How Long Can Snakes Go Without Eating?

Snakes are cool, creepy, and hardy animals that can make great pets, depending on the type of snake in question. One thing snake owners love about their scaly pet is that they dont have to be fed very often. In fact, some snakes can go weeks, if not months, without eating.

Image Credit: Ken Griffiths, ShutterstockGenerally speaking, snakes can go a long time without being fed or eating. Once again, this fact is simply because younger creatures are growing at a quicker pace, which means they burn off their food faster.

One factor that may shock you is that the season or time of year affects how frequently snakes eat. Whenever the metabolic rate drops, fewer calories are used to support the bodys natural processes. Hence, snakes dont have to eat as frequently because their previous meal lasts longer for energy.

More so, snakes can go so long without food because their bodies have evolved in such a way that they undergo unique processes whenever they enter the starvation period. In contrast, other species will digest their hearts for energy or increase the size of their head so that they have more food options. Image Credit: Jan Hejda, Shutterstock How often you should feed your snake depends on its species.

In the wild, their diet consists of eggs, frogs, rabbits, rodents, and other small animals. Its especially a great idea to feed your pet snake frozen mice specifically so that they dont get injured from the mouse fighting back. Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway.

How long can a snake stay without eating?

Generally speaking, snakes can go a long time without being fed or eating. Nearly all snakes can last a few weeks, no problem. Similarly, most snakes can even last a few months. After the two-month mark, certain snakes will begin to starve.

Can snakes go 2 weeks without eating?

An adult corn snake can go for two weeks without eating or up to 3 months if, in brumation, but baby snakes can’t do this. Baby corn snakes don’t need to be fed every day, but they will need to eat every 5-7 days. If they go longer than a week, it’s a sign of concern.

How long does it take for a snake to starve?

In this study, McCue defined the starvation period as starting when animals were deprived of a meal they would otherwise voluntarily have eaten, which is around 2 weeks after a meal. With this in mind, the 62 snakes were subdivided into four groups: fasting, and 56,112 and 168 days of starvation.

Will a snake let itself starve?

yes they will starve themselves to death..

Before we get to anything else, its good to know how regularly snakes need to eat. This is especially important if you own a snake because you dont want to feed it too much or too little.

It is a superpower that enables them to survive for a long period of time in the wild. Lets explore how and why snakes can survive for such a long time when food is scarce.

If, for whatever reason, a snake does not get food this often and ends up going a longer period without eating, it can still survive. Despite the above feeding guidelines, we know that snakes can survive for a long time without food because of their metabolic rate. There are some snake species that can survive for up to two years without food, in pretty amazing ways.

Some species digest their own hearts or grow larger heads to increase their prey options when food is really scarce. Snakes from temperate climates only need two to four times their body weight in food per year. For example, we dont know whether they can get back on track with their nutritional requirements and return to being healthy, when they come out of a period of starvation.

This is actually one of the signs that your snake is getting ready to shed , along with their skin becoming pale and their eyes appearing blue or milky. These include intestinal parasites, mouth rot, and respiratory disease. If your snake has been experiencing stress, perhaps from a major change or disruption to its environment, this can also cause it to lose its appetite.

If you have a pet snake, you need to ensure that it gets the right food in order to be healthy and keep illnesses at bay. All snakes are carnivores ( none are vegetarians ) and will eat prey such as rabbits, rodents, frogs, and/or eggs, depending on the species. Read up on your snake species to ensure you give it the correct food.

Snakes all swallow their food whole, which means that its easy for them to enjoy diets that are complete in the nutrition that they need. Baby snakes eat pinky mice and move up in size from there.

After you get a ball python youre naturally going to take care of that investment by feeding it, so if you have to go out of town for the weekend youre going to wonder if it will be able to survive without food? I did some digging and found how long a ball python can go without food.

Penguins reduce physical and mental activity , basically lethargy, during the winter so as to preserve energy. Ratsnakes break down proteins faster than pythons and rattlesnakes, because of the rodents that around for prey.

This large muscle helps with moving the meal down the length of the body to the stomach to be digested completely. The spine and body will bend to make the snakes ribs (and it has a lot) push the food on its way down. All of this is continued until the dinner is fully swallowed and enters the stomach which is waiting to break down the food even more.

