No, snakes do not eat plants, fruits, or vegetables. In fact, they wouldn’t even eat a plant if it was fed to them in a cage. They don’t see plants or plant-based matter as a food source. Furthermore, their digestive systems would likely be unable to cope with large amounts of plant fibers.
On some occasions, they may swallow plants because they eat plant-eating animals such as rabbits. As such, the snake also swallows the undigested plant in the prey’s body. However, snakes will never deliberately eat plants on their own.
Can You feed a Pet Snake Plants?
As most pet owners can attest, snakes are incredibly fussy eaters.
In fact, snake owners often come across snakes who won’t even eat frozen mice that are fed to them! They seem to enjoy the thrill of eating live animals.
So, if a snake owner were to try to feed a snake a plant, chances are it will not react at all! It will leave the plant to lie in their cage, never giving a thought to consuming it!
A snake is likely to starve itself before it even looks at a branch or leaf as food.
If a snake is not eating foods commonly in their diet, such as mice, it may be because the snake wants more variety or the thrill of the chase. After consulting a vet, you may consider feeding the snake a new food to see if it takes, such as:
- Live Rodents – While many pet stores refuse to sell live rodents for snakes, sometimes it’s the only way the snake will eat. Snakes like the wriggling motion and it stimulates their desire to eat.
- Frogs – Sometimes, a snake that’s been fed mice for a long time may suddenly get sick of mice and want something else. Sometimes, frogs are a good alternative. Again, consult a vet before changing your snake’s diet.
Do Snakes eat Fruits and Vegetables?
No, snakes do not eat fruits and vegetables. People who care for snakes should not attempt to feed fruits and vegetables to snakes as they won’t eat it, but it could also be unhealthy for the snake.
Snakes won’t eat any fruits or vegetables including. This includes carrot, apple, orange, banana, fruit scraps, lettuce, cabbage, or lettuce. The snake will ignore all these foods.
Snakes do not have the gut bacteria that can process or digest the sugars in the fruit. In the wild, snakes will never eat fruit. They will do the same in captivity, or the snake may fall ill.
It is difficult to say what would happen to a snake that eats plants or fruits. They will not eat it, even in a cage. They would rather starve or just drink water. It is never a good idea to experiment if snakes will eat plants.
Similarly, feeding juice to a snake is a bad idea because the sugars in the juice would be foreign to the snake’s gut and likely make it feel sick.
If a snake cannot digest something, the snake will either regurgitate it or just pass it out as fecal matter, but it’s worth taking the snake to a vet if it appears ill after eating fruit, vegetables, or plant matter.
Why Don’t Snakes Eat Plants?
Snakes have evolved to not see plants as prey. They will therefore never look at a plant and decide to consume it.
Snakes have very simplistic ways of looking at things. They see larger animals (including humans) and instantly assume they are predators and run. They see smaller animals and assume they are prey and attack.
And similarly, they will see plants and not think about food. They may, however, see the plant as a shelter to hide, or in the case of foliage, an opportune place to lay eggs.
But the plants won’t be seen as food.
Snakes identify prey in two ways. Through seeing their motion and sensing their heat.
They know the scuttle of a rat or mouse and the flicking of a fish as motions of their food. Because snakes don’t have great eyesight, it’s actually those motions that is a large part of what a snake relies on to know what to eat.
Snake handlers are often bitten on the hand and fingers when snakes mistake those hands and fingers for prey. They movement and fluttering of fingers can occasionally look like prey.
But, trees don’t move in unpredictable darting motions like prey. So, they’re not identified as food.
The second way of identifying prey is through heat sensor. Many snakes actually have heat sensors on their face called ‘pit organs’.
Pit organs, noticeable on pythons and vipers, allow snakes to see the heat radiating from animals. They won’t have a complex image of the snake, but they’ll see enough to notice the hot, moving blob scuttling in front of them as prey!
The pit organ can usually act as a heat sensor for up to a meter in front of the snake’s face.
But plants don’t emit heat at body temperature like humans do. So, snakes that identify prey through heat also do not recognize plants as prey.
Will Snakes Die if they Eat Plants?
There is no recorded case for snakes dying from consumption of plants. However, it is not unusual for some snakes to have plants in their gut. Some snakes may eat plants “thinking” that it is meat.
What commonly happens is that the snakes eat rodents or other herbivores. The unprocessed plant in the prey also gets in the snake’s gut.
There may also be occurrences when a snake eats a plant that smells like fish. Likely, the smell of the plant made the snake think it were meat.
Will Plants or Compost in my Yard Attract Snakes?
Generally, plants and compost in your yard will not be considered food to a snake. However, compost may be seen as a warm and moist location for a snake to lay its eggs. Furthermore, plants in a garden act as a great habitat for many animals that snakes hunt.
So, plants and compost piles in your yard may attract snakes, but not because the snake wants to eat them. Instead, they act as good environments for snakes to hunt and lay eggs.
Snakes do not eat plants, fruits or vegetables. They evolved from a long line of terrestrial lizards who, similarly, did not eat any plants. Even pet snakes will never eat plants. Sometimes, they may get plant matter in their gut because of the herbivore prey they ate, but this is consumed unintentionally.
Furthermore, intentionally feeding a snake plants, fruits, or vegetables, may make it sick because they haven’t got a digestive system designed for fibers from plants. So, it’s not a good idea to try to force plants upon snakes.