Can I feed my snake eggs? (Yes or No?)

In this blog post, we are going to discuss what snakes can and cannot eat. But mainly, we will answer the following question: Can I feed my snake eggs? We will talk about snakes that are egg-eaters.

Can I feed my snake eggs?

Some snakes consume eggs as a natural part of their diet. However, most snakes cannot live on eggs alone. Corn snakes, hognose snakes, bull snakes, and garter snakes eat eggs in the wild.

But the eggs alone don’t provide enough nutritional value for these snakes. Even if you had them as pets, you would have to feed them meat from time to time.

What snake species eat eggs?

There are only two types of snakes in the world that eat eggs alone. They are the African egg-eating snake (Dasypeltis sp.) and the Indian egg-eating snake (Elachistodon westermanni). If you consider eggs to be vegetarian friendly, then these are the only vegetarian snakes in the world.

Indian egg-eating snakes are quite rare and are not kept as pets. However, African egg-eating snakes are occasionally sold as pets and are relatively easy to care for.

African egg-eating snakes – As the name implies, African egg-eating snakes feed exclusively on bird eggs. They do not have teeth and instead have bony spikes on the inside of their spines.

The eggs are swallowed whole, then pounded and the shells regurgitated. African egg-eating snakes are found in several species, but they are all very similar. Its colour varies from yellow-tan to brown, to black. Most species do not exceed 3 feet in length.

Unlike any other snake in the world, bird eggs provide egg-eating snakes with all their nutritional needs. If you can find them for sale, they are an ideal option for those who wish to have a snake without having to feed it dead animals.

The only problem may come from the source of the food. The chicken eggs are too large, so you will have to find a source of quail eggs or smaller ones.

The egg-eating snake is a paradox. We will never know why nature made it an egg eater. As thick as a human finger, this snake is capable of swallowing chicken eggs. It is mainly nocturnal and spends its time hidden among the foliage. Master of the art of climbing trees, it feeds on the eggs it finds in the nests of birds. 

It is not poisonous, but it is aggressive. Very irritable, bites for less than nothing. When angry, it inflates the front of the body and gives a succession of loud whistles. It curls up and attacks its adversary in the manner of cobras. 

When the animal curls itself up, its skin scales make a curious, very perceptible noise when rubbing against each other. The egg-eating snake resembles several poisonous species, which is excellent mimicry for it; so much so that many predators are suspicious. 

In the forests of equatorial and tropical Africa, where birds do not have a defined breeding season, the egg-eating snake finds enough to feed regularly throughout the year. The same does not happen to those that live in northern and southern Africa, where nesting stations are well marked.  There are snakes that have to fast sometimes for long periods, since in the dry season it does not find any eggs.

The common egg-eating snake (Dasypeltis scabra) is an African species that feed on hard-shelled bird eggs and not like other species that eat soft-shelled reptile eggs. Interestingly, this species of snake has a toothless mouth – which is quite rare in snakes.

It lives in the humid and forested regions (where there are many bird nests) in sub-Saharan Africa. It is not widespread in desert areas or tropical forests.

The common egg-eating snake has a thin, circular body, about 70-100 cm long and covered with scales, small, though strong. It has the habit of coiling in the form of a horseshoe and thus the strongly faired scales rubbing against each other make a noise that resembles a hawk. In rarer cases, some specimens reach a length of 1.2 m. 

The colour is grey or reddish-brown, with different dark markings, predominantly black and a series of white stripes that extend from the head to the tip of the tail. The young specimens have a brown colour. 

The head, snout and neck have the peculiarity of being very flexible, they allow him to swallow large eggs, three times the size of his head. After the egg reaches the throat, the protrusions on the spine break the eggshell and it is regurgitated out of the snake, only the contents of the egg are digested. These snakes usually have large eyes with a dark iris.

It leads a terrestrial way of life, it can easily climb bushes and trees to reach bird nests in search of food. It has a very developed sense of smell, detects fresh eggs by smell, those with the developing embryo are avoided. If raised in captivity, this snake should be fed pigeon or quail eggs, as there is a risk that larger eggs will close its trachea and die by suffocation.

During the mating season, this snake usually feeds excessively and then fasts all year round. Reproduction is oviparous, the female multiplies by eggs, which she lays in moist rotten vegetation.

The common egg-eating snake is part of the order Squamata and the family Colubridae. The number of specimens is quite large, so it is not considered an endangered species.

Not all snakes eat the same

There is no single definition to describe what snakes eat, as snakes eat many different things. For example, some snakes have unique bodies that only eat one kind of prey. The egg-eating snake, for example, only eats eggs. They have a singular spur inside one of their vertebrae that breaks the egg after swallowing it whole. Then they crush all the yolk and the good egg stuff. Finally, they spat out the empty husk again.

Some species of snakes live near bodies of water and naturally hunt for food there. These species naturally feed on fish and fish eggs as part of their diet in the wild. Not all of them are suitable as pets, but some make great companions.

If you don’t feel like feeding your snake fish, maybe the insects would be better for you. Some snakes are insectivorous by nature, and they happily eat insects in their natural diet. Again, not all insectivorous snakes make excellent pets, but some of them can be kept in captivity.

Are there any vegetarian or plant-eating snakes?

If a snake ate vegetables or fruits, it would not be very successful. Vipers swallow their prey whole and do not have teeth capable of chewing. For this reason, they cannot grind or disarticulate plant matter.

We must also understand the digestible system of snakes. Plants take a long time to decompose in the intestine, so herbivores have very long intestinal tracts. The intestines of the vipers are short and also useless to digest plants.

For that reason, feeding your snake vegetables or fruits could kill it. It would not be able to extract any nutrients from the food and would end up dying.

FAQ on Can I feed my snake eggs?

What type of eggs do snakes eat?

Usually, snakes can eat quail, finch, canary or other smaller birds’ eggs.

Can I feed my snake chicken eggs?

It is not advisable to feed your snake chicken eggs. That is because they can be too big for your snake’s circumference. It’s better to feed it smaller birds’ eggs. 

How many eggs can a snake eat?

Some snakes can eat about two eggs per sitting, however most of them will eat just one and not every day! They are not picky eaters, but they need to digest their food first.

Do snakes eat plants?

No, snakes cannot eat plants. They can only digest animal matter and do not have the physiological capacity to process plants. Because of this, snakes will only see animals and animal products (such as eggs) as food. 

Does a snake eat fruit?

No, snakes cannot eat fruit and you should not try to feed them with fruits or vegetables. Snakes cannot grind or decompose plant matter. Plants take a long time to decompose within the gut, and a snakes’ intestines are short and unable to digest plants.

What pet snake eats eggs?

There are only two types of snakes in the world that eat eggs alone. They are the African egg-eating snake and the Indian egg-eating snake.

Conclusions

In this blog post, I discussed what snakes can and cannot eat. But mainly, we answered the following question: Can I feed my snake eggs? We talked about snakes that are egg-eaters.

Now you know that you can feed your snake eggs, but unless it is a species who eats only eggs, your snake will need meat from time to time. Some snakes consume eggs as a natural part of their diet. However, most snakes cannot live on eggs alone. Corn snakes, hognose snakes, bull snakes, and garter snakes eat eggs in the wild.

There are only two types of snakes in the world that eat eggs alone. They are the African egg-eating snake (Dasypeltis sp.) and the Indian egg-eating snake (Elachistodon westermanni).

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!

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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