I know it sounds ironic, but one of the biggest things that led me to healthier eating is interacting with the rats and mice that I raise when the snake is picky.
Most pet snakes, particularly the popular Ball Python, go for stretches of time where they won't eat. Months, even years in some cases. But you have to offer it once a week. Many times the pet shop is nice and will take mice back (but not reimburse the money). I kind of got tired of going so much to the pet shop.
I started giving table scraps to them. Mama Rat loved her greens. Papa Rat was into oranges. Everyone liked their pet mix from the store.
But I started an experiment. We live in a wooded area. Rats are pretty common in Southern California. I have had some and caught them in my garage. When I was cleaning up after their mess, from the wild rats, I noticed a pattern in my food storage--rats liked sweets. They destroyed my expensive Italian chocolates. One went after the cookie in my son's Cookie Monster costume for Halloween! It was FAKE chocolate chip and sewn to the hand!
I introduced several foods to the rats, and later, when we found out our snake exclusively eats mice, the mice.
Did you know there are some things rats and mice WON'T eat?
Everything that is really unhealthy, and a few I am just not sure why.
Right now I have some left-over pumpkin bread that is kind of like cinnamon bread in the cage.
They won't touch it.
Rats are smart. Anyone who has ever tried to catch one discovers this. They know what is good for them. And what's not.
Here is a list of things they won't eat:
- microwave popcorn
- anything with High Fructose Corn Syrup
- pasta (although the wild rats ate it dry in the garage)
- hard French Bread
- Toast with butter (my son didn't like the brand of bread I had bought)
- Pineapple (I wonder if they eat them in Hawaii?)
- Chocolate cake with frosting
- Meat (although I have heard they cannibalize if threatened)
- leftover burrito
Here is what they like:
- pet food mix with corn, oats, and seeds
- wasabi peanuts and stale breakfast cereal
- very plain animal cookies
- all nuts make them extremely happy--they will grab it and run!
The point is--any time I am faced with a food option that the rats won't eat and the mice ignore, I think twice. If it is not good for them, it might not be good for me too.