Can snakes eat bread? (9 tips for feeding snakes)

In this article, we are going to answer the following questions: Can snakes eat bread? Can snakes be omnivorous? What do snakes eat and how often should you feed your snake? Finally, we give you 10 basic tips for feeding your snake.

Can snakes eat bread?

Snakes do not eat bread, and since they are carnivores bread is never on their menu. Snakes feed almost entirely on live food, warm-blooded or cold-blooded. But some species are suitable for dead food but dry and heated as much as possible before administration. 

Any animal small enough to be swallowed is accepted as food if it is known and has been previously consumed by the snake, otherwise, it can be refused or accepted after many attempts.

The purchase of snake food can be done from specialized stores or from breeders of species that are suitable for their food. Thus, mice, rats, guinea pigs, hamsters, plums, chickens, fish, frogs, frames, etc. can be purchased for your pet snake.

Can snakes be omnivorous? 

By definition, no snake is herbivorous or omnivorous. Unlike other reptiles, such as turtles and iguanas, all snakes are “mandatory carnivores.” This means that they must consume animal matter to survive. Although there are thousands of different species of snakes, they all have this trait in common.

Most snakes typically eat mammals as a substantial part of their diet. In captivity, snake owners usually choose to feed their snakes frozen and thawed rats and mice. In the wild, a snake can feast on voles, chipmunks, chipmunks, chipmunks, or even bats, for example.

However, it is rare for a snake to feed exclusively on mammals. Wild snakes often have diverse diets and eat a wide variety of animals.

These may include the following:

  • Insects (such as termites, cockroaches, and worms)
  • Birds
  • Other snakes
  • Lizards
  • Amphibians (such as frogs, toads, and tadpoles)
  • Fishes
  • Some snakes also eat eggs, including bird eggs, fish eggs, reptile eggs, and even insect eggs. Although most snakes eat eggs in addition to other foods, some feed exclusively on eggs.

Snakes are mandatory carnivores, which means they eat rodents. Some, like green snakes, are insectivorous. Water snakes and garter snakes prefer to eat fish. Egg-eating snakes are close to a vegetarian snake. They are a good pet choice if you want to avoid feeding the gnawing snakes altogether.

What do snakes eat? 

Food preferences are not the same for all snakes, they vary from one species to another but also depending on age. Thus, some species prefer mice and rats, while others feed on fish or lizards. The hazelnut snake, for example, eats lizards and young snakes in both stages of age, while house and water snakes feed on newts, frogs and fish.

Food choice is an essential factor for growth in captivity and must be well known and monitored. In the case of administration of live rodents, we must be careful and monitor the behaviour of snakes. If the snake has not immediately shown interest in the mouse or rat introduced into the terrarium and does not kill it immediately, it is advisable to take it out so as not to possibly injure the snake. 

An exclusive feeding with white mice is less recommended, because it leads to the weakening of snakes and even a disease of them, given the biological value of laboratory mice, much lower compared to that of mice in the wild. 

The appetite of snakes is higher at temperatures between 23-28 ° C, an aspect that we must keep in mind when we intend to feed it. For feeding snakes we will choose lively, active animals, to arouse their attention and desire to feed as soon as possible.

Often snakes, in the conditions of a sudden change of their living environment and different conditions from it, will refuse food for a shorter or longer period, after which, gradually, they will get used to the new conditions and will agree to consume a little, in a slightly longer interval until they will be able to feed. 

Therefore, it is good to know exactly what he eats in freedom and under what conditions he lives so that the accommodation period is as short as possible. The success of raising snakes in captivity depends largely on our ability to stimulate and cause them to feed regularly and even multiply.

In some situations, newly purchased or captured specimens systematically refuse food, a refusal that can last for days, months and even years. It is recommended not to keep more individuals in a small terrarium, because stress is life-threatening and, in general, they or some of them refuse food. 

To avoid or shorten the period of “hunger strike”, it is necessary to know and respect some very punctual rules, in direct correspondence with the pretensions of the species.

When purchasing a snake, we will make sure that it is not sick, to watch how it feeds on the old owner and not to show wounds on the surface of the body. So we will ask the owner to give us a demonstration of snake feeding. In the case of a poorly arranged terrarium, it can become a stress factor that can trigger the refusal of food or even the appearance of diseases due to the weakening of the body. 

After purchase, in the first two weeks, the snake will be disturbed as little as possible and only when it will be given food, and if it is not interested in it, it will be removed and reintroduced after 2-3 days. In species that allow dead food, it must be carefully prepared to be eaten by snakes. 

