Ringneck snakes are one of the smaller species of a pet snake, and as such, their diet may vary greatly from the larger species that are domesticated. However, much like a lot of other reptiles, your ringneck snake will eat crickets, but this is not the only important thing that should be included in his diet.
Introduction to Do Ringneck Snakes Eat Crickets?
Many people keep ringneck snakes as pets, and their cute size makes them popular among people who do not want a giant snake slithering around the home.
However, as with any animal, it is vital that you are able to offer your ringneck snake a diet that is nutritious and similar to what he might eat in the wild. This can be difficult if you aren’t sure what things your snake can and can’t eat, or indeed, what he might like to eat.
In this article, we are going to be looking at whether ringneck snakes eat crickets and what other foods you can use to complement this part of their diet.
Do Ringneck Snakes Eat Crickets?
In the wild, ringneck snakes will often prey on a wide variety of foods including crickets. However, they will also eat smaller things like worms, slugs, and other small insects. The size of the prey will largely depend on the size of the snake, and it is worth keeping in mind that the ringneck snake is one of the smallest snakes in the world.
Their size is not only related to their length but their width. It is commonly accepted that these tiny snakes won’t ever get much larger than a pencil; one of the reasons that so many people love to keep them as pets – they don’t require enormous amounts of space. Furthermore, some people may be intimidated by a larger snake species and may find something smaller like this a little easier to manage.
In addition to eating crickets and other small insects, the wild ringneck snake might also prey on slightly larger prey; again, this will depend on the size of the individual snake. You could expect to see them feasting on juvenile snakes, both from their own and other species, newts, salamanders, and baby mammals such as mice and rabbits.
There are one particular sub-species of ringneck snake called the Michigan ringneck who feeds almost exclusively on red-backed salamanders.
Can I Feed My Ringneck Snake Crickets?
Yes, you can feed a pet ringneck crickets as part of his diet, but it is important to remember that this is not the most important thing you should be offering. Since a lot of ringneck snakes do not get much bigger than a pencil nor much longer than ten inches, some snakes might find large crickets a little more difficult to digest.
That isn’t to say that you should not offer this type of food to the ringneck snake in captivity, but you might want to consider other food options first.
One of the most important parts of the diet of the ringneck snake in the wild is that humble earthworm, and these are a great place to start if you want to provide your snake with a diet that is similar to his natural one. Earthworms are widely available at your local pet store, but they can also be purchased from shops that supply fishermen with bait.
If you are going to use worms from fishing bait shops, it is worth keeping in mind that they will not have been properly prepared for pet use. When pet suppliers get their crickets or worms ready for sale, they will go through a process known as gut-loading.
This may sound a little more horrific than it actually is. Gut-loading is where the breeder will feed their crickets, worms, and other types of reptile prey a nutritious diet over a 24-hour period before feeding them to a pet. This super nutrient-rich diet will then be passed on to the snake. You might think of this as being similar to human food being reared with a pure grass-rich diet.
In addition to earthworms, you might offer slugs and other types of worms, but you will likely find that your snake is particularly partial to the earthworm over other slimy species.
If you are offering crickets as part of his staple diet, you should do this in conjunction with other foods, but you may also wish to consider where you will source the crickets. One of the great things about this type of reptile food is that they can be purchased from almost any pet store in the world, but it is also entirely possible for you to raise crickets yourself.
Breeding Crickets For Your Ringneck Snake
Snakes are naturally predatory animals, so it stands to reason that your pet’s instinct will mean that she prefers to eat live prey. This can take a little getting used to for pet owners, especially people who have never fed live prey to an animal. But once you become accustomed to this, it will no longer be a problem.
As we have mentioned, you may buy your crickets from a pet store, but breeding them at home can be fun, interesting and save you a lot of money.
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What’s more, you will always have an ample supply of food on hand for your beloved ringneck snake and will never need to do a pet store run again.
However, if you are going to breed crickets at home, you must be prepared to do this properly so that they are safe and nutritious for your snake to eat. Getting started is pretty easy, and you will need to take one of your past visits to the pet supply store to get your crickets.
You can then spend time rearing them and incubating the eggs every time the mature crickets produce a batch. In the main, these insects can be expected to lay viable eggs around every two weeks, so it isn’t hard to see that you won’t run out of food for your snake.
This becomes even more apparent when you think about how frequently you need to feed your ringneck snake. More often than not, these little snakes will only require feeding around twice a week, but this will vary depending on the individual. If you have a snake with a healthy appetite, he might require more regular feeding, whereas other snakes may be happy with a weekly offering. It is important to get to know your snake and work out how she likes to be fed.
You might also want to think about the gut-loading process that we talked about earlier on. Whilst omitting this process won’t cause terrible harm to your snake, feeding your crickets a nutritious diet before they become a meal themselves will be of benefit to your snake.
What To Avoid Feeding Your Ringneck Snake
Store-brought crickets and those that have been bred at home are both excellent options for feeding your ringneck snake something that he would naturally eat in the wild. However, some pet owners make the mistake of catching crickets in their back yard and feeding them to the snake.
It is perfectly acceptable for a wild ringneck snake to feast on wild crickets as their gut will be developed enough to handle this. In contrast, a snake who has been bred in captivity will not necessarily have the same tolerance to the bacteria and diseases that might be found in wild-caught prey.
For this reason, it is imperative that you do not collect crickets from your garden or another outdoor area, despite this being a tempting and thrifty way to feed your pet.
Furthermore, there are some foods that owners of larger snake species might feed their pets, but these would be entirely unsuitable for the small frame of the ringneck snake. This might include things like large mammals and lizards. One of the key reasons that ringneck snakes are a popular pet is because owners do not have to face the turmoil of feeding live mammals to their pets.
Ringneck snakes are among the most common reptile pets in the world, and it is not surprising when we look at their small size and that they are relatively easy to care for. However, it is important that you are sure that they are receiving a balanced, nutritious, and safe diet.
In the wild, these snakes eat a variety of foods, but their diet is largely based around small insects; this includes crickets. You may feed your ringneck snake a variety of worms, but crickets can be offered from time to time, and they are very easy to source. They can be purchased from almost any pet supply store, but there is also the option to breed them at home if you would like something a little more convenient.