It sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? A vegetarian snake! Are they even possible? Or are these snakes just vegetarians by name only? Are there really any snakes that eat plants instead of meat?
I’ve asked a few experts, zoologists, and some of my vegan friends that own snakes (I mean, if there are, they should know, right?), and here is what I’ve found;
So, are there vegetarian snakes? There are no vegetarian snakes, snakes are what is called “obligate carnivores” which means snakes must eat meat to survive, however, you can find some snakes that will not eat mice and rats and eat insects instead. There are also ovo-vegetarian snakes that only eat eggs.
I know that for some of my vegan readers this will come as a disappointment, however, it’s just the truth, there are no vegan snakes.
What you can do is a vegan instead is to choose a snake that will not eat mice and rats, and will instead feed on other things you may be okay with.
In the article, I’m going to answer what do snakes eat, why snakes must eat meat, and what snakes you can get as a vegan, so keep reading…
Why there are no vegetarian snakes?
It’s also important to remember that all snakes are carnivores and can’t survive on a vegetarian diet. There are, however, a few snakes who may live only on invertebrates, but they aren’t really vegetarian reptiles.
Snakes can’t be vegan, they are obligate carnivores, which means they require the consumption of animal flesh to survive. If you want to raise a vegan snake, don’t because you will most likely kill it.
What do snakes eat?
Snakes have a digestive system that consists of a long tube that’s filled with stomach acid that can dissolve anything, including shells and bones. This may be simple, but it’s very effective in digesting meats and is quite terrible at digesting any kind of greenery.
Snakes, on the other hand, may eat things like invertebrates, frogs and fish as well. They are capable of consuming a wider range of food than previously thought. Snakes have been observed eating other species in order to survive, however they may go beyond mammals and consume whatever is available.
A Snake’s diet will likely include:
- Other snakes
Some snakes have a special diet, such as the egg-eating snake which can only eat – you guessed it – eggs.
Can snakes eat plants?
Snakes are unable to consume plants because they don’t have the needed enzymes to break down plant nutrients.
A snake does not have teeth that can chew vegetables, and its digestive system is too short to break down plants in the manner of other carnivores.
Herbivores have lengthy digestive tracts because plants take awhile to break down inside their bodies. It enables our body to absorb the needed nutrients from the greenery at a slow rate and then transport them to the blood over time.
Vegan-friendly snakes (that don’t eat mice or rats)
If you are a vegan and you still want to get a snake, you still have options that won’t require you to compromise your beliefs. There are many snakes out there that you don’t need to feed mice, rats, or, god forbid, little furry bunnies.
But keep in mind that even if you don’t feed them frozen mice, they are still not as vegan as you are. With that being said, let’s see the snakes you can have as a vegan that can live on insects, eggs, or fish:
Garter snakes are a popular pet and can be found in most pet stores. They are also quite affordable and easy to care for, so you wouldn’t need to worry about them.
Garter snakes typically eat earthworms, slugs, and other invertebrates. While they may consume small amounts of fish or amphibians, their primary diet consists of insects.
Garter snakes may eat mice if you feed them, but they can survive just fine without them.
Water snakes mostly eat fish, ffrogs, insects, and shellfish that live in or around the waters they live in.
If you are going to get a water snake, you should know that, similar to other snakes, you should never give them wild prey because they can carry harmful bacteria or parasites that can infect the snake.
You should also know that water snakes are on the aggressive side of pet snakes, so you should never try to feed it by hand, and we recommend against getting one at all if this is going to be your first pet snake.
African Egg-Eating Snakes
Rather unusual pets, egg-eating snakes are uncommon compared to garter snakes. If you come across one bred in captivity, however, they are simple to look after and make excellent pets.
The African egg-eating snake is a non-venomous, docile, and toothless species that may be a wonderful addition to your household.
The teeth of this snake are specially constructed to consume only bird eggs. In fact, their mouths may extend to unimaginable lengths and their teeth may be drastically reduced to fit an egg as big as a chicken’s down their throat!
Okay, now it’s time to answer an important question; should a vegan even get a snake?
Should a Vegan get a snake?
For this question, I went to my vegan friends as I’m not vegan myself, and while many of them were okay with it and didn’t see a big problem, some of them saw a problem in it.
It is really up to you at the end of the day, and whether you should or should not get a snake is a question only you can answer.
The camp that didn’t see a problem with it had simple reasoning; while as humans we can choose whether to eat meat or not, this doesn’t apply to snakes.
These snakes were going to eat meat anyway and they can’t survive without it, so they really are designed to be a part of the ecosystem and are important for its balance, so there is no problem in feeding a snake.
The camp that was against owning snakes saw it either as going against the principles you should follow as being a vegetarian or that you are, in some way, causing harm to animals that could not have been killed to be sold to snake owners without the demand for it that you are creating by getting a snake.
I try to be subjective and I did my best simplifying the answers from both groups, but the truth is I do think that the first group is more right and that there should not be a problem with owning snakes as vegans.
3 Reptiles as alternatives to snakes for vegans
If you still believe that vegans should not get snakes at all, here are some alternatives that are worth considering.
It is possible for an iguana to live on a vegan diet, although it is not suggested that you offer them animal protein. They’re strictly herbivores, and it’s claimed that as youngsters, they may unintentionally consume an insect.
The majority of people are aware that when it comes to terrariums, dwarf frogs must be fed every day. The food inside of a terrarium is also very important for the health and well-being of your pet frogs.
Here is what a vegetarian Iguana’s diet can look like:
- Bell Peper
- Green Beans
Last but not least, seek for iguanas that are most likely to be good house pets. Only vegetation is eaten by the green iguana and rhinoceros iguana. (A fact you may not know: They can survive up to 15 years)
The Uromastyx is a herbivore that consumes leaves, flowers, fruit, and vegetable matter. In the wild, they are known to eat grasses, thorns, succulents, cacti fruits, and flowers.
Offering your uromastyx a varied diet of different types of vegetables will ensure they receive all the nutrients they need.
A vegetarian diet is possible for this lizard as well, but it can be very difficult especially if you live in an area where there are no specific vegetables to feed them with. On top of that, most people who own uromastyx as pets do not know how much and what kind of food their pet should be eating.
A diet for a vegetarian uromastyx should include:
- Grains, such as oats and quinoa
- Spinach leaves
The chuckwalla is a herbivorous lizard that can be kept on a vegetarian diet. They are not as selective as some other lizards and will eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and flowers.
A good diet for your chuckwalla should include:
- Romaine lettuce
- Collard greens
- Turnip greens
- Brussels sprouts
- Alfalfa pellets or hay (for proper digestion)
Are there Vegetarian Snakes? Are you a vegan or vegetarian and have been wondering if it is possible to own a snake as your pet without breaking the rules of being a vegan or not harming animals unnecessarily? There are no vegan snakes but there are snakes that can eat things other than rodents.
Most of the people I’ve asked think it’s okay for vegans to own snakes, but for other people, this may be controversial.
Those who don’t see any problem with having snakes in their terrariums believe that because humans can be vegan because we can choose whether to eat meat or not, but this shouldn’t apply to other creatures that don’t have a choice in the matter.
Those on the other side think that by owning a snake you are going against principles of being either vegan or vegetarian because many vegans do not want anything to do with causing harm to animals at all including eating them unintentionally while others say getting a reptile is okay as long as that animal doesn’t have to eat live food.
If you are with the second camp, you should consider another reptile that will also be a great pet
The fact of the matter is, there are many different opinions on this topic and it can be a confusing decision to make if you’re trying to stay true to your vegan or vegetarian values. I hope this article provides some clarity on the subject.
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