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  1. #1
    BPnet Veteran FollowTheSun's Avatar
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    Ratsnakes eating eggs?

    I have backyard chickens and own a ratsnake. I often see people sharing how they find ratsnakes in their chicken coops enjoying the eggs. Some chicken owners actually let those snakes eat the eggs, even leaving an "offering" when collecting eggs, because they find their pest control services very useful. I don't live in an area with native ratsnakes, but I do have a captive one as a pet.

    So . . . does anyone who owns a pet ratsnake ever feed them eggs? Is this even healthy for them? Just curious.

    Last edited by FollowTheSun; 03-27-2021 at 11:21 AM.
    Lots of pets, all loved and well-cared for: 2 BP's, 1 ratsnake, 2 lovebirds, 1 Harris hawk, 2 ferrets, 3 chickens, 3 cats, 1 dog, and a toddler!

  2. #2
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    I'm sure that hungry wild rat snakes steal some bird eggs but not many could actually down a chicken egg, they're too big. I suppose my 7' male FL-blend rat snakes could do so, but I've never offered them eggs & have no plans to do so. Most (raw) chicken eggs can transfer salmonella so I'd not be inclined to try it for that reason alone.

    Wild gopher-bull-& pine snakes are somewhat notorious for stealing chicken eggs from hen-houses. My sister used to raise chickens & occasionally found a rotund gopher snake that had slinked into the barn for breakfast, then was too fat (full of eggs!) to leave without her opening the door & chasing him out. Talk about embarrassing!

    Apparently snakes can digest egg shells alright, but the African egg-eating snakes have a specialized projection in their throat for puncturing the eggs they ingest, & apparently are then able to swallow only the contents of the eggs, & "spit-out" the shells. I don't know how successful they are at all times however, since snakes really cannot cough or anything- apparently this puncturing of the egg shells takes place more or less at the back of their mouth, not so far down?

    And keep in mind how easily the shells of wild birds are crumbled- they're nothing like domestic chicken egg shells that are quite hard to break, otherwise they'd never get to market. I actually think that if a pet snake swallowed a chicken egg, it might end up cutting up their insides by the pieces of eggshell before it had time to be digested, so for that reason I'd recommend that no one try this.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 03-27-2021 at 11:35 AM.
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  3. #3
    BPnet Veteran Starscream's Avatar
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    Re: Ratsnakes eating eggs?

    I haven't yet, I'm wanting to get ahold of some quail eggs for my japanese rat snake but am having some trouble locating any. Japanese rat snakes have a special vertebrae that cracks egg shells, so its probably a good idea to provide something that they're specialized for. She does eat mice and baby quail eagerly enough.

    Right now, she's way too small to handle chicken eggs. I don't know if she'll ever be big enough for them. Little noodle.
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  5. #4
    Reptile Dysfunction
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    I would not feed them eggs because it doesn't fit the body size limit that everyone uses to determine what size prey to feed them unless you have an abnormally huge rat snake lol.
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  7. #5
    BPnet Veteran FollowTheSun's Avatar
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    As always, a very interesting discussion! I wonder about the ones that eat eggs and if the shells hurt them. I figure they can digest bones, but egg shells are sharp!
    Lots of pets, all loved and well-cared for: 2 BP's, 1 ratsnake, 2 lovebirds, 1 Harris hawk, 2 ferrets, 3 chickens, 3 cats, 1 dog, and a toddler!

  8. #6
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    Re: Ratsnakes eating eggs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    I'm sure that hungry wild rat snakes steal some bird eggs but not many could actually down a chicken egg, they're too big. ...

    A 4 and half footer will eat chicken/duck eggs with ease.

    5 and 6 footers will eat adult grey squirrels.

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  10. #7
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    Yep we have some 5-6 foot adult female wild eastern black rats living in the area. They would take a chicken egg and ask for more.

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  12. #8
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    If you raise birds or know somebody that does, you know the answer. Yes, backyard flock owners will leave an egg or two on the ground. This is because itís not fun reaching under a bird an finding a hungry biting noodle.

    Even small corn snakes will climb into nesting boxes for a snack. Depends on the size of the birds.

    The fun snakes get in an then canít get out after eating. Then the kids get a friend for a day or two.

    Then you have young snakes that think they can eat a bird. Lost several Silkies that way.

    Backyard eggs come in all sizes. An a Granny egg from a chicken looks like a jelly bean.

  13. #9
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bcr229 View Post
    Yep we have some 5-6 foot adult female wild eastern black rats living in the area. They would take a chicken egg and ask for more.
    I don't doubt that wild snakes can pull this off- hunger is a powerful motivator. It's just not a risk I'd take with my pets.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 03-27-2021 at 03:03 PM.
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    Re: Ratsnakes eating eggs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Starscream View Post
    I haven't yet, I'm wanting to get ahold of some quail eggs for my japanese rat snake but am having some trouble locating any. Japanese rat snakes have a special vertebrae that cracks egg shells, so its probably a good idea to provide something that they're specialized for. She does eat mice and baby quail eagerly enough.

    Right now, she's way too small to handle chicken eggs. I don't know if she'll ever be big enough for them. Little noodle.
    I was going to mention this species being adapted for egg-eating as well. In the Trans-Pecos rat snake book by Dusty Rhoads, it does say that they eat eggs as well (saying they have taken them in captivity, I think?). I would be nervous feeding a larger egg (like a chicken egg) to anything smaller than an adult Eastern Indigo snake lol, but I do know some wild rat snakes eat chicken eggs.

    I was surprised to see quail eggs at my Publix, but I think it is a seasonal offering (their entire inventory changes for the snowbird residents and they carry more esoteric food then).

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