Please don’t feed live food.
This is a 17 foot reticulated python that had to be hospitalized at WSU for many weeks. You can see both Dr. Finch and Dr. Mayes in this picture working with her. This animal was severely injured by live food.
This poor girl’s heater had been malfunctioning leaving her cold for several days. Her owner did not realize she was too cold to eat, and threw a live rat in with her one day, then left to go to work. She was too cold to eat and went to sleep. Unfortunately her owner didn’t notice the live rat still in her enclosure when he got home. The rat was left in with her for several days and got hungry himself; so he chewed on the snake. Just think – a little rat could injure such a huge snake! And it gets worse.
Some of her wounds were quite severe and went deep enough to reach bone. Once her owner saw this he look up home remedies on line. He read that betadine is a good antiseptic, but didn’t read long enough to learn that it needs to be diluted. So he soaked her in UN-diluted betadine and caused chemical burns over most of her body.
This snake was hospitalized with us at WSU for many weeks. Her wounds required surgical debridement multiple times and long term antibiotics. Fortunately her owner was committed. He spent thousands of dollars to get her well and she did get to go home.
Let this be a lesson: please do not feed live food unless you absolutely have to. If you do have to please stay present and watchful the whole time the food is inside the enclosure. It is quite rare for a snake to need live food. Most of them will take frozen thawed if it is prepared correctly and offered in the way they want it. Feel free to visit the Feeding Pages to learn about how to feed your snakes.
A healed bite wound can be seen here as a large scar on Elsa.