Frozen mice are usually the go-to meal for just about any species when it comes to feeding your pet snake. Like most pets though, it’s good to add variety to your snake’s diet. So what else can you feed them?
Do snakes eat quail eggs?
Some snakes like eat eggs as part of their diet since they are readily available prey in the wild. Quail eggs in particular offer many benefits for those species of snakes that can eat eggs. The corn snake, hognose snake, rat snake, and egg eater snake are some of the snake species that eat eggs.
In this article, we’ll review how some snakes can eat quail eggs, their benefits, and what species are appropriate to feed quail eggs. We’ll also advise you on what pet snakes you shouldn’t feed quail eggs to so that you can ensure the health and well-being of your reptilian pets.
Can Snakes Eat Quail Eggs?
Many species of snake are fully equipped to incorporate eggs into their diet. Quail eggs are especially beneficial to use when feeding eggs to your pet snake.
Quail eggs are smaller than chicken eggs and have a softer shell, making them easier to digest. Additionally, quail eggs are packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals that your snake needs to grow big and strong.
Although many snakes can eat quail eggs, that doesn’t mean they always will. Some snakes don’t recognize eggs as a viable food source and may ignore them, preferring to wait for a more substantial meal of meat instead.
If you need a little help coaxing your snake into eating a quail egg, try poking a hole in the shell so your snake can smell the yolk inside. The familiar scent of bird may entice it to try out this newfangled food item.
What Snake Species Eat Quail Eggs?
Many reptiles, including many snake species, can and do eat quail eggs in the wild and in captivity.
Snakes that can eat eggs have a specialized spinal system to aid digestion. Since snakes don’t chew their food, they swallow the eggs whole. Quail egg shells are softer than other types of bird’s eggs, but it would still take a long time for them to break down in a snake’s gut without a little help.
A nifty adaptation that egg eating snakes possess is the ability for the spiky part of their spine to puncture the egg’s shell as it passes through the digestive system.
Snakes that eat quail eggs may also preferentially eat either fertilized or unfertilized eggs depending on the species. Fertilized eggs are high in protein while unfertilized eggs are high in fat and cholesterol – both containing necessary nutrients for snakes.
Let’s take a look at some specific types of snakes that eat eggs, especially those that can be kept as pets.
Corn snakes are one of the most popular pet snakes and are known for their carnivorous eating habits. Although these snakes prefer mice, a quail’s egg as a treat is usually welcome.
Depending on the size of the snake, one or two quail eggs per day are more than enough for a captive corn snake. Quail eggs should also be considered supplementary and not the main part of their diet because corn snakes need meat to thrive.
Corn snakes can be picky about quail eggs so it’s best to feed them fresh eggs and not ones that have been previously refrigerated. Even if you present your corn snake with a quail egg, there is no guarantee that she’ll actually eat it.
Hognose snakes also enjoy eating eggs and have an easier time doing so than some other snake species. A hognose snake’s mouth is typically wider which is helpful for gulping down a full egg.
Since quail eggs are much smaller than chicken eggs, hognose snakes will readily consume them if presented.
Despite the smaller size of some rat snakes, these snakes will happily consume a quail egg. In the wild, they are known for pilfering eggs out of birds’ nests or even ones that are more accessible from the ground.
Rat snakes will even attempt to get their mouths around chicken eggs, so even the largest quail egg is no challenge for them.
Along with the rat snake, king snakes are avid egg eaters in the wild. They are notorious for being chicken egg thieves and are the bane of a chicken keeper’s existence.
Whether it’s a chicken egg or a quail egg though does not seem to matter much – poultry is poultry. If you offer your pet king snake a quail egg, he will not hesitate to eat it and you may find him begging for more.
Egg Eater Snake
As their name implies, egg eater snakes will also eat quail eggs. These snakes are famous for their egg eating abilities and their adaptive jaws and throats which can accommodate food much larger than their own heads.
You can see in the video how this West African egg eating snake expands its jaws and throat to effortlessly swallow a quail egg twice the size of its head!
Egg eater snakes also do not have any teeth, making it much easier to swallow an egg whole. Most egg eater snakes will also only consume unfertilized eggs and it is believed that they can smell the difference to avoid fertilized ones.
What Pet Snakes Should Not Be Fed Quail Eggs?
Although eggs make for a great source of protein for lots of snake species, there are some pet snakes that should not eat eggs.
Boas, rattlesnakes, and ball pythons do not have digestive systems equipped to handle eggs, even those as small as quail eggs. These larger snake species are built to be predators that consume live prey, or at least larger sources of protein.
Unlike the egg eating types of snakes, rattlesnakes, boas, and pythons do not have the spiky vertebrae that will pierce the eggs as they journey through the digestive tract. Because of this, they may spend far too much energy digesting a food item that may just end up stuck in their bodies.
Since ball pythons are common pet snakes, it is especially important to point out to ball python owners that feeding your snake quail eggs could make them very sick.
Snakes get their energy from all kinds of sources but mostly from animals because protein is a vital nutrient for snakes to grow and thrive. Even though most snakes are carnivorous, some can supplement their diets with other sources of protein like eggs.
Quail eggs make a great treat for corn snakes, king snakes, and rat snakes since they are small, have easily digestible shells, and are packed with nutrients. However, steer clear of feeding eggs to boas, ball pythons, and rattlesnakes since their digestive systems are not built to break down eggs like some other snake species.