The most surefire way to get on your snake’s good graces is through its stomach–that’s the easy part. Deciding what food to give, not so much. If you’re on a quest to figure out what your snake’s favorite food is, keep reading.
The Typical Snake Diet
The majority of the thousands of snake species are carnivorous with a diet primarily made up of birds, small mammals, and amphibians. Some are even cannibalistic and will eat other snakes! When it comes to those that are kept in captivity, the pet snakes we all know and love, most owners rely on rodents.
Though hamsters, guinea pigs, and gerbils can also be used, mice and rats are by far the most popular amongst snake owners.
Rodents for snake food are easy to acquire at most local pet stores. They can be purchased frozen or live, though there are passionate proponents for either preference. Frozen mice and rats are by far the most convenient and economical option. They are also notably safer to use as well, eliminating the potential for a rodent’s claws or teeth to damage a snake in an ensuing struggle.
Choosing the right-sized rodents is the most important aspect of selecting snake food. To guide your decision-making, never choose a food item any larger than the widest part of the snake.
Fortunately, they are available in a variety of sizes ranging from newborn “pinkies”, “fuzzies”, and “hoppers” to those that are larger and at full maturity.
Which Do Snakes Prefer: Mice or Rats?
There are no hard or fast rules about when to use mice or rats to feed your snake. This is a matter of preference that is largely guided by the size of your snake.
The best way to determine which type of rodent to give your snake is to try both and see which they’re more receptive to. Keep in mind that the coloration of the rodent might affect how your snake responds.
Although white or “arctic” rodents tend to be the standard, all-white rodents aren’t commonly found in nature which might make it less obvious that they’re food. To determine your snake’s favorite food, consider both the rodent species and the color.
There are only a small handful of pet snakes that don’t eat rodents. The African egg-eating snake and Indian egg-eater eat–you guessed it–eggs. This might sound convenient, especially for those who feel squeamish about handling rodents, but sourcing these eggs can be somewhat challenging.
Why? These two snake breeds are tiny. Chicken eggs–the most readily and easily available kinds of eggs–would be too big for them, meaning that owners will have to find smaller bird’s eggs like quails or finches, which are more expensive and much less common.
Many of the smaller snake species (too small to fit rodents) instead eat insects, fish, and small lizards. These include garter snakes, smooth green snakes, water snakes, worm snakes, and snail-eating snakes.
What to Choose?
Regardless of what food preferences your snake has, your local pet shop owner can help you discover your snake’s favorite treat.