How to Tell If Your Snake Is Hungry: A Guide for Snake Owners

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Do you have a pet snake and want to be sure it’s getting the nutrition it needs? If so, you may be wondering how to tell if your snake is hungry. Knowing the signs that indicate your snake is hungry can help you ensure it’s getting the right amount of food. This article provides expert tips on how to tell if your snake is hungry, so you can keep your slithering pet well-fed.

What to Look For

What To Look For


Snakes that are hungry tend to become more active and start looking around the vivarium for food. They may also start striking at their food bowl or nearby objects.

Eating Habits

Snakes that are hungry will often eat more than usual when offered food, or may take longer to consume their food. Some species, such as corn snakes, may even go for days without eating if they are not feeling hungry.

Weight Loss

If your snake has lost a noticeable amount of weight, it may be a sign that it is not getting enough to eat. Regularly weighing your snake can help you to monitor its weight and watch for any sudden changes.

Causes of Hunger

Causes Of Hunger

Poor Husbandry

Incorrect temperatures, humidity levels, or lighting can all lead to a lack of appetite in snakes, as can improper feeding schedules. Check your pet’s enclosure to ensure it meets the requirements for the species, and if necessary, adjust the feeding schedule.


Certain infections, parasites, and other illnesses, such as mouth rot, can cause a snake to lose its appetite. If your snake is not eating and appears to be in any discomfort, have it checked by a veterinarian.


Snakes are sensitive to changes in their environment, and can go off their feed when they are stressed. If your snake is refusing food, check its enclosure to make sure it is not exposed to too much noise, vibration, or sudden movements.

Possible Solutions

Possible Solutions

Signs Solution
Feeding strikes Increase the frequency of feedings, or offer more food.
Hissing Provide a safe and comfortable environment with the right humidity and temperature.
Lethargy Make sure your snake’s enclosure is not overcrowded and provide a temperature gradient.
Weight loss Offer more food and monitor your snake’s weight.
Mouth gaping Provide a warm, humid environment and monitor your snake’s hydration levels.

1 Proper Husbandry

1 Proper Husbandry

Proper husbandry is essential in identifying if your snake is hungry. Make sure that the enclosure is properly set up and the temperature and humidity levels are suitable for your snake. Additionally, provide a variety of hiding spots and provide clean water that is changed out at least once a week. If a snake is not provided with the right environment, it is difficult to tell if it is actually hungry or just stressed.

2 Feeding Schedule

  • Feed juvenile snakes one to two times per week.
  • Feed adult snakes every five to fourteen days.
  • Feed baby snakes every three to five days.
  • Adjust the feeding schedule depending on the individual snake’s size, activity level and health.

3 Appropriate Diet

  • Live Prey – Includes mice, rats, and chicks, among others.
  • Frozen Prey – Includes mice, rats, chicks, and quail, among others.
  • Commercial Snake Food – Includes freeze-dried prey, canned prey, and pelleted food, among others.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the signs that a snake is hungry?

Snakes will often become more active and alert when hungry, and may start searching for food. They may also start striking at food items or prey animals, or may become more aggressive when handled. If a snake is not eating regularly, its body may become thinner or its ribs may become more visible. Lastly, the snake may start to regurgitate its food if it has recently eaten but is still hungry.

How Often Should I Feed My Snake?

Snakes need to be fed every 5-7 days, though it is generally recommended to feed them every 7-10 days. If you are unsure, it is best to err on the side of caution and feed your snake less often. Overfeeding can lead to serious health issues. If your snake is growing quickly, you may need to feed it more often. Monitor your snake’s health and weight to ensure it is receiving enough food.

What kind of food should I feed my snake?

Snakes should be fed pre-killed or frozen prey such as mice or rats. The size of the prey should be appropriate for the size of the snake. Live prey can be harmful to snakes and should be avoided. Healthy snakes should be fed once or twice a week.

Can I Overfeed My Snake?

No, you should avoid overfeeding your snake. A healthy snake will only eat as much as it needs to survive. Overfeeding can cause health issues such as obesity and other illnesses. As a general rule, you should only feed your snake once a week, and not more than two meals per week. Monitor your snake’s weight to make sure it is at a healthy level. If you notice it is gaining too much weight, reduce the amount of food you are giving it.

What happens if my snake doesn’t get enough food?

If your snake is not getting the right amount of food, it can become malnourished and suffer from a lack of essential nutrients. This can lead to poor health, low energy levels, and a weakened immune system. Malnourished snakes can also become more prone to diseases and parasites. In extreme cases, a snake can become severely underweight or even starve to death.


It is essential to ensure your snake is properly fed to maintain its health. Regularly monitor its weight, activity level and behavior for signs of hunger. If a snake is not eating, consult a veterinarian for the best course of action. Changes in diet or environment may be required. With the proper diet and care, your snake can remain a healthy and happy pet for years to come.

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