Feeding gators live animals.....

Discussion in 'The Fire Hydrant' started by sillysally, Aug 4, 2012.

  1. sillysally

    sillysally Obey the Toad.

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    Messages:
    5,074
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2 dogs, 2 cats, 2 birds, and 1 horse
    Location:
    A hole in the bottom of the sea.
    So when we went to Wisconsin Dells there was a place where you could feed alligators. I'm a sucker for crocodilians, so we checked it out. They actually had a number of cool reptiles--the alligators, two different species of caiman, an albino alligator, several species of ginormous snapping turtles, etc. They also had some not so cool reptiles--a two headed king snake (creepy), a couple of anacondas, a Burmese python, a reticulated python, and some other sort of python. They were both horrifying and fascinating.

    When you went in you had an opportunity to feed several of the animals--your choices were raw meat, a live rat, or a live mouse. I opted for the meat. It was actually pretty cool-there were tubes in the top of the enclosure that you stuck the food in, then used a stick to push it into the enclosure. The gators generally saw it right away and snapped it up with amazing speed.

    There were several other families in there that fed the live rodents--the large alligators got rats, and the smaller alligator, the caimans, and the snapping turtle could be fed mice. With the rats you sort of shoved them down the tube to the gators, and with the mice the employees put them in the enclosures.

    Now, the rodents seem to die very quickly, but I just felt weird buying one to feed the reptiles. I get that everyone's gotta eat, and that these are predators that are going to eat something's flesh one way or the other and I'm fine with that. It would have been one thing if we were watching the keepers feed the gators their meals. I just felt like buying a live animal just to watch it be fed to reptiles was seeing something die for entertainment-it just felt wrong to me. Not to mention that some of the kids there were getting way to into it, asking the employee if she could throw the rat in with the gators in with the gators in such a way that it had a chance to run first so they could see it get chased down (the employee did not).

    That having been said seeing the feeding was interesting from a animal nerd point of view-it was truly amazing to see the speeds at which those alligators went after their prey. It's one thing to see it on tv, entirely another to see it in person.

    So what do you think? Am I just a wuss? Would you have fed a live rat or mouse to the reptiles?
     
  2. Grab

    Grab Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Messages:
    3,374
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    36
    I would not. I really doubt that a rat (or even several) is adding much nutrition to a large alligator's diet..so to me, that means that the live food choice is for the "entertainment" of the crowd, which I don't agree with.
     
  3. JessLough

    JessLough Love My Mutt

    Joined:
    May 16, 2009
    Messages:
    13,402
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Kennel Manager
    Location:
    Guelph, Ontario
    I don't see it any different than feeding your pet snake live mice. Then again, I know several people who will le their ferrets catch their food, and of I wasn't sure Ren would make friends with it and it would become a pet, I'd totally let him get something on special occasion. So I may not be the best person to ask :p
     
  4. Xandra

    Xandra Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Messages:
    3,806
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    No I would not. I find the double standards when it comes to animals, even mammals, are ridiculous. If it would be wrong to do to a kitten it's wrong to do to a rat. Especially if the gators snap it right up, there really is no good brought about by the rat's rather stressful end.
     
  5. Cthulhu7

    Cthulhu7 Mitch & Erin

    Joined:
    May 16, 2012
    Messages:
    185
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    1
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    I've never fed live, but my friends boa would occasionally be given a live mouse to eat. It gave the snake some exercise, and the snake enjoyed it. As the owner, i don't think my friend cared much what the mouse thought.

    On the other hand, holding a frozen mouse over the tank and letting Buddha take it from you was awesome.
     
  6. sillysally

    sillysally Obey the Toad.

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    Messages:
    5,074
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2 dogs, 2 cats, 2 birds, and 1 horse
    Location:
    A hole in the bottom of the sea.
    Part of me was also afraid that it would turn into a story of "How we got our pet rat" if I actually bought one. When they went to put it in the tube it was squeeking like crazy, and I just don't know if I could have gone through with it.
     
  7. StephyMei1112

    StephyMei1112 Blackout

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Messages:
    921
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    The dog is an equal - but I've had alot of bfs...
    Location:
    No fixed abode.
    I don't like rodents and reptiles just give me the creeps - so no.
     
  8. Greenmagick

    Greenmagick New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Messages:
    3,199
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    9 not counting ducks, chickens, and fish
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    this....
     
  9. PWCorgi

    PWCorgi Priscilla Winifred Corgi

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    14,854
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    1
    Location:
    Twin Citay!
    Not if it is for entertainment, that is just sick.

    That being said, I did feed live mice to Marx, my ball python, because nothing I did could entice him to eat frozen/thawed. Not even braining them! So while I didn't like it, I did it, and he made sure it was quick for the mice.
     
