What Kind Of Food Do Snakes Eat?

What kind of food is available for your pet snake?

What is the most nutritionally valuable food for your pet snake?

One of the critical factors in snake health is their diet. 

This is why you need to know: 

What kind of food do snakes eat?

Snakes are carnivores and will eat smaller prey animals and sometimes insects in the wild. What your snake will eat depends on what they usually eat in the wild and on their size and stage of life. In captivity, rodents are readily available to feed your snakes. Make sure your prey is the right size before feeding it to your snake.

what kind of food do snakes eat

What Do I Feed My Snake?

Before you start feedings, it is essential to research what your snake will eat. 

Though most snakes accept rodents, you may need to figure out your snake species’ regular diet before purchasing food.

Veterinarians and snake experts generally recommend feeding your snake pre-killed prey instead of live prey. 

Pre-killed prey is easier to buy in bulk and keep frozen for multiple feedings. 

This method is also considered more humane and less stressful for the prey animals. 

By feeding your snake dead prey, you will also avoid potential issues of live animals fighting and potentially injuring your pet.

Available Frozen Snake Food

Rodent prey comes frozen in various stages of life and sizes. 

What size of mice you buy depends on the size of your snake. 

Type of MouseAgeWeight
Extra Small Pinky1 day1.5-2 grams
Small Pinky1-2 days2-2.5 grams
Large Pinky3-4 days2.5-3 grams
Small Fuzzy5-9 days3-4.5 grams
Large Fuzzy10-13 days4.5-7 grams
Small Subadult14-19 days7-13 grams
Medium Subadult20-24 days13-18 grams
Large/Adult25-30 days22-30 grams
Extra Large/Jumbo5-6 monthsEqual to or more than 30 grams

Pinky mice are more suitable for neonates or the smallest variety of snake, while jumbo size should be fed to large adult snakes.

There is a similar size distribution for frozen rats. 

These are generally fed to larger snakes, like boas and pythons.

Type of RatAgeWeight
Pinky1-6 days3-8 grams
Fuzzy7-13 days9-20 grams
Pup2-3 weeks21-30 grams
Weaned3-4 weeks31-45 grams
Small4-6 weeks45-80 grams
Medium6-8 weeks80-150 grams
Large8-10 weeks150-265 grams
Extra LargeOver 10 weeks266-360 grams
Extra Extra LargeOver 10 weeksOver 360 grams

Make sure your snake’s food is not wider than your snake’s largest width around. 

This will ensure your snake does not regurgitate its food or have difficulty digesting it.

Many frozen food vendors also provide other options. 

Other types of rodents provided include juvenile rabbits, hamsters, and gerbils. 

If your snake likes to eat the occasional bird, chicks or quail chicks are available.

If your snake likes eggs, as some do, look for canary, quail, or finch eggs, as chicken eggs are usually too big.

How Do I Feed My Snake?

First, make sure to thaw whatever you are feeding your snake and warm it slightly before giving it to them.

Do not overheat the food, as it could cause burns. 

We recommend thawing at room temperature or in warm water.

Next, offer the food to your snake with tweezers. 

Shake it a bit if you want to mimic the movement of a live rodent or chick. 

Hopefully, your snake will go for the prey, biting it and then wrapping itself around it.

What If My Snake Is Not Eating?

If your snake is not eating, it could just be a sign it is not hungry. 

There are certain times in a snake’s life where a snake will not eat. 

Pregnancy and shedding are notable examples. 

How often your snake should eat depends on its species and age. 

For example, king snakes need feeding every week to ten days, while adult ball pythons generally go weeks or months without eating. 

If you need more information about your specific species, contact your veterinarian or search for it on our website.  

As long as you are feeding at regular and appropriate intervals, and your snake is a healthy weight, your pet should be fine. 

A reptile scale, like this one, will help you monitor your snake’s weight.

If your snake still does not eat regularly, it may only accept live prey rather than dead. 

Your snake may be too stressed in its current environment to eat. 

Or it could just be a picky eater. 

Ball pythons are known to be incredibly picky when it comes to food.

You may want to change your snake’s environment. 

Give it more hides in its enclosure so it can eat in peace and privacy. 

Some snake owners move their snakes into pillowcases once they start eating. 

This should help your snake feel more relaxed and less pressured to eat. 

If your snake’s species typically hunt nocturnally, change your feeding schedule to feed it at night.

Changing a prey type or color may entice a snake to eat. 

Snakes are often fooled by their owners rubbing a prey they like over a new prey. 

This puts the scent of the snake’s favorite prey on the new food. 

Snakes are also attracted to the scent of brain matter. 

As a last resort, split open the skull of the feeder rodent or chick.

Conclusion

We hope this article has helped you figure out what food snakes eat and how to find the right food for your pet snake. 

While there are several food options available, pre-killed frozen rodents tend to have the most nutritional value for your snake. 

If your snake mainly eats something else in the wild, consider buying small eggs or chicks instead of rodents. 

The most important thing is to ensure the prey you are feeding your snake is not wider than the widest part of their body. 

There may be many reasons why your snake is not eating. 

Consult with a veterinarian if your snake is losing too much weight.

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