Frequently Asked Questions about Feeding…

On this page I’ll try to collect most questions that reached me by e-mail about Feeding…

If you can not find a direct answer of your question, then try to find under your Species or Publications on this site…

T.s.pickeringii feeding


Hi – I purchased a pair of garter snakes from you on sunday. They’re settling in well, and seem to like their new home, i just had a quick question r.e feeding. Been doing research on them and there seems to be a lot of difference of opinion on feeding them. Some people suggest leaving them communally and just watching them carefully at feeding times, others suggest putting them in seperate “feeding containers” to feed, then putting them back in their container. 
As I understand it, the concept of feeding containers is generally becoming less popular in snake keeping, because being bothered post feed is stressful for the snake, but I can also see the logic in people saying there’s a risk of the snakes injuring / killing each other in an attempt to feed, especially if they fight over a piece of food.
I know you said to overfeed them slightly so there’s some food left in the next day, which implies feeding them communally, but I thought it would just be a good idea to check. I should have asked this on sunday, sorry for not remembering to. So yeah, in your opinion is communal feeding fairly safe to do? I’d assume I’d want to keep an eye on them when the food goes in just to make sure there’s no early fights?.


Hi ….., yes communal feeding is what I do. No problem. Just make sure you are present when food is offered. If they happen to take the same food item and start swallowing each other make sure you seperate them gently.

I offer the cut op smelt, pinkies and worms on a little dish usually early in the evening (5-9 PM) and I remove the left overs the following morning.

Good luck, let me know how it went!


I hope all is going well for your snakes and that they enjoy a nice hibernation. Temperatures should be quite cold actually in Netherlands, but, as I read and enjoyed nice pictures about your outdoor terrarium during harsh winters, I suppose all is going well.

I write you today because after studying what you’ve written about garter snakes (as I told you before), I thought about few precise questions (as you probably understood it I’m a curious man! ;) ) but also had an idea.

First, questions. And my first ones would be about food. Live food first. In your website, you said that “Life fish are hardly given, but that is more because of practical constraints. Sometimes I give the young  snakes life fish to stimulate them to start feeding.” Are you also breeding fish?


No, I buy guppies or neon tetra. 


Because I’ve decided to breed some (a species that is ok with the thiamine problems) to feed my snakes. In order to vary there food and to make them hunt sometimes. Of course, I also want to feed them with worms, mice and thawed fish.


You can breed guppies.


Still about food, I just want to be sure about how often you feed your snakes (adults and juveniles). I’ve read on your website that you feed juveniles every 5-7 days. Not more? I’m actually quite surprised because I’ve read in many books or websites that young snakes needed food every 2-3 days. Is it a mistake in the books (you warned me that they were not so credible)?


It varies a little bit. In some cases every 3,5 days, other cases every 7 days. And regularly since I travel a lot 12-14 days nothing. But I am against feeding them constantly every day or every other day…Maybe unless they are very very tiny or if they really only accept worms (with digest very rapidly).


My last question about food is based on the thiamine problem. You tell on your website that you add several droplets of B1 vitamins to fish twice a week before giving it to snakes. I’ve read by the past a lot of things about that problem as I kept turtles who could be concerned with it too. Can you possibly name the exact product you buy? I’ve searched on the internet but it is not easy to know which product to buy. So, what is yours?! ;)


I buy pure thiamine hydrochloridum at the pharmasist an make it myself since this is not sold commercially. I sell it also at shows.


I bought at the Hamm show a pair of infernalis from you and we have a nice little small talk about Thamnophis, I think you remember.

Just want to give you a small update about them.

Bought them on Saturday and try to feed (Stinte, mouse parts) on Sunday, they don`t eat. (Maybe too early?)
Try to feed them on Wednesday, they don`t eat. (Anything wrong with the cage, Temperature etc.)

Yesterday I try it again. The male are in blues, so I don`t expect anything. The female was not interested, no heavy tongue flicking or anything else.
So I went in the backyard and dig out some worms and the lady starts immediately to eat, eight worms!!!
What do you feed them?

An another question, is there still a problem in the genetic line of the teatratenia?


Yes I remember.

When the snakes are changing owners, especially in the fall, a colder set up or just the change in environment can cause them to pause feeding. If the set up is much colder they can even go into hibernation mode. But indeed best is it to give it some time. 

I always gave a mix of worms, smelt and pinkieparts at the same time. So it is possible they were not interested without the worms. But worms always trigger them a lot.

So I am happy to hear she accepted worms, but I had not accepted otherwise. They were absolutely fine when I sold them. Please do not hesitate if you have more questions.

Not much has changed in the genetic line of tetrataenia. That being said it looks like more and more people are successfull again with tetrataenia. 3 years ago I bought some new babies from 2 different breeders and I had a perfectly healthy litter this year!