Owning pet snakes is an excellent idea. These fascinating reptiles are low maintenance. Most of them are docile, and making them happy is pretty effortless. As one strives to keep their pet satisfied and cheerful, they will often ask themselves one question: "What can I feed a pet snake?"

Pet snakes are carnivores that delight in eating warm-blooded prey such as rodents/mice, rabbits, and birds. Depending on my pet snake species, I could also consider feeding it amphibians such as toads and frogs. Other things that could fit into a pet snake's diet include eggs, slugs, rabbits, and other reptiles.

I know that it can be extremely challenging to decide what to feed a pet snake, especially if you are keeping the reptile for the first time. That is why today, I will provide you with some great food options to consider when feeding a pet snake. I'll also shed light on when and how to feed your pet reptile, the things to avoid feeding the snake, and whether it needs water or not. Additionally, I'll explain why a pet snake might refuse to eat and what you can do about it.  Knowing such things could help you enhance the quality of your pet snake's life, so read on!

What Should I Feed My Pet Snake?

Among the things that I like about keeping a pet snake is that there are so many food options that I can consider. Rodents like mice or rats are a fantastic choice because they are nutritionally balanced. I'd advise you to ensure that they are dead to avoid injuring yourself or your pet. There is no harm if you freeze the rodents and thaw them before you feed them to the pet. If yours is a baby snake, only feed them the smallest-sized mice (pinkies). As they grow older, you can increase the size of the rodents.

One of the major perks of choosing rodents as food for your pet is that they are inexpensive. Even so, just like humans, they don't mind a change in diet. This means that you don't have to feed mice or rats to your pet snakes all the time. Here are some other excellent food options that I recommend.


Not all pet snakes love eating insects, but some like the garter snake relish them. Examples of these insects include cockroaches, insect lava, and crickets. Catching these insects might not always be easy, but it's worth it. It is a great way to rid your home of the arthropods that might irritate you.

Snakes and Lizards

This is fascinating, and I bet you agree with me. Some snakes do not have an issue with consuming other reptiles. Larger snakes like the king cobra eat smaller snakes whenever the opportunity arises. You could also offer them the lizards you spot in your home.


Pet snakes also eat chicken eggs. I think it is okay if you get them from the store like you would for your family. The most convenient thing about this food option is that it's readily available.  The eggs provide your pet with the much-needed proteins. If yours is a water snake, it will also like eating fish eggs.


A pet snake can eat birds. Baby birds are great for some smaller snakes. If your pet snake is large, you can get it a bird such as a chicken since it can easily ingest it.

Larger Mammals

Feel free to feed larger mammals to your pet snake if it's also large. These include cats and dogs. Even so, I'd advise you to be extra cautious if you are keeping the animals as your domestic pets as well. Keep them away from your pet snake lest it devours them. Snakes like the green anaconda can feed on animals such as pigs.


Note that not all pet snakes like having fish as food, but water snakes do. Some of the types of fish that you can consider include large bass or small minnows. The size of your pet snake might influence the choice you make.

What to Avoid Feeding My Pet Snake

You should not feed your pet snake anything you think it can consume; you must be sure that the food is good for it. There's no harm in providing the snake things such as eggs, fish, and insects, but there's a catch. These food options must have been available in their diet before you started keeping them. If not, then I suggest you stick to rodents. At the same time, avoid feeding live prey to your pet. Here are two reasons it is prudent to do so.

To Avoid Injuring Yourself or Your Pet

As I have mentioned earlier, you could hurt yourself or the pet snake because the prey is bound to fight back. In most cases, rodent bites are small, but some may be severe, damaging your pet snake's mouth, eyes, tongue, and other important internal organs. Should such a thing happen, you may have to visit a veterinarian, which means more expense.

To Be Humane

If you adore animals as I do, you must consider humane treatment for the prey you are just about to feed your valuable snake. Letting the latter consume the mice or other animals while they are still alive will only cause the prey more pain. Think about making things easier for them by killing them first.

If your pet has just been removed from the wild and is used to live prey, it might take some time for it to enjoy eating pre-killed animals. I recommend that you consult your veterinarian for tips on how to train the reptile.

How Should I Feed My Pet Snake?

I always tell snake owners to master how to feed their snakes properly. Why do I think it's important? Because it's one of the ways to take the best care of their pets. There are two techniques that you can consider when feeding a pet snake.

Dropping the Food Into the Pet's Cage

This is the most effortless way to feed your pet snake. All you have to do is take the frozen mice, for instance, and place them somewhere in the cage. The snake should be able to access the food comfortably. After you have done that, leave and wait for your pet to enjoy its meal. When using this method, don't forget that it's essential to keep the case clean. Hence, I suggest that you place the food on a plate whose size should be determined by the amount of food or the snake's length. The snake might not eat the mice or insects immediately, but it will eventually.

Using Tongs

You can use a pair of aluminum or metal tongs to feed your pet snake. The tongs are available in different lengths, so it's up to you to choose those you prefer. This technique is ideal when you want to convince your pet that the prey is alive, especially if it's just from the wild. Remember that then, it was used to getting it's food through ambush or active hunting. Hence, its prey was always moving. If it thinks that things have not changed, it might feel better and more motivated to eat.

Are you unsure about where to get the tongs from? Consider an online store such as Amazon; they have a variety of them.

When to Feed My Pet Snake

Some factors will come into play when you're deciding when to feed your pet snake. These include the snake's activity level, size, gender, and age. For instance, if your pet is young or small, make sure to feed it twice a week. Mature pet snakes are comfortable with eating once per week. If the breeding season is near and yours is a female snake, feed it several times a week.

Now that I have brought up the topic of when to feed your snake, I should also mention that your pet needs water. Get a large ceramic bowl, fill it with clean water, and place it somewhere in your snake's cage. Make sure that the bowl is heavy to make spilling it difficult. Ensure that the water is always there.

Reasons Your Pet Snake Is Refusing To Eat

If your pet snake is not eating, I suggest that you don't panic. Instead, try to identify the root of the problem. It could be that the snake is stressed or the environmental temperature is not ideal. Other things that could deter your snake from eating include shedding, pregnancy, hibernation, serious diseases such as kidney failure and cancer. During such instances,  visit your veterinarian for advice on what to do.

Final Thoughts

I wouldn't be candid if I said that keeping a pet snake is the easiest task. You'll find yourself thinking about what to feed it most of the time. This article is important because I have offered you some food suggestions that you could consider. These include:

  • Rodents
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Birds
  • Insects
  • Other reptiles
  • Mammals
  • Slugs

Final thoughts

Hopefully, you now know when and how to feed your pet and understand why it might not eat sometimes. When feeding the snake using <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Stainless-Straight-Tweezers-Polished-Aquariums/dp/B07F92VR5Z/">reptile feeding tongs</a>, remember to get the perfect size depending on your snake's size.