Feeding the snakes

More and more people are adding unusual pets. Snakes, although they have been sharing their lives with us for years, are becoming more and more frequent in homes. If you share your life with a snake, you may already have learned a lot about snakes as pets.

One of the most important aspects that we must know is your diet.

Therefore, in this AnimalWised article, we are going to tell you all about feeding the snakes. Keep reading, to discover the different types of food that exist, how often they usually eat and how it is best to feed them.

You may also be interested in: Rattlesnake Feeding Index
  1. Classification of snakes according to their type of diet
  2. How often do you have to feed the snakes?
  3. How should I feed my snake?

Classification of snakes according to their type of diet

One of the first things that we must be very clear when we acquire a snake is its type of diet. All snakes are carnivorous, but depending on the species of snake that we have as a companion, we must offer to eat some animals or others. Therefore, below, we are going to comment on the different groups of snakes according to their diet:

Mammal and bird eaters

The vast majority of snakes that can be kept as pets are from this group and feed on small mammals and birds. Although it depends on the size of the snake, they tend to eat rats and mice, but they can also eat gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, quail, chickens, etc. Most of this type of snake accepts dead prey, pieces of meat and special preparations well. This group, in turn, can be divided into two subgroups:

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

Eaters of saurians and snakes

These snakes are saurophagas, that is, they eat lizards, and ophophages, which eat other snakes. These types of snakes are not very common as pets and the only one that you can have is the Lampropeltis that also has gotten used to eating mice.

Insect and arachnid eaters

The snakes of this group are insectivorous, that is, they feed on insects and also very diverse arachnids. They mainly eat small grasshoppers, crickets, cockroaches, worms of various kinds, 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 snakes. Not many insectivorous species are traded. The most common that we can find to have as a pet is the Opheodrys aestivus aestivus or northern rough green snake.

Fish eaters

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

Now that we can identify what type of food our snake has, we will have to make sure that we provide you with the food that corresponds to you and not another, Well, surely I will not eat it.

How often do you have to feed the snakes?

First of all, we must bear in mind that reptiles are the animals that longer they can go without eating. Although if they must drink, they can spend quite long periods of time without eating anything and with little effect on their health.

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

Likewise, we must know that in general, snakes are more active in spring and summer, on the other hand, in winter and autumn they are less active so they tend to eat less. You also have to take into account when giving them food, that most prefer to eat at dusk or dusk..

How should I feed my snake?

Regarding how to feed our snake, it will depend on whether or not she is already used to a specific shape. Snakes taken from nature, there are still some in certain zoos, they will rarely get used to eating dead prey, as they have great hunting instincts and no matter how much the prey is prepared as if it were alive, they will not accept it, so there will always be provide them live prey so they can capture them. On the other hand, snakes born in captivity and commercialized, can be easily used from small to prey dead meat, pieces of meat and meat derivatives specially prepared for them.

The prey and the prepared pieces are sold frozen and must be kept that way until before offering them to our snake. This is to ensure good conservation of the piece and prevent our snake from eating something in poor condition that could make it sick. It will be necessary to let the dead prey or the piece chosen to feed it thaw and, in the event that our hissing friend is a species without thermoregulatory pits it will be enough to stimulate it by moving the food in front of it a swinging movement. On the other hand, if our snake does have thermoregulatory pits, the temperature of the dam will come into play, so defrosting will not be enough and we will have to heat it minimally in the microwave or similarly, so that along with the swaying in front of her, this provokes her to attack and engulf her prey.

It must be taken into account that whole prey, whether alive or dead, offer many more nutrients than pieces of meat and meat preparations. This is why a whole prey provides the 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 protein of the meat. What is normally done to compensate for these deficiencies when our mate is not fed whole prey, is administer nutritional supplements indicated for them, introducing them in the pieces of meat or sprinkling them over the food preparations.

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