Do Snakes Drink Water

Snakes are fascinating creatures that have been the subject of many myths and legends. One of the questions that often comes up is whether or not snakes drink water. The answer is yes, snakes do drink water, just like any other animal. However, the way they do it is quite different from other creatures.

Unlike mammals, snakes don’t have a separate opening for drinking and breathing. Instead, they have a single opening called the cloaca, which they use for both functions. When a snake drinks water, it sucks it up through its mouth and into its throat, where it is then transported to the stomach. Some snakes even have a special gland in their mouth that allows them to extract moisture from the air.

So, to answer the question of whether or not snakes drink water: yes, they do. They need water to survive, just like any other animal. However, the way they drink it is quite different from what we’re used to seeing in other creatures.

Here is how a snake looks while drinking water! Adorable isn’t it?

How do Snakes Drink Water?

Snakes require water for their survival, but their drinking method is quite different from that of humans.

While humans possess a buccinator muscle that enables sucking and pulling water into our mouths, snakes lack this specific muscle. Instead, they have a unique mechanism to hydrate themselves.

Most snake species rely on capillary action to move water into their mouth. Their lower jaw comprises sponge-like tissues that absorb water as the snake dips its mouth into a water source.

This process relies on the physical properties of water, such as surface tension and the adhesive nature of water molecules, which allow it to be pulled up into the snake’s mouth.

Once the water enters the snake’s mouth, they move it down their esophagus using muscle movements, similar to how they push food down.

The muscles in the snake’s mouth and esophagus work in coordination to deliver the water into the stomach, where it becomes part of their digestive system and contributes to their overall well-being.

It is crucial to understand that not all snakes drink water in the same way. Some species, like the diamond-backed watersnake or the cottonmouth, can move water through their mouths using a different, sponge-like mechanism.

This versatility demonstrates the adaptability of these reptiles to their respective environments, making it essential for snake owners to provide proper water sources for their slithery companions.

In summary, snakes drink water by utilizing the unique properties of water and their specialized anatomy.

Dipping their mouths into a water source and employing capillary action or sponge-like mechanisms, they ensure proper hydration to maintain their health and well-being.

How Often Do Snakes Drink Water

Snakes need water to survive, just like any other living creature. However, unlike most animals, they don’t need to drink water as often.

The frequency of drinking water depends on several factors, such as the species of snake, age, and environment.

On average, snakes drink water two to six times a week.

However, some species can go for extended periods without drinking water, while others need to drink water more frequently.

For instance, snakes that live in arid environments, such as deserts, may drink water less often than those living in humid environments.

Snakes get most of the hydration they need from their food. The blood of the prey they ingest contains a lot of water, so snakes usually eat one to two times a week.

In addition to getting hydration from food, a snake also drinks water one to two times a week.

The frequency of drinking water also depends on the freshness of the water.

Snakes prefer fresh water, so they may drink more frequently if the water in their dish is stale or contaminated.

It’s essential to change the water in a snake’s dish regularly to ensure that it’s clean and fresh.

It’s worth noting that some species of snakes drink water more frequently than others. For instance, aquatic snakes, such as the diamond-backed watersnake, may drink water daily since they spend most of their time in or near water.

On the other hand, arboreal snakes, such as tree boas, may drink water less often since they get most of their hydration from the moisture in the air.

How Long Can Snakes Go Without Water?

Snakes display a wide range of survival times without water, depending on their species and environmental conditions.

For instance, some snakes are known to survive for up to 7 months without access to water, while others might not last much beyond a week.

In normal environmental conditions, a snake can typically go without water for 3-4 days.

However, extreme temperatures can significantly influence a snake’s water requirements.

In sweltering heat, a snake can only survive for around 2-3 days without water, and this duration decreases to 1-2 days in extremely cold conditions.

Certain species are more adapted to going for extended periods without water.

For example, the pelagic sea snake can survive an impressive 6 to 7 months without drinking fresh water. It relies on rainfall for hydration, which can often be sparse.

It’s essential to note that while some snakes can go for weeks or even months without water, it is not recommended to leave them without water for more than a week.

A snake’s general health can deteriorate if it is consistently dehydrated.

When it comes to pet snakes, understanding their specific water needs is crucial.

For example, corn snakes can go without water for 7 to 12 days, depending on their environment and temperature.