Another fact is that snake has to take into consideration if the meal can be digested before it starts to rot inside of it. It depends on the meal but if it doesnt digest fast enough, it will rot inside the snake and harm it. Distension is an enlargement or ballooning effect within the body that will harm or even kill the snake.

This takes so much effort from the snake that it will lay dormant for a long period of time. A combination of heat vision, vibrations, and movement detection are what helps snakes be incredibly efficient at hunting during the night. This is so that live prey cant escape, making it easier for the snake to swallow its food.

If it feels that it cant intimidate the foe the nit will turn on its back and it will act as if its in pain and convulse. It will then act if its dead and then if you wait a few minutes, this sneaky snake will raise its head to see if the coast is clear and then move on its way. It is important to know that you should generally Wait about 48 hours after feeding to touch your ball python .

You wouldnt want to be touched after eating either so it makes sense to give the snake some space.

Adult ball pythons can go without eating for around six months (while still maintaining healthy body weight and growth rate). However, some have been known to refuse food for even longer. Baby ball pythons may also refuse to eat for some time, but typically this is only safe for a month or so.

Today, were going to answer this common question and give you a few tips and tricks on what to do if your ball python isnt eating. Adult ball pythons can go without eating for around six months
(while still maintaining healthy body weight and growth rate).

Baby ball pythons may also
refuse to eat for some time, but typically this is only safe for a month or so. Ball pythons can go without eating for around six to eight months,
although in extreme cases, theyve been known to last for over a year without
any food. In the wild, ball pythons are often forced to go without eating for long periods due to food scarcity.

Their bodys low energy demands and ability to store and preserve calories make them well suited to food shortages in the wild. Surprisingly, during these hunger strikes or times of food shortage, ball pythons usually maintain their weight and even continue to grow. However, it is important for you to closely monitor your snake during starvation to ensure it maintains its weight and isnt showing signs of other health problems.

For example, during the winter months, food sources may grow scarce, or prey may be less active, making hunting much more difficult. However, since baby ball pythons are much smaller and have less body fat to live on during starvation, they should typically not go without eating for more than 2-4 weeks. If your baby ball python refuses to eat, the best thing to do is carefully monitor it to determine if it is healthy.

If it is curious and active (especially during the warmer seasons), has healthy skin and no broken scales or blisters, has clear, bright eyes, and is regularly shedding and in one complete action. Your snake will know best when it comes to how often it needs to eat, but since it cant verbally communicate this with you, youll need to offer it food on a regular feeding schedule. Common signs of an overweight ball python include visible skin between its scales, a round shape, rolls of fat near its head or cloaca, body segmentation, a soft, squishy body instead of a firm one, and an abrupt change in its width from the tail to the vent.

Ball pythons may refuse to eat for various reasons, ranging from serious medical conditions to simple things like a change in temperature or shedding. Without adequate heat (and thereby the ability to properly digest their prey), your ball python may refuse to eat. If you live in a cooler climate or one with seasonal temperature drops, your snake may have trouble digesting and therefore refuse to eat.

Correct this temperature problem by attaching a heat lamp or light to the top of your snakes enclosure. If your ball python is refusing to eat, look for signs (like a
dull, ashy appearance, pink underbelly, and cloudy eyes), indicating your snake
is about to shed. Many people dont realize one of the reasons ball pythons often
refuse to eat is simply because they are stressed out.

Signs of stress may include hiding its head when being handled, being overly active during the day, and refusing to eat. Small things like the size, smell, type, or color of prey can often turn ball pythons away. Other factors like whether its offered alive or freshly killed or frozen and then thawed will affect your snakes appetite.

Intestinal parasites can cause ball pythons to feel sick and may even stunt their growth and prevent weight gain. It is recommended to have an annual fecal examination to help
discover and treat possible intestinal parasites growing in your snake. If youve already looked at the possible reasons why your ball
python isnt eating and youve made any necessary husbandry changes (like
adjusting its prey type or increasing its enclosure temperatures) to remedy the
problem, but still your ball python refuses to eat, it may be time to try a few
other tricks.

If youve tried the above tricks, but your ball python still wont eat, youll need to get him checked out by a reptile or exotic pet veterinarian. If youve been wondering how long can a ball python go without eating, we hope this article answered your question.

