Fresh or frozen?

I have a corn snake. She's about 12 years old now, something over six feet long. When she was little, I used to feed her on frozen "pinkies", baby mice that had not yet grown fur, pre-frozen for convenience. I tried to keep a small supply in the freezer, so that I wouldn't have to rush out and get some for feeding time, and have to figure out when the stores got their supplies in. I would thaw them by microwaving a cup of water, then taking a frozen pinkie in a plastic bag and submerging it until it thawed. She'd eat them right out of my hand.

When I moved to Colorado (smuggling my tiny serpent on board the airplane in a folded handkerchief, a move that I don't doubt would probably get me arrested post-9/11 — and yes, I suppose one could accurately say there was a bleepy-bleepin' snake on that bleepy-bleepin' plane), I was unable to find a store that carried frozen pinkies. In fact, I had a hard time finding pinkies at all, live or dead. But when I did finally track some down, they were live; and, for the next 11 years, my snake ate live mice. (Except for one time when the mouse died on the way home; but that's still a far cry from frozen.)

Tonight, though, I had a problem. I needed to feed my snake, and the local Petco was not going to get any live mice for a while. But, to my surprise, they did have frozen mice in stock. Individually wrapped and costing a little less than live mice, I was able to bring four home. The clerk suggested I try one, and if she didn't eat it, then I could always bring the remaining three back, still frozen, as everything in the store is guaranteed for 30 days.

I thawed out the first one in a sink of warm water. Using a pair of metal tongs, I picked it up by the tail, opened the feeding tank — and the mouse promptly slid out of the tongs and dropped on the floor. My snake started to climb out of the tank, but I managed to prod her back in. She saw the mouse on the floor, sniffed it, and then proceeded to eat. So dedicated to this task was she, that I was able to push the rest of her body back into the tank and close the lid.

The mouse still felt like it had a cold spot on it, so I heated some water on the stove and dumped that in the sink to thaw the remaining three mice. After some time, when I opened the next mouse package, a wave of warm mouse scent hit me. And I heard a *whump* from the feeding tank. I guess she smelled it, too. The remaining three mice, she ate without a problem. I even dropped the last one, and she found it quickly and started eating.

Part of the reason I was so desperate for mice that I tried frozen, was because she was overdue for her feeding. That may be a contributing factor for her eating anything she could find that smelled like a mouse, alive or dead. But I hope this means she's open to the idea on a regular basis, because it'll be so much more convenient to keep a supply of mice in the freezer for her.

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