Snakes are deadly hunters in the wild. With their long neck and venomous bite, they are a common enemy of grasshoppers. But can snakes eat them? Yes, but it isn’t always the best nutritional choice for them. Throughout this guide, we’ll explain:
- Do Snakes Eat Grasshoppers?
- How Do Snakes Catch Grasshoppers?
- What Type of Snakes Eat Grasshoppers?
- Benefits of Eating Grasshoppers
- Can You Feed Grasshoppers to Snakes?
- Are Snakes Scared of Grasshoppers?
- How Do Snakes Affect the Grasshopper Population?
- What Else Can Snakes Eat?
Do Snakes Eat Grasshoppers?
In the wild, snakes are carnivores. This means that they eat warm-blooded animals such as rodents and birds. Also, snakes eat invertebrates such as grasshoppers and crickets. Because of this, snakes have a varied diet that consists of animals that are high in protein.
However, the snake might come into trouble when faced with an adult grasshopper. Adult grasshoppers will put up a fight against the snake, using its arms to trap it while biting it to subdue it.
If you have both of them in the same area, try to get your snake away from the grasshopper. You can feed them grasshoppers, but live grasshoppers will make it difficult for your pet snake to consume them.
How Do Snakes Catch Grasshoppers?
Despite being difficult to digest, snakes can still catch and kill grasshoppers. Snakes catch grasshoppers by sneaking up on them and subdue and kill them before they have a chance.
Also, grasshoppers have a variety of strategies to defend themselves against snakes. If they avoid the snake’s first strike, they will jump and move around until the snake loses interest.
Grasshoppers use their camouflage to hide from snakes. They do this by blending in with the leaves and trees so the snakes cannot find them.
If the snake is venomous, then it’s easier for them to kill the grasshopper. By injecting their venom into the grasshopper’s bloodstream, the snake will have an advantage over them. Seconds later, the grasshopper will become subdued and digested by the snake.
Non-venomous snakes have a harder time catching and subduing the grasshopper. If the snake is able to land its first strike, it has a higher chance of eating them.
The grasshopper can attack the snake with its arms but will have to defend itself from the snake’s strikes. If the grasshopper is able to do so, then the snake will have to protect itself from being bitten.
What Type of Snakes Eat Grasshoppers?
- Corn snakes
Corn snakes are often confused with copperhead snakes, but they do not produce venom, making it difficult for them to fight their prey for long periods. They subdue grasshoppers through constriction, allowing them to choke the grasshopper and kill it by restricting its blood vessels.
- Garter snakes
Garter snakes are known for their ability to kill garden pests. Their main diet consists of eating slugs, grasshoppers, and sometimes mice.
- Green snakes
Green snakes primarily eat insects such as grasshoppers, caterpillars, and crickets. They will straighten out their bodies and propel themselves towards the grasshopper when they are within striking range.
Benefits of Eating Grasshopper For Snakes
- Low Sodium
Grasshoppers are low in sodium, which is good for your snake’s heart. Reptiles hunt after prey that’s low in sodium because they cannot regulate how much salt they can eat.
Like humans, high sodium food can be detrimental to your snake’s health. Fortunately, grasshoppers don’t contain cholesterol or saturated fat, reducing the chances of obesity.
In some scenarios, some grasshopper species have alkaline salts that can lead to kidney problems. That’s because snakes are more susceptible to salts than other mammals.
Before feeding your snake’s grasshoppers, try to check their sodium content. If it’s too high, then give your snake another species to eat. Alternatively, give them fewer grasshoppers to eat so they aren’t overfed. That way, your snake can enjoy eating grasshoppers without having long-term health problems.
- High Protein Content
Like any animal, snakes need protein to survive. A 3.5 ounce serving of grasshoppers produces up to 14-28 grams of protein. In addition, these insects contain iron, depending on the size of the grasshopper.
They are high in protein and fat but are low in carbohydrates. Giving your snake a few grasshoppers is a good idea, as long as you don’t overfeed them.
