If a pet snake is not the pet that requires the most maintenance, there is one essential fact to take into account: its diet. This step can be complicated to manage at first. However, once a diet has been established, you will not need to change its diet. The only variables are the frequency of his meals and the quantity. In this article, we will explain how you should feed your snake.
Most pet snakes eat the same prey. For example, a Corn Snake, Boa Constrictor or Ball Python will feed on rodents, be it rats, mice or others. However, some captive species have different needs in terms of prey size and feeding frequency.
How to Feed a Snake ?
To safely feed your snake a prey item, you must use a long enough pair of pliers. Once your snake reaches the prey, it will grab it almost instantly. It is important to avoid any inadvertent bite to the hand. Therefore, take your precautions before opening its terrarium. Also, always approach it delicately, so that your snake will notice the prey.
You have the possibility to give a living prey to your pet, even if we advise you against it. Indeed, a live rodent, locked in the terrarium and feeling in danger, could become aggressive towards your snake and hurt it. If it manages to catch it, it could still struggle to escape, and even scratch your reptile severely. Some wounds are difficult to heal, and the eyes may also be affected. It is therefore preferable to give it an already dead prey to make it easier.
A mandatory requirement for all domestic snakes is to give them a non-frozen prey. If you are in the habit of filling your freezer with food to anticipate several months, you must take special care to thaw its prey. Under no circumstances should you give it to him if it still has a spot of ice on it. This could cause problems in ingesting and digesting it, sometimes leading to regurgitation.
To thaw your pet’s prey, run it under warm water after taking it out of the freezer. To check for frostbite, touch the prey on its belly.
Always have a thought for your pet by wearing a beautiful ring representing him.
How Often Do You Feed A Snake ?
How often you feed a snake depends on the species you own. The only thing that is common to all species is the post-ingurgitation stage. This is because all snakes want to be left alone during their digestion phase. Also, the size of the prey depends on the age and length of your snake.
- Corn Snake Feeding Chart
If you have a Corn Snake and it is less than 4 months old, it will only need one prey item per week, namely a very small mouse. You can keep him on this diet until he is 8 months old, after which you can give him a mouse. Until 1 year old, Its feeding frequency will vary between 7 and 10 days. From that age on, he will need a mouse every 15 days.
It is not uncommon for the Corn Snake to refuse to eat for almost a month, especially during the winter period. This is not alarming, especially if your snake is an adult. In fact, it can eat between one and four adult mice per meal, which will make up for its period of not feeding.
- Ball Python Feeding Chart
For a small Python, small mice will be fine. However, as an adult, it will need raccoons, or even adult rats for large females.
As we explained earlier, the feeding frequency of the Ball Python depends on its age. For a young python, one meal per week is recommended. After that, it will be necessary to space this frequency as it grows. As an adult, only one rat per month will be necessary.
To summarize, the diet of the Ball Python consists of one mouse every 7 to 10 days while it is young. As an adult, it will need a fairly large rat every 3 to 4 weeks.
➤ Learn more about the Ball Python
- Boa Constrictor Feeding Chart
A wide variety of preys are possible to feed a Boa constrictor. The larger subspecies of this reptile (Boa c. constrictor, Boa c. occidentalis), are not difficult to feed. While mice or raccoons are suitable for juveniles, adults will need large rats, rabbits, chickens, even gerbils.
In our experience, rabbits are the most suitable food for an adult Boa Constrictor. Note that when we talk about rabbits, we are talking about youngsters that are the size of a rat and not an adult rabbit. An adult is not a suitable food for snakes.
It is important to change its diet from time to time: it brings a variety that helps prevent the risks associated with a diet always consisting of the same elements.
To summarize, a Boa Constrictor under 3ft (90cm) will need a mouse every 4 to 5 days. Between 3ft to 6.5ft (90cm and 2m), it will need 2 rats per week. The bigger ones will need one rabbit (or even 2) every 10 days.
Feel free to check out our blog post on Boa Constrictor for more information
How does your snake ingest its food ?
In general, the size of your snake’s prey should be one and a half times the width of its body. But how does it swallow easily ? Its upper and lower jaws are not directly connected to each other. Because of this, it is able to swallow prey larger than its head. It also uses its hooks to keep its prey in its mouth and to make it progressively advance on both sides of its mouth.
How long does it take for a snake to digest ?
Digestion for a snake usually takes several days. During this phase, avoid disturbing it. Indeed, a satiated snake is a more lethargic animal. It moves more slowly and can be more easily stressed. This can also cause regurgitation. To know the end of its digestion phase, you just have to look at the prey’s hump in its body. Once it is completely gone, its digestion is complete. Then, in the following days, your snake will urinate.
Sometimes a snake will regurgitate its prey. If this happens, you will have to wait about 2 weeks before offering him food again, but this time it will be smaller. The regurgitation creates an irritation in its esophagus. It is therefore essential to make sure not to aggravate the lesions, which can lead to the death of your pet if they are too important.
Regardless of the species of your reptile, all snakes can fast for several months. Its diet consists mainly of rodents (mice, rats, rabbits …) to be given between a few days and a few weeks depending on its age and size. Note the mandatory element for a good diet: a thawed prey to avoid any risk of disease and for a better digestion.
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