When you think of snakes, the first thing that likely comes to mind is a carnivorous animal that eats other animals. But did you know that, contrary to popular belief, there are some herbivore snakes? It’s true; while rare and less common than their carnivorous counterparts, a few snakes feed solely on plant matter or insects. So let’s explore what herbivore snakes exist and how to care for them.
Are there any herbivore snakes?
Contrary to popular belief, there are indeed some species of herbivorous snakes that exist in the wild.
One of the most well-known plant-eating snakes is the Brahminy Blind Snake, or Indotyphlops braminus, as it is known scientifically.
These small worm snakes are found in warm tropical regions from India to Australia. They primarily feed on termite larvae, ant eggs, pupae, and the occasional seed or root.
Furthermore, they require hardly any moisture to survive without water.
In addition to Brahminy Blind Snakes, certain growth stages of garter snakes have been found to feed solely on vegetation.
Although uncommon, plant-eating serpent species show that even reptiles can be surprisingly versatile in their diet when necessary.
Types of Herbivore Snakes
The most well-known type of herbivore snake is the Colombian rainbow boa (Epicrates maurus).
This beautiful snake is native to Central and South America and grows up to eight feet long. They feed mainly on fruits and insects in the wild, but in captivity, many owners provide only frozen/thawed fruits and vegetables.
This species is relatively easy to care for because it requires no special dietary needs or lighting.
Another type of herbivore snake is the Brahminy blind snake (Ramphotyphlops braminus). This small, docile species live primarily underground and rarely reaches more than 10 inches long at full maturity.
Another species of herbivore snake is the rosy boa (Lichanura trivirgata), native to California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Nevada, and northern Mexico.
These beautiful snakes typically reach three feet long when fully grown and can live up to 25 years in captivity if adequately cared for.
In the wild, they feed primarily on lizards such as geckos; however, in captivity, they can be fed a diet consisting solely of fruits and vegetables supplemented with occasional insects.
Caring for Herbivore Snakes
Caring for an herbivorous snake can differ from caring for a carnivorous one due to their specialized diets.
You should ensure that your pet has access to fresh fruits or vegetables every day or two, depending on its size—smaller snakes will need smaller portions more frequently than larger ones.
Additionally, you should supplement its diet with vitamins or minerals depending on what type of vegetable it consumes most often; this will help keep your pet healthy and happy over time.
Finally, you should provide plenty of hiding spots in your enclosure so that your pet feels secure when sleeping or eating its food—this will also help reduce stress levels by providing a safe zone away from potential predators.
Is it possible to raise a vegan snake?
Although snakes are strictly carnivorous, it is conceivable that a vegan snake could be raised in captivity.
An essential factor in the health of any animal is its diet, which also applies to snakes.
Domesticated vegan snakes could benefit from specially formulated diets offering domestically sourced, plant-based proteins, plant-based oils, and essential vitamins and minerals.
Such diets could include snacks for captive snakes, such as specifically designed tofu treats or fortified fruits.
With careful handling and proper nutrition, we may soon find out if giving our slithering friends all their dietary needs without meat products is possible.
The bottom line is that while they may not be as common as their carnivorous counterparts, some herbivore snakes are out there. If given proper care and nutrition, these unique creatures can make beautiful pets, from the Colombian rainbow boa to the rosy boa.
As always, when choosing any pet reptile (or any pet at all), research beforehand so you know exactly what kind of enclosure setup you’ll need for your new addition and how best you can provide them with the nutrition they need throughout their lifetime.