Do Snakes Poop?

By Snaketracks / April 6, 2020

Snake Poop

Yes, snakes do poop! Even if they eliminate solid waste infrequently.

Like birds, snakes excrete both solid and liquid waste from the same hole. Besides defecating and urinating, this hole -called the cloaca and found at the base of the tail-  is used to mate and lay eggs.

But unlike birds which can take up to 50 poops a day, a snake will only poop when its entire prey has been digested. Once they have disposed of their waste and the body is ready for its next digestion cycle, the snake will begin to hunt for its next meal.

How Often Do Snakes Poop?

As a general rule, if a snake eats frequently, it will defecate frequently.

A snake’s excretion process is highly variable from species to species. An arboreal snake will defecate soon after eating to maximize mobility; a terrestrial snake will not defecate as frequently as it doesn’t require the same speediness.

Age also has to do with defecation: when baby snakes are left to their own devices, because of their rapid growth rate, they will eat more frequently on smaller sized meals and poop more frequently in order to be able to repeat the process.

Fun Snake Poop Fact:

  • A snake may end by defecating only a few times a year: because of this, up to 5-20% of a snake’s body weight at any given time may be fecal matter.

How Do Snakes Poop Bones?

Actually, snakes don´t poop bones: they can digest bones thanks to their strong stomach acids and enzymes. Of course, it takes days… and the digested bones become a vital source of calcium.

On the other hand, snakes are unable to digest feathers, fur, nails, claws, and horns, as they are made from keratin which is an indigestible substance.

Therefore, poop can also come out with a piece that is sometimes white, which can be the hair of a mouse, feathers or fur. Alternatively, the snake may regurgitate the fur as a furball.

What Does Snake Poop Look Like?

Feces are the same width as the snake’s body and are usually brown, just like most other animal droppings.

They are often much wetter than human feces and this is because both poop and urine come from the same place (the cloaca), so it is common for a snake to release urine and poop at the same time.

Feces may have streaks of white urea along with them or a white urea cap, and as mentioned earlier,  they can also evidence traces of prey´s fur, feathers o hair.

Can Snakes Get Constipated?

Yes, this can happen to a snake.

For example, a meal could have been too large and taken too long to digest, this can make the snake poop dry making it harder for the snake to push the poop out of the cloaca.

In the wild this can actually be fatal;  if the poop is stuck long enough, it will begin to mold and cause internal infection.

If you have a pet snake that is constipated, the best solution to this is a Lukewarm bath, that loosens the snake’s cloaca allowing the backed-up feces to leave. Some snakes even use water to poop in.

Be aware of the fact that eggs can also get stuck and it can look like poop is stuck when the snake is egg bound.

3 Facts About Snakes Digestive Systems:

  • A snakes digestive system works with the help of enzymes and acid. Enzymes act as a catalyst to the dissolve food by stomach acid. They make the digestion process faster. 
  • Food remains in a snake’s stomach for days at a time, depending on the size of the meal. During this period stomach acid is breaking down all of it so the body can absorb the nutrients.
  • Venomous snakes use their venom to begin the digestion process before they even swallow their food. Hemotoxic venom contains enzymes that break down proteins in the same way that stomach enzymes do. So basically their prey is already partially digested  before it is even eaten.

Conclusion

Snakes do poop, and feces basically look like most mammals feces.

However, the snake digestive process differs much from other mammals digestive processes: on the one hand, snakes eat their prey whole, so they take their time to digest and they do so with the help of strong acids and enzymes.

Just when they are ready to dispose of all of the prey they have eaten, just then, they will go for their next meal. The combination of time and acids/enzymes allow snakes to digest bones, even if they are unable to digest fur, feathers, and any material made of keratin.

Each snake species has specific digestion timings.  When buying your pet snake try to get as much information from the breeder or store as possible about the defecation habits of your snake, and what the normal rate that is to be expected for that particular type of snake.

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