My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am a Vet Tech with special interest in Reptiles and Reptile Rescue. It is wise to try and get the snake switched over to a pre killed prey asap. The longer it takes to start the snake on a pre killed prey the harder it will be to switch them over. Live prey is well known to injure a snake. I have seen snakes get bitten and chewed on by live prey. It can be a major problem if the snake gets injured which will lead to a Herp Vet visit for treatment and an antibiotic treatment. This is information on how to get a snake to take pre killed or frozen prey.
Please let me know if you have further questions. Joan
Please answer the rats instead of mice part of my question - the rest I already knew.l
I am sorry I missed the part about the mice and rats. Once the snake starts showing hunger and the hoppers are no longer satisfying him, you should switch to rat pups. As the snake grows a Snake under a year should be getting 1 rat (proper sized) a week for feeding. The Hoppers and Mice are not as nutritious as the rat pup, so as soon as the snake can take the rat or rat pup you will want to switch. I hope this helps. Joan