What do snakes eat?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “What do snakes eat?”, and provide information on whether snakes are carnivorous, why they do not eat plants, whether snakes consume dead animals, how do snakes hunt, what do they eat, and what to feed a pet snake.

What do snakes eat?

Snakes eat mice, frogs, birds, and lizards. Snakes use a variety of methods to capture and eat their prey. They can inject venom into their prey and kill them or wrap themselves around the prey to suffocate them.

Snakes would consume a lot of pests, particularly mice which makes them reduce the overpopulation of pests and protect the crops.

Are snakes carnivorous?

Snakes are carnivorous in nature. This means that they do not consume plant-based organic matter. There are no snake species found to date that consume only plant matter. Snakes that consume both plant and animal matter are not present either.

Why do snakes not eat plants?

Snakes have a small digestive tract which helps them to take in nutrients from the animals that they consume. They do not need to chew the animals but just need to swallow them and the digestive tract would do the rest of the work.

Snakes eat mostly animals because they are higher in calories compared to plants. Also, snakes do not eat all the time either. As a result, they would need to consume animals as they have higher calories to sustain them.

Snakes do not have the proper gut microbes to break down the plant matter either. As a result, they turn to animal matter to obtain nutrients.

Do snakes consume dead animal matter?

No, snakes do not go after dead or decomposing animals. This is because they are not that nutrient-rich. Instead, snakes choose to hunt and eat live animals. Plus, it is easier to catch live prey through stealth, their poison, or by suffocating them to death (pythons).

What do snakes primarily eat?

Snakes can consume the eggs of fish, birds, or reptiles. The eggs would give them a good amount of protein.

It would also be easier for them to consume eggs too as they are smaller in size. Animals that are larger in size cannot be consumed by them as it would be difficult to swallow them. So, they hunt smaller animals like mice, rabbits, chipmunks, lizards, or other reptiles.

However, there are larger snake species present. This would hunt bigger animals. Some of the snakes like pythons or Anacondas would go for deer, monkeys, and capybaras. 

There are few instances of Anacondas attacking jaguars or even lions. This is likely to occur in case of food scarcity.

Some other food for snakes would include toads, snakes, fishes, bats, baby snakes, earthworms, or slugs.

How do snakes hunt?

Snakes use their venom to kill their prey. It can also be used to defend themselves from predators or danger. Apart from this, snakes can also constrict themselves and suffocate their prey to kill them too.

Some snakes would stalk their prey and then strike them when they feel that the time is proper to attack the prey. Snakes also use their tongue to smell their prey nearby.

Some snakes are also able to track prey even if they are far away from them. This can be done by sensing the body heat.

The tongue of the snakes can also provide information on how far their prey is! Apart from this, they can also detect their own predators using their tongues.

What to feed a pet snake?

As mentioned before, never feed plant or plant-based matter to a pet snake. If you are giving pre-killed food to the snake, make sure that the snake is already on a diet of pre-killed food. 

In the case of young snakes, it would be better to give them live prey as they would rarely consume something which is not moving.

It is better to give pre-killed and frozen food to a pet snake because live prey like mice or other rodents can fight back and injure the snake even though the snake can manage to kill it.

Apart from this, live prey can also carry parasites, fleas, or ticks. This can be harmful to the snake as well.

Frozen foods are also pretty cheap. You can buy them and keep them in the freezer and feed them later on to the snake. The live prey would also go through a lot of pain so it is better to humanely kill them before feeding them to the pet snake.


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “What do snakes eat?” and provided information on whether snakes are carnivorous, why they do not eat plants, whether snakes consume dead animals, how do snakes hunt, what do they eat, and what to feed a pet snake.