How Long Can Snakes Go Without Eating? (Reasons Why)

We are created in such a unique way that everyone needs to feed to keep living. Yet, some animals are created to live for some time without feeding, and the snakes are the champions at this. They can reduce their metabolic rate to 70%. That allows them to live for an extended period without consuming any food. Now, the question is, how much time they can live without feeding?

Snakes can live without feeding for days and even months. However, that does not mean their growth stops during this phase. On the contrary, the snakes keep on growing in length even if they have not fed for a long time.

Even if you keep your pet snake in optimum condition, sometimes they lose their appetite. The problem is why has a snake lost its appetite. If your snake does not eat for a long time, it can develop health problems. A starving snake is more prone to infections. It can also develop anorexia or even starve to death. The only way to protect your snake is to keep an eye on it. If you suspect that your healthy snake is refusing to feed for more than two weeks, talk to the vet. 

The reasons why snakes lose their appetite 

There is nothing wrong with losing appetite when it comes to snakes. Losing appetite for some time is a natural thing for a snake. However, if it goes on for a long time, it can start a problem. Sometimes adjusting the diet of the snake is enough for it to start eating again. 

Natural Causes 

A snake losing its appetite is a natural phenomenon for snakes. As a natural part of its life cycle, your pet snake will lose its appetite from time to time. During this phase, you do not need to take any action as long as your snake is healthy. However, keep in mind that the eating habits of the reptiles are different from that of other pets. So, of course, you need to keep an eye on the eating patterns of your pet snake. But that does not mean that they are ill if they lose their appetite naturally. 

  • Moulting: is one of the most common reasons for your snake losing its appetite. When it’s time to shed their skin, the snakes in the wild also stop eating. To understand whether your snake is going through pre moult anorexia, you have to look at its skin condition. First, check if the skin of your snake is looking dull. Also note, whether their eyes have a milky coating. If all these signs are in place, do not worry about your snake’s loss of appetite. It will start feeding in a couple of weeks after shedding its skin. 
  • Seasonal Changes: the change in the weather is a big trigger for the animals. So, during the season change, your pet snake may stop feeding for some time. 
  • Hibernation Attempts: most snakes hibernate naturally. So, a drop in the temperature can trigger the instinct for hibernation in your pet snake. If this happens, your snake’s energy levels can drop down fast, and their appetite can also take a hit. 
  • Age: Like every other animal, younger snakes go through a growing phase. So, they require more food to keep up with the growth spurt than adults. While the younger snakes may need to feed more than often, the adult snakes may need to eat a lot less. 

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Environmental Reasons

Like other animals, the snakes also react to the changes in their environment. It can trigger their problem of loss of appetite. Here are some environmental issues for you to check. Please read them and see whether any one of these is causing appetite-related problems in your snake. 

Type of Substrate

The environmental requirement of the snakes varies widely from one species to the next. So, the substrate requirements also vary depending on the snake species. So, you need to choose the right kind of bedding for your snake to make sure they are comfortable. Read about various substrates and their effects on the snakes before using them. 

Light and Darkness Cycle

Almost all snakes require a proper like and darkness cycle to thrive in captivity. As the owner, it depends entirely on you to create a light and darkness routine for a pet. Once you understand your pet’s requirements, it will become significantly more straightforward for you to maintain the routine. 

Type of Food

Even though all the snakes are carnivores, different kinds of snakes require food of various types. Therefore, before getting a pet snake, make sure that you know its diet specifications. If you are not sure about it, you should consult with the vet as soon as possible. A wrong diet can spark the loss of appetite in the snake. 

Privacy Requirements

The snakes are private animals. They require snake hides in captivity where they can safely disappear. If the snakes do not have a proper hiding place, they can develop problems like appetite loss. You can create the hiding place with a simple cardboard box or use the specifically designed hiding boxes available on the market for snakes.


To keep your snake healthy, you will need to monitor the temperature of the enclosure daily. To stay active, the snakes require a warm environment. If the enclosure gets too cold, the snake will get lethargic and can develop various illnesses. So, before rushing your pet snake to your vet, you should check the enclosure’s temperature to make sure it is at the right level. Anything below 70 degrees Fahrenheit indicates that your enclosure is too cold. 

Snake Diseases

Various health issues can also result in loss of appetite for your pet snake. For example, problems like an intestinal parasite, mouth rot, respiratory problems and other diseases can trigger appetite loss. Check whether your pet snake is passing stools regularly and whether it is suffering from any kinds of obstructions. If you suspect this, do not wait to take your snake to the veterinary professionals.


While you cannot prevent appetite loss in your pet snake completely, you can take measures to avoid the phenomena from happening too frequently. Give your snake the right amount of water and food, and use proper substrate while building a terrarium for your snake. Make sure to read about the species of the snakes before making the terrarium. 

Also, keep an eye on your snake to ensure that it is not suffering from respiratory diseases. If you are doing all these right and your snake is not in a moulting stage, then there might be other reasons why your snake has stopped eating. Talk to your vet right away to detect the issue and treat it. 

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By Teresa Mine

Teresa has studied canine behaviour and canine nutrition. She loves sharing her knowledge and educating through her articles. She loves binge-watching animal documentaries. Teresa has some pets; she adores two dogs, two cats, and one hamster.