Do Snakes Drink Water? Things you need to know

snake drinking water
snake drinking water

While I was preparing to get my first pet snake the question that caught my attention was do snakes drink water?. As I was curious I reached out to some snake owners and pet stores. And here is what I got as an answer to this question.

Snakes do drink water, as their body gets an adequate amount of necessary minerals through the water they drink. Snakes keep their body hydrated and maintain their osmoregulation function by drinking water.

However, snakes get some amount of water from their prey but still, snakes need to drink water to carry out their body functions. Further, the necessity and amount of water required for snakes are different for different species.

Snakes do not consume water on a daily basis and there are some snakes living in the dry areas that can survive without getting water in liquid form. These snakes get all the necessary amounts of water from their food. 

This was a bit surprising for me to find out that snakes do drink water. But what was more surprising was how do they do this?.

As snakes have a fork-like tongue which is of no good if they need to scoop up water like other animals. This got to a fascinating answer as snakes drink water in a unique manner. And here is what you need to know about how snakes drink water. 

How do snakes drink water?

As snakes are not capable of tilting their heads up, nor do they have tongues like other animals for lapping up the water. Due to all these incompetence, snakes have evolved some physiological abilities to drink water.

Snakes drink water with the help of a layer of tissues with numerous folds present in the upper and lower jaws of their mouth. These folds act like tiny sponges, that draw water through capillary action, which then gets squeezed and swallowed through the muscles present in their mouth.

Other than this some snakes also dip their head in the water and perform rhythmic suction by contracting the muscles present between their mouth and throat. And pushing water towards their guts. This process of suction works because snakes can seal their mouth while drinking. Thus they do not require to tilt their head up.

Snakes like a boa constrictor and rat snakes use the suction technique to drink water.

while others use the capillary action for drinking water. However, you can also find snakes that use both of these methods to drink water, and snakes that switch between these two methods while they grow bigger. 

This evolution has enabled snakes to drink water easily. But how often do they really need to drink water?. This is what you need to know about snakes. 

How often does a snake Drink water?

On average, snakes drink water 2 to 6 times a week. Although the consistency of snakes drinking water depends on the environment, humidity, age, species of snake, and freshness of water.

Some snakes drink water a couple of times a week, while others seem to consume water very rarely. But it is all fine as snakes get the required amount of water from their food. They will drink water if they need to get hydrated or if they didn’t get sufficient water from their prey. It really depends on the food, species of the snake, and their age. 

Other than this you need to maintain the correct temperature and humidity of their enclosure. And clean their water bowl and add fresh water on a regular basis. As it turns out that snakes tend to drink water from fresh and clean sources.

  However, it is totally fine if you have not seen your pet snake drinking water. As it is not necessary that every snake should drink water frequently. Other then these snakes do not like being watched while they drink.

You just need to make sure they have the required amount of freshwater in their enclosure. And how much water do they need, keep reading further to know more? 

How much water do snakes need?

snake water bowl
snake water bowl

Snakes need a bowl full of water, that has a wide surface area and shallow depth directly proportional to their body surface. The bowl should consist of a sufficient amount of freshwater for soaking and drinking.

As snakes do not drink water on a regular basis. A bowl filled with water can go for a couple of weeks. But make sure you keep the bowl clean and keep changing the water every couple of days. 

A bowl filled with water that is big enough for a snake to fit can also be used by the snake for soaking before shedding and to maintain their body temperature. This water basin also helps in maintaining the humidity inside the enclosure.  

Make sure to fill the water basin with clean and freshwater. You can use tap water or R.O water for your pet snake. If you have any concern regarding how safe tap water is, for your pet snake then you can read our article on it.

As water is one of the vital elements for your pet snake. And its scarcity can lead to dehydration. You just need to make sure the water is in abundance and your snake is not suffering from dehydration.  

How to know if a snake is dehydrated?

While dehydration can cause a lot of problems to your pet snakes. They must be checked in a regular interval of time. You can identify if the snake is getting a sufficient amount of water or if they are dehydrated by looking at the following things.

A dehydrated snake has symptoms like dry and wrinkled skin. With sunken eyes, lethargy, and constipation. Their skin loses flexibility and elastics and they tend to shed in pieces. 

If any of these signs are seen in your pet snake then you must provide a quick soaking or a freshwater supply to your pet snake.

If dehydration has impacted the health of your pet then you must consider a visit to your veteran for further guidance.  

However, snakes can go without water for a couple of days to months. As they get water through their prey. But how long could they go without water?. Well here is what you need to know about it.

How long can snakes go without water?

A snake can survive 7 to 12 days without water. Although in extreme cases a healthy adult snake can last for over a month without water. The survival time of a snake without water depends on the age, temperature, humidity, and species of the snake. 

As some snake that lives in the harsh climate has developed the physiological capability to survive for years without drinking water. As they get the required amount of water from their prey. While on the other hand, some snakes need water every couple of days to keep themself hydrated.

A sea snake can go for about 6-9 months without water. While a ball python is fine without water for about 7 to 12 days. 

Other than this humidity, temperature, age also decides how long a snake can go without water. Thus there is no definite period of time for which snakes can survive without water as it depends on many surrounding factors.

But if your snake is healthy and their enclosure has the right amount of humidity and temperature then they are completely fine if they didn’t get water for a week.

Related Question

How often to change the water for snakes?

The drinking water of the snake should be changed 3-4 times a week. And if the snake is soaking in the water, then it must be changed on a regular basis. As snakes like to drink from freshwater sources, refilling the water frequently ensures the good health of the snake.

Do snakes drink milk?

Snakes do not drink milk. As snakes are reptiles and they are physiologically incapable of digesting milk and other dairy products. Any phenomena of snake drinking milk occur only if the snake is suffering from dehydration for a long period of time.