Feeding Rodent-eating Snakes
In the wild, food is relatively scarce so snakes tend to overeat if food is plentiful. In captivity snakes can obtain food with little effort and they don’t know that food is going to be provided at regular intervals. This can quickly lead to obesity. Excess body fat is a common cause of illness in snakes and can produce liver and heart problems and ultimately lead to death. The chart below is designed to help you feed your snake appropriate amounts of food and to allow you to know if the snake is eating adequately.
Column 2 ‘Maintenance’ is the amount that the snake needs to eat to maintain its body organs even if it is doing absolutely nothing. This is the minimum that your snake should be eating. If it’s not eating this amount it may be ill(unless it is in hibernation). Note that if you feed a large item e.g. a rat weighing 70g to a 500g fully grown snake you will probably only then need to feed it every three weeks.Note,
this chart is designed to give a ‘ball park’ average figure. Individuals will differ slightly in their metabolism from the ‘average snake’. However, you can check if the chart is working for your snake by weighing it regularly. If the snake is losing weight but looks and eats well, you are under feeding it. You should not need to feed an actively growing snake or female producing eggs more than three times the maintenance amount. Pinkies are less energy dense than adult mice so you need to feed approximately twice the gram weight stated below if you are feeding pinkies. If you are feeding fuzzies, feed about one and a half times the weight suggested opposite.
Chart is based on the metabolizable energy content (ME) of a mouse being 6.31/g (this is an adult ~27g mouse). Reproduced courtesy of Ian Calvert at Zetland Veterinary Group, Bristol.
Feeding Requirements of different sized Snakes
|Snakes weight in grams||Food requirement for maintenance (grams of fresh rodent)/week||Food requirement for growth or egg production (grams of fresh rodent)/week|