There are many benefits to using frozen prey rather than live rodents to feed a reptile: It’s safer, it’s cheaper and more convenient. While the first two reasons might not be so obvious to a beginner reptile owner, the latter is a no-brainer as many of us rely on the freezer for our own food storage. The freezer enables us to efficiently store food for long periods and, miraculously, maintain its freshness and nutritional value. However, that doesn’t mean frozen food lasts forever. Your reptile’s frozen rats and mice have an expiration date too—do you know what it is? Here’s how long you can keep frozen mice in the freezer.
Maximum Frozen Rodent Shelf Time: Six Months
The exact time frame might vary depending on precisely when the rodents were frozen, however, the consensus is to toss them after six months when kept in your standard freezer. Rodents kept in a deep freeze (a temperature of -4℉ or colder) can last upwards of a year.
To maximize their viability, be sure to carefully re-seal the bag of rodents each time and remove as much air from the receptacle as possible. Note that rodents with fur are less prone to freezer burn than rodents without, which could otherwise shorten their shelf-life to only two or three months. Another tip is to keep them located as far back in the freezer as possible where it’s coldest.
How Long Do Thawed Rodents Keep?
If you ended up thawing rodents you didn’t end up needing, can you reuse them? It will depend on the method you used to defrost them.
If you used the quick thaw method of placing the rodent in a bowl of cold water and leaving it out, the potential for bacteria to grow is a lot higher and thus, a risker endeavor to try and reuse. The safe bet is to throw it away rather than risk getting your reptile seriously sick. Rodents thawed the slow way (in the fridge) can keep for up to five or seven days depending on the temperature.
Avoid the temptation to refreeze a thawed rodent, regardless of how the defrosting was done. Bacteria can grow incredibly quickly and once thawing has begun, the decomposition of the organism promptly resumes. Additionally, the texture of the rodent will be significantly compromised when defrosted the second time around, leaving you with a soggy and misshapen mess that your pet is unlikely to find appetizing anyways.
How To Tell If Frozen Rodents Have Gone Bad
Frozen mice and rats don’t have preservatives so treat them as you would any other kind of fresh meat (a.k.a. Use common sense). Enlist your senses to help you determine if those rodents are still good. Smell will likely be the most useful to you.
Rodent smell isn’t particularly pleasant to humans so it’s easy to mistake their normal scent as an indication that it’s “off”. Likened to slightly sour milk, this natural odor will be strongest when the rodent is wet. If you’ve dried the rodent and the smell persists strongly, it could be a sign that it has turned.
Don’t feel too bad if you have to throw away an uneaten rodent. You can always find more frozen rodents for sale (and at great prices!) at specialty reptile shops such as XYZReptiles.com.
Source – https://pixabay.com/photos/many-teat-mice-mice-house-wood-443291/