A Word of Caution

It’s important to note that even though snakes can go much longer without eating than humans, they still need a consistent eating schedule. If you go weeks or months in between feeding your snake, it will get sick and develop nutritional deficiencies.In other words, don’t try to test how long your snake can go without eating. This will only harm the snake. At the same time, you don’t have to worry if you are going out of town for a week. The snake will be fine going a couple of days without food.

Snake Type

The most obvious factor that affects your snake’s metabolism is its variety. Smaller snakes have to eat more frequently since they have a faster metabolism. In contrast, larger snakes can go much longer in between feedings.Two of the most popular pet snakes are Ball Pythons and Corn Snakes. An adult Ball Python needs to be fed every 10 to 14 days. Given that Corn Snakes are smaller, they have to be fed every 7 to 10 days. These two snake types show that the size and type of the snake will impact its feeding schedule.

Age

Age is another factor that largely impacts the snake’s metabolism. Younger snakes have to eat much more frequently because they are growing at a rapid pace. Recent hatchlings and juveniles will eat every day to every other day, whereas adults only have to be fed once a week or less.This factor isn’t that surprising. After all, even human babies, children, and teenagers have to eat more than adult humans. Once again, this fact is simply because younger creatures are growing at a quicker pace, which means they burn off their food faster.

Time Of Year

One factor that may shock you is that the season or time of year affects how frequently snakes eat. Certain snakes go through brumation, which is very similar to hibernation. While snakes are brumating, their metabolism slows down, and they stop eating. This is most likely to happen during the winter whenever food sources are scarcer.Similarly, snakes eat less whenever they are shedding. Snakes don’t typically shed based on a particular season, but they shed on a relatively consistent schedule. Once your snake is getting ready to shed, its appetite will decrease, and it will not eat as frequently.

The Starvation Period

More so, snakes can go so long without food because their bodies have evolved in such a way that they undergo unique processes whenever they enter the starvation period. Much like us, snakes will begin to burn their fat stores. This is a common way to survive the beginning of starvation for many animals.After the snake has used up all of its fat stores, what it will do next depends on its species. Some snakes will actually break down the proteins in their body. The Rat Snake is one species that does this. In contrast, other species will digest their hearts for energy or increase the size of their head so that they have more food options.Eventually, the snake will die if it does not find a food source. However, this may not happen until the snake has not eaten for one or two years.

How often should I feed my snake?

How often you should feed your snake depends on its species.

What should I feed my snake?

Snakes are carnivores, which means they eat animal meat exclusively. In the wild, their diet consists of eggs, frogs, rabbits, rodents, and other small animals. In captivity, snakes typically eat small mice and rats. It’s especially a great idea to feed your pet snake frozen mice specifically so that they don’t get injured from the mouse fighting back.

Why is my snake not eating?

If your snake is not eating, you do not need to stress immediately. Often, snakes will stop eating whenever they are beginning to brumate or shed. However, you may need to take your snake to the vet if the snake never enters into the brumation or shedding period and is continuing to reject food.The most common reason that snakes do not eat is stress. Any form of routine change or stress will cause the snake to not eat temporarily. Of course, the snake will begin eating again once the stressor is removed.Snakes may not eat if they are sick as well. Issues such as mouth rot, parasites, and nutritional deficiencies may cause your snake to not eat. It’s important to take your snake to an exotic vet if you believe illness is behind your snake’s rejection of food.

How Long Can Snakes Go Without Eating?

There are records of snakes going months, even years, without food!It is a superpower that enables them to survive for a long period of time in the wild.But how do they do it?Let’s explore how and why snakes can survive for such a long time when food is scarce.

How Often Do Snakes Have To Eat?

Before we get to anything else, it’s good to know how regularly snakes need to eat. This is especially important if you own a snake because you don’t want to feed it too much or too little.How regularly a snake needs to eat depends on the species and the individual snake’s age and size.Generally, smaller and younger snakes need to eat twice a week. Older and larger snakes only need to eat every week or two.For example, an adult ball python needs to eat once every 10 to 14 days, a rattlesnake once every 14 days, and corn snakes once every seven to 10 days.If, for whatever reason, a snake does not get food this often and ends up going a longer period without eating, it can still survive. Let’s take a look at how they can go months without eating.

