How To Breed And Raise Mice For Snake Food

Do you want to figure out how to provide a good food source for your snake but keep it cost-effective?

Do you wish you had mice on hand whenever you need them for your pet snakes?

If you are interested in a cost-effective way to keep a steady supply of mice to feed your snake, you might consider how to breed mice for snakes.

Breeding mice for snakes is a good way to give your pets the most nutritious meals possible. Essentially, you need to set up the cage with male and female mice, watch for pregnancy signs, remove females from the area when pregnant, and wean the young 3-4 weeks after birth.

While breeding and maintaining a supply of feeder mice isn’t for every snake owner, those of you who do want to attempt this, keep reading.

how to breed mice for snakes

Supplies You Will Need

This section of the article goes over the supplies you will need to properly breed and care for feeder mice.

These items are easily accessible, and you might find you have some of them around the house already.

Container/Housing For Mice 

The first item you will need is a home for your mice as you house and breed them.

Cages for mice are available at pet stores, usually made of a plastic bottom and wire sides and lid. 

These are great also because they are stackable if you want to have multiple mice breeding at once or when you need to separate mice at different life stages. 

Besides this kind of cage, you might also consider glass or plastic aquariums, terrariums, or even plastic storage bins. 

The cage should measure a minimum, 12″ inches (30 cm) wide by 24″ inches (60 cm) long and 10″ inches (25 cm) high.

With plastic storage bins, cut a hole in the lid and secure mesh or screen over the hole to provide ventilation. 

Substrate

Mice need some bedding on the bottom of their cage.

Use cloth paper as a base, followed by sawdust or wood shavings.

These are also available at pet stores.

Food And Water 

To keep your mice healthy, you need to provide plenty of food and water. 

Purchase a water piper bottle from a pet store and fill it daily with fresh, clean water.

Food is also found at pet stores or farm supply stores and will need to be available for the mice at all times.

Pellet food is best for mice or other rodents you might think about housing. 

Mice

Purchase mice to breed from your local pet shop.

To keep a steady supply of mice for your snake, you will need between two and four female mice per male. 

Mice don’t become sexually mature until they reach six to eight weeks old. 

If you buy babies, don’t expect them to breed before this time.

snake eating mouse

Step By Step Instructions For How To Breed Mice For Snakes

In this section, you will learn what it takes, step by step, to breed feeder mice.

These animals do require just as much care and attention as your snake.

Once you understand the method and undergo the process a few times, it is not a challenging process but one you will have to dedicate time and energy to.

#1 Setting Up The Cages

Healthy and happy mice will be better breeders.

They are more likely to mate and have successful litters of baby mice.

To do this, set up the cage properly using the supplies listed above.

Lay down the bedding and install the water bottle and food dish.

Place the cage in a warm room where temperatures will be around 72° degrees Fahrenheit (22° C).

You should not house the mice in the same room as the snake because the scent will affect your snake. 

#2 Placing The Mice In The Cage

Once the cage or cages are set up, put the mice in them.

Cages should never have more than one male in them, as multiple males will fight and injure each other.

To have a good stock of feeders, house two to four females with each male. 

You might decide to have two or more cages going at one time.

Mice will not reach sexual maturity until six to eight weeks old. 

If a male becomes aggressive, you should isolate him in a separate cage to prevent injuries.

Once you place them in the cage, let them mate.

You will know how to tell if a male and female have mated by looking for a “plug” at the female’s rear. 

#3 Look For Signs Of Pregnancy

After mating, there is no guarantee the female will become pregnant, but you will start to notice changes if she does.

There will be visible swelling around her middle, she will start building a nest, and food intake will increase.

The gestation period of a mouse is approximately 19 to 21 days, meaning somewhere in this timeframe, she will give birth.

Pregnant mice should be housed together and removed from the male.

Once she does give birth, the mouse should know how to care for her young, but sometimes a foster mother might be necessary.

#4 Wean The Young

After three to four weeks, the babies should be ready to be weaned.

Slowly start introducing softened food into their cage to get them used to this instead of their mother’s milk.

Once they have stopped nursing, place them into another cage.

Mothers can then be bred again or given a break. 

#5 Decide What You’re Doing With The Mice

You might decide to use some of the mice to replace the mice you just bred, or you will use them for snake food

This is all dependent on the size of your production and how old your breeders are. 

Once the mice have reached the appropriate size, your snake will have their meal.

garter snake eating a live mouse

Mice on the Menu: A Guide to Breeding and Raising Snake Food

Breeding mice might be something you’re interested in testing, but it does take some time and attention.

Now you know where to get started on breeding mice for snakes.

These mice should be treated with care, well cared for, and fed.

If you are worried about having a steady stream of the right sized mice on hand, breeding them might be for you.

This process is often cost-saving for owners and provides you with plenty of food at all times in case there is a rodent shortage. 

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