How do snakes feed?


More and more people join to have unusual pets. Snakes, although they have been sharing their lives with us for years, are becoming more frequent in homes. If you share your life with an office, you may have already learned many things about snakes as pets.

One of the most important aspects that we should know is its diet.

Therefore, in this article of Animal Expert, we will tell you all about snake feeding. Keep reading, to discover the different types of food that exist, how often they usually eat and how it is better to feed them.

Classification of snakes according to their type of feeding

One of the first things we should be clear about when we acquire a snake is its type of food. All snakes are carnivorous, but depending on the kind of offense we have as a partner, we must offer to eat some animals or others. Therefore, next, we will comment on the different groups of snakes according to their diet:

Mammalian and bird eaters

The vast majority of snakes that can be had as a companion animal are from this group and feed on small mammals and birds. Although it depends on the size of the snake, they usually eat rats and mice, but they can also eat gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, quails, chickens, etc. The great part of this type of snakes accepts dead prey, pieces of meat and special preparations. This group, in turn, can be divided into two subgroups:

  1. Small snakes and snakes: Snakes and those that can be considered as small snakes, usually measure between 60cm and 140cm. Some of the best known are the king snakes like the Lampropeltis alterna, the Mexican lampropeltis, the Lampropeltis pyromelana and the Lampropeltis getula. Others also very common are false corals Lampropeltis triangulum and corn snakes or mousetraps Pantherophis guttatus.
  2. Boas and Pythons: They are the largest snakes, some specimens can go over 8 meters although in captivity they do not usually exceed 5 meters. In addition, they are constrictors and they are also the ones that most people look for as a pet. The best known are the Python regius, the Python molurus and the Boa constrictor.

Insect and arachnid eaters

The snakes of this group are insectivorous, that is, they feed on insects and also very diverse arachnids. Above all they eat small grasshoppers, crickets, cockroaches, worms of various types, fly larvae, spiders, etc. They are snakes that, although small in size, are not the most suitable for beginners. Well, they need much more care than other offices. Not many insectivorous species are marketed. The most common we can find to have as a pet is the Opheodrys aestivusaestivus or northern rough green snake.

Fish eaters

This last group of snakes are ictivorous, so they feed on freshwater fish whether they are alive or dead, such as goldfish, carp, guppies and other small aquarium fish. They are the easiest species to maintain and therefore are suitable for beginners. The most common in stores are the Thamnophis sirtalis, known as jarreta snake or striped snake.

Now that we can identify what kind of food our snake has, we will have to make sure that we provide you with the food that corresponds to you and not anotherWell, surely you don't eat it.

How often do you have to feed the snakes?

First of all, we must bear in mind that reptiles are of the animals that more time can be without eating food. Although they should drink, they can be quite long periods of time without eating anything and without hardly affecting their health.

The frequency of feeding on a snake mainly depends on its size. In a very general way, since there will always be exceptions, snakes of less than 1 meter like terrestrial snakes and insectivorous and piscivorous shingles, usually eat between 1 and 5 times a week. Instead, small pythons that are between 1 and 2 meters long, eat once a week. The largest pythons such as the Indians and the pythons or boas of the Caribbean are snakes between 2 and 6 meters that eat once every two or four weeks, that is once or twice a month. Finally, snakes of more than 6 meters, although not frequent in captivity, eat even less frequently. For example, large animals can eat two or three times a year and thus have more than enough food.

We must also know that in general, snakes are more active in spring and summer, however, in winter and in autumn they are less active So they tend to eat less. You also have to take into account when giving them food, which most prefer to eat at sunset or at dusk.

How should I feed my snake?

Regarding how to feed our snake, it will depend on if you are already accustomed or not to a specific form. Snakes taken from nature, there are still some in certain zoos, they will rarely get used to eating dead prey, because they have great hunting instinct and no matter how much the prey is prepared as if it were alive they will not accept it, so there will always have to be provide them live prey so they can capture them. In contrast, snakes born in captivity and marketed, can easily get used from small to prey dead, pieces of meat and meat products specially prepared for them.

Prey and prepared pieces are sold frozen and must be kept that way until you offer them to our snake. This is to ensure a good preservation of the piece and prevent our snake from eating something in poor condition that can make it sick. It will be necessary to let the dead prey or the piece chosen to feed it to thaw and, in the event that our wheezing friend is a species without thermoregulatory pits it will be enough to stimulate it by moving the food in front of her with a swinging movement. However, if our office does have thermoregulatory pits, the temperature of the dam will come into play, so defrosting will not suffice and we will have to heat it minimally in the microwave or similarly, so that along with the swinging in front of her, this causes her to attack and swallow her prey.

Keep in mind that whole prey, whether alive or dead, offers much more nutrients than pieces of meat and meat preparations. This is why an entire prey provides snakes with calcium, digestive enzymes, necessary bacteria, etc. since it has bones, organs, fur or feathers. Instead, the preparations or pieces will only have the meat protein. What is normally done to compensate for these deficiencies when our partner is not fed with whole prey, is administer nutritional supplements indicated for them, introducing them in the pieces of meat or sprinkling them over the food preparations.

If you want to read more articles similar to Snake feeding, we recommend that you enter our Balanced Diets section.