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Who breeds the rats that snakes eat?
Meet Cheryl Martin, owner of the Murraylands Rat Farm. It's a thing.
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Do you ever wonder where all the rats come from, the ones used to feed pet snakes?
You do now?
It turns out that they come from Woodlane.
Cheryl Martin stumbled across her unusual niche about seven years ago.
She had grown peaches and been in dairying when the opportunity came up to buy a perfectly ordinary-looking property on a dirt road near Mypolonga where, in an air-conditioned shed, a bloke was producing 16,000 rats every year.
The place is now known as the Murraylands Rat Farm.
Ms Martin has since increased production to about 25,000 a year.
“I like doing something different, and I like to do it well,” she said with a shrug.
“I was quite scared to begin with – I had gloves on all the time.
“Now I’d be quite happy to handle most of the mothers and babies.”
Baby rats spend 23 days in their mother’s womb; they then grow to a weight of 40 or 50 grams in three weeks, double that within the next 10 days, and reach adulthood and a weight of about 250 grams in nine weeks.
Most of the rats are destined for a wholesaler in Adelaide, who distributes them to breeders and pet stores.
Like the meat consumed by humans, the animals are humanely gassed and frozen before being shipped off.
So now you know.