In this article, we’ll answer the question:
“What do snakes eat?”
First, you’ll find a short summary of what snakes eat in nature, then get a list of a snake’s favorite foods that make up a typical snake diet. And finally, answers to common questions about snake feeding habits and nutrition.
Snakes are carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes with a higher classification of Ophidia. A snake can swallow prey much larger than its heads with its highly mobile jaws.
What Do Snakes Eat?
Snakes eat warm-blooded prey, insects, amphibians, eggs, reptiles, slugs, earthworms, rodents, birds, frogs, and lizards. A snake’s diet is determined by the availability of prey in its habitat.
Snake Diet (Favorite Foods)
How Often Does a Snake Eat?
A young or small snake often eats twice every week while large snakes eat once a week, but some species can go longer. The feeding frequency of a female snake approaching breeding season is usually higher than normal.
How Much Do Snakes Eat Per Day?
Snakes eat varying amounts of food depending on the species, their size, and prey size. Because snakes swallow their prey whole, their teeth are not designed for chewing so they can swallow large prey in a single meal.
In this article by the Guardian, a Burmese Python in Florida weighing about 32 lbs. swallowed a young white-tailed deer weighing 35 lbs.
How Long Can Snakes Live Without Food?
Snakes can live for up two years without food, particularly the ball pythons, because of their ability to drastically lower their metabolic rate and novel survival strategies. The duration that a snake can live without food varies depending on the species, but nearly all species can last a few weeks without food.
Do Snakes Eat Snakes?
Snakes do eat snakes but this is seen mostly in Ophiophagus snakes, like King Cobra and Massurana, which have evolved to almost exclusively feed on other snakes. King cobras mostly feed on corn snakes.
According to National Geographic, “Cape Cobras are generalist predators that have no qualms eating other snakes, including already-dead ones.”
Do Snakes Eat Their Babies?
Snakes do not eat their babies because most species abandon their eggs before hatching. However, certain species such as rattlesnakes do eat infertile eggs to recycle energy.
Do Snakes Eat Their Mates?
Snakes eat their mates after mating if the expecting mother fasts during the pregnancy period because the male snake is a good source of protein, a phenomenon called sexual cannibalism which is common among King Cobras and Lataste’s Vipers.
What Animals Eat Snakes?
Snakes are prey to a number of different species.
You can visit our other guide on what animals eat snakes to find out which predators actively feed on these reptiles.
Snake Eating Habits and Diet Summary
You now know what do snakes eat in the wild as well as the typical food in a snake diet.
As you discovered in this guide, snakes are carnivores that eat prey for nutrition with a snake’s favorite food being things like warm-blooded animals, amphibians, and eggs.
I’m the lead editor and writer for Animal Answer Guide. I enjoy sharing expert knowledge on the various characteristics of common species within the five distinct groups of animals: amphibians, birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles.