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How to Add Variety to Your Snake's Diet | Zen Habitats

How to Add Variety to Your Snake's Diet | Zen Habitats

Beyond the Mouse: Spice Up Your Snake's Diet with Variety!

Is your pet snake stuck eating the same frozen mouse every meal? While mice can be a staple feeder for some species, offering a diverse diet can do wonders for a snake's health, mental state, and longevity. Let’s break down several options for adding variety into your snake’s diet!

1. Branch Out with Rodent Relatives: 

Mice aren't the only rodent in town! Explore alternative feeder rodent options like rats, gerbils, hamsters, and even guinea pigs for a change of pace. Remember to match prey size to your snake's girth to avoid digestive issues. Prey should be no wider than 1.5x the size of your snake’s largest girth. When in doubt, size down!

2. The Sky's the Limit! Try Feathered Options!: 

Many arboreal and semi-arboreal snakes often eat birds in the wild as a large part of their diet. Even terrestrial snakes may benefit from the occasional chick in their diet! Baby chickens (chicks) and quail (hatchlings or adults) can make a great addition to your snake’s mealtimes! 

3. Dive into the Fish: 

Aquatic snakes and some semi-aquatic species can benefit from the occasional fish. Frozen thawed minnows or cut up pieces of salmon, trout, or tilapia dusted with calcium and vitamin powder can be an enticing treat for some snakes! Species like garter snakes and hognose tend to take very well to the occasional fishy addition!

4. Crack Open an Egg-citing Option with Eggs!: 

Many snake species readily devour bird eggs by raiding bird’s nests, providing a nutritious calcium boost! Some species are even designed to swallow the egg whole and regurgitate the shell! Corn snakes and king snakes are known for breaking in and raiding chicken coops to snag their morning meal by stealing eggs! Species like cat snakes (boiga sp.) and African egg eating snakes are specialized nest raiders! In captivity, quail eggs are a popular choice to offer due to their size and availability. Finch and dove eggs may be more appropriate for smaller snakes if keepers can get their hands on them. Smaller pieces of soft boiled eggs dipped in yolk can also be offered to other species as an occasional treat. 

5. Introduce Insects: 

While not a complete meal replacement for many snakes, insects can make up a part of some snake’s diet. Snakes that eat insects are less commonly kept in the reptile hobby, such as Rough Green Snakes and Shovelnose Snakes. Ensure any insects offered are gut-loaded with nutritious foods and dusted with calcium powder for added nutrition.


  • Consult with your reptile savvy veterinarian for any potential concerns over your snake’s dietary requirements. 
  • Snakes should primarily receive entire, whole prey. Though variety is great, whole prey offers the most complete nutrition for your snake and should make up the majority of their diet to ensure they are receiving proper nutrients. 
  • Patience and Perseverance! It can be disheartening if your snake turns their nose up at a new prey option, but don’t beat yourself up over it! Snakes have different likes and dislikes, just like people. Just because your snake wasn’t interested in this type of prey today, doesn’t mean they’ll always refuse that type of prey, or that they’ll only ever eat mice/rats! Keep trying! Your snake will ideally live for a very long time, and you have plenty of time to try again!
  • Variety is key! Rotate different feeder types to prevent nutritional deficiencies and keep your snake engaged at mealtime and mentally interested in their surroundings.
  • Safety First Frozen thawed prey is ideal for pet snakes to avoid unnecessary risk of injury or death to the snake, and eliminate stress and suffering for the prey. If your snake only eats live prey, there are several ways to get them to switch to frozen thawed. Check out our article on Switching Your Snake From Live to Frozen Thawed Prey here!

Now that you have learned about how to make your snake’s mealtimes more interesting, what are you waiting for? Get out there and broaden your reptile's menu – they will thank you for it!

Want to learn more about enhancing your reptile’s life? Head over to check out our other articles and care guides here!

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