What Happens To Snakes After Starvation?

We know a lot about how long snakes can go without food. But we don’t know as much about snake starvation.For example, we don’t know whether they can get back on track with their nutritional requirements and return to being healthy, when they come out of a period of starvation.If you own a snake, this could become an issue. It’s actually fairly common for snakes to lose their appetite. In fact, it is completely normal.For example, during molting, snakes stop eating just before they shed their skin. This is actually one of the signs that your snake is getting ready to shed, along with their skin becoming pale and their eyes appearing blue or milky.Usually, their appetite soon returns, long before they begin starving. But sometimes it doesn’t and that could cause problems for your pet.There are also a number of health conditions that could cause your snake to stop eating. These include intestinal parasites, mouth rot, and respiratory disease.If you own a snake, it is important to know about these types of health issues. Please read up on health problems and how to detect them.Stress is also a factor to consider. If your snake has been experiencing stress, perhaps from a major change or disruption to its environment, this can also cause it to lose its appetite. In some cases stress can cause a snake to eat its own tail.

What To Feed Your Snake

If you have a pet snake, you need to ensure that it gets the right food in order to be healthy and keep illnesses at bay.All snakes are carnivores (none are vegetarians) and will eat prey such as rabbits, rodents, frogs, and/or eggs, depending on the species. Read up on your snake species to ensure you give it the correct food.Snakes all swallow their food whole, which means that it’s easy for them to enjoy diets that are complete in the nutrition that they need.It’s essential to ensure that the prey you give to your snakes are healthy – as with humans, snakes are what they eat!

Do you need to give snakes vitamins?

You don’t generally need to feed them vitamins, but if you think your snake might have a health condition he or she might need supplements from the veterinarian.

Why do snakes refuse to eat?

Stress is the most common reason for snakes refusing to eat. Bear in mind that snakes are creatures of habit and like routines. Any disruption in a snake’s routines can cause stress.

How They Preserve Energy

Snakes have been studied throughout the years and one interesting trend is that they have the ability to lower their metabolic rates up to around 70 percent. This allows them to stay alive longer without food.Ball pythons specifically have a very low energy demand regardless of time of year or place.They know how to regulate their energy.But even so, you should be feeding them especially babies who are still growing. Feed them about every 10 to 14 days. Ball pythons can also go without water for about twelve days without having health issues.While studying this, I wondered “why do they need to do this and in what circumstance?”Most animals must preserve energy at one point or another in their lives. With snakes, in some areas, food is scarce. It’s not always available. The winter months roll in and the food disappears for a few months. They have learned to adapt and it’s by lowering metabolism and other things.

The Way Snakes Digest Food is Awesome

Snakes don’t have the teeth to chop and cut up their food. Venomous snakes have digestive enzymes in their venom thatSnakes are limbless creatures with a long tunnel for the digestive system. This extends from the around the end of the mouth to the anus of the snake. Frequently their digestive system is inactive when the snake is active and the digestive system is active when the snake is active.Snakes come with incredible jaws that can extend beyond normal limits. Their lower jaw is cut in two to allow better maneuver when swallowing. Digestion starts in the mouth. The prey is coated in saliva that contains digestive enzymes. Swallowing actually takes up a quite large amount of time.Similar to humans and other animals, snakes have an esophagus. The esophagus on a snake is long andThe spine and body will bend to make the snake’s ribs (and it has a lot) push the food on its way down. All of this is continued until the dinner is fully swallowed and enters the stomach which is waiting to break down the food even more.After that, the liver and gallbladder work together to create bile that breaks down fat. The pancreas produces some digestive liquid. Eventually, the waste is exited at the end of the snake. The claws and hair of the prey are the only things not to be digested.Snakes have to be able to swallow the creature whole. It can’t break it up. It will regurgitate the meal if it is too big. Another fact is that snake has to take into consideration if the meal can be digested before it starts to rot inside of it. Digestion could take days or weeks. It depends on the meal but if it doesn’t digest fast enough, it will rot inside the snake and harm it.This causes distension. Distension is an enlargement or ballooning effect within the body that will harm or even kill the snake.

