[Since the original posting of this article, we have eliminated ASF rats from our breeding projects]
Three of my female snakes will eat nothing but African Soft Fur rats, and they are difficult to acquire, so I keep a colony of them. My colony is in a large tank in my garage, and the garage is somewhat heated, but still gets cold in the winter time. (I am in the Pacific Northwest… Within a few miles of Portland Oregon.)
I’ve found that in the cold months, the ASF rats eat their babies. After brainstorming with a friend, we believe that this may be caused by the lack of fats and/or proteins in their diet that is needed in the colder months to stay warm.
This winter I’ve supplemented the Muzuri Rodent Chow they always get, with some peanuts. Peanuts are high in both fats and proteins, and can be purchased in a large bag at any feed store.
I am also adding a strip of 11 x 24 inch heat tape, under their tank for additional warmth, and always make sure they have lots of small boxes, and egg crate to hide in/under.
So far, it’s after Christmas, and I see hoppers and pinkies in the colony healthy as can be. We’ll see what January and February bring.