How often should I feed my snake?
A lot of people ask this question when they are new to snake keeping and it can be a difficult question to answer.
There are different schools of though as to how often snakes should eat in captivity.
How often you should feed your snake depends on a few things.
Each of those factors must be considered to determine what the appropriate feeding "schedule" is for your snake.
- What species of snake you have.
- The age of your snake.
- The temperatures your snake had access to.
- The physical condition of your snake.
- Whether your snake is a breeding female or not.
- The time of year.
*** Without going into great detail on the appropriate size of food, for these examples,
we will assume the food items are approximately 1.5x the snake's fattest part.
For more information on appropriate food sizes, click here:
How large should my snake's food be?
There are some keepers who claim that you can feed your snake as much and as often as it will eat without doing your snake any harm.
There are also keepers who claim that feeding your snake more often for rapid growth can have potentially deadly effects on your snake.
It is tough to say which school of thought, if either, is correct especially with all of the variables involved with captive care.
For a snake in it's first two years of life, I would offer it one appropriately sized food item every 4-7 days.
Once the snake is a bit older and it's growth rate has begun to slow down, I would feed it slightly less often.
When the snake has reached adult size (which can be anywhere from 2-5 years depending on the species),
I would offer food about every 7-10 days depending on the species, the sex and the time of year.
All in all, a safe guideline for almost any species of snake at any age is one appropriately sized meal once a week.
Here are some reasons your snake can/should be fed more often than "normal":
Generally speaking, the larger and more mature your snake is, the less often it will need to eat.
Once it gets past the point where it is committing a lot of energy to growing,
it will begin to store the extra calories as fat and without the exercise snakes get in the wild,
your snake may become obese.
- Your snake is a mature female that is being conditioned for breeding.
- Your snake is young and you want to maximize it's growth.
- You are preparing your snake for brumation.
- Your snake has access to higher temperatures which allows it to digest it's meals quickly.
The appropriate temperatures are species specific.
- Your snake is cruising it's cage at night looking for food.
Now, you might be saying, "You still haven't told me how often I should be feeding my snake!" and that's sort of true.
Instead of telling you how often to feed your snake, I tried to give you some of the information necessary to figure that out for yourself.
Now you just need to understand the specific needs of the species of snake you have and the lifestyle your snake will live.
Over time, you will begin to recognize your snake's behavior and learn to tailor its feeding schedule accordingly.
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