While snakes and other reptiles have grown in popularity among pet owners across the United States, the vast majority of them are species that must eat only rodents or other small animal carcasses. Some people may be put off by the prospect of handling and supplying frozen and thawed mice and rats, or they may live in an area where purchasing them at their local pet store is not an option, or they may simply prefer not to do so for another reason.
The good news is that some snake species do not eat mice or rats and can thrive on other foods. This article will list five of them.
Brown Snake of DeKay
The DeKay’s brown snake (Storeria dekayi) is an eastern North American fossorial snake. These snakes are very small, only reaching a length of about eight inches, and are frequently misidentified as “baby copperheads” due to their cryptic brown patterns. They are frequently found in backyards, usually under leaf litter or cluttered items.
Despite being one of the most common snakes in their natural habitat, DeKay’s brown snakes are rarely kept as pets in the reptile community. As a result, little information about their husbandry and behavior is available, and captive-bred specimens are rare.
In their natural habitat, DeKay’s brown snakes are almost exclusively hunters of earthworms and slugs. In captivity, this diet should be replicated using neonate nightcrawler worms or any species small enough for them to consume that is not a poisonous red wriggler.
This species should be kept in a habitat that is similar to their natural habitat, with deep soil and plenty of leaf litter.
The Redbelly Snake
The previous DeKay’s brown snake (Storeria occipitomaculata) is closely related to redbelly snakes (Storeria occipitomaculata). They are available in a variety of colors, ranging from bright gold to blue to the most common—rusty red. Their bright orange or red underbelly distinguishes them from DeKay’s brown snakes.
They are a diminutive species like their cousins, but unlike them, they are more secretive and prone to stress when adequate leaf litter and hiding places are not provided.
Redbelly snakes, like their relatives, eat slugs and earthworms and are even harder to find and keep than DeKay’s brown snakes.
Snake that eats eggs in Africa
Despite being significantly larger than DeKay’s brown and redbelly snakes, the African egg eating snake (Dasypeltis scabra) only feeds on the eggs of small birds. This species is commonly kept by reptile owners, and there is a wealth of information on their care, as well as captive-bred specimens on the market.
It may be difficult to find eggs to feed your snake because hatchlings and young snakes will require finch and button quail eggs until they are large enough to consume the more widely available coturnix and chicken eggs. Prospective owners should think about raising their own birds as well.
Green Rough Snake
Rough green snakes (Opheodrys aestivus) are bright green snakes that spend the majority of their time in foliage, where their scales act as natural camouflage. They are native to most of North America but are rarely seen by humans due to their arboreal nature.
Rough green snakes are widely available for purchase, but they are rarely kept or bred in captivity. They are the only species on this list that can be fed insects like crickets and small roaches, but they need an enclosure with plenty of branches and plants to climb and feel secure with.
The Garter Snake
Garter snakes are larger, more active colubrids found throughout the United States, including the notoriously beautiful California red-sided garter snake. Regardless of the number of species, they all require similar care, and the majority of them have stable dispositions. Their diet consists primarily of small fish, slugs, and earthworms, and they should be fed appropriately if kept as pets.
Garter snakes are the most popular and widely available snakes on this list, with many breeders producing captive-bred babies. They have a wealth of information and care guides, making them a much better snake for beginners.
I hope the five types of snakes I’ve listed here help you decide which type of reptile to welcome into your home.