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how to feed snakes

How To Feed Snakes + 5 Feeding Techniques – Reptile-Guide

Snakes are one of the most incredible and fascinating animals on the planet. They come in a variety of sizes, colors, and shapes and can bring a great deal of joy to their owners. But when it comes to feeding these reptilian pets, things can get tricky. Here is a guide for how to feed snakes and five effective feeding techniques that will keep your slithering friend healthy and happy!

What Do Snakes Eat?

In order to properly care for your snake, you need to understand what it eats. Snakes have different diets depending on their species, but generally, they prefer small prey such as mice or rats. Some large snakes even like to eat chickens or other birds! In the wild, snakes also scavenge for small insects like crickets, worms, or caterpillars. If you want to provide your snake with live prey, be sure that it is safe and free from any bacteria or parasites. Captive-bred rodents are usually the most reliable source of food for pet snakes.


Most captive snakes require additional nutrition beyond just their regular diet of live prey items. Vitamins and minerals should be added regularly in order to ensure proper growth and development. Some brands offer commercial supplements specifically designed for reptiles, but you can also purchase multivitamins made with reptile nutrition in mind at pet stores or online retailers. Be sure to research thoroughly before adding any type of supplement to your snake’s diet not all vitamins are suitable for reptiles!

Feeding Frequency

Most adult snakes should be fed once every 7-10 days. Young growing snakes should have meals more frequently about once every 4-5 days in order to maintain proper health and nutrition levels as they develop into adulthood. Additionally, some experts recommend feeding smaller portions more often (for example 1/4 a mouse 2-3 times per week) so that your snake does not become overweight due to overeating. It is best not to give your pet food after its last meal until it has had time to digest its meal fully; this usually takes between 24-48 hours depending on the size of the meal eaten by the snake!

Feeding Techniques

Here are five effective feeding techniques that will help you provide nutritious meals for your slithering friend:

Hand Feeding

This method involves gently placing live prey directly into the cage where your snake is housed this allows them to interact with their food source naturally while ensuring that they do not become stressed during the process. Just make sure that all safety precautions are taken (such as wearing gloves) when handling live prey items!


This technique involves using forceps or tongs to grab onto the mouse or rat and then securely insert it into the enclosure with the snake inside so that it can feed without fear of escape from its predator (you!). Make sure that you do not leave forceps near where your snake may hide; tongs can be dangerous if left unattended in an enclosure with a curious reptile nearby!

Prey Scent

This technique involves placing scented items (such as cotton balls soaked in chicken broth!) around where you have placed frozen/thawed mice or rats; this is meant to entice hungry reptiles out of hiding so they can easily locate their food source! Be aware though if done incorrectly this method could lead to stressing out your reptile friend instead of encouraging it to eat so handle it carefully!

Tease Feeding

This method involves “teasing” or enticing the snake to feed by moving prey items around, often with a pair of forceps. Be sure not to frighten your snake too much, though this type of technique is only recommended for more timid reptiles who may not be ready to tackle a large meal right away!


This technique involves killing the prey item (by freezing/thawing or decapitating it) so that all the reptile needs to do is eat without having to worry about catching and killing its food source. This is seen as a more humane approach to feeding snakes since they no longer need to exert energy hunting down their meals; however, some experts caution against using this method since it takes away some of the natural behaviors that snakes need to stay healthy and active.

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What to Avoid When Feeding Snakes: Top 6 Hazards to Watch Out For

Feeding a snake may seem like an easy task, but there are several hazards that owners should be aware of in order to ensure the safety and health of their pets. Here, we’ll discuss what to avoid when feeding snakes and highlight the top 6 most common hazards.

how to feed snake

Unsuitable Prey Items

The first hazard to look out for when feeding your snake is offering prey items that are not suited to their size or age. Different species and ages of snakes require different prey sizes in order to be adequately nourished and remain healthy. For instance, baby snakes should only eat small-sized prey such as pinky mice while larger adult snakes can handle slightly bigger meals such as a rat or other rodent. Make sure you know what size prey is appropriate for your snake before attempting to feed them, or else you risk causing serious harm.

Improperly Preparing Food Items

The next hazard associated with feeding your snake is preparing food items incorrectly. This means they could be exposed to bacteria or parasites due to inadequate cleaning methods. Furthermore, it’s important to carefully defrost pre-cooked food items such as frozen rodents if you are using those instead of live prey. If these steps aren’t followed correctly then there’s a risk of making your snake ill so make sure you have prior knowledge about how best to prepare their meals beforehand.

