How Long do Feeder Mice Live? (Maximise their life)
If you are keen on feeding your lizard with live feeder mice (Click here to see the price on Amazon), you may be keen to understand exactly how long they can last, so you can plan on how much you will need at a time, etc. Keep reading and let me explain.
how long do feeder mice live? They can live up to three years if treated as a pet but typically consumed within weeks or months. Because, they are purchased for the sole purpose to feed to lizards (or other retiles, e.g. Snakes.)
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Now that you know how long feeder mice can live for. Let me explain more. More specifically, what exactly they are (the difference between, wild, or fancy mice), which lizards eat them, different types, pros, and cons of having them. Keep reading.
What are feeder mice?
You may be wondering what the difference is between a normal pet mouse (fancy mouse, more on this later), a wild mouse and an actual feeder mouse. Well, in this section I will explain just that now.
The reality is, there is no real difference. They are the same mouse but just treated differently. Feeder mice a bred specifically for food. Meaning, they are not cared for as well as a pet mouse. And, there is no real effort put into extending their life.
With that being said, although they have the same capabilities at birth, to your conventional pet mouse, their lifespan is likely to be much shorter. Either through being eaten (by lizards, snakes, etc) or neglect by their breeders/owners.
What lizards eat feeder mice?
With all this talk about feeder mice, you may be keen to understand what type of lizard will actually consume them, right? Well, that’s good news! Why? Well, I will be sharing some information on this now in this section.
The following lizards are known to consume feeder mice:
- Monitor Lizards.
- Basilick Lizards.
- Water Dragons.
Understand this, some of the lizards above are a part of a large group, with many sub-species, e.g. Geckos. Therefore, not all of them will consume feeder mice. But, I am saying there are at least some that are known to eat them, are you with me?
Also, just because they are known to eat them. This does not mean that feeder mice are their staple diet. This just means that they are an option, make sense?
What Types of Feeders are there?
Feeder mice come in a range of sizes. This is great because there is a wide range of lizards, of differing sizes as well. In this section, I will explain the different types of feeders and which type of lizards typically consume them.
Pinkie mice are great for younger lizards, such as juvenile or hatchlings, depending on the species. Basically, they are small mice, typically less than 5 days old. They are so young in fact that they are completely hairless (no fur). They can be purchased live or even frozen.
These mice are bigger than pinkie mice, but not substantially. They are called “Fuzzy” because of the small layer of fur that they have grown by this time. You need to be careful that they are the correct sizing for your lizard. As a general rule, you shouldn’t feed them anything bigger than the distance between each of their eyes.
As you can imagine. These are the largest type of feeder mice. They are usually separated into two or three smaller sub-groups (small, medium & Large). Which is good to help with your lizard’s ideal sizing.
Typically the small or medium feeders are less than 20 grams. Whereas, the large ones can be 20 – 50 grams.
What’s a “Fancy Mouse”?
Earlier you heard me mention the term “Fancy mouse”. You may be wondering what I was on about. Well, in this section I will explain exactly what they are and some more related facts.
A fancy mouse is basically a mouse that has been bred as a pet or even for an exhibition. They usually are directly caught from the wild or originated from a wild mouse somewhere in their previous generations. Since then, they have become domesticated and docile.
These fancy mice are freely available in many pet shops. According to this site, they are not advocates of using feeder mice as pets. But the reality is a lot of the fancy mice sold in pet shops come from breeders that have large scale feeder setups.
Mice & Diseases
You may have heard many people look down on mice and label them as “dirty”. But are they though? This may seem like an obvious answer. But, in this section, I will explore this with you.
According to this site, they say that mice are generally clean and healthy. However, they are still vulnerable to pick up parasites. These parasites include:
Mites are pretty bad. They cause some serious itchy and sore skin for the mice which leads to other issues. And pinworms, they are just as bad, causing serious bouts of diarrhea, etc.
Another problem that mice face is with their incisors. They grow at a fast rate and need to be managed. Basically they need to be gnawed down to stop them overgrowing.
If they are not gnawed down they stand the risk of overgrowing and causing knock-on problems such as weight loss, malnutrition, etc. Why? Because it affects their eating.
Benefits of Feeder Mice
You may be wondering what is so good about feeder mice. What are the main reasons why they are quite popular amongst reptile owners? Well, in this section I am going to explain exactly why this is the case.
In all honesty, the biggest benefit is their cost and availability. You can find them in many outlets. That is in person in a shop or even purchased online (frozen or live, but more on that later).
Also, they don’t require much maintenance because most owners understand they are literally purchased for food. Put it this way, would you treat your farm chicken the same way as your pet cat? (Similar concept).
The “Hassle” of Live Feeders
We have spoken a lot about feeder mice so far, but we have not discussed the fact that they can be purchased live as well as frozen. In this section, I will explain some of the issues with the live feeder mice.
Many inexperienced lizard owners think of feeder mice as some docile, pushovers that just can’t wait to be eaten. However, in reality, this is really not the case. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
These feeders, in some cases, have dangerous fangs. They will use them to defend themselves (which is reasonable, in my opinion). When they are eventually sent into your lizard’s enclosure, don’t think they will be rolling over and waiting for their attack. No! They will fight for their lives.
You may be thinking, so what’s that got to do with my lizard? Well, think about it. These fangs are sharp as hell. Your lizard can sustain some injuries from this. So its an issue I have to highlight with these live feeders.
Another issue with these live feeders is the fact that you can’t buy them in bulk. Because they are live food, you need to keep just enough in stock, until your lizard is close to finishing the stock. The downfall of this is, it becomes expensive this way.
Benefits of Frozen Feeder Mice
Earlier we talked about the issues with live feeder mice. These problems are quite the opposite of frozen feeders. So in this section, I will explain their benefits.
So, the first clear benefit is the fact that you buy these mice in bulk, and store them ahead of time. No more need to wait until you are just about to run out. This helps to keep the cost down for you. And also, the suppliers are able to reduce their costs too.
Also, this saves a lot of your time, because you do not have to go back and forth from the shops getting live food as much.