They are thought of as creepy and sneaky but many keep them as pets and are happy with them. We are talking about snakes. If you have bought a pet snake companion, one thing that is important to know is how and when to feed them.

They have been demonized in history and religion. Snakes are perceived as dangerous and lethal but all are not that way. Some can be kept as pets. Now, they are not the most active or cuddly of pets, but for your lifestyle, that might be what you are looking for. If so, then good. There are snakes available that make excellent pets for someone like you.

Once you have your pet snake housed, there is the matter of feeding. Before we get into that, here are a few things that are helpful to know about snakes.

1. Snakes are carnivorous

They are what are called “obligate carnivores.” In the wild, they eat whatever is present, usually small animals, other reptiles and even birds if they come into their territory. Most of their nutrition comes from meat sources.

corn snake eating a mouse
Image Credit: Alan Tunnicliffe, Shutterstock

2. Snakes don’t adapt to temperature changes well

Just like you would probably feel bad going from extreme cold to extreme heat, so do snakes. It may even affect their appetite if they are uncomfortable temperature wise when it is time to eat. A warm environment is more conducive to their appetite.

3. Pet Snakes eat about once a week

If you have ever seen a snake eat anything then you know how slow their digestive system works. You may even see the bulge of their food in their gut for a long time before it disappears. Many snake owners choose a specific day each week to feed their snake so that they are on a regular schedule.

4. Snakes have jaws that unhinge

It is a phenomenon to behold. They can eat food that is several times larger than their mouths. Their jaws will unhinge so that the food can pass.

Now that you know a little bit more about your pet snake, it is time to get down to the feeding. What do they eat and where can you get it?

corn snake in the terrarium
Image Credit: Nick Mayorov, Shutterstock

Feeding Hints

First, we mentioned that snakes are carnivorous. You will have to feed them meat. If they do need any carbohydrates, it is obtained from the plant matter still present in the digestive tract of their food.

Speaking of food, you can feed your pet snake live, frozen or recently killed prey. Snakes are animals that like to hunt. They will go after food that is appealing to them and snap it up.

Live prey will require you to buy and keep animals like small rodents for that purpose. You can purchase them just in time for feeding but if your snake doesn’t eat it right away you will have to house and feed it.

Frozen prey lets you store more than you need and only thaw what you want. Don’t thaw it in the microwave but let it come to room temperature a couple hours before feeding time.

If you are not squeamish you can kill prey so you don’t have to worry about caring for it if it is not eaten. You can freeze it yourself. Keep in mind however, that many pet snakes do not like to eat prey that is already dead. If you have such a snake then it will be mandatory that you provide them with live prey.

Pet snakes have specific diets. To keep them healthy, use this guide on how to feed and what to use for food.

Featured Image Credit: Henrik L., Unsplash