How often should you feed your 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.

10 Basic tips for feeding snakes

Feeding is one of the most important processes of snakes in captivity. Their survival practically depends on it. And although there are several methods of force-feeding, they should eat by themselves. 

Here are some practical tips based on several analyzed documents. I know that for snake owners, feeding them can be the scariest moment or the most exciting, all I am saying is that it should be taken with respect towards the prey and with responsibility for your snakes.

  1. First, we must document exactly what is the best diet for our snake and see the options according to the size of our pet and the prey. Remember that all snakes are carnivorous and some like Lampropeltis or false corals, which many fans have, are cannibals and will not hesitate to eat their terrarium companion. 

On the other hand, some varieties eat chickens, Australian parakeets, finches, rabbits, etc. Here we will draw on the most common that are Arabian mice and laboratory rats.

  1. Most snakes are nocturnal, which means that they become active in the late afternoon. Therefore, it is best to feed them between 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. It is also recorded that although they do not need UV rays, as other reptiles do, to digest and assimilate nutrients, they do need photoperiod to stimulate the appetite. 

That is, the hours of light and those of darkness have to be perfectly distinguished in your terrarium; This is achieved by putting your terrarium next to a window or with a broad-spectrum spotlight on for 10 to 12 hours.

  1. Do not feed the snake inside its terrarium. It is always preferable to feed it in a container where it feels comfortable, safe, is not disturbed, and has nothing that can get in the way. This will make your snake, being in the terrarium, not relate the time of the meal with your hand that seeks to manipulate it, which will avoid possible aggressions or bites. 

There are some species such as the Morelia Viridis or the emerald boas that due to their complexity in handling, it will be preferable to feed them in their terrariums; however, if you can do it elsewhere it will always be better.

  1. Should the food be alive or dead? The main debate of many authors when it comes to feeding snakes, consists of answering the question, alive or dead? The best option is to give them dead prey. Getting snakes used to eat dead or frozen prey is relatively straightforward.
  1. Give them frozen prey. Take the food mice out of the freezer about 10 hours before offering them to the snakes. It is preferable not to heat or defrost them in the oven. The natural process is better. 

One more warning, do not overheat the mouse because it can explode when the snake constricts it. If for any reason the snake after several attempts did not eat the thawed mouse, discard it. Do not try for any reason to freeze it again.

  1. Use tweezers. Most snakes are very violent when it comes to eating, therefore it is better to offer them prey with tweezers and not directly with your hand. It is preferable to disinfect the tweezers with alcohol or some disinfectant at the end.
  1. Feed snakes separately. If you have two or more snakes in the same terrarium, which is not highly recommended, they must be fed separately. This way we will avoid any type of injury that may be caused by them when hunting. If we keep them together it will also be difficult to monitor the excrement of each one.
  1. Vitamin or food supplements. Although there are a wide variety of reptile food supplements on the market, the vast majority of snakes do not need them. But at this point, it is best to consult a snake veterinarian.
  1. Handling it after eating. It is advisable to let them rest 2 or 3 days after they eat so that the digestion continues its process. If they are handled after eating we run the risk of regurgitating or vomiting the mouse. Which in addition to being very unpleasant, will bring serious repercussions to the snake. 
  1. Forced feeding. This subject deserves to be treated with caution and in a separate chapter.

Of course, these tips do not have the absolute truth and some questions may not apply to specific specimens. 

Conclusions

In this article, we answered the following questions: Can snakes eat bread? Can snakes be omnivorous? What do snakes eat and how often should you feed your snake? Also, we gave you 10 basic tips for feeding your snake.

We think it is important to remind you that snakes do not eat bread. Why would they? Snakes are mandatory carnivores, which means that they need meat in order to survive. Some snakes feed on mice, rats and small birds, while others prefer fish, insects or eggs. 

Make sure you know what is your snake’s food preference and that you feed it correctly. Your snake’s survival literally depends on it!

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

FAQ on Can snakes eat bread?

Is bread good for snakes?

No, bread cannot be good for snakes, as they are carnivorous. Snakes need meat in order to survive and bread or other pastries is not on their diet. 

Can snakes 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.

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. 

How long does it take for a snake to die of starvation?

It may take about six months for a snake to die of starvation. However, in the wild, snakes are used to living for many months without eating anything. Snakes don’t usually starve themselves unless they are stressed or ill. 

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. 

References

PetMD – What Do Snakes Eat?

Animal Corner – Snake Characteristics

MSD Manual – Nutrition in snakes

Nature.com – Snakes strike back at starvation

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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