boas will readily accept live rabbits, pre-killed rabbits, f/t rabbits, pre-killed rats, & f/t rats. I never feed my boas live rats because they can cause serious injury! Most boas are good feeders & will eat what ever I offer. While I've used Zeketoxin's methods for my other snakes I've never found it necessary when feeding my boas. Boas are pigs at least in my experience. Seven dollars for a rabbit is a good deal as one rabbit equals 6-10 rats depending on the rabbits size. Vitamins are not necessary for snakes. snake lady
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Paul J Hollander:
[nq:2]What is the best way to switch this snake over to frozen/thawed prey??[/nq]
[nq:1]Seems to me that the very first step would be to check and see if you need to do anything ... "I'm alive" dance for a bit. If that fails, leave the rodent in the feeding container with the snake overnight.[/nq]
And cut the skin off the top of the dead rat's head. Blood/lymph is a powerful appetite stimulant for snakes.
Paul Hollander (Email Removed)
Behold the tortoise: he makes no progress unless he sticks his neck out.
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