Thanks to television and movie portrayals of snakes, most people incorrectly believe snakes spend their days slithering around in the wild, scouring for mice to eat. Perhaps that inspired you to wonder, “Do snakes eat grasshoppers and crickets?”
Snakes, purely carnivorous animals, feast on various meals depending on their environment, size, and type. Some even have special bodies that only allow them to eat a single type of prey. Egg-eating snakes, for instance, only eat eggs. They boast a special spur inside their vertebrae that breaks down the egg after they’ve swallowed it whole.
A good number of snakes have also evolved to generalist diets. These snakes consume anything that fits into their mouths, including grubs, slugs, lizards, and invertebrate prey, like grasshoppers and crickets. Others eat fish and worms, and some, like the king cobra, eat other snakes.
But again, while grasshoppers and crickets are a popular food source for some snakes, not all of them consume these invertebrates. Those that eat grasshoppers and crickets include:
- Rosy Boa
- Southern green mambas
- Flowerpot snakes
- Milk snakes
Let’s look at several reasons these snakes love insects in the first place:
The Reasons Wild Snakes Eat Grasshoppers and Crickets
Snakes have many reasons for eating grasshoppers and crickets. Some have to do with nutrition, but others (like most things in life) have all to do with ease. Here are three prime reasons snakes eat grasshoppers and crickets:
Grasshoppers and crickets can provide essential nutrients in a snake’s diet. They’re small, and most snakes will need several to get the required nutrition, but they’re great diet options nonetheless.
Crickets and grasshoppers are also low in sugars and carbohydrates. They’re high in amino acids and essential proteins. Therefore, they are necessary building blocks to help snakes rebuild muscles and gain strength.
Top it off with the fact that Crickets and grasshoppers have significant portions of salt. We’ve all heard that too much salt can be harmful, but sodium is integral to any snake’s diet.
2. Appropriate Size
Do you remember nature documentaries that show snake jaws opening wide to haul in prey like rabbits and squeezing the lives out of deer before swallowing them whole? Well, most snakes aren’t big enough for such ambitious endeavors.
Smaller species often need smaller prey for food, and grasshoppers or crickets fit this description perfectly. Even large snakes sometimes go for grasshoppers and crickets if they want a small snack or need a meal that won’t slow them down.
3. Defenseless and Slow
Compared to most snakes, especially the smaller ones, grasshoppers and crickets are extremely slow to react. Most snakes can successfully sneak up on and attack these, and the insects will never see it coming. Also, grasshoppers and crickets have no effective way to fight back against snakes.
Insects can try kicking back with their legs or jumping away, but we both know that’ll rarely deter a newborn snake, let alone a hungry one. The only crickets and grasshoppers that stand a chance against snakes are those that can camouflage and blend in their environments.
That’s about it on reasons snakes eat grasshoppers and crickets. If you own a snake or plan on adopting one in the future, you need to know the right type of food to feed it. Most pet snakes will eat grasshoppers and crickets, but there might be better options. Let’s discuss how your reptile may fair with grasshoppers and crickets.
Should You Feed Grasshoppers and Crickets To your Pet Snake?
Yes, you can feed grasshoppers and crickets to your pet snake. First, you’ll need to do your research or consult a veterinarian for the list of specific foods your snake species will eat.
And if your snake is a generalist species, don’t just feed it grasshoppers and crickets. Give it several other types of food, like fish and small mammals like rats and mice. These should be readily available at your local pet store, usually pre-killed and frozen.
That said, if the snake species you own is a specialist and has only evolved to eat one kind of food in the wild, you shouldn’t feed it grasshoppers and crickets. Always be prepared to have their particular food item on hand. And please, never feed a snake from your hand. The snake won’t know where its food stops, and your hand begins.
Also, some grasshoppers can have thick exoskeletons made of hard materials. These can be difficult to digest and shouldn’t be consumed by snakes that can’t handle the tough membrane, lest issues arise.
You might be interested in Do Snakes Eat Moles?
How Often Should I Feed Grasshoppers and Crickets To My Snake?
That depends on the snake’s size, age, and activity level. You can feed younger or smaller snakes approximately twice each week.
More mature, larger snakes will rarely get satiated by grasshoppers and crickets and will therefore need a variety of other meals like larger insects and small mammals, including rabbits, squirrels, rats, and mice.
Your veterinarian will give you more targeted advice regarding feeding patterns based on your snake’s requirements. Determining ahead of time how often you should feed your snake will ensure that it stays healthy, happy, and well-fed for the rest of its life.
So, do snakes eat grasshoppers and crickets? Absolutely. Most of them eat insects of all kinds, including crickets and grasshoppers. These two insects can even serve as major food sources for some snakes in the wild and activity.
However, remember that not all snakes eat grasshoppers and crickets. Therefore, you should do your due diligence before feeding them to any of these reptiles you either encounter in the wild or own.
Another point worth noting is you can either go for freeze-dried or live crickets and grasshoppers. Bring them back to room temperature for freeze-dried options before feeding them to your snake.
And if you’re planning on feeding your snake live crickets and grasshoppers, feed the insects first. This way, your snake will get the maximum amount of nutrition – a process known as gut loading.