Grasshoppers are known to enhance gut health, as eating them provides a good source of probiotics. In fact, grasshoppers contain 5x more antioxidants than a jar of fresh orange juice.
- Grasshoppers Have Slower Reactions
The snake is a slithery animal that likes to sneak up on its prey. When they are ready to attack, they use their quick snapping motion to strike the grasshopper and kill it.
Snakes like to eat grasshoppers because they don’t react fast enough. Their slow reaction times give the snake enough time to constrict it and inject its venom into its blood.
Can you Feed Grasshoppers to your Pet Snake?
If you’re going to feed your snake grasshoppers, do it at least 2-3 times a week. Grasshoppers do have protein, but their high-fat content can make your snake obese if over consumed.
Grasshoppers can be found in gardens and areas with minimal vegetation, such as open rock surfaces, bare soil, or sand. Remember, snakes can be very picky! Some snakes will only eat rodents, not grasshoppers. And other snakes will have a diet primarily based on grasshoppers.
Snakes in the wild can eat grasshoppers. On the contrary, snakes held in captivity may experience health issues after consuming grasshoppers. Make sure you check with a local pet shop owner or local veterinarian to see what specific needs are for your snake.
Grasshoppers are rich in amino acids and proteins. If fed excessively, it will cause your snake’s body to become inflamed. Too many grasshoppers will lead to gastritis, which makes it harder for your snake to digest food.
Plus, grasshoppers have a tough outer shell that’s difficult for a snake to penetrate through. Unless your snake is large enough or possesses venom, it will take some time before it fully consumes a grasshopper.
Are Snakes Scared of Grasshoppers?
While there are videos of grasshoppers eating snakes, snakes are not afraid to attack them. Snakes view grasshoppers as food and will attack them if provoked.
On the other hand, snakes are afraid of large birds or other larger animals. Snakes are highly afraid of predators such as wolves, dogs, cats, and humans. As for grasshoppers, they will decide to go after it since it is a good protein source.
How Do Snakes Affect the Grasshopper Population?
Although grasshoppers are common garden pests, snakes can suppress the grasshopper population based on their predatory behavior. Having a healthy balance of animals is important for maintaining the population level. Having a multitude of snakes in one area will threaten the grasshopper population.
Unfortunately, grasshoppers can be easily caught by snakes. Grasshoppers are easy prey and are hunted by other animals such as frogs and birds. As a result, the grasshopper population will be reduced in certain areas.
So, if you have too many grasshoppers in your garden, a few snakes will help regulate the population. On the contrary, if you have too many snakes in your garden, you may have to seek professional assistance to remove them all.
What Else Can Snakes Eat?
Snakes are not limited to eating grasshoppers. In fact, there are a myriad of insects and rodents that appease their appetite. Here are some of them:
Snakes have a tendency to eat eggs. Eggs provide protein, and it’s easy for them to sneak eggs out of a bird’s nest. If the snake is large enough, they can intimidate the bird into leaving its nest.
- Fish and Birds
In some scenarios, snakes don’t have to chase a bird from its nest. Large snakes can easily ingest the bird and eat their eggs afterward. Chickens are large enough for the snake to coil around it and swallow it whole. Snakes tend to prey on baby birds because they are an easy meal. Depending on the snake’s size, they can eat fish as small as a minnow or as large as a bass.
- Large Mammals
Snakes that have venom are more likely to attack large mammals. For instance, snakes like the green anaconda are more likely to feed on pigs. It does so by crushing the pig with its coils before consuming it.
Large snakes will eat animals such as cats and dogs. Depending on what’s available to them, they have the ability to hunt and consume large mammals before they know they were attacked.
Conclusively, snakes can eat grasshoppers. But you have to be careful when feeding an excessive amount of grasshoppers to your pet snake.
If anything, feed them 1-2 grasshoppers every few weeks while balancing their diet with other meats. Doing so will ensure that your snake will remain healthy, reduces obesity, and gives them the nutrients needed for them to grow in the long term.