Snakes are reptiles that can sometimes be described as creepy and crawly. They’re mysterious and slithery, plus, they eat their food whole! We also all know that snakes eat rats and mice, however, one less common food item that is also described as creepy and crawly by some are worms. So, do worms and snakes have any relation?
Do snakes eat worms?
Snakes do in fact eat worms. Snakes like garter snakes, ribbon snakes, and water snakes will eat worms both in the wild and in captivity. While snakes can eat a variety of worms, there are only a few kinds you should actually feed to your pet snake, like earthworms, mealworms, silkworms, and waxworms.
In this article, we’ll talk about all the wild and pet snakes that eat worms. We’ll also discuss which worms they’ll eat and which are the safest to feed out to them.
Do Snakes Eat Worms In The Wild?
Certain types of snakes definitely eat worms in the wild. We’ll talk about them in detail below but garter snakes, water snakes, and ribbon snakes are all species of snakes that regularly eat worms. Not only do these snakes all eat worms, but they’ll also eat other insects like crickets and beetles when available.
Some species of snakes that wouldn’t normally eat insects still might try to digest a bug in a sticky situation. Snakes like pythons that usually eat small rodents might try to eat a larger bug if they’re hungry, but they don’t really have the right adaptations for it.
Why Do Some Snakes Eat Worms?
For the most part, the snakes that are eating worms are very small and thin snakes. They don’t need as large of a meal to fill up as something like a python would.
Snakes that eat worms are opportunistic feeders and take advantage of whatever small prey is around. Not only will these smaller snakes eat insects but they’ll also eat fish, frogs, tadpoles, snails, and other small invertebrates.
Can Snakes Eat Worms In Captivity?
Snakes that eat insects can actually make great pets for people that don’t want to handle any animal proteins. If you’re squeamish about mice and rats, insects and small fish may be easier for you to prepare.
Even though there are many ways to get around feeding out live animals, getting a pet that doesn’t rely on eating them is probably the easiest workaround!
Garter snakes, ribbon snakes, and water snakes can definitely eat worms in captivity.
What Kinds Of Worms Should You Feed Your Pet Snake?
So, what kinds of worms are safe to feed to your pets in captivity?
Earthworms are a popular food choice for pet snakes. Earthworms are nutrient dense but tend to be lacking in calcium. Young garter snakes will often refuse any food other than earthworms. If you do decide to go with earthworms, make sure you know where they’re sourced from. It also won’t hurt to give them a dusting of calcium powder to help supplement your pet.
Some other commercially available worms are worms like mealworms, silkworms, and waxworms. For an adult snake, these worms might seem a little too small. On the other hand, your pet might enjoy the stimulation of all the wiggling bodies and enjoy hunting them throughout the day.
Which Snakes Can Eat Worms?
There are only a few species of snakes that regularly eat worms in the wild, so let’s take a look at them!
Garter snakes are probably the most common and well-known snake species that eat insects.
Garter snakes are abundant in many areas in North America. These snakes are small and slim, and they are harmless colubrids that might turn up in your yard from time to time.
If you do find a garter snake in your yard, be grateful. These little guys are great for pest control purposes and will keep your home free from small mammals and invertebrates. Plus, they’re one of the species of snakes that are least likely to bite you.
In captivity, garter snakes can thrive on a very diverse diet. Garter snakes often eat mice, but many pet owners like to spice it up a bit. Garter snakes will also eat live fish, frozen and thawed fish, slugs, and of course, worms!
You should always try to get your food from a local pet store to make sure that you aren’t introducing any parasites into the environment.
Check out this video of a pet garter snake hunting live fish, you can see why they’re suited for small and fast prey items!
Ribbon snakes are another species of snake that eats worms. These snakes actually make great pets because of their docile attitude and small size. Just like garter snakes, ribbon snakes are nonvenomous colubrids that are slim and adorable! They can be found in temperate areas of North America.
In captivity, ribbon snakes can be fed in a similar way to garter snakes. These snakes can eat mice, fish, invertebrates, and insects. In the wild, these snakes love to eat frogs, toads, and tadpoles. We don’t recommend feeding your snake any of these amphibians because of the risk of disease and parasite transfer.
Water snakes are the last group of snakes that eat worms. These snakes tend to eat more invertebrates and fish than anything but will eat earthworms when they’re available.
Water snakes are very different from garter snakes and ribbon snakes because they aren’t commonly kept in captivity. Even though these snakes are docile and easy to keep, they just aren’t popularly bred. Sadly, these snakes can often be confused for venomous water moccasins or cottonmouth snakes and killed.
If water snakes are kept in captivity, they’ll need a large water feature in their environment as they spend most of their time in or near the water!
Which Snakes Can’t Eat Worms?
Not every species of snake will eat worms, and before you decide to introduce worms into their diet you should do some thorough research and get advice from your vet.
For example, here are two snakes that don’t eat worms!
Although it might seem like corn snakes eat worms they, unfortunately, do not!
Corn snakes are much larger and thicker than garter snakes and tend to opt for larger prey than insects. These snakes are true carnivores and will almost always consume a diet made up solely of small mammals.
Even though they have a fairly normal diet, corn snakes have a bad reputation for being the smelliest pet snake. In captivity, these snakes can be fed rats or mice and be 00% satisfied with just those food options.
It could be a common misconception that ball pythons eat insects. Ball pythons are notorious carnivores who only at small rodents and other small mammals. In captivity, you’ll never offer one of these snakes as a worm for a meal.
Since ball pythons can live in some pretty desolate areas. It’s not crazy to think that in a pinch, they might consume a smaller invertebrate.
Not many snakes eat worms, but some do. Garter snakes, ribbon snakes, and water snakes are all slender snakes that can live off of insects if they need to. In captivity, all of these snakes can be fed worms as a snack or a meal.
Remember if you are feeding your pet snake worms you’ll need to supplement with calcium powder. Besides that, your snake will probably love hunting small worms throughout the day.