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Old 08-04-2012, 10:26 PM
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sillysally sillysally is online now
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Default Feeding gators live animals.....

So when we went to Wisconsin Dells there was a place where you could feed alligators. I'm a sucker for crocodilians, so we checked it out. They actually had a number of cool reptiles--the alligators, two different species of caiman, an albino alligator, several species of ginormous snapping turtles, etc. They also had some not so cool reptiles--a two headed king snake (creepy), a couple of anacondas, a Burmese python, a reticulated python, and some other sort of python. They were both horrifying and fascinating.

When you went in you had an opportunity to feed several of the animals--your choices were raw meat, a live rat, or a live mouse. I opted for the meat. It was actually pretty cool-there were tubes in the top of the enclosure that you stuck the food in, then used a stick to push it into the enclosure. The gators generally saw it right away and snapped it up with amazing speed.

There were several other families in there that fed the live rodents--the large alligators got rats, and the smaller alligator, the caimans, and the snapping turtle could be fed mice. With the rats you sort of shoved them down the tube to the gators, and with the mice the employees put them in the enclosures.

Now, the rodents seem to die very quickly, but I just felt weird buying one to feed the reptiles. I get that everyone's gotta eat, and that these are predators that are going to eat something's flesh one way or the other and I'm fine with that. It would have been one thing if we were watching the keepers feed the gators their meals. I just felt like buying a live animal just to watch it be fed to reptiles was seeing something die for entertainment-it just felt wrong to me. Not to mention that some of the kids there were getting way to into it, asking the employee if she could throw the rat in with the gators in with the gators in such a way that it had a chance to run first so they could see it get chased down (the employee did not).

That having been said seeing the feeding was interesting from a animal nerd point of view-it was truly amazing to see the speeds at which those alligators went after their prey. It's one thing to see it on tv, entirely another to see it in person.

So what do you think? Am I just a wuss? Would you have fed a live rat or mouse to the reptiles?
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Old 08-04-2012, 10:32 PM
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I would not. I really doubt that a rat (or even several) is adding much nutrition to a large alligator's diet..so to me, that means that the live food choice is for the "entertainment" of the crowd, which I don't agree with.
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Old 08-04-2012, 10:32 PM
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I don't see it any different than feeding your pet snake live mice. Then again, I know several people who will le their ferrets catch their food, and of I wasn't sure Ren would make friends with it and it would become a pet, I'd totally let him get something on special occasion. So I may not be the best person to ask
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Old 08-04-2012, 10:36 PM
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No I would not. I find the double standards when it comes to animals, even mammals, are ridiculous. If it would be wrong to do to a kitten it's wrong to do to a rat. Especially if the gators snap it right up, there really is no good brought about by the rat's rather stressful end.
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Old 08-04-2012, 10:48 PM
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I've never fed live, but my friends boa would occasionally be given a live mouse to eat. It gave the snake some exercise, and the snake enjoyed it. As the owner, i don't think my friend cared much what the mouse thought.

On the other hand, holding a frozen mouse over the tank and letting Buddha take it from you was awesome.
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Old 08-04-2012, 10:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JessLough View Post
I don't see it any different than feeding your pet snake live mice. Then again, I know several people who will le their ferrets catch their food, and of I wasn't sure Ren would make friends with it and it would become a pet, I'd totally let him get something on special occasion. So I may not be the best person to ask
Part of me was also afraid that it would turn into a story of "How we got our pet rat" if I actually bought one. When they went to put it in the tube it was squeeking like crazy, and I just don't know if I could have gone through with it.
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Old 08-04-2012, 10:52 PM
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I don't like rodents and reptiles just give me the creeps - so no.
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Old 08-04-2012, 10:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grab View Post
I would not. I really doubt that a rat (or even several) is adding much nutrition to a large alligator's diet..so to me, that means that the live food choice is for the "entertainment" of the crowd, which I don't agree with.
this....
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Old 08-04-2012, 11:14 PM
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Not if it is for entertainment, that is just sick.

That being said, I did feed live mice to Marx, my ball python, because nothing I did could entice him to eat frozen/thawed. Not even braining them! So while I didn't like it, I did it, and he made sure it was quick for the mice.
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Old 08-05-2012, 08:12 AM
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I wouldn't do it. We fed our snakes live mice, but that was because we had too. If we could have fed him frozen mice we would have. I don't see any point in it, except maybe to show your kid the whole nature thing
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