Not Offering Variety

Another potential hazard when it comes to feeding snakes is not providing enough variety in their diet. While some snakes may require one type of food item only (such as garter snakes which normally feed on worms) it is still recommended that owners offer other types of food from time to time in order to provide adequate nutrition and prevent boredom during meal times. As long as the food item is suitable for their size then offering variety can help keep them happy and healthy.


One issue many owners face when feeding their snakes is overfeeding them unintentionally due to either ignorance or negligence regarding portion sizes. Overfeeding has the potential of causing serious health concerns such as an impacted digestive system which can lead result in death if left untreated so always make sure you know your snake’s ideal meal size before attempting to feed them anything!


Underfeeding is another issue many owners face when it comes time for mealtime; some may underfeed either out of ignorance or simply because they don’t have the resources necessary for regular feedings such as frozen rodents or live insects like crickets etc. Whatever the reason might be, underfeeding can cause malnutrition which can result in serious health issues over time so make sure you have a proper feeding schedule set up before bringing home any new pet reptile!

Too Much Handling During Meal Time

Finally, one common mistake owners often make when feeding their snake is too much handling during meal time; this includes picking up the animal too often or trying to force feed them against their will both of which can cause stress on the animal and interfere with digestion! Handling during mealtimes should be kept minimal unless absolutely necessary, otherwise, try distracting yourself by doing something else while they eat so they feel less stressed out throughout the process.

7 Benefits of Proper Nutrition for Snakes

Many people may not realize that snakes have very specific nutritional needs, which are different from other animals. Proper nutrition is essential for the health and well-being of all snakes, as it can have a huge impact on their lifespan and overall quality of life. In this article, we will discuss the 7 benefits of proper nutrition for your snake.

feed snakes

Improved Digestive Health

When a snake receives inadequate nutrition, it may experience difficulty digesting food or suffer from digestive issues such as constipation or diarrhea. By providing your snake with the correct level and type of nutrients, it can maintain healthy digestion and absorption of its food. This helps ensure they get the most out of the energy in their food and remain healthy.

Stronger Immune System

With a balanced diet, snakes can become more resistant to disease and parasites due to better immune system functioning. Adequate nutrition also helps them to heal faster when injured or ill, as it ensures their bodies have access to the vitamins and minerals needed for repair and recovery.

Balanced Growth Rate

When a snake’s diet is lacking in certain nutrients, it can cause stunted growth or excessive weight gain over time. Proper nutrition helps them reach their full-size potential while avoiding unhealthy weight fluctuations over time. It also helps keep bones strong and prevents joint problems later on in life which could hinder mobility down the road.

Reduced Stress Levels

Having an appropriate diet reduces stress levels in snakes by providing them with essential vitamins that support emotional balance while helping to prevent anxiety-related behaviors like tail biting or aggressive behavior towards other snakes when housed together or handled by humans. Eating a nutritious diet also keeps appetite up so that they don’t become too stressed out if meals are missed here and there or if feeding schedules become irregular at times due to circumstances beyond their control (such as travel).

5 Better Reproductive Health

Providing proper amounts and types of nutrients is vital when breeding snakes both males and females need adequate nutrition before mating season begins in order to ensure successful fertilization and gestation periods as well as strong offspring with minimal genetic defects due to poor parental diets prior to conception/birth respectively. Providing sufficient nutrients also encourages regular shedding cycles in adult specimens, which is necessary for maintaining bodily integrity during mating rituals (shedding skin allows for easier movement and mobility).

6 Improved Skin Health

Nutrient deficiencies can cause dryness, flaky scales, or brittle skin all of which could lead to serious health complications if left untreated long enough! Not only that but having enough moisture content in the skin helps protect against external irritants like bacteria/fungi that could otherwise enter through cracks/lesions caused by dehydration/malnutrition. By ensuring proper hydration through regular feeding + proper nutrient intake per species requirements, you can maintain strong scales & keep infections away!

7 Longer Lifespan

Providing optimal levels of nutrition throughout a lifetime has been shown to increase lifespan significantly compared to those receiving an improper diet (which often leads to premature death due to poor health & weakened immunity). With good nutritional habits, you can expect your pet snakes to live years longer than usual giving you plenty more quality time together.


By following these five feeding techniques, you can ensure that your pet snake stays well-fed and happy! Just remember to always use caution when handling reptiles safety should be your number one priority.

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