Not all snakes are venomous monsters. And not all snakes have to eat rodents. The common perception of snakes, pet snakes in particular, is precisely the opposite.
Lots of people have this idea in their mind that all pet snakes are aggressive predators that must eat rodents, birds, and other small prey. But this is not always the case.
As you will learn in this article, there are a few types of snakes that don t eat mice. So if you are feeling squeamish or inhumane about feeding a pet snake rodents, luckily, you have some options to choose from. Let’s dive in to it.
Do all snakes have to eat mice?
While all snakes are carnivores, not all snakes have to eat mice. Their specific diet depends on the species.
Most snakes eat warm-blooded prey, such as rodents, rabbits, birds, while some species eat insects, amphibians (frogs or toads), eggs, fish, earthworms, slugs, and other reptiles.
However, the most popular species of pet snakes usually eat warm-blooded prey such as mice, rats, gerbils, and hamsters. Furthermore, all species of snakes eat whole prey. So before we dive into the different types of snakes that don’t eat rodents, it’s important to ask yourself if a snake is the right pet for you. If you are squeamish about potentially feeding mice to your pet snake, you may also not like feeding it other alternatives, such as eggs, insects, frogs, or fish.
Are there vegetarian snakes?
While the snake diet varies depending on the type of species, all snakes are carnivores. This means that there are no vegetarian snakes. Even more, snakes are what’s known as “obligate carnivore,” meaning that they require meat in their diet in order to survive.
Unfortunately, many pet snake owners ignore this fact for a variety of reasons, whether it be to save money or because they feel squeamish or inhumane about feeding the snake any type of living creature. In these cases, these owners incorrectly and dangerously feed their snakes vegetarian diets. I say dangerously because feeding your snake a vegetarian diet goes against their dietary requirements they need to survive. In the most severe situations, your snake could die from lack of nutrimental requirements.
So please be mindful! There is no situation in which a vegetarian diet is suitable for any species of snake. If you are looking for a pet that can survive off of a vegetarian diet, a snake is not for you. Perhaps a pet fish, bird, rabbit, cat, or dog is the right fit companion for you.
Snakes that don’t eat mice
For the people who only oppose feeding snakes warm-blooded prey, including mice, birds, and other rodents, you’re best bet is to get a snake that lives off of cold-blooded prey. And there are thousands of species of these types of snakes.
However, while there are plenty types of snakes in the world that eat cold-blooded prey, very few of them are available to get as pets because they are either so difficult to care for or because they are not captured for captivity. The following species listed below are the ones that are readily available.
Garter Snakes/Ribbon Snakes
The Garter snake and Ribbon snake are excellent choices for those who prefer smaller snakes—they typically measure between 18 and 26 inches long (and up to 42 inches).
Ribbon snakes are native to Eastern North America and are in the same class as Garter snakes. In fact, Ribbon snakes are commonly confused with Garter snakes, for they look quite similar. However, there are several features of their appearances that can help us differentiate the two.
Ribbon snakes are typically more slender, and unlike Garter snakes, they have a plain yellowish belly, and keeled scales. Ribbon snakes also generally have brighter stripes than Garter snakes and have longer tails (can make up 1/3 of their body length). A Garter snake’s tail is only about 1/4 of its total body length.
Regarding their diet, both Ribbon and Garter snakes do eat rodents, but they also eat cold-blooded animals, such as frogs, insects, earthworms, snails, fish, and slugs. If you want to feed your Ribbon/Garter snake cold-blooded animals, make sure you feed them a varied diet to ensure they remain healthy and happy.
Also note that if you feed your Ribbon or Garter snakes a diet containing mostly fish or earthworms, make sure you add a supplement to provide additional nutrition. And don’t feed your Ribbon or Garter snakes red wigglers. They are toxic!
New England homeowners who come across snakes in their yard or rural town land typically come a Garter snake or Ribbon snakes. It’s more common to see a Garter snake, but the average person will fail to identify which one is which.