However, it’s best not to restrict their water intake for more than a week in captivity.

In summary, a snake’s ability to survive without water varies greatly by species and environmental factors.

It’s crucial to ensure that snakes, particularly those in captivity, have access to water, as dehydration can lead to severe health issues.

Here is a table of types of snake species and how long they can go without water.
Snake SpeciesTime without Water
Desert Horned Viper12 months
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake6-8 months
Sidewinder Rattlesnake6-8 months
Gopher Snake3-4 months
Boa Constrictor1-2 months
Ball Python1-2 months
Green Tree Python1-2 months
Corn Snake1-2 weeks
King Snake1-2 weeks

How do you give a snake water?

Providing water for a snake is an essential part of keeping it healthy and well-hydrated. The process is simple and can be achieved by following a few easy steps.

First, place a shallow water dish in the snake’s enclosure.

It is essential to choose a dish that is sturdy and won’t easily tip over.

The water dish should be big enough for the snake to soak in if needed, but not too deep, as it may cause the snake difficulty in drinking or even pose a drowning risk.

To make it easier for the snake to access water, position the water dish in such a way that the snake can easily approach it.

You can place the dish near the snake’s hiding spot or basking area.

But make sure it is not placed directly under a heat lamp or in a high-traffic area of the enclosure, as this may discourage the snake from using it.

Regularly monitor the water dish to ensure it is clean and always filled with fresh water. Snakes may sometimes defecate or urinate in the water, and this can lead to bacterial growth.

So, it is vital to clean and disinfect the water dish thoroughly, replacing the old water with fresh water.

Remember that snakes, like other animals, have unique ways in which they consume water.

Snakes do not have a buccinator muscle to suck water into their mouths like humans. Instead, they rely on muscle movement within their mouth and esophagus to work the water into their stomach.

To ensure proper hydration, it is crucial to provide a suitable environment for the snake that maintains appropriate humidity levels.

This can be achieved by installing a hygrometer in the enclosure and adjusting the humidity levels as needed.

By following these steps, you can effectively provide your snake with water, helping it stay properly hydrated and enjoy a healthy life.

Factors Affecting Water Consumption

Snakes, like all animals, need water to survive. Factors affecting water consumption in snakes include species, habitat, size, and age.


Some species of snakes require more water than others. For example, aquatic snakes, such as sea snakes, drink saltwater but also need to find sources of freshwater.

Desert snakes, on the other hand, have adapted to conserve water and can go for long periods without drinking.


The habitat of a snake can also affect its water consumption. Snakes living near bodies of water, such as rivers or ponds, have easy access to drinking water.

Snakes living in arid environments, such as deserts, must find alternative sources of water or rely on the water content of their prey.

Size and Age

The size and age of a snake can also impact its water consumption. Larger snakes require more water than smaller snakes. Juvenile snakes, which are still growing, may also require more water than adult snakes.

It is important to note that while snakes can go for long periods without drinking, they still need access to water to maintain proper bodily functions. Dehydration can lead to serious health problems and even death in snakes.


Snakes, like most living creatures, need water to survive. The way they drink is quite unique compared to other animals. Here are some key takeaways on how snakes drink water:

  • The expandable skin creases of a snake’s lower jaw act like a sponge, absorbing water through capillary action when the snake dips its mouth in water or touches a wet surface. This is due to the expandable skin creases in their lower jaw.
  • After the water is absorbed, muscular movements in the snake’s mouth and esophagus help to move the liquid from the mouth into the stomach. These muscle movements are similar to those used in swallowing food.
  • Snakes don’t use their tongues to drink water as the tongue is not designed for this purpose. Instead, they rely on the anatomy of their jaws and the muscular contractions to transport the water into their stomach.
  • While some snakes live in desert environments, they still require water to function. These snakes often obtain water through the food they eat, such as prey or through dew collected on their bodies. They also have adaptations to help them conserve water and minimize water loss.

In summary, snakes have unique ways to drink water that rely on the sponge-like properties of their lower jaw and specialized muscular movements to transport water into their stomachs.

Also Read

Can Snakes Drown?

Can Snakes Survive Falls

Can Snakes Swim Up Toilets

Why Do Snakes Have a Forked Tongue

How Long Is a Snake’s Tongue

Leave a Comment