How do you take care of baby snakes?
Do they eat the same as adults?
Breeding snakes is a fun extension of owning these slithery pets, but you need to know how to take care of them.
Diet is the most critical step at this age, which is why you need to ask yourself:
What do newborn snakes eat?
Newborn snakes in the wild will forage for small animals, insects, and eggs. If feeding pet baby snakes, stick with pinky mice or smaller newborn mice or chicks. Baby snakes may not want to eat for a few days, but they should be eating within a month of their birth.
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What Do Baby Snakes Eat In The Wild?
When baby snakes are born in the wild, their mothers leave them to forage for themselves.
Some mother snakes will leave their hatchlings to emerge from their eggs and find food on their own.
Some mothers will stay for a little while caring for their young, leaving after their babies’ first skin shed.
Read our post on how long baby snakes stay with their mother for more information.
Mother snakes do not generally provide food for their young after they have left their bodies, either through egg-laying or live birth.
Once they are out in the world, baby snakes will forage and hunt insects, frogs, mice, other reptiles, and eggs.
The animals’ young adult snakes of the same species tend to eat are good choices for baby snakes.
Being small, hatchling and neonate snakes need smaller prey to digest their food correctly.
As they grow, the size of their food will grow with them.
What Do I Feed My Pet Baby Snakes?
The first fact you should know about feeding your newborn snakes is they do not need to eat right away.
They will probably not be interested in food until a few days after birth.
They generally have enough nutrition in their systems to sustain them.
However, they should be eating within the first month of their births.
Around their first skin shed, which should be a week to two weeks after birth, is an excellent time to offer them food if they have not been interested up until this point.
Some baby snakes will take longer to eat than others.
The important thing is to be persistent and patient.
A good rule of thumb for feeding any snake of any age is not to provide a snake an animal wider than the widest point of their body.
If you feed a snake a prey animal too large, you may cause digestive issues or regurgitation of food.
For newborn snakes, you will generally want to stick with pinky mice or newborn mice who have not grown fur yet.
If a single pinky mouse is too big for your newborns, cut it in half.
You may also be able to find smaller newborn mice for feeding, like pygmy mice or spiny mice.
What If My Baby Snake Is Not Eating?
If it has been a month and your newborn is still not eating, there could be a few reasons.
The scent of its prey could turn off the snake.
Wash the prey gently with water and an unscented soap before feeding.
The smell of a different, more enticing prey may also help.
Rub the pinky mouse with a feeder chick or a different reptile or amphibian.
Feeder chicks are also available for food if your snake appears to not like mice.
Make sure a feeder chick is no wider than the widest point of the baby snake.
The smell of brain matter will also entice a picky snake.
Split the skull open of whatever you are feeding your snake.
Your baby snake may not feel comfortable enough in its environment to eat.
Using a thermometer and hygrometer, make sure your snake’s enclosure is at the proper temperature and humidity for its species.
If you have all your neonates in the same environment, split them into different ones.
Make sure your hatchling has a hide where it is currently living.
This will help it feel safe while eating.
We do not recommend force-feeding your snake, as this will cause stress.
With a baby snake, it may associate trauma with eating.
It should only be used as a very last result.
If you need to force feed, make sure not to force the next feeding.
What About Water?
Snakes usually absorb water by soaking in it, not drinking it.
Provide an adequate-sized soaking bowl for your snake.
It should have about an inch of warm water in it.
Spraying with a spray mister will also provide moisture.
Keeping your snake’s enclosure at the proper humidity should also help with providing enough moisture and hydration.
Monitor your baby snakes for signs of constipation or dehydration.
These include not defecating within ten days of a meal and not eating, especially if they were eating before.
If your snake is dehydrated, it will not shed its skin in a single piece.
Contact your veterinarian if you observe these symptoms in your snakes.
Digestive impaction is a severe problem for snakes and could be fatal if left untreated.
We hope this article has helped you feed your newborn snakes.
In the wild, baby snakes must take care of themselves.
Even if mother snakes stick around for a while, they will usually not feed their young.
Newborn snakes forage for smaller prey than their parents would eat.
The size of their food will grow as they grow.
If you care for newborn snakes, stick with the smallest available feeder prey.
This usually means pinky mice.
Keep in mind your baby snakes may not want to eat right after being born.
We have provided a few ways to entice your snake into eating if it has not eaten within the first month of its life.
Be sure to provide sources of fresh water for your snake, too.