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If you're wondering how often you need to feed a pet snake, then hopefully you are taking the time to research and understand the facts about exotic pet ownership. We can get you started with our Top 5 Mistakes People Make When Buying an Exotic Pet. At the very least you should know that reptiles and amphibians (or herps, collectively) require different care from a typical cat, dog, or goldfish. And one of the most important care aspects to get right is how often to feed your snake.

Don't feed your snake daily

Seriously, don't do it. Snakes do not need to eat every day, and in fact they will not. If your new snake is refusing food, then you are probably feeding it too often. And if you feed your snake live prey (which is not always a necessity), the prey animal can injure and even kill your snake, especially if the reptile is not in the mood to eat.

So how often should you feed your snake? It depends on a few variables, and there is no exact answer that will fit every snake. Here's what to consider.

  • Size—How often you need to feed your snake varies by the size of the snake. And although it may seem surprising, smaller snakes actually need to eat more often. Small snakes, even adults, may need to eat twice every week. Larger snakes can go longer between meals, on average feeding once every one to three weeks.
  • Age—As with size, the younger snakes need to eat more often, usually twice per week. This is of course because they are growing and developing, so they need more constant nutrition.
  • Species—The species of your snake can also make a difference in its appetite. In general, most adult snakes kept as pets are fed between once a week and once every two weeks.

All snakes are different, so you should pay attention to your individual pet's cues to know whether it is eating enough or too much. Checking how often your pet defecates and how enthusiastically it eats are two good ways to gauge its food requirements. And if you plan to go on short vacation, it is completely fine to feed your snake a little earlier than its next scheduled feeding before you leave.

What's up with how often snakes eat?

Wondering why your reptile friend only needs to eat once a week? It makes sense if you think about it. Snakes swallow their food whole, and that means they need more time for digestion than you do, for instance. Your digestive process (and that of most mammals) begins when you start to chew your food. You have already helped along the process before the food reaches your stomach. Not so for your scaly companion, who has to expend a lot more energy simply on digesting its meal. Additionally, a snake's long, linear digestive system undergoes special processes to become dormant after digesting a large meal.

Have more questions about feeding your pet snake? Reach out to us at The Tye-Dyed Iguana for the answers you need.