What Do Snakes Eat? Sssome Sssplendid Snake Sssnack Options!

Akinwalere Olaleye
Oct 13, 2023 By Akinwalere Olaleye
Originally Published on Nov 09, 2021
California Striped Racer Snake.

Snakes may be found worldwide excluding Antarctica, where they cannot survive because it is freezing.

Tahiti, Denmark, Iceland, and New Zealand don't have any snakes at all. The serpent has a lengthy, thin body that is covered with scales.

Snakes really have no eyes, outer ear holes, or legs, however certain snakes, including cobra constrictor snakes and anacondas, retain withered hind legs, which are small hooked digits called 'anal spurs' that are used to grip while breeding. Snakes lose their top layer of skin and the material that surrounds their eyes on a regular basis as they mature.

Serpents, like other reptiles, have cold blood.

Read on to know what do snakes eat and other amazing facts about snakes that will amaze you to your core. Afterward, also read about what do snake eggs look like and what eats snakes.

Do different types of snakes eat different things?

To begin with, all snakes are classified as carnivorous reptiles, which means they exclusively consume flesh. Snakes do not consume plants, and there are no vegetarian snakes, in case you were wondering. Snakes are classified as zoophagous creatures because they devour other animals, even other snakes.

Snakes occur in a wide range of sizes, from small species like the thread snake that are just a few inches long to the world's largest snakes like pythons and anacondas. Obviously, these very diverse snakes will consume quite different foods.

Bugs, mice, songbirds, birds and their babies, salmon, amphibians, reptiles, and smaller animals will all be eaten by tiny snake species.

Large constrictor snakes, such as the emerald anaconda or the open circulatory python, have indeed been known to devour antelope and swine! Crocodiles and alligators are no match for these massive snakes.

Even though certain snakes, such as the eastern indigo snake, have evolved to eat a broad range of foods, others, such as the egg-eating snake, eat just eggs. Other snakes, such as the king cobra or king snakes like the California kingsnake, are known to devour other pythons.

Some snakes, such as the blue racer, will aggressively seek their prey.

Other snakes, such as the puff adder, will hide in plain sight, waiting to ambush victims. The wilderness sidewinder lurks beneath the sand, waiting for a passing animal.

How To Feed A Snake

The viper is an excellent predator, and the healthiest food source for them in captivity is rodents or mice. These rodents may either be fed live or frozen and then thawed for your snake.

You may either produce your own prey or purchase it from a pet store for your snake. Make absolutely sure you get the proper size for the age and species of your snake.

Many snakes consume mice, rats, and other small rodents in the wild. Because these animals satisfy all of the dietary demands of snakes, complete mice or complete rat diets will keep your snakes happier and healthier.

If you only have one snake to feed, a local pet store can sell you mice or rats.

As snakes have grown increasingly popular as pets, additional food products have been available in pet stores. Many snake owners like to feed their snakes live mice or rats, but purchasing frozen rats that have been thawed and warmed is a realistic, practical, and safer choice.

Mice and rats are offered in different sizes.

Smaller snakes, such as baby snakes and tiny snakes, require smaller food than bigger snakes, who prefer huge rats or mice. As your snake matures, you'll need to give it larger prey, but too large prey might be difficult for a snake's gastrointestinal tract to process.

How do snakes kill and eat their prey?

Snakes kill their prey in one of two methods, based on whether they are poisonous or non-toxic. Snakes with venomous fangs, such as the inland taipan, will strike and inject poison into their victim, paralyzing or killing it before devouring it.

Most non-poisonous pythons are constrictors, meaning they wrap their bodies around their prey and progressively tighten their loops to suffocate them by halting their pulse.

Some will simply overwhelm an animal and devour it alive, while others will smash the victim into tunnel walls. Snakes have teeth, but they are designed for grasping and gripping prey rather than for chewing and swallowing, thus they must swallow their meal whole.

But how can snakes consume such enormous meals without chewing?

Snakes have highly flexible jaws that may unhinge, allowing them to open their mouths wide. They also have strong muscles all over their body, which these carnivores employ to move and ingest any killed prey.

These muscles transport the meal into the snake's gut, a process that will take anywhere from a few minutes or longer, depending on the quantity of the meal.

A meal might take anything from a few days to several weeks to a couple of months to digest once it reaches the snake's belly, which is one of the reasons why certain snake species only need to eat a few times a year!

The snake will regurgitate any unprocessed components, such as bones or hooves, once digestion is complete.

Generally, young baby and adult snakes do not like hot temperatures since this species is cold-blooded. A snake usually coils up or goes on a search of a shade and prefers to live there.

But it usually prefers to search and live in relatively colder places, be it young or adult. Rattlesnakes (venomous snakes) prefer to swallow entire mammals as big as a deer.

After a snake has killed its prey of small mammals, it eats it. It may even eat small insects and frogs and their eggs.

It will find prey animals wherever they live and kill them and eat them. To kill its prey for meat, a snake uses its fang-like teeth to bite it and harm it, then swallow the entire thing while eating it.

How often should I feed my snake?

It all depends on the condition, gender, and level of physical activity of your snake. Snakes that are younger or newer eat twice a week, whereas bigger, more adult reptiles eat either once thrice per week.

Feeding female snakes should happen more regularly as the mating season approaches. Your vet may provide you with more precise feeding recommendations based on your snake's unique needs as snakes are carnivores.

Your pet's response to you providing food will tell you how often it needs to eat. If he or she eats, it means it was hungry and needed nourishment. If it doesn't eat it right away, it isn't hungry and probably doesn't need to be fed right now.

Do I need to give my snake vitamins?

Whereas most pet reptiles and tortoises take vitamin supplements on a regular basis, captive snakes that are fed rodents or birds seldom require additional vitamins. You may provide your reptile with the nutrition benefits of the wild creature as well as the contents of the prey animal's stomach by feeding it gut-loaded rats or other prey.

Although most snakes do not require significant vitamins to live a healthy life, if your pet shows any indications of disease, you should see your vet. Nutritional deficiencies can cause significant and even life-threatening issues; therefore you should always consult with your veterinarian before starting a vitamin program.

What Not To Feed Snakes

Live rodents should not be fed to a pet snake. Live mice can scrape or bite your pet snake, causing serious harm or even killing your pet snake. Feeding eggs, fish, insects, or other things to snakes that do not eat such foodstuffs in the wild is not a good idea.

Also, adhere to feeding times to prevent your snakes from overeating. Being overweight, which is extremely harmful to snakes since it may lead to a variety of underlying medical issues, can be caused by overeating.

A viper is fun to keep as a pet and to hold on occasion. Snakes vary in size and temperament, ranging from gentle and harmless to aggressive and poisonous, but one thing they always have in common is that these carnivores devour rodents for meat.

Preserving the health of your snake requires a well-balanced diet. If you have any more queries regarding what to feed your snake, see your veterinarian.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 'What do snakes eat?', then why not take a look at 'When do snakes hibernate?' or 'Vine snake facts'?

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Written by Akinwalere Olaleye

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

Akinwalere Olaleye picture

Akinwalere OlaleyeBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

As a highly motivated, detail-oriented, and energetic individual, Olaleye's expertise lies in administrative and management operations. With extensive knowledge as an Editor and Communications Analyst, Olaleye excels in editing, writing, and media relations. Her commitment to upholding professional ethics and driving organizational growth sets her apart. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of Benin, Edo State. 

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