What do you think of pets (like snakes) being fed live "prey"? Is it okay because, if in the wild, it would go down the same way (ending in the death of the prey)? Or is it cruel and mean?
I think it depends on the animal. I have a corn snake and used to give her live prey because she's a constrictor and would kill it first. Then I seen her eating and realized that she was swallowing it live (while it squealed and freaked out). So yeah if it's going to die a slow, painful death, I think pre-killed is better.
I don't think it's inherently wrong- if it is, I'd see it as inherently wrong as pulling a wild animal out of its habitat to domesticate it to begin with. Hard to watch, though. I couldn't make myself feed a live* animal to an animal.
Does the animal need to be alive to be consumed? I guess I'm just sorta freaked out by it. Unless it's necessary, then why not just feed them a dead animal?
That depends on the animal. Some will know it's dead and will refuse to eat. My snake isn't very picky and will eat frozen-thawed mice (which I switched to after hearing the mouse shrieking). It also is just sometimes easier to give them live stuff, but potentially dangerous (for example, if the mouse is old enough to have teeth, it can kill the snake if not killed/eaten quickly enough).
Not sure about rodents, but I can likely deal with giving a lizard or other type of reptile crickets if it eats it. Which is probably why I was more drawn towards the Bearded Dragons (other than one being utterly adorable) than the snakes.
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If I'd read this thread a few days ago, I would have immediately said "yeah there's nothing cruel at all about that! It would have gone down the same way, what's the big deal?"
Then... the other night I watched Jurassic Park and I saw a live cow being lowered to its death to be eaten by a dinosaur and now... omfg. I think what makes it cruel is the human element to it. In the wild it's natural, but when a human who should have a conscience can willingly capture an animal and feed it to another... there's something messed up about that.
It's how it would happen in nature, so I don't see a problem with it. If you don't like seeing that though, either don't watch it, get someone else to feed the animal, or get a pet that doesn't eat live prey. I personally wouldn't want to watch that though, and snakes just aren't the pets for me anyway, so yeah.
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What's cruel about it? It's a small-scale version of how the entire animal kingdom works.
Exactly this. Feeding a live cricket to my chameleon is no different from feeding a mouse to a snake. Honestly, feeder animals are all vermin, anyway, so I'd be glad to toss them all into a reptile's cage. :\
It's no different than mass killing for our own consumption. I feel bad for the mouse to see its life ending, much like I do anything else on the verge of death, but that's how nature works. Animals eat other animals to survive.
With snakes in particular, I do have days where I find them fascinating and I spend a few hours looking at snakes eating things whole.
Not a big deal to me. Mind you, I've never had to personally feed anything live to another animal so maybe if I were the one immediately dropping something to its imminent death I'd be more squeamish about it but it's still a natural part of life.
That's just how nature works. It's either eat or be eaten, kill or be killed. But if you ask me, I'd want it to stop. Hunting for prey means killing, and killing an animal is just like killing a human.
I've never had to do it (only had dogs and cats so far) but, as other people have mentioned, nature is cruel and all that. I imagine if I did have to do it, the first time would be a bit squeamish but... you gotta do what you gotta do if you want to keep your hypothetical lizard/gecko/snake/whatever alive!
I've got no problem with it. One of my teachers in middle school had a snake as a class pet and we could feed it frozen mice if we wanted to. It felt a whole lot more humane than when my cats would hunt down their own birds just for the sake of killing them.