What Do Gopher Snakes Eat?
Gopher snakes, or bull snakes, are a large species of constrictors found throughout the western United States and into Mexico. They are non-venomous and surprisingly docile, making them an excellent pet. But like any animal, it’s important to know what to feed a gopher snake.
In the Wild
In the wild, gopher snakes will eat a wide variety of prey. Mice and rats are a large part of the diet, but they will also consume lizards, birds and eggs, and even small mammals like moles, voles, and gophers. They may also take advantage of carrion from time to time.
In captivity, gopher snakes can have a much more varied diet.
Mice & Rats: These are the staples of the captive gopher snake diet. Start with pinky mice and work your way up until the snake can comfortably consume a large adult mouse or rat. Offer food once a week and adjust the size of the prey depending on the snake’s size and appetite.
Lizards: In the wild, lizards can make up a large portion of the gopher snake’s diet. Captive gopher snakes can still enjoy the occasional lizard treat. Start with an appropriately sized anole, gecko, or skink.
Eggs: Eggs can also be fed to a gopher snake in captivity. Hard-boiled quail eggs are preferred since they are textured like an egg in the wild and can be easily digested. It is also important to not feed an egg to the snake more than once a month.
Other Foods: Gopher snakes can also be fed a small amount of canned cat or dog food. These should not make up more than 10% of the snake’s diet, as the high fat content could lead to health issues.
In conclusion, it’s important to make sure that a gopher snake is fed a variety of prey in captivity. Start with small mice and work your way up to larger prey as the snake grows. Lizards, eggs, and a small, occasional serving of canned cat food can also be offered.