In this article, we answered the following question: Can I feed my snake more than once a week? We talked about snake overfeeding and what to do if your snake stopped eating due to natural cause or due to an illness.
Can I feed my snake more than once a week?
How often you need to feed your snake depends on its size. Normally, the snakes of less than 1 meter, are terrestrial snakes, and as for the insectivores and piscivores, they can eat between 1-5 times a week.
Small pythons (between 1-2 meters long), normally eat once a week. If your python is larger and measures between 2-6 meters, it should eat once every 2-3 weeks.
Snakes that are over 20 feet tall eat even less!
You should also know that snakes are animals that are much more active in spring and summer. However, in winter and fall, they eat much less. As for the time, remember that snakes prefer to eat in the evening.
Keep in mind that reptiles are animals that can go for a long time without eating any food. Although be careful, they must drink water.
Tips for knowing how to feed your snake
This will depend on whether or not your snake is used to eating in a certain way. Two types are normally differentiated:
- If your snake comes from a natural environment, it is very rare that it can get used to eating dead prey. In that case, you will need to give them live prey so that they can capture them.
- Otherwise, if your snake was bred in captivity, it can easily get used to eating dead prey, pieces of meat, or products specially prepared for snakes.
Prey that is prepared for snakes is sold frozen, so you should keep it this way until you can give it to your snake. Why? In this way, you will ensure that the food remains in perfect condition.
When you want to give that food to your snake, thaw it, and if your snake is a species without thermoregulatory rosettes, you will simply have to move it a little in front of your snake so that it catches it.
If, on the other hand, your snake does have thermoregulatory rosettes, the temperature of its “prey” will be important! In that case, you should microwave the “prey” and move it in front of the snake.
Keep in mind that whole prey (live or dead) have more nutrients than pieces of meat (and even meat preparations), a whole prey provides calcium, digestive enzymes, healthy bacteria … Preparations only provide the protein from the meat.
If you want to compensate for the feeding of a snake that feeds only on small pieces of meat or prepared, you should give it nutritional supplements especially indicated for snakes, these are introduced into the meat itself or are sprinkled on top.
My snake is not eating, what is happening?
Snakes can go a few days without eating, some can spend entire seasons without eating! At different times, snakes can completely stop eating.
If your snake has stopped eating, the first thing you should observe is its cause, it may simply be that it is going through a time of “fasting”, or it may also have a health problem.
Some of the possible causes why snakes stop eating are:
- Natural causes
- They are still digesting the previous prey
- The prey you are offering is not the one
- Is shedding skin
- It is in mating season
Remember that the diet of snakes can vary depending on their species.
Factors that indicate your snake has a health problem
- Inadequate terrarium conditions
Normally when a snake stops eating, those are usually its main factors. However, in any case, it is best to go to an exotic animal veterinarian so they can advise you what to do in the specific case of your pet.
My snake has stopped eating due to natural causes
If your snake has stopped eating simply due to natural causes, it will depend exactly on each case! Let’s see it:
The digestion of snakes – Oftentimes, snakes won’t eat simply because not enough time has passed between meals. In this sense, you must take into account the size of your snake and how much it ingested the last time. Remember that between one time and another, snakes usually wait 3-4 days.
The prey you are giving your snake is not the one – If you are offering them dead prey, chunks of meat, or special preparations, not all snakes will accept it! If you see that your snake is not interested in inert prey, you will have to offer him live prey.
Other times, what happens is simply that the prey you offer does not like, snakes are a bit of a foodie! For snakes, each type of prey smells and tastes totally different.
You are not giving the prey in the right way – If you have a snake, one of the first things to know is whether or not the snake is thermoregulatory. This way you will know if it needs its prey to show movement, or not. It will also help you to know if its prey should be hot or not (in the case of offering live prey, you will not have to worry about its temperature). If you want to feed your snake preparations or dead prey, you will need to stimulate its attack.
It is essential that you know the type of snake you have as a pet!
Your snake is shedding its skin – In this case, you just have to wait for it to finish shedding its skin to offer it its usual food again. In this case, you just have to be vigilant, and if there is a problem with the shedding of skin, take it to the vet!
Your snake is in heat – If you have a female, you should know that they stop eating when they are close to laying eggs.
My snake has stopped eating due to health problems
If your snake has stopped eating for even a factor related to its health, the following information might help.
Causes that indicate health problems in snakes:
Stress in snakes – Oddly enough, snakes can have stress too! If you have changed house, your terrarium is badly located…. In those cases, the first thing snakes stop doing is eat food! If this is the problem, what you should do is correct your snake’s environment and cover their terrarium so that your snake feels more protected. Try waiting a couple of days before offering food again.
Your snake’s terrarium – When we seek to have an animal, of whatever type, apart from complying with the legal requirements, we must ensure its welfare! If not, the best thing is that we do not consider having it as an animal!
In the case of snakes, we must try to reproduce the conditions that they have in their natural habitat (even if your snake was born in captivity).
If you are preparing for the arrival of your snake, try to find out how to prepare the space where it will live. Snakes need conditions of light, humidity, vegetation, hiding places, food … Similar to those found in their natural habitat.
More things you should know about your snake
If your snake stops eating, check the parameters of its terrarium, and make sure they correspond to those of its habitat. It is possible that once you correct the imbalances, your snake will reactivate little by little.
Snake diseases – If you are thinking that your snake may have a disease, it is best that you take it to an exotic veterinarian, he will be able to detect what is happening to your snake and offer the most appropriate treatment. Your vet will tell you when to feed your snake again.
If your snake has not eaten for a while, it is possible that after that period, it will demand more food. Until he is back on track, feel free to offer him food a little more often than usual.
If you have put food on it after 15 minutes, it has not attacked its prey, it will not eat it. In that case, it is best to remove it.
The bottom line
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 totally 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 more than once a week?
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.
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.
PetMD – What Do Snakes Eat?
Animal Corner – Snake Characteristics
MSD Manual – Nutrition in snakes