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Old 08-08-17, 07:19 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Thawing frozen rat

I know this topic has been discussed, just wanted to hash it out a little...

I switched to f/t a few years ago with my ball python. I thaw them in hot tap water for about an hour, check them by feel to make sure they're warm and thawed, dry with paper towel and feed the snake (now snakes).

So, on a Facebook ball python page I just joined someone asked how people choose to thaw. I stated the above and was immediately "corrected" by an admin stating that that method does not meet FDA guidelines for thawing meat and that I was being careless with my snakes. The 24 hour refrigerator method, or running under cold water is the only legitimate method. Ok...opinions...whatever. I stated that it was a common practice in the reptile community, and that I've never experienced a problem with my snakes. I was scolded and jumped on by several other members for being reckless and basically told I was offering dangerous advise...also I was banned from the group! LoL fine... Please note, I was not rude or anything, just supporting my opinion. This all happened over a period of like 10 minutes.

Ok... So my question... If you thaw in the fridge you have to warm up the rat before feeding right? So how much more bacteria is gonna grow in the hot water thaw method verses the refrigerate and warm up method? This is a sincere question...not trying to start a hostile debate lol (although it did irritate me that they were so closed minded and banned me over a legitimate discussion on their page).

Please... I'm very interested in opinions and info on this subject. Thanks.
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Old 08-08-17, 07:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Thawing frozen rat

You don't have to worry about a hostile debate on this subject here.

I did what you do for years until there were too many food items to thaw in that way and it wasn't convenient anymore. I use the refrigerator method and I still use hot water to heat them up. Never encountered any problem. They are right in that hot water shouldn't be used to thaw human food at room temp...but the reasoning behind that is the fact that those food items are in the "danger zone" where harmful bacteria will flourish in a short time and can harm someone even after cooking...these are snakes...animals which will eat carrion in the wild. Some information given on facebook is questionable, this is one of those cases.

The one and only thing I would advise against that a lot of people do...thawing out big whole rodents at room temp...they can still have cold spots in the middle while seemingly thawed on the outside and you can introduce a lot of unnecessary and unfavourable bacteria by doing this...but even this technique shouldn't cause problems in healthy animals. In unhealthy animals this room temp thawing method has been thought to contribute to the development of septicemia caused by an overload of bacteria...but that's once again only in animals who are otherwise compromised to begin with because once again snakes can and do eat rotting dead animals in the wild...which would probably not meet FDA guidelines.

About a month ago I made the mistake of correcting someone that was telling people that misting and increasing humidity causes R.I.'s...got jumped on very quickly by a bunch of keyboard warriors who only have a snake or two and think they know everything...after all...it never rains in Africa and they live in deli cups/tubs on paper towel for their whole life in the wild, right?
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Old 08-08-17, 08:01 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Thawing frozen rat

I start thawing my frozen feeders in cold water first and then warm water before super heating them with a hair dryer and serving them to the snakes. It's worked out pretty well for the last 5 years and the snakes seem to be healthy. I'm always open to different and better ways of doing things if I can be shown the benefits.
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Old 08-08-17, 09:04 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Thawing frozen rat

When using hot water w/o thawing I find that the skin pigmentation changes and it looks like the outside of the f/t is being cooked as the inside is still thawing. This also happened, at least to me, when using hot water immediately with the "refrig" thawed f/t...not as bad as with the frozen feeders, but still it looks like they get pale and get cooked.

Note: to ensure that the rats are warmed through, I make sure that the water temperature stays at 100degF for 10min...if the temperature drops, then they're not warmed up enough inside yet.

So now, I remove the fridge-thawed feeders, leave them out for about an hour or more on the counter to get them to 75degF, and then I warm them in stages to 100degF before feeding. Sure, it takes an hour for the large rats, but the smaller feeders don't look like they're cooking and they stay a rosy pink outside.

I also mentioned in another thread that I had one of my Fuzzy Rats bloat up overnight in the cage...it looked like a cow that had died and had been sitting in the hot Texas sun. I think the rat was bad from the beginning as I had never had that happen before; and the Hogg Island I tried feeding it to, originally took it, dragging it back in the hot hide, but then spit it back out apparently and deposited it outside the hot hide. I've never had any of my rats blow up like a balloon before so I will be watching the rest of my Fuzzy Rats to see if the whole lot is bad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wharf Rat View Post
I know this topic has been discussed, just wanted to hash it out a little...

I switched to f/t a few years ago with my ball python. I thaw them in hot tap water for about an hour, check them by feel to make sure they're warm and thawed, dry with paper towel and feed the snake (now snakes).

So, on a Facebook ball python page I just joined someone asked how people choose to thaw. I stated the above and was immediately "corrected" by an admin stating that that method does not meet FDA guidelines for thawing meat and that I was being careless with my snakes. The 24 hour refrigerator method, or running under cold water is the only legitimate method. Ok...opinions...whatever. I stated that it was a common practice in the reptile community, and that I've never experienced a problem with my snakes. I was scolded and jumped on by several other members for being reckless and basically told I was offering dangerous advise...also I was banned from the group! LoL fine... Please note, I was not rude or anything, just supporting my opinion. This all happened over a period of like 10 minutes.

