The three snakes in the house eat the rodents, and we have a glass aquarium tank with a screen top on the floor to use as Death Row--it's also known as the TV, since all the animals absolutely love it. Last night, Morgan was going to feed Virtigo/Virgo, and grabbed a rat out of the tank. To keep from being bitten, she held it by its tail. Ordinarily, this would not be the way to handle a pet rat, but the goal here is to get the rat into the feeding box headfirst so the snake grabs it by the head and doesn't get bitten herself.
As she turned to go towards her room, the rat passed over Nino's head. He looked very interested in it, and of course, took a flying leap. Luck being what it is, he nailed the rat. Oy vey, now there's a mess to clean out of the carpeting. The damn dog was very proud of himself, as you'd imagine. We really couldn't blame him for it, since it was dangling like his Skinnee, and thus, he was given a peanut butter Kong to occupy himself.
Now, what to do with a dead rat. Most snakes won't eat something that's already dead--they count on the heat and movement to be able to tell where their prey is. Virgo is already a picky enough eater (the rat has to be the length of Morgan's hand, about five ounces in weight, has to be white, and a full tail, and even if all those are met, she'll sometimes turn her snout up at it), so we didn't even try it for her. Wallet is too small to eat a rat that size, so that left Lady. We started Lady on frozen/thawed rats, but in this area, they're very expensive and hard to find, so we switched her to live. Most snakes, when given "natural" prey, refuse to go back to warmed up carcasses, but I'd forgotten one key thing.
Lady is the least fussy eater of any ball python anyone's ever heard of. She's never turned down a meal, not even in shed, not even in the winter--the time when most snakes don't eat. We put her in the feeding box, tossed the rat in there, and she struck before it could even hit the bottom of the box!
So in the end, everyone was satisfied.
Except for the humans, who have peanut butter and rat blood to clean out of the carpet before maintenance comes today.