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Snake Dietary Recommendations

Specific Dietary Recommendations: The variety of snakes kept in captivity is considerable and their food preferences are quite variable. Following is a list of preferred prey animals for the snakes most commonly kept in captivity:

Boa constrictors, pythons, rat snakes, gopher or bull snakes:

  • Warm-blooded prey is preferred, such as rodents and birds. Juveniles of these species prefer the very small warm-blooded prey species.
  • They may also consume very small lizards and snakes. Some tree boas and pythons prefer lizards to mammals and birds.

Garter snakes, ribbon snakes, water snakes, etc.:

  • Fish, frogs, salamanders, toads, earthworms, slugs and carrion are preferred.
  • Many accept dead mice if they are covered with the external mucus of frogs or fish before they are offered.

Indigo snakes, king snakes, and many racers:

  • Warm-blooded (mice, etc.) and cold-blooded prey (other snakes, lizards, etc.) are preferred.
  • The indigo snake prefers frogs but may eat anything when hungry, including dog or cat food.

Ring-neck, or brown snakes and their relatives:

  • Salamanders, earthworms, very small snakes and lizards are the food of choice.

Racers, vine snakes, coachwhips:

  • Lizards are preferred. Racers also eat mice and chicks of ground-nesting birds.
  • The young of these snakes eat large insects, such as crickets and grasshoppers.