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Do Snakes Eat Grass? (Why Snakes Can’t Eat Grass)

No, snakes do not eat grass. All snakes are carnivores, and their digestive systems cannot process plants. 

A snake moving through some long grass

Therefore, if they ever have plants in their stomach, it is because they have fully digested the herbivore that they ate. 

Snakes eat almost anything except plant-based foods. They thrive in many environments, and their diets depend on what their habitats offer. No matter where they live, they do not eat grass or any plant. 

Do Grass Snakes eat Grass?

No, grass snakes do not eat grass. They eat animals like mice and rats. They have that name because, like other snakes, the humans who named them associated their habitats with the names. 

A grass snake is sometimes called a ringed snake because it has a band of color around its neck. In some areas, people call them the water snake. They live in places close to freshwater, and they almost exclusively eat amphibians only. 

The grass snake has ten subspecies, and none of them eats grass. All the subspecies are non-venomous, and they are great to have on a farm. They eat toads. In captivity, they would only eat live prey. Many pet owners have observed that they do not like to eat dead prey items.

A garden snake hanging from some leaves

Related Article: Do Snakes Eat Lizards?

Do Snakes eat Plants?

No, snakes do not eat plants. They only eat meat. As obligate carnivores, snakes have a diet of small to medium-sized mammals. 

Some snakes eat worms and insects, especially so if they are young. There are snakes that feed on fish and snakes that mainly eat other snakes, like the king cobra. The eating habit of a snake is largely dependent on its habitat. 

Snakes do not eat fruits and vegetables either. This is because the snakes do not have the proper bacteria in their tummies to digest plant material. 

With omnivores and herbivores, the stomach has the proper gut bacteria that can digest both fiber and fruit sugars. 

Read More: Can Snakes Eat Berries?

Do Garden Snakes Eat Grass?

Garden snakes, despite their names, do not eat plants in the garden. It is a type of snake that belongs to the garter family. They are common in North America, and there is a pervasive myth that they eat plants. 

Garden snakes like to stay in gardens if there is a thriving ecology. Since there are plants in gardens, there are also insects. The insects attract grasshoppers and frogs, and snakes come around because of these animals. 

The diet of garden snakes comprises several animals. Below are some examples: 

  • Grasshoppers
  • Slugs
  • Insects
  • Grubs
  • Mice
  • Frogs and toads
  • Salamanders
  • Earthworms

Garden snakes do not eat grass or plant life in the garden, but they certainly help keep the garden safe from pests.

Related Article: All 10 Snakes That Rattle

What Do Snakes Eat Instead of Grass?

Snakes eat all kinds of meat. Below is a list of the most common food they eat. 

1. Rats and Mice

It is rare for snakes not to eat a mouse. Be it in the rainforest, wetlands, or urban areas, snakes will gladly take on any rodent, including mice and rats, however, rats and larger rodents can fight back, so snakes have to be careful. 

In the wild, the most common video that people will see is a snake attacking a rat. Snakes have learned to live with this diet because rats multiply so fast. As such, there is an abundant supply.  

A snake holding a mouse in its mouth
Snakes commonly feed on mice and rats

Related Article: Do Snakes Drink Milk?

2. Frogs and Toads

Snakes that live in rainforests and wetlands eat frogs and toads. However, not all toads are part of the menu. Some toads are poisonous, and some are even poisonous enough to kill a snake. An excellent example of this is the cane toad. 

However, the keelback snake has developed partial immunity to the cane toad’s poison. They can eat small ones, however, the snake is still no match for the potent poison of a large cane toad.

3. Other Snakes

The two most popular snakes that eat others is the king cobra and the king snake. They primarily feed on other snakes, even poisonous ones.  

The king snake is not a cobra but a colubrid. Milk snakes are part of this species, and they are non-venomous. Kingsnakes are what scientists call ophiophagous in diet, which means that they eat snakes. 

Related Article: Does Salt Keep Away Snakes?

4. Insects and Worms

Snakes are small after they hatch. Those who were born are also small. As such, they have no choice but to eat small animals. Baby snakes eat worms and insects. As they mature, they move on to bigger prey. 

Read Also: Do Snakes Eat Berries?

5. Fish and other Aquatic Animals 

Some snakes live in the sea, and they primarily hunt fish, crabs, and eels. On land, some snakes live closes to bodies of water. These snakes are semi-aquatic. 

Read More: Do Snakes Eat Fish?

As semi-aquatic snakes, they are good swimmers, and they hunt fish. Some eat frogs and tadpoles. Two of the most notorious semi-aquatic snakes are the python and anaconda. Some of them hunt caimans and alligators. 

Snakes in captivity need meat to survive. Pet owners are always advised to feed the rats and mice as they have most of the snakes’ needed nutritional value. 

Why Do Snakes Not Eat Grass? 

Most carnivores evolved to have short intestines, like snakes. As such, they cannot process or break down cellulose into something useful. As a result, animals forced to eat plants will die of hunger.

Meat is food that has high protein and energy. Plants are low both of them, so carnivores evolved to eat meat only. On the other hand, herbivores evolved that way because that is what they have in their environment.

Summary: Do Snakes Eat Grass?

Snakes are obligate carnivores. They only eat meat. The kind of animal they hunt varies, and they depend on what their habitat provides them. Some semi-aquatic snakes even hunt fish, and the big ones like anacondas and pythons eat deer and capybara.

Despite getting monikers like corn snake, grass snake, and gardener snake, snakes do not eat grass. People call them that way because they tend to hang out in such places. 

All snakes are carnivores, with different hunting strategies and preferred hunting times. Some are ambush predators, and some are attackers. However, all of them need meat to survive.

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