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Diamondback water snake feeding

Discussion in 'Garter & Water snakes' started by toddnbecka, Feb 1, 2015.

  1. toddnbecka

    toddnbecka Well Established Member

    Went to the Baltimore repticon, didn't see any MBK's there, but I did bring home a baby diamondback water snake. With an ever-growing population of endler's livebearers spread among several aquariums (and for only $10) I figured why not? Easy enough to maintain and won't cost me anything to feed for some time, though it will eventually outgrow the endler's (think guppies if you aren't familiar with them) and need larger feeder fish like rosy reds. The seller said he had had it for 4 months, I don't doubt his word, but I've seen bigger nightcrawlers than this little guy/girl. I set it up with a water bowl large enough to actually swim in and tossed in some fish. Seemed right at home when he/she was swimming around, mouth agape, chasing fish. I seriously think about the snakes body mass worth of fish were eaten over 5-6 hours. I thought there would be enough for a couple days given the small size of the snake, but there were only the 2 smallest (actually fry) remaining when I last looked in on the new arrival, finally just lying on the paper bedding instead of chasing more fish. Any clue how much/often the greedy little snake should be fed? It's hard to weigh live fish...
     
  2. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    My response won't answer your question. You said you have seen night crawlers bigger than your snake, so is it possible that the snake had been underfed and ate as much as it did because it was genuinely hungry and the food was present?
     
  3. Dan01

    Dan01 Established Member

    I'm not sure about feeding, but my guess for an adult would be a bluegill-sized fish every one or two weeks. The reason I guess this is because I've seen a wild diamondback water snake eating a whole bluegill, it almost looked like a cobra.
    For a hatchling I would guess a fish every 3-4 days, following the normal prey-sized rules. Just a guess, though.
     
  4. toddnbecka

    toddnbecka Well Established Member

    I don't know if the snake was underfed, but it didn't look starved or even particularly skinny, just very small. I asked how old it was, the seller said he'd had it for 4 months. I have no idea how small a new hatchling is, but he said it had been eating guppies, then had grown faster since being fed rosy reds. (Presumably one at a time.) It isn't nearly as thin as newborn garter snakes I've seen, but shorter, and much smaller than the new baby corn snakes.
    I have read that the fully aquatic elephant trunk snakes eat every day. I would think that a domestic water snake would eat whatever it could catch whenever it could. In a river or even a pond it would be more difficult to catch the fish, so I doubt it would eat so many so quickly and relatively easily. One thing I dd notice; the snake rested beside the transparent water bowl, then when it kept seeing the fish swim past it would head back in to chase them again, After it eaten nearly every last one, and had to be filled to max capacity, it chose a resting spot away from the water bowl.
     
  5. toddnbecka

    toddnbecka Well Established Member

    Couple quick pics of the stuffed snake. Not literally the size of most nightcrawlers, wider now that the belly is full, but still looks small enough to go on a big fish hook lol. For reference the side of the enclosure is 10" long, so the snake is maybe 10" total length. It will be moved into a taller tote tonight, though doesn't seem inclined to climb so far. Would have handled for pics but not so soon after feeding:

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    lizardhoarder139 and Rich like this.

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