Rough Green Snakes
Rough Green snakes don’t eat rodents. Instead, they eat insects and critters.
These snake species have bright green backs, yellowish bellies, and live throughout North America. They also rarely bite! If they do bite (which happens on rare occasions), their bites are harmless as they are nonvenomous.
Rough Green snakes typically measure 36 inches in body length on average and rarely grow to be longer than 46 inches. The females tend to be both larger and longer than males.
As stated, Rough Green snakes feed on insects and vertebrates instead of warm-blooded eating snakes. Common insects they eat include crickets, caterpillars, spiders, and moths. They also eat some vertebrates, such as lizards and frogs.
It’s important to note that when feeding rough green snakes, you should not give them live feeders because it is not what they are used to in their natural, wild habitat. Feeding them too many live feeders can stress out them out and cause them to stop eating.
African Egg-Eating Snakes
The African Egg-Eating snake is a nonvenomous snake that exclusively eats eggs (hence the name). They are primarily found in wooded or forested areas in Africa.
The African Egg-Eating snake has a unique way of eating and digesting eggs as their primary source of food. Its mouth can open incredibly wide and its teeth are small enough allowing them to swallow chicken eggs whole.
African egg eating snakes are also on the smaller side, measuring about 30 inches in body length. Be aware that it can be difficult to find eggs small enough for a baby African Egg Eating snake to eat. In general, it’s best to feed the babies quail or finch eggs, while adults should be feed chicken eggs.
Also, it is not uncommon for these types of snakes to go months without eating after they’ve had a big meal. So don’t be alarmed if this happens. Just make sure that your snake is drinking lots of water and behaving normally. If your snake stops drinking consistently or stops behaving normally, you should immediately take them to your vet.
Water snakes don’t eat warm-blooded animals, but they also don’t make the best pet for beginners. This is because Water snakes can be pretty aggressive, and while some will adapt to being help in captivity, others won’t and will show their aggression.
Water snakes prefer to live near water (again, hence the name). For this reason, they don’t have many warm-blooded animals readily available, and so they have adapted to survive off of animals that live in their wet environment, such as frogs and fish.
There are several different Water snake species. As a result, their size and features can vary largely. Some Water snakes grow to be 1-2 feet in length, while others can be 2x or 3x that size.
Water snakes mostly eat frogs and fish in the wild, but you can also feed them insects and worms. If help in captivity, it’s best to feed them a diet of all of the above (frogs, fish, insects, and worms). If you choose to feed them solely (or mostly) fish or frogs, you should supplement their diet to meet all of their nutritional requirements.
Smooth Green Snakes
The Smooth Green snake has a green back and a yellowish stomach (similar to Rough Green snakes). Smooth Green snakes are also slender and smaller in size than Rough Green snakes, measuring about 14-20 inches in body length.
Also similar to Rough Green snakes, Smooth Greens are docile. When they feel threatened, they generally retreat, rather than become aggressive. In the rare case when a Smooth Green bites, it is a harmless bite as their teeth are not too sharp and they are nonvenomous.
Smooth greens typically eat a diet of insects and spiders. This includes worms, spineless caterpillars, slugs, beetle larvae, crickets, small roaches, and many more. Mice and other small rodents are not in their natural diet.
As with Rough Green snakes, Smooth Greens should be handled as little as possible. Being handled is stressful for them and if a snake becomes too stresses, he can become ill and stop eating.
Why is my snake not eating the mouse?
There are a few reasons why your snake may not be eating a mouse that have fed to him. The most common reason is that you overfeed your snake. If you feed your snake too much, he will just stare blankly at any food you give him until he becomes hungry again (at that point, the mouse may have gone bad and may need to be thrown out).
Also, it may be because you feed your snake live mice. DO NOT DO THIS! You should only feed your snake dead, thawed mice. A live mice can stress your snake and in rare cases attack and injury your snake.
What snakes are insectivores?
Green snakes are insectivores for their natural diet consists entirely of insects and worms. Therefore, they are a type of snake that doesn’t eat rodents or other warm-blooded animals.