I have a California kingsnake. She is female and around 4 years old. I have been having some issues with feeding her as described here.

We eventually concluded that the problem was she was bored of mice; when we tried her with day-old chicks, she went for them.

Unfortunately, the chicks are slightly too big for her. I already cut their legs off before feeding, but this time I'm going to try it again and make sure no leg stumps remain, and cut off the wings as well.

Besides the chicks, are there any additional alternative foods I can try?

I should note I live in the UK & Live feeding is illegal.

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    A few notes on chicks — At four years old, chicks probably aren't really "too big" for her. She may simply be struggling because there are a lot of appendages she isn't accustomed to dealing with. If she gets it down eventually, I wouldn't worry about it. She'll get the hang of it. Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 16:48
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    Also, it is widely touted (anecdotally) that it can be hard to wean snakes off chicks once they develop a taste for them. I haven't had that experience myself, but it's good to keep in mind to be sure you have a steady supply if you go that route. Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 16:48

4 Answers 4


Try switching to rats; weanling rats if you need something smaller.

To us, they seem like basically the same thing as mice. But if your snake is truly getting "bored" with mice, rats will provide a different scent and nutritional profile which may fulfill the snakes instinctive predilection towards varying their diet.

They may eventually enjoying eating mice again, if they can get something else on occasion.


I've not really heard people feeding their kingsnakes much besides mice or gerbils, but they'll eat just about anything in the wild.

For rodents, I would suggest gerbils or baby rats. There are very few places where you can get hamsters that are intended as feeders, so they're a bit too expensive to consider I think.

You could try feeding her anoles, geckos, or even small snakes, but that increases the cost of food and also the risk of harm to your snake. Probably safer would be small frogs if you can find a source to buy from.

I haven't had any experiences with feeding snakes baby birds. So the only comment I would make is to watch for the legs and sharp feet (maybe even the beak), but you're already taking care of that.


I have a lavender king snake, and I also have a breeding pair of doves, which have given me about a dozen doves in around a year, I've been pulling the eggs when they are laid, ideally before incubation begins, they're probably better for the snake if I let the doves incubate, but I had one break open after being incubated and for the sake of my conscience I don't let them incubate at all anymore. I have had good success with feeding the eggs to both my king and ball snakes, however my king seems to have a higher metabolism than the ball, so usually the king gets the eggs to carry her through in between feeding mice. If you don't have access to dove or pigeon eggs, quail eggs can be found at many of the asian supermarkets, but you'll likely have to live near a city to find one. I can't even find most goya products in the rural gerocery stores near my own home, and I've never found quail eggs anywhere outside of an asian supermarket


As mentioned in previous answers, rats and gerbils can be offered instead of mice or in a rotation with mice.

Chicks are fine, but I have been told that a snake fed exclusively on chicks can become malnourished, so you probably want to offer chicks in addition to other foods. (Not that you necessarily need to offer something else in the same feeding, just try to make sure she's eating other things as well on occasion.)

Another thing that you can try, if they're available in your area, are quail eggs. Again, I would recommend offering these in combination with other foods.

Setting up a rotation of eggs, chicks, and rodents should hopefully provide an interesting and nutritionally complete diet for your snake that will keep her healthy and eating well.

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