You may be wondering what to feed your pet snake, does it have to be mice or can it be eggs? Movies and other popular media depict snakes swallowing several eggs, so could your snake also be interested in a nice chicken egg? I was curious and did some digging to answer that question.
Can pet snakes eat eggs? Many popular pet snakes will eat eggs in their regular diet of rodents, birds, insects, and other creatures. Some snakes like the East African egg-eating snake consume nothing but eggs, while other snakes like pythons and rattlesnakes cannot digest them.
I was shocked to learn that while some snakes can eat eggs and be fine other snakes will die if they try to eat an egg. Since it’s vital to know if your snake is able to handle an egg with ease, we will cover everything you need to know throughout this article.
ind of Snakes Cannot Eat Eggs?
The only two snakes in captivity that will eat eggs are the African egg-eating snake and the Indian egg eater.
Although other snakes can eat eggs it is imperative that these two types of snakes do eat this alternative form of protein. The African egg-eating snake is far more available to find as a pet and is very easy to handle.
Most all snakes eat insects and rodents and an occasional egg if they are big enough. Few snakes live on an egg-only diet. I suggest looking up the recommended diet for your particular snake. Note that some snakes like the black rat snake will search for other forms of food before resorting to a bird egg.
Boas, Pythons, and Rattlesnakes cannot eat eggs at all.
They are carnivorous and will only eat live or pre-killed animals. Also, if one of these snakes were to eat an egg, they would try to regurgitate it and if unable to spit it out, die. Why? The anatomy in their spinal system simply isn’t adapt to allow for eggs to pass through and be digested.
Understanding why some snakes can eat eggs and why others absolutely cannot eat eggs can be very confusing. It then becomes helpful to know the digestive processes of the different types of snakes so you can better understand how to treat and feed your snake.
How do Snakes Eat Eggs?
Snakes never chew their food but rather swallow their prey whole and let it’s digestive juices dissolve the meal. With a protective shell layer that is hard to dissolve, the process would be lengthened considerably, leaving that egg to sit. This is crucial as most snakes will limit movement or go inactive as they process their meal and digest.
What happens inside snakes who can digest eggs is that instead of just waiting for the egg to be digested by stomach acid is that as the egg travels down the body of the snake, the vertebral hypophysis, or a spiky part of the vertebrae sticks out and pierces the egg. This is not present in those snakes that cannot digest eggs.
ind of Eggs do Snakes Eat?
An average snake in the wild will often devour bird or even other snake eggs. These eggs vary in size usually quail eggs and smaller.
It’s generally safe to give your pet snake these type of eggs. However, in the cases of the largest adult, your snake may be capable of even the grade A egg you may be used to seeing at the grocery store!
Some stores sell jumbo quail eggs so be careful to check for the appropriate sized egg for your snake.
On the other side of the spectrum, the smallest snake alive, the Thread Snake could fit on a quarter and eats primarily ant and centipede eggs (pupae).
How often do snakes lay eggs? Many species of snakes do not lay eggs but among the snakes that lay eggs, most will lay 1 clutch (liter) of eggs per year typically around early summer. Some species can lay up to 3 clutches a year. Common pet varieties can be expected to lay 2-3 eggs per clutch.
Can I eat a snake egg? While it might be an acquired taste (yuck), snake eggs are safe to eat so long as they are cooked like bird eggs. Even eggs that come from a venomous snake will be fine. The venom is not harmful at this embryo stage and will be digested as a protein.
How often do snakes eat? Younger and smaller snakes will eat twice a week on average while larger snakes will go a week or every other week before a meal. Snakes, in general, have a great control of their metabolism and can bring the rate lower in times of survival.