Feeding Your Snake: Can You Buy Live Mice at Petco?

Snakes make fascinating and beautiful pets, though feeding one can be interesting. Do common stores like Petco sell live mice for snakes?

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Can you buy live feeder mice at Petco?

The answer is up to the store manager. While Petco does sell live mice as pets, each store itself decides whether or not to breed and carry live mice. Petco does make frozen mice available for purchase by bag or box. Some consider it immoral to feed live mice to snakes.

We’ll explore what options Petco does offer for the purpose of feeding your snake. We’ll let you know what we find regarding the laws for feeding your pet live animals too.

Does Petco sell live mice for snakes?

Some do. One thing you’ll notice is that they don’t list live mice or other rodents on their website for sale. Feeding snakes can be a small challenge since the diet of a snake is varied but rather strict including fish, worms, lizards, insects, frogs, and other proteins that a snake can find in the wild.

Much of the reason why you can’t buy live feeder mice for a snake is because feeding animals other live animals is often considered unethical if not illegal. Presenting a snake as a live animal to eat actually represents a risk for the snake, the handler of both live animals, and, of course, the mice themselves. 

They believe that small animals like mice should not be bred or captured for the purpose of going through the psychological trauma of being hunted and eaten within the often closed environment of a snake cage.

The snake itself could be at risk of being harmed or bitten by a large rodent like a snake or mouse. 

In some cases, the snake actively doesn’t want to eat mice or other live animals, which raises the risk of the snake being harmed by a defensive mouse.

You’ll want to ask your local store to see if they do carry live mice for feeding, as it really is up to store policy. We found multiple answers to this question from people both complaining that Petco does sell other small animals and that in some cases, the store manager’s decision keeps from them being able to buy live mice locally.

So go ask a Petco employee to get an answer specific to your location.

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Is feeding a snake live feeder mice considered animal cruelty?

Legally, no. Unless the mouse endures unnecessary suffering it is not technically considered animal cruelty under US Law.

Here is where feeding a snake a live feeder mouse becomes a gray area of morality and legality. 

Wild snakes eat mostly other small wild animals like guinea pigs, mice and many others. Just by caging a snake, we are depriving them of the ability to hunt for animals for themselves. This idea isn’t all that much different from having a dog, who certainly eat both meat and grains, but aren’t often offered live animals to attempt to eat.

Another perspective on this is that snakes haven’t been domesticated for nearly as long as dogs or cats, and aren’t at a point where being fed live animals in a cage is a natural part of their predatory nature.

What are my options at Petco for feeder mice and feeding my snake?

Petco does carry snake food in the form of frozen mice. The Petco site even shows a brand named Gourmet Rodent which have been specifically raised with a formula that makes them ideal for consumption by a snake. 

Will a snake eat a frozen mouse from a pet store?

A wild snake might have a hard time at first because their instincts are to hunt and eat fresh animals – in fact, it would probably avoid eating other animals that are dead in the wild. 

As you might expect, hunger drives some motivation here. If a snake “realizes” that it won’t be able to hunt for itself, it could eat thawed, frozen mice anyway in an effort to sustain itself.

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What if my snake won’t eat frozen mice or anything else?

You may want to look up what to do in this scenario that doesn’t break local laws.

Can I buy frozen mice online or in store through Petco?

From what we have seen, Petco offers both options with the in store options potentially limited by stock. Otherwise, according to their website, a shipment of a bag or box of frozen mice isn’t as hard to come by.

Can I buy mice from Petco?

As a pet, yes, you could buy a mouse or guinea pigs at Petco. While the process can vary from store to store, they may know if you are attempting to buy a number of live mice on a regular basis with the clear purpose of feeding a live snake. 

A live mouse from Petco is not meant to be a feeder mouse, and most pet stores abide by this thought.

Note that some pet owners have also offered their criticisms of the animals sold by Petco, including fancy mice. Many claim that breeding your own mice at home will result in a healthier, safer, and longer living mouse than fancy mice purchased at Petco. Of course, there is a bit of a mess too.

Are there places that sell feeder mice?

Yes, looking up live mice on Google or another search engine is a certain pathway to learning more about different websites and businesses that offer to sell live mice. Some websites even acknowledge, to their own credit, that most chain stores near them do not carry live mice any more.

While the specifics vary based on the company, they could either ship live mice to you, have them delivered, or you could go pick up a box of mice.

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Should I buy feeder mice?

At some point, your snake might decide that for you. If a snake won’t eat anything else but live mice, you might end up having to buy or catch feeder mice for it. This is just one of the byproducts of keeping snakes in captivity.

In other words, if you have to buy some feeder mice to keep your snake alive, we say do it.

Key Takeaways

  • Whether or not a Petco offers feeder mice is more up to the store and the store manager
  • Some Petcos will offer mice and feeder mice.
  • Another option is to buy frozen mice from Petco or other sources, which a snake might eat
  • If you find that a snake won’t eat frozen mice, you might have to source feeder mice
  • Some consider feeding mice to a snake to be unethical

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