Ok... So my question... If you thaw in the fridge you have to warm up the rat before feeding right? So how much more bacteria is gonna grow in the hot water thaw method verses the refrigerate and warm up method? This is a sincere question...not trying to start a hostile debate lol (although it did irritate me that they were so closed minded and banned me over a legitimate discussion on their page).

Please... I'm very interested in opinions and info on this subject. Thanks.
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Old 08-08-17, 09:21 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Thawing frozen rat

Depends what mood I'm in. We have an Aga in our new kitchen so it's always very warm so defrosting doesn't take too long and I'm not worried about cold spots.

If I'm in more of a hurry I'll use hot water. Not bothered about the odd bit of bacteria - snakes eat some pretty rancid prey in the wild and exposure to a bit of bacteria actually strengthens their immune system.

I think people forget that keeping in a completely sterile environment actually lowers their immune system making them more prone to illness.
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Old 08-08-17, 09:56 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Thawing frozen rat

Personally, I just take the baggie the single rat comes in and put it in another ziploc. Then let it sit in hot water for an hour or so. After that, replace the water and let sit 15 minutes.
I have not had a problem, but then again I have a Woma. =/
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Old 08-08-17, 10:01 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Thawing frozen rat

I can't really claim to know which thawing method is best since I haven't done a lot of research. However, I put my snake's food item in the refrigerator the day before and then the next night take it out to sit at room temp for a hour or so, then pop it in warm/hot water right before I feed. No problems so far. I use that method because I found a zoo blog that mentioned that's how they thaw their mice/rats.

Ugh FB groups can be the worst. You have an opinion, other than the group rules (even if you have facts to back it), you get jumped on.
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Old 08-08-17, 10:26 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Thawing frozen rat

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Originally Posted by REM955 View Post
Personally, I just take the baggie the single rat comes in and put it in another ziploc. Then let it sit in hot water for an hour or so. After that, replace the water and let sit 15 minutes.
I have not had a problem, but then again I have a Woma. =/
Yes, I can imagine that's hardly a challenge to feed
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Old 08-08-17, 10:55 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Thawing frozen rat

Thanks for the responses people, I appreciate it
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Old 08-08-17, 11:08 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Thawing frozen rat

I just leave mine out to defrost, when I know there are no cold spots I put them on top of the vivs to heat them then feed. Lots of people do it different ways, doesn't anyone is wrong or right . And as for Farcebook it's things like this that convince me I did the right thing deactivating my account years ago
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Old 08-08-17, 12:02 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Thawing frozen rat

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Originally Posted by Magdalen View Post
...
Ugh FB groups can be the worst. You have an opinion, other than the group rules (even if you have facts to back it), you get jumped on.
Totally agree based on what just happened to me.

As the the rat thawing issue...thanks for the advise/tips... I guess my real question is regarding bacteria growth. Does thawing in the fridge really prevent bacterial growth if you have to leave them out or soak in warm water after thawing to get the temp up?
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Old 08-08-17, 12:10 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Thawing frozen rat

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Originally Posted by Wharf Rat View Post
Totally agree based on what just happened to me.

As the the rat thawing issue...thanks for the advise/tips... I guess my real question is regarding bacteria growth. Does thawing in the fridge really prevent bacterial growth if you have to leave them out or soak in warm water after thawing to get the temp up?
I think just as pertenantly does it matter? As I mentioned above the bacterial load would have to be very substantial indeed to have any ill effect on a snake.
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Old 08-08-17, 12:24 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Thawing frozen rat

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Originally Posted by Wharf Rat View Post

As the the rat thawing issue...thanks for the advise/tips... I guess my real question is regarding bacteria growth. Does thawing in the fridge really prevent bacterial growth if you have to leave them out or soak in warm water after thawing to get the temp up?
Pretty much what Danny said...Yes the fridge most certainly does prevent/greatly slow the growth of bacteria, and the main factor in regards to food safety/preparation for humans is the length of time they are exposed to dangerous temperatures in which these bacterias flourish, but as previously mentioned, unless the snake is immunosupressed or dealing with a compounding health issue, it really won't make much of a difference. Do what works for you and disregard things that simply don't make sense that come from people who don't know any better on facebook.
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Old 08-08-17, 01:15 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Thawing frozen rat

Same group likely keeps their snakes in a 100% sterile environment because god forbid a snake comes in contact with actual soil or plants... it has devastating results.

Those BP groups are real volatile and very close minded. Shouldn't join them to get some sound advise, you won't get, and as you experienced - if you think otherwise there is no room for debate or discussion. It's either their way or the banhammer.

FDA approved method of thawing meat, my gosh. When in a rush I also drop chicken meat into hot water to thaw it in a hurry. There are no bacteria that can multiply so fast in the timespan of < 60 minutes that it would actually pose an issue for a snake. Besides the mouse itself takes approx 24 hours to start breaking down in the belly of the snake. 60 Minutes is not going to make a damn difference there.

I would be much more worried about the actual keeping/killing/freezing method of the mice at the rodent breeder than thawing them in the fridge, room temp, cold, or hot water.

And snake have no issue whatsoever in the wild eating roadkill or decomposing animals either.
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Old 08-08-17, 01:31 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Thawing frozen rat

LoL thanks everyone.
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