Have you always been fascinated by snakes, but you weren’t sure if you could feed your slippery mate a live mouse or a rodent?
You may own mice or rodents and cannot bear the thought of feeding your furry animals to your potential future snake. As a vegan or vegetarian, you may prefer a pet that meets your diet and wants to avoid feeding live animals to your companion.
Remember that all snakes are carnivores and cannot survive as vegetarians. Fortunately, there are some snakes that can only survive from invertebrates, but that still doesn’t make them truly vegetarian reptiles.
If your heart is focused on owning a snake, but you’d rather avoid the bad business of feeding live prey or keeping rodents in your home, you’re in luck!
Since all snakes eat whole prey, there are not many snakes that can thrive without a vertebrate diet. However, some species are perfect for potential snake owners who don’t want to deal with live prey.
Oddly enough, some people are less squeamish when dealing with a snake than mice, which makes the following snake types ideal.
While there are many species of snakes that do not need to eat birds or small mammals, only a few are available in captivity as they may be difficult to maintain.
Although not many are available to choose from as pets, some of the listed snakes are suitable for beginners. If you’ve been looking for a snake that doesn’t need mice or rodents to survive, read on to find the best snake species for your needs.
Garter and ribbon snakes
The eastern garter snake can be seen below and to the right. Above and to the left is the Northern Ribbon Snake. source
Garter snakes are a common snake species and may be as easy to find as checking out in your own garden.
With more than a dozen different types of garter snake, they all have one important distinguishing feature: one or three red to yellow stripes with checkered color spots in between.
On the smaller side, they rarely measure more than 39 inches and are fairly harmless, even when treated as wild snakes.
Ribbon snakes are in the same class as garter snakes, and these types are often confused, but ribbon snakes tend to be more striped.
Other important differences between the two types are:
- Garter snake bodies are usually more stocky than ribbon snakes
- Ribbon snake tails are longer and make up a third or more of their total length, while garter snake tails make up about a quarter or less of their total length
- Band snakes have narrower heads
- Tape snakes have a white spot in front of their eyes; Garter snakes have none
- Ribbon snakes have pure white lips, while garter snakes have dark spots
Garter snakes are a smaller class of snake, but they will still tackle anything they can win by chasing a meal. But this prey is good for reptile owners who prefer to avoid feeding mammals.
Garter & ribbon snake diet
As they eat rodents, they also feed on anything that doesn’t trigger a major fight. For this reason, your diet is very varied and can contain the following menu items:
Garter snakes mainly enjoy insects, earthworms and amphibians. Be sure to cut night crawlers into small pieces, as these muscular worms can contract if they remain intact.
Ribbon snakes usually do not eat earthworms and enjoy minnows and small frogs more than other invertebrates.
Frogs, toads and tadpoles usually contain many parasites, as does earthworms. So be careful when choosing your snake’s diet.
Never feed your garter snake with red wobbly, as they are poisonous and goldfish are considered fish junk food.
If you choose a garter or a snake as a pet, you can feed your scaly invertebrates, but make sure the diet is well rounded and consists of more than one food source for proper nutrition.
A diet rich in earthworms or fish needs to be supplemented to ensure that your snake is not lacking essential minerals or vitamins.
Common water snake of the genus Natrix
A water snake is a good choice for a pet snake that doesn’t eat rodents.
Because this particular class of snake has absorbed life in the water well, they have adapted to mainly consume prey that also live near a water source.
Water snakes eat in or near the water and some only leave aquatic environments to bask in the sun or brood.
Water snakes are easily recognized by their triangular heads, their strong bodies and their keel scales.
Since there are many types of water snakes, their markings and body lengths can vary considerably. Some snakes may only reach one or two feet, while others may be twice or three times as long.
In terms of temperament, many water snakes tend to be more aggressive than the others on this list, but they can adapt to handling.
Water snake diet
The most common prey of water snakes is fish and frogs, but you can also feed them insects and worms.
As with garter and ribbon snakes, be careful with your frog source, as amphibians are hosts to a variety of hard-to-kill parasites.
Snakes that are fed fish and frogs also need a supplement to ensure a balanced diet.
African egg-eating snakes
African egg-eating snakes are rather rare pets, especially when compared to garter snakes. However, if you find one bred in captivity, they are easy to care for and are great pets.
The African egg-eating snake is non-poisonous, docile and essentially toothless and can be a wonderful pet for you.
African egg eating snake diet
These snakes only eat bird eggs and are specially designed for them. In fact, her mouth can stretch to enormous proportions and her teeth are greatly reduced in size to fit an egg the size of a chicken in the esophagus!
Spines on the underside of the cervical vertebrae extend into the esophagus and break the eggshell. The contents of the egg are pressed out of the shell and the shell pieces are vomited again.
African egg-eating snakes eat bird eggs, so they are mainly tree-covered and can fast between the breeding seasons of the birds.
All egg-eating snake varieties are slim and about 30 inches long, making them great little pets.
Since these snakes are rather small, it can be difficult to find bird eggs to eat as babies.
Finch and quail eggs are ideal for juvenile egg-eating snakes, and adult snakes can usually handle chicken eggs.
How to choose the best snake for you
When buying a pet snake that doesn’t eat mice, keep one important factor in mind: check if the snake has been trained to eat prey other than rodents.
Not all snakes adapt well to an abrupt change in diet, even though they’re on the list of snakes that don’t need to eat rodents.
Another important key is the frequency of feeding.
If you replace invertebrates, fish, eggs, or rodents, your snake will need a different feeding schedule to maintain proper body condition.
Calcium supplements are likely to be dependent on your snake’s diet, along with a multivitamin to ensure proper nutrition.
No matter why you choose not to feed snakes with rodents, there are options for pet snakes.
With a balanced diet and supplements, your slippery buddy can live on an invertebrate diet and be a great companion.