Owning a pet snake comes with its own range of considerations. Diet is an important one. You may be have questions regarding what they can and cannot eat. But what about fruit? Where does this fall; is it safe and healthy for a snake to consume it? I decided to conduct some research into the topic. I’ll be sharing that with you here today.
So, do snakes eat fruit? Snakes do not, nor should not eat fruit. Snakes are strict carnivores and do not have the necessary microbes in their gut to process and break down the fiber and sugars found in fruit. This reptile’s gut system cannot support plant-eating behavior, so you should avoid feeding fruit at all costs.
Most reptiles are carnivorous; however, some species can eat plants. Crocodiles occasionally feed on fruits, and aquatic iguanas enjoy eating algae. Snakes, on the other hand, are one of the few animals that eat a strictly meat-based diet.
Snakes are predatorial animals and enjoy hunting after their prey; they get great satisfaction from hunting. Some species prefer to eat fish over a mouse, but all in all, you won’t ever see these animals looking for sweet berries in the wild.
Let us now take a closer look as to why snakes do not pursue fruit, and why it is not a good idea to feed it if you own a pet snake. Then, we will take a look at what a snake should be eating so be sure to read until there end. You’ll be surprised as to what you learn!
Can Snakes Eat Fruit?
We know that snakes instinctively do not eat fruit; they seem to enjoy hunting, killing, and eating live prey. These serpents are dedicated meat-eaters; studies (1,2,3) show that their gut system does not support a plant-based diet; this includes fruit.
Herbivorous animals can break down the plants they consume; they have the required enzymes in their gut to process fruits and vegetables.
The reason why they have the necessary microbes to break down plants is through their adaptation and socialization habits. These animals tend to stick close by to their kin, and they introduce bacteria to one another through touch and their feces.
Not only this, but these kind of animals have a specific digestive system capable of extracting such nutrients. In fact, herbivores have a longer gut is necessary because plant material is more difficult to digest than animal material.
Interestingly, scientists studying snakes have discovered plants and vegetables with the stomachs of snakes. This would seem out of character for these reptiles, but swallowing plants is purely accidental.
Snakes can ingest plant matter by mistake whilst eating prey whole and some plants are known to smell like meat or fish, confusing the snake into consuming it.
Other times, small amounts of plant matter may be inside the prey in which the snake consumes.
Nonetheless, and in each context, not much plant matter is ever eaten nor is inside the snake at any one time.
Snakes cannot eat fruit or vegetables in larger amounts; it is not in their nature to do so.
Are There Vegetarian Snakes?
No, there are no vegetarian snakes, none exist.
All snakes eat meat, some species consume warm-blooded prey (like rabbits, birds, and rodents), whereas others eat frogs, toads, insects, fish, worms, slugs, eggs, and other reptiles. These serpents don’t take dainty little bites- they swallow their prey whole!
The typical diet of many pet snakes includes prey like rats, mice, hamsters, and gerbils. If you own a bigger snake, you will have to feed whole rabbits to your pet. Many owners have an issue with feeding whole animals to their snakes, so these are therefore less commonly owned.
Watching your slithery companion eat whole animals may not make for the most pleasant viewing, but eating this way is nutritionally complete; it avoids many of the dietary-related illnesses commonly found in other reptiles.
That being said, snakes in captivity shouldn’t eat live animals, instead, train them to eat dead animals. Dead and frozen prey is commercially available, and you can thaw it and feed it to your snake.
What Kind Of Food Do Snakes Eat?
As previously discussed, some snake species eat warm-blooded animals, whereas others prefer to eat insects, amphibians, and eggs.
Let’s look at the diets of five most widely kept species of snakes, to get a better understanding of their feeding habits:
King Snakes Eat
All king snakes make excellent pets, but the most popular type is the California King Snake.
They are non-venomous constrictors that are only about ten inches as infants. As these snakes grow, they can reach a length of 3 to 4 feet.
In captivity, these snakes eat rodents, but owners are advised to feed freshly killed rodents as opposed to living rodents to their pets.
Ball Pythons Eat
This snake is widely praised among snake owners and the most popular pet species. The reason why they are popular is due to their shy and docile nature. These snakes are constrictors and non-venomous.
In the wild, these snakes wrap their bodies their prey and suffocate them to death.
In captivity, ball pythons require a diet of rodents like mice and rats, pre-killed is best. Feed these snakes every one or two weeks.
There are times in the year when ball pythons do not eat; this is normal; monitor your snake’s well-being and appearance.
Boa Constrictors Eat
The Boa Constrictor can reach an incredible length ranging between 5 to 10 feet, and they easily weigh up to 60 pounds.
If you are planning to own a Boa, you must plan how you will care for this breed. Despite their intimidating size, these snakes are very docile.
When you first bring your Boa home, you must allow it time to acclimate to your home, do not attempt to feed it during this period of acclimation. Feed your Boa Constrictor, a diet of quality mice and rats of the right size.
Corn Snakes Eat
Despite being named corn snakes, these serpents do not eat corn; they are given this name due to the pattern on their belly resembling corn kernels.
Corn snakes are not venomous but constrict the prey they hunt.
These snakes have a more varied diet. The infants can eat baby mice, as well as lizards and small frogs. Adult corn snakes eat birds and their eggs.
Mice are the most popular food to give pet corn snakes. Adults must eat once every seven to ten days.
Milk Snakes Eat
These snakes eat mice and rats in proportion to their size.
Do not feed animals that are bigger than the widest part of your milk snake. If animals are bigger, these snakes will struggle to digest their food correctly.
Young milk snakes must eat once every five days, whereas adult milk snakes must eat once every ten days.
Remarkably, snakes are perhaps the only reptile without a herbivorous species.
So back to our original question as to whether snakes eat fruit; we know for sure, they do not nor should not.
As an owner, do not attempt to give any species of snake fruit, it will not do them any good and in fact, can be dangerous to do so.
Snakes eat meat; they need meat and only meat.
In the wild, serpents devour their prey alive and whole.
In captivity, you must not feed live animals as snakes could be harmed dead and frozen animals are available commercially and are suitable for your pet’s nutritional needs.
While most of us can’t resist a sweet apple or pear, and many animals love to eat fruit, snakes are just one of those species of animal that simply can’t. They have no natural instinct to do so anyway so do not fear that they are missing out!
Snakes cannot nor should not eat apples. They are not naturally inclined to want to consume apples, nor do they have the digestive capabilities in order to effectively do so.
There are no species of snake that eat plant matter or material. All species of snake are strictly carnivorous.
Are you wondering what else snakes do and can eat? Then check out my other guides below:
- Do Snakes Drink Milk? [Do Mother Snakes Even Produce It?]
- Do Snakes Eat Fish? [Can They, Would & Should They Eat Them?]
- Can Snakes Eat Eggs? [The Answer Will Surprise You!]
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.