  10. oakash

    oakash Kat/Oak AKA The Nice One

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Messages:
    3,105
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    A dog and a cat, Sign
    Location:
    Florida
    I wouldn't do it. We fed our snakes live mice, but that was because we had too. If we could have fed him frozen mice we would have. I don't see any point in it, except maybe to show your kid the whole nature thing
     
  11. Fran101

    Fran101 Resident fainting goat

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Messages:
    12,546
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Boston
    I hate the whole idea.
    Letting nature take it's course is one thing.. but snakes, gators or whatever sitting in a contained area and dropping a prey animal in there with them is NOT NATURAL or fair.
    and doing it for entertainment is just...messed up.

    I saw a video of people letting their ferret loose with a few mice in the bathtub and I was absolutely horrified. The mice were not killed quickly, they couldn't escape, the ferrets had NO idea what they were doing... it was painful to watch and IMO cruel.

    Maybe not for gators but I know a lot of the time domestic snakes/other animals don't really KNOW how to catch prey/kill effectively so it does end up being a slow torturous process. I've also seen snakes get pretty injured from rats/mice.

    Either way. It's not something I support.
    Animals in the wild can be part of the circle of life and catch their own wild prey where there is a fair chance for either side.
    but IMO if possible (aka: if the animal is willing to eat already dead prey) domesticated animals in a contained environment should be fed already dead animals rather then put prey through the stress of being trapped in a contained environment with a predator for entertainment of people.
     
  12. sassafras

    sassafras mushinois

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Messages:
    6,405
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Minnesota
    I wouldn't do it. If they eat the meat there's really no reason to feed them live other than giving people a cheap thrill, which isn't ok to me. Like a little rattie snuff film. :(
     
  13. *blackrose

    *blackrose "I'm kupo for kupo nuts!"

    Joined:
    May 11, 2010
    Messages:
    7,061
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    2 dogs (and 3 half dogs and a half cat)
    Location:
    Mississippi
    I wouldn't do it.

    If live food were offered by the zoo keeper as a form of environmental enrichment? Eh, sure, if it was really that important for the carnivore in question.

    Live food "on demand" from the public? No. That's just...wrong.
     
  14. puppydog

    puppydog Tru evil has no pantyline

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2006
    Messages:
    7,500
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    It all sounds a little cheap thrillish for me. Yuck.
     
  15. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2003
    Messages:
    94,266
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    3, Bimmer, GSDX (m); Kharma, Fila Brasileiro (f);
    Location:
    Where the selas blooms
    Home Page:
    Add me into this too.

    I think I'd be watching the expressions of the people who were shoving the animals to the gators more than the feeding . . . that would tell you a lot.
     
  16. Snark

    Snark Mutts to you

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2006
    Messages:
    4,023
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    3 dogs, 9 housecats, 2 horses
    Location:
    Midwest
    ^Agree^

    Other than the fact snakes give me the heebie-jeebies, that's another reason I wouldn't/couldn't have one. I wouldn't have the stomach to condemn a live animal to be stalked/killed with no chance to escape.
     
  17. Dizzy

    Dizzy Sit! Good dog.

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2005
    Messages:
    17,761
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    Not enough.
    Location:
    Wales
    Hmmmm... yeah. Allowing people to buy live animals to feed to the animals? That's pretty sick....

    A money spinner.
     
  18. JacksonsMom

    JacksonsMom Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2009
    Messages:
    8,693
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Maryland
    I agree with everyone else.

    I find it wrong.
     
  19. Pops2

    Pops2 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2008
    Messages:
    3,072
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    none
    Location:
    UT
    the quantity is small but the nutrition is complete, the small feedings keep them active. like other reptiles, if they get large meals crocodilians become very inactive. small zoos really have to work harder to keep up attendance & funding, so while it offends some people i see this as smart business that benefits the display animals in the long run.
     
  20. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Messages:
    10,233
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    ^ This is true. Crocodilians are one of the most intelligent groups of reptile, they have complex social structures and provide long term care for their young. They're pretty advanced and intelligent creatures and could definitely suffer boredom, which in some animals leads to depression and other health problems (I had a rescued iguana with issues along those lines).

    There are pros and cons to live vs. dead prey. I never fed live unless I had an animal that refused pre-killed and would have otherwise starved, partly for the snake's safety (being mauled by a rat or getting parasites) and partly out of consideration for the prey.

    Now, if these guys are able to source their live food from places they can verify are parasite free and aren't exposed to disease pathogens, then that's taken out of the equation.

    I personally wouldn't pay to feed a live rat to an alligator. I just don't think I could do it. The ones I had to feed live to the foster BPs were stunned first.

    If the alligators slowly mauled them to death, that would be messed up. If they just crunch and swallow, at least it's over quickly.

    Out of curiosity, would people object to live fish being dropped down the chute instead? And do you feel that people shouldn't feed live fish to their predatory aquarium fish? I mean, people can get frozen bloodworms and pre-killed fish, etc. and most oscars and things will happily eat them.

    ETA: I think it would sit a lot better with me, if they had keepers go out periodically and feed them, and people who wanted to watch could watch.
     

Share This Page