Other Factors of Digestion

Snakes generally consume food that is about 25% of their body weight. The larger the prey, the longer to digest. some snakes, like pythons, will eat much more terms of weight comparison. Upwards of 65% is known.Some snakes eat little amounts frequently and others eat large amounts once in a while. It only makes sense. Some people just eat more than others and it’s the same with snakes. Those that don’t eat very often have significantly increased growth in their liver, intestine, and heart when they eat. The intake of oxygen in the animal is multiplied by 60. This takes so much effort from the snake that it will lay dormant for a long period of time.Sometimes the snake will regurgitate or vomit food back up. The difference is vomiting is from food that is already being digested and regurgitating is from the esophagus. This usually happens because of stress or health problems. Other problems could be that the prey was too large or that the temperature was too low to be able to digest.

Temperature Problems

One of the most common reasons why ball pythons refuse to eat is because they are too cold.Ball pythons are native to equatorial climates.Their bodies need warm temperatures of around 90° degrees Fahrenheit (32° C) to maintain their body heat and properly digest food.Without adequate heat (and thereby the ability to properly digest their prey), your ball python may refuse to eat.If you live in a cooler climate or one with seasonal temperature drops, your snake may have trouble digesting and therefore refuse to eat.Correct this temperature problem by attaching a heat lamp or light to the top of your snake’s enclosure.We like this Wuhostam Infrared Ceramic Heat Lamp from Amazon.

Shedding

Another common time ball pythons refuse to eat is during shedding.Shedding is an awkward and stressful time for ball pythons, so they will often refuse to eat until after they’ve shed their skin.If your ball python is refusing to eat, look for signs (like a dull, ashy appearance, pink underbelly, and cloudy eyes), indicating your snake is about to shed.

Stress

Many people don’t realize one of the reasons ball pythons often refuse to eat is simply because they are stressed out.How can you tell if your ball python is stressed?Signs of stress may include hiding its head when being handled, being overly active during the day, and refusing to eat.If your ball python is showing signs of stress, you’ll need to figure out why it’s stressed to address the problem.Common causes of stress include handling your snake too often (aim for no more than 1-4 times a week and never more than once per day), handling during problematic times (like right after feeding or during the shedding process), being in an enclosure with other snakes, new enclosures, and transportation to a new home.

Changes in Food

Ball pythons are often picky eaters, and changing up their prey can often cause them to stop eating.Small things like the size, smell, type, or color of prey can often turn ball pythons away.Other factors like whether it’s offered alive or freshly killed or frozen and then thawed will affect your snake’s appetite.If your snake is refusing to eat after switching up its food, you may consider going back to the original feeding routine, or just be patient and let your snake adjust to its new prey.

Intestinal Parasites

Another reason your ball python may not be eating could be because it has intestinal parasites like pinworms or coccidia.Intestinal parasites can cause ball pythons to feel sick and may even stunt their growth and prevent weight gain.It is recommended to have an annual fecal examination to help discover and treat possible intestinal parasites growing in your snake.

Same Kind of Prey

First, if you recently brought your ball python home and it’s refusing to eat, you may want to find out what types of prey it was eating in its previous home.As we mentioned before, ball pythons are very picky eaters. If their food is different than what they’re accustomed to, they may refuse it.So do a little research and find out what the previous owners, breeders, or pet store were offering your snake (plus find out whether it was offered live, freshly killed, or thawed).If you give it the prey it’s been accustomed to; it will start eating again.

Warm Up the Prey

Second, if you’re offering pre-killed prey, make sure it’s warm before offering it to your ball python.One way to warm up prey is to place it in hot water for a few minutes before giving it to your snake.

Cut Up the Prey

Although cutting up prey isn’t a very pleasant task, it may help your ball python’s appetite.How? By cutting the prey, you’re enticing your snake’s appetite with the scent of fresh blood.You may even use long snake feeder tongs to dangle the prey in front of your snake.

Soak the Prey

Another trick is to soak the pre-killed prey in warm chicken broth (just make sure it’s low or no-sodium).This adds an appealing scent to the prey, further enticing your snake to eat.

See the Vet

If you’ve tried the above tricks, but your ball python still won’t eat, you’ll need to get him checked out by a reptile or exotic pet veterinarian.Depending on your snake’s age, condition, and the amount of time your snake has gone without eating, your vet may prescribe force-feeding.