Can I feed my snake 2 mice in one day?

In this article, we answer the following questions: Can I feed my snake 2 mice in one day? Can snakes become obese? How long does it take for a snake to digest its food? We also speak about the best technique to feed your snake.

Can I feed my snake 2 mice in one day?

You can feed your snake 2 mice in one day, but whether it is beneficial for them or not depends on its size and age. Besides, if you feed your snake with 2 mice in one day there is the potential that you are overfeeding it. And overfeeding leads to obesity in snakes.

This problem is that a snake does not know when it is eating too much, so it will not reject food because it is overeating.

Obesity in exotic animals such as pet snakes is a big problem and suggests that overeating and lack of exercise are to blame.

Providing the proper diet to a pet snake is essential to ensure that it is healthy. Besides, it refers to the importance of taking into account that they are animals that in captivity can live more than 15 years.

Boas and pythons can reach very large proportions, as they are mostly sedentary. You can tell if a snake is overweight due to “scale proliferation,” where its skin shows through the spaces between its scales.

Many snake owners do not know that snakes have body fat to store energy for later. They have very slow metabolisms, and will happily go for weeks or months without eating, and body fat can provide enough energy to last for a while. These fat stores are subcutaneous, which means “just under the skin,” like in humans.

Snakes also have “visceral fat bodies“, that is, areas where there is a higher than average amount of fat. Think of the area around your kidneys where fat is stored in the human body.

 However, there is a crucial difference between us and snakes when it comes to body fat. They do not hold body fat to store heat, because they do not produce body heat. They are ectothermic, which means that they depend on external sources of heat. Therefore, there is no internal heat for the fat to absorb.

This has many positive and negative effects. 

Captive snakes are prone to gaining weight because they don’t burn the energy they eat. If you overfeed them, their metabolisms are too slow to shed excess energy.

However, a snake cannot get fat on a normal diet. If a captive snake is fat, it is because its owner has been “killing it with kindness” by giving it too much food.

Can snakes become obese?

In everyday speech, obesity refers to being exceptionally overweight. Of course, a snake can be exceptionally overweight if its owner overfeeds it.

However, it is also a medically defined term that refers to anyone with a BMI (body mass index) of more than 30. Overweight is medically defined as a BMI between 25 and 29.9, for reference. Because snakes have a different body structure and do not store fat in the same way that humans do, a snake cannot be said to be medically obese in the same way that a person can be classified as obese.

If this happens, however, again, it is because the snake’s owner has been supercharging them. This can be done easily because some owners do not appreciate that a snake’s diet has to slow down a lot once they reach two years of age. At that age, you should start feeding them larger portions, but less often.

They will grow very rapidly during the first year or two of their life before they “stabilize” and grow slowly thereafter.

How often should I feed my snake?

In baby snakes, the food is administered at intervals of 5-7 days, while in adult snakes, depending on the size, the food is administered at intervals of 14-28 days, but with sufficient and quality food. It is necessary to give them slightly smaller amounts than they would eventually consume. 

Abundant feeding has negative repercussions on reproductive health and activity. After eating the food, the snake retreats to safer areas to digest the food. Snake disturbance during this period or temperature variations lead to incomplete, reduced digestion, and sometimes to regurgitation of food due to stress. Refusal of food can have several causes. 

The snake is more active day or night and we mismanage it, just when it is at rest. In some species the males do not feed during the breeding period, some females do not feed until they lay eggs. The snake is not fed during hibernation. Even during moulting, the snake is not interested in food. If a certain species is not consumed, we will replace it with another.

How long does it take for a snake to digest its food?

It takes up to 48 hours for a black snake to fully digest its food. Therefore, you mustn’t handle your pet for the first 48 hours after feeding to allow it to digest its food and avoid any regurgitation.

Regurgitation can also occur if your snake has eaten something too large to digest. If this happens, you should avoid panic. Wait a few more days and offer it something smaller – preferably something no bigger than its circumference.

How should I feed my snake?

Regarding how to feed your snake, it will depend on whether it is already used to a specific shape or not. 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 it will always be necessary provide them with live prey so they can capture them.

On the other hand, snakes born in captivity and commercialized can be easily fed from small bites to dead prey, pieces of meat and meat derivatives prepared especially for them.

The prey and the prepared pieces are sold frozen and must be kept that way until before offering them to your snake. This is to guarantee good conservation of the piece and prevents your snake from eating something in bad condition that could make it sick.

 It will be necessary to let the dead prey or the piece chosen to feed it thaw and, if our hissing friend is a species without thermoregulatory pits, it will be enough to stimulate it by moving the food in front of it with a rocking 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 it will have to be heated minimally in the microwave or in a similar way.

It should be kept in mind that whole prey, whether dead or alive, offers 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 “ready-meals”  or pieces of meat will only have the protein of the meat.

What is normally done to compensate for these deficiencies when our snake is not fed whole prey, is to administer nutritional supplements indicated for them, introducing them in the pieces of meat or sprinkling them over the prepared food. 

Conclusions

In this article, we answered the following questions: Can I feed my snake 2 mice in one day? Can snakes become obese? How long does it take for a snake to digest its food? We also spoke about the best technique to feed your snake.

When feeding our snakes, their habits must be taken into account. A nocturnal snake will not feed easily during the day, no matter how juicy the prey we offer it. If the prey is not consumed in 2 hours it is best to remove it. Snakes capture their prey when the hunting stimulus is triggered, when they see their future food move, they notice its heat.

After two hours with the prey the stimulus is inhibited (it no longer pays attention), so most likely is that it does not feed on a live mouse that is used to seeing walking through its terrarium for two days even when it is hungry. 

If you are not sure how often to feed your snake, a veterinarian may help with guidelines according to your pet’s size and age.  Also, do not hesitate to ask us if you have any questions on the content. 

FAQ on Can I feed my snake 2 mice in one day?

How many times a week should I feed my ball python?

You should feed a healthy ball python every one or two weeks. Snakes do not need to eat too often, as overfeeding may cause several health issues.

How long can a snake go without eating?

A snake can go without eating for about six months. In the wild, they are used to going weeks without food. They slow down their metabolism and preserve energy. 

Will a snake starve itself?

Snakes will not starve themselves to death unless they are neglected or ill. Some of the reasons why a snake may starve itself is overfeeding is their breeding season or they are stressed. The stress comes from living in poor conditions or because of being neglected. 

What happens if you overfeed your snake?

If you overfeed your snake you are going to make it sick. Snakes who are overfed usually become obese and cannot digest their food properly; they can suffer from constipation or regurgitation. 

Can a snake die from overeating?

Overeating can cause long-term problems in snakes that eventually yes, can kill them. You should be careful with the amount and the size of food you are feeding your snake with.

References

PetMD – What Do Snakes Eat?

Animal Corner – Snake Characteristics

MSD Manual – Nutrition in snakes

Hi, I am Martin, I am a pet lover! I own a Golden retriever and a Long-eared Owl. They keep me company & I often had questions about them which I couldn't find answers for online. I put this hub together for people like me & you.

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