Before coming up with a solution to the problem “why is my snake not eating” you must first establish the probable causes. Below are some common ones:
Snakes which have been introduced to a new environment will habitually take a while to correctly adjust & consequently turn down food for several weeks. This is usually considered the norm, so before worrying about its eating habits, ensure you give it a couple of weeks to become comfortable in its new surroundings. Some snakes may need even longer, such as Royal Pythons which can need a month or more to settle in before happily feeding. Whilst in this stage of settling it is recommended to upset you snake as little as possible.
Often the cause of a snake not in taking food is when it is nearing a shed. It is common for snakes to lose their appetite so to speak when it’s getting close to shedding their skin. A notable sign of an imminent slough is the eye colouration taking on a milky dull colour. There are several theories as to why snakes decline food around sloughing; one being that shedding is a traumatic and uncertain experience for snakes, so they are usually quite sluggish and in no mood for food. Another theory so as to why snakes tend to go off their food when sloughing is the apparent milkiness which supposedly shrouds their eyes obscuring the vision making it hard for them to make out their food and surroundings clearly, which hinders snakes feeding.
With their incapability to talk to us, it is usually tricky for a beginner to spot when a snake is ill or in discomfort. One of the initial signs of dilemma is when the husbandry is right, is a snake that avoids food. Believe this to be an obvious warning signal that something is not right. Snakes have a nature of gluttony and would more than often overeat themselves to death, given the chance.
How to get your snake to eat:
- 1. Is the prey too big for the snake to consume?
There is a well known rule of thumb that majority of people use when it comes to a snake’s food. The prey cannot bigger than the snake’s widest point, which are usually the back hips. A snake can, and most certainly will eat a serving of food bigger than that, but in doing so internal injuries can be inflicted to the snake. If the meal is overly large the snake will not even try to consume it. So when feeding your snake keep in mind this rule of thumb, it could be a simple and easily fixable issue such as this preventing your snake from eating.
- 2. Have you considered its Natural cues?
Some reptiles in the wild are actually cued to eat. So when something environmental takes place such as rain they then recognize it is time to eat, so a solution to this could be to simply spray the snake with water before feeding. Research is recommended to find out if your snake has natural cues that encourage it to eat and find out what they are.Additionally nocturnal snakes will prefer to eat during the course of the night.
- 3. Not on the menu?
Occasionally, snakes are not at all interested in the meal you have provided for them. Snakes have been known to not eat something it what you are offering is not its preferred meal.
Yes, this can be a big inconvenience, even expensive for you if you’re having to provide what the snake feels like every time, but there is a solution to this, you can trick them into thinking they are actually getting the meal of their choice by scenting the prey. An example of this is placing a rat into something like a chicken broth which could trick the senses of something like a tree snake which commonly eat birds when in the wild.
- 4. Is your snake Insecure?
As you may know, baby snakes are preyed upon when out in the wild. So as you can imagine baby snakes are known to be insecure, that is why you must ensure your snake is comfortable in its surroundings. Maybe you’ve gone a bit O.T.T on the cage you just bought. It may have big bright lights and a big ceramic hiding place, but you must consider the snake’s needs, not how good it looks visually. A proper hiding place could make all the difference and result in it feeling comfortable enough to eat again.
- 5. Is the temperature right?
Time and time again novice snake handlers ignore this important factor. A snake which is at the wrong temperature will not want to eat. Do your research, read up on the specie, and seek reliable advice.