Public Aghast as Kittens Fed Alive to Snakes



Norwegian kittens are in mortal danger from pet snakes for whom a rat just doesn't seem filling enough.
A reptile expert said on Wednesday that cat owners, who hoped kittens they had to give away would go to a good home, were outraged to find that some were ending up as dinner for pythons and other snakes kept illegally as pets.

"Some people get a kick out of seeing a kitten being eaten alive by a snake," biologist Kees Ekeli, director of the Bergen Aquarium in western Norway, told Reuters. "It's cheap and it's a good size for a medium-sized snake."

"It's heart-breaking for the people who have feelings for their kittens."

Sometimes, advertisements offering kittens in local papers stipulate: "Not for snake food."

It is illegal in Norway to keep snakes as pets and to use live animals as feed. A nine-foot-long snake usually eats a big rat about every three days.

Ekeli said owners of snakes, mostly pythons, frequently call a reptile center he runs for advice on how to look after pets who seem only to want fresh kitten for dinner.

"We advise snake owners to train their pets to eat dead mice or rats," he said -- typically by heating up the rat or the mouse in a microwave and shaking it to make it look alive.