What Snake Food Do Snakes Prefer?
A snake’s appetite varies as much as the species itself does. It is a species of animal that is slow, yet methodical in the way it travels. This carries over to their diet in the way in which they hunt or consume their snake food. They can be picky at times in what they eat, for example being careful about consuming an animal that is too large or difficult to swallow is one fell swoop. Some snakes in captivity prefer frozen rodents to live rodents for feeding time.
A snakes diet changes as it grows, consuming smaller prey when they are younger and larger when they are older and able to kill larger creatures. Since these animals are cold-blooded they do not need to eat as much as warm-blooded animals, only needing to be fed every 7-10 days. How often they are fed also depends on the size of the snake, younger snakes should be fed more often since they are in important growing stages and need proper nutrition. Remember also that snakes are ectotherms; this means that their body temperature and metabolism change depending on the temperature of their surroundings, this will affect their appetite. So if your snake is not eating, it may be too cold, or it may need its food put inside a hiding box to give the snake a sense of seclusions. You can tell when a snake wants to be fed by observing if they are prowling their cage more often or increasing the number of tongue flicks.
The most common snake food are mammals since a snake’s main source of killing an animal, constriction and venom attacks, are easily carried out on these types of animals. In the wild, this can include small foxes, rabbits, rats, and mice. In captivity, many snakes eat frozen feeder rats, rabbits, and mice. Some snakes, like the King Cobra and the King snake, eat other snakes. Brown snakes tend to prefer snails, while the White-bellied Mangrove Snakes prefer crabs and blind snakes, which mostly live underground and don’t have use of their eyes, primarily consume ants and termites.
Does Frozen Snake Food Make Sense?
When feeding your pet snake food, it is almost always recommended that you feed it pre-killed prey, like thawed frozen mice or frozen rats, instead of live prey. Very few snakes will insist on live snake food. It is recommended also that gloves are worn when feeding your snake in case the snake lunges at the prey. It is important to remember that each species has a reference book on its diet, and that the snake’s natural food should be offered to it before you deviate to another food source.
If you have more than one snake it is highly recommended that you feed them snake food separately so as to not encourage a fight among them. For more information on feeding reptiles, check out our articles What Do Geckos Eat and What Do Lizards Eat.