It’s a common question asked by millions of new snake owners: do snakes actually eat their shed skins?
And if that question isn’t enough to pique your curiosity, what about eating their babies too?
Well here’s a definitive answer.
Do Snakes Eat Their Shed?
The answer is no, but they do eat other animals. Snakes shed once a week to keep their skin healthy and new.
Most snakes don’t need to drink water as they get most of their moisture from eating other animals.
Not all snakes actually shed their skin. Unlike lizards, who grow a new outer layer of skin from within, snakes replace their entire outer layer at once.
The actual shedding process involves using their teeth to destroy and peel off the old layer.
Once that’s complete, it can be quite alarming and gross to see them eat their own shed because there is still flesh attached to it.
Do Snakes Eat Their Babies?
Yes, some snakes do eat their own babies. Some species of vipers and pit vipers are notorious for eating their own young, especially when they are born out of their mother’s burrow.
The reason that they do this is that it is a survival mechanism.
When Do Snakes Eat Their Babies?
Vipers and pit vipers have to kill and eat whatever they can in order to survive. If they do not, then they will die out.
This is why some species of snakes will eat the young that have recently been born.
They do this to ensure that the female snake will not be able to give birth again for at least another year or two.
In addition to this, some species of snakes will also eat their young if there is overpopulation in the area where they live in.
This means that if there are too many snakes living in one place, then it is likely that these snakes will start competing with each other for food sources or mates.
In order to prevent this from happening, some species of snakes will simply kill off their own offspring so that there is less competition for food and mates in their area.
Why Do Snakes Eat Their Own Babies?
Snakes eat their own babies for a variety of reasons:
They need nutrition
Snakes need a lot of protein to grow and develop properly. They get this protein by eating other animals, including their own offspring.
They don’t have enough food
If there isn’t enough food available for the mother snake and her brood, she will sometimes eat them so she can survive until there is more food available again later on in life.
They’re stressed out
If a snake feels stressed out by the environment or something else that’s going on around it, it may decide it’s better off eating its young than risking losing them in an attack from another animal or predator that might hurt or kill them anyway (this is especially common among pregnant female rats).