Your beloved pet snake is a delicate animal that requires very particular care. A very common question asked is whether snakes can become fat or overweight? Owners provide a variety of diets, however, it’s an understandable question as snakes don’t really exercise per say.
Can Snakes Get Fat?
Snakes by nature have an extremely slow metabolism hence why they don’t generally enjoy feeding as often as other predators. Incredibly, they can go for weeks to months without eating a single meal. These beautiful animals are ectothermic, meaning they don’t generate their own body heat. These fat reserves allow them to survive throughout the colder periods of the year through hibernation.
Despite the point, eating leads to some form of fat generation and it’s a common concern that your snake might seem to be growing. Within this article, we aim to demystify the phenomenon that is snake weight.
Is My Snake Underweight
Snakes can become underweight. Whilst this may be rare as a pet owner, we’re here to provide light on this topic.
Some argue that it’s difficult to see whether your snake is underweight, however, there are some clear signs. Inspect the spinal line on the back of your snake. If this line is highly visible this could indicate your snake is underfed. This line is the snake’s spine which is generally quite hard to see due to a layer of fat. If this is clearly visible we’d recommend increasing your snake’s eating consistency.
Snakes can be picky eaters such as humans can and have different taste palettes. We advise experimenting with different solid foods as you will find something on the menu your pet will love. Smaller pet snakes are generally happy with mice and as they grow progress onto rats, however, the problem isn’t always what they’re eating.
Providing your snake with a sense of thrill whilst feeding is an effective way of encouraging your pet to eat. As natural predators, it’s an instinct they possess and they like to exercise it. This transition would be to using live feed which could have amazing behavioral results for your snake.
Live feed may be more expensive but provides a much more authentic feeding experience, allowing your snake to utilize its natural strengths. Underweight snakes can become healthy but they just require time and adaptation to their needs.
How To Tell If My Snake Is Overweight?
We’ve discussed what can make your snake underweight but let’s classify whether your snake may need to cut a few pounds! There are various signs to help you self-diagnose your savvy serpent.
After eating, most serpents will have some space between their scales due to the pressure caused by the food being consumed. This is a normal process during a snake’s feeding, however, if this is the usual then you should be concerned that your pet is overweight. As a primary symptom, this is a sign of the stomach being stretched, which can also lead to stretch marks on your snake too.
As alarming as this may seem, this is a normal connotation of the snake’s weight gain and can be combated through the mediation of diet. A snake’s exterior should be firm rather than squishy and simply by feeling your snake, you can indicate whether it has excess fat or muscle.
A final, but an obvious sign is a fact that snakes can also develop ‘love-handles’. These are excess gatherings of fat that collect. When you feel your snake, you’ll feel a squishy fat excess which is a clear sign of it being overweight.
Ultimately, we can understand that it can be hard to spot certain signs. Some are subtle and require a deeper inspection or for you to know what you’re looking for. Combating these issues can be done with a few minor changes and you can get your snake healthier!
Preparing For Your Snake’s Changes
Taking care of your pet snake is about more than just diets and weights. Snakes are extremely delicate animals that require very precise care routines. To make this easier for yourself you need to accommodate to a few very important factors.
Snakes grow and sometimes we can underestimate how fast they do grow. A bigger serpent leads to the need for bigger facilities and this takes careful planning. A pet snake deserves ample space and we should consider how much space we require for a snake, not only when we get it but when it’s fully grown.
We’ve all heard of the story where a pet owner has to give away a pet because it ‘grew too big’. Planning for these growth changes will not only make the transition extremely easy but provide your pet with a stable environment. All of these intricate details affect your snake’s behavior which has a direct link to their eating habits as well.
We can understand that letting your snake exercise or free roam could be considered dangerous in certain households. Creating ‘Roam Zones’ is a way of establishing borders within your house where your snake can roam. Simply block off all and every access point you don’t want the snake to go through and you’re done! Double check to ensure everything is set and voila.
This allows your snake to roam freely and get the exercise it requires in a safe and secure manner. These techniques all boil down to careful preparation which will have a massive impact on the quality of your snake’s life.
Pet Snake Handling
Taking out your pet snake can be a daunting experience but with the right precautions, you’ll have nothing to worry about. The most important aspect of snake care within the household is knowing where your snake can go. Experiment with letting it out in smaller environments and slowly build up with the more confidence you get.
Keeping the snakes away from children is essential. This is not due to your snake being a menace but due to the children not properly knowing how to deal with them. Never let a child near a snake unguided. You’ll solve any major problems before they arise using this trick.
Respect the snake. We get that your friends are likely excited or scared by the snake but it’s alert of this energy within a room and will react to it accordingly. Keep in mind that it may not want to be shown around for extended periods of time and on some days it just may not be as happy as other days.
Finally, ensure you are always thinking one step ahead. Do you have to clean the enclosure? Where will the snake go? This is a mindset you’ll get used to having from experience. We’re sure you are and will become an even better pet owner!
Cleaning The Enclosure
Cleaning an enclosure can be messy work and without the right tools can be nearly impossible. We’re here to provide you with an insight into safely cleaning your snake’s enclosure to make this daunting task much easier.
Removing the serpent from the enclosure is the most important part of this process. We advise having a backup enclosure or temporary storage to house the snake whilst you clean. Once you’ve removed your snake let cleaning commence.
Hoovers have been used for a long time in enclosure cleaning, however, we tend to feel that the smell of snake excrement isn’t the best! A simple, cheap and accessible tool is a cat litter scooper. It’s a completely different context and I feel like I’d like to keep my cat away from my snake, however it works wonders.
Smells aren’t going to be the greatest but home remedies always work the best. White Vinegar and Dish Soap are two items you can combine to create a reptile-safe solution that smells great. The vinegar is amazing at clearing all of the hard grit and debris within the enclosure and the dish soap provides a smooth finish.
Be careful not to leave your snake out of its enclosure for too long. A switch of environment can lead snakes to feel distressed so making sure the cleaning process is quick and easy is mandatory.
Corn Snake Weight Chart
We launched a recent experiment to validate our information with a series of beautiful corn snakes. We fed a series of them different amounts of food to see whether their slow metabolism would react to increased feeding. The snakes had to eat the same amount of food at the same intervals each day for a few weeks with no changes.
After a series of 8 weeks of feeding, we came to the conclusion that the snakes which fed more grew substantially more. These metrics were in both weight and overall size, which shows that overeating in a snakes diet has a direct link to increased weight. Using this research, we can understand that the same concept will apply to your pet snake and if you’re feeding it too frequently weight gain will be normal.
The care of your snake is important and ensuring that you have a stable foundation will make caring for it easy. These are beautiful animals that have such character and are a pleasure to own but they require extra work. Don’t be intimidated by the challenges they bring, for the many they do, the more rewards you’ll receive!