First and foremost: RATANOOGA does not dislike snakes, nor do we think they should be starved – they are creatures that deserve respect and humane treatment too.
As rat lovers we want to see rats being bred in sanitary, safe conditions (over-breeding can be fatal to a mother-rat and if unaided, can be very painful!), and euthanized in a HUMANE way before being fed to a snake. It is not true that a snake wont eat a dead animal, as its been proved by snake owners that snakes that have only eaten live prey do become accustomed to dead prey, so long as its warmed (in the sun preferably) to the correct temperature. A snake can go months without eating, and in one instance, one particular snake took 8 months before touching dead prey.
We believe there is a solution to which both rat-lovers and snake-lovers can be happy with.
Here is the SPCA’s response to feeder-rats:
“The placing of any animal where it is in danger of attack by anther animal is a violation of the Animals Protection Act No 71 of 1962.
It was once stated in a letter to a local newspaper that nowhere in this Law do the words “live prey” appear. They do not need to – the act of liberating an animal in danger of an attack is sufficient and is listed as a criminal offence. Likewise, the term “granny knot” is not in the Act but the Law lists as a criminal offence to “tether an animal, blah blah” and so with a granny knot or otherwise, criminal prosecution could result.
The Animals Protection Act is readily available.
The NSPCA under media releases contains several statements we have made to the media not only on this issue but announcing that criminal charges have been laid against persons who have released live rodents in enclosures of predators.
We are aware of certain pet shops who operate ethically in that they clearly state in writing that small rodents will only be supplied as pets and not as fodder.
It is entirely refuted that snakes will not accept pre-killed prey. There may be a technique to it, true – and that is why we believe feeding live animals to predators is either a lazy way to do it or is exhibitionism.
In terms of live prey and an alleged rehab situation, we can give input through our wildlife specialist.
But for the moment, rest assured that the so-called feeding of live prey is an offense in terms of the Animals Protection Act.
We will not hesitate to prosecute and anyone with information is urged to come forward to report any such criminal offence.”