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How to feed a snake

Updated: May 27, 2021

How to get your snake to take a rodent is probably one of the most common questions for reptile keepers.

Feeding snakes: Get the temp right

Most snakes will eat when they're hungry, and if you get the temperature right. Make sure you are taking the temperature of the snake. Often keepers have the temperature probe located incorrectly so say 50mm above the snake is the right temp but the actual snake is too cold. If you watch your snake it will indicate if all is well. When checking temperatures do it at the coldest and hottest time in the day, normally before sunrise and about midday. If the temperature is wrong, you don’t want your snake to eat, because if it’s too cold it won’t digest the food properly and it can just rot in the snakes’ gut.

Apart from the temperature of the snake, the other important aspect is the temperature of the food item being offered. Most snakes prefer their food warm, about 35C.

To thaw your frozen feeder rodents, put them in a zip lock bag and place them in hot tap water to soften. Once thawed, they can be offered to the snake.

Feeding snakes: Reduce stress

Sometimes the failure to feed can be caused by just general stress, particularly with new snakes. A different environment, too much handling or an uncomfortable temperature can interfere with a snake feeding healthily.

Finally, don’t worry if you snake doesn’t feed often. In the wild they are opportunistic feeders, and make go weeks without food. However your snake's growth is directly related to feed consumption and temperature, so to maximise growth, weekly feeding and access to optimum temperatures is required.

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