When you see a snake slithering through the wild, one thing you don't frequently see, if ever, is the snake doing its business. But surely, if they are eating, there has to be a way for them to get rid of their waste. So, do snakes poop?
Much like any other animal, a snake does poop. But perhaps what is most interesting about the way in which these animals expel their waste is that it comes through one opening that has a variety of uses - the cloaca.
If you are a snake owner, you have likely spent time clearing up after your pet, but if you are new to snake care, you might have wondered about the toileting habits of these incredible creatures. In this article, we are going to take a closer look.
One of the most important things to remember if you are taking on a pet snake is that whilst it will poo, this won't be as often as other pets. The main reason for this is that a snake can go for very long periods of time without eating a meal - did you know, there are cases where a snake won't eat for an entire year, and if there is nothing going in, there won't be anything coming out.
Furthermore, snakes have a much slower metabolism than other animals so even when they have eaten a hearty meal, it could take a lot longer for it to make an appearance out the other end.
It is not unheard of for large pythons to chow down on a deer in the wild and spend an entire month digesting the meal. These animals are certainly not in a rush!
This is because, unlike some other species, snakes will not expel their waste until the entire meal has been digested. Think about humans, you could eat a meal and go to the toilet right after without having digested everything in your system.
For humans and other animals, the digestion process is more of a continual system whereas for snakes, the entire process of eating, digestion and dedication is one huge action.
Humans and many other animals have a dedicated exit for poop so it might seem a little strange to learn that the anatomy of a snake is vastly different from that of a mammal.
In snakes, there is an opening in the lower portion of the body known as the cloaca. From this opening, the snake is able to poop and pee but the reproductive organs are also located within this orifice.
Again, their anatomy differs greatly compared to ours and both male and female snakes have internal sexual organs - but that is a topic for another article.
We have touched on how infrequently a snake might poop but going a year is at the extreme end of this. The frequency that a snake will poop will largely depend on several factors. One of these factors is the size of the snake.
A larger snake will naturally have more stomach acid and will be able to digest smaller meals much more quickly. However, if they have eaten a huge helping, it could take quite some time for this to be digested. This demonstrates that the size of the meal they have taken will also determine the frequency of pooping.
Furthermore, you should consider the age of the animal. Baby snakes will eat more often than their adult counterparts and as such, are likely to release their bowels more regularly.
This is because at a young age, the snake needs constant nutrition to help it grow. Once it becomes an adult, it will feed much less often.
You may not have ever sat and pondered the image of snake poop but when you start thinking about it, it is interesting to know what snake poop might look like.
If you have ever seen dog poop, which most of us have, you will easily be able to imagine what snake poop looks like. The two types of excrement are very similar in appearance.
That being said, snake poo is usually far wetter than the droppings of a mammal. There are two main reasons for this. Primarily, the cloaca is used to expel both urine and poop so it is not uncommon for the snake to do both at the same time.
Furthermore, since snakes eat prey that is filled will blood, this comes out in their faeces making the poop more moist.
The poop is brown in colour but unlike other animals, you may notice that some bowel movements contain a white portion. This is usually due to fur from any mice that the snake has eaten.
Now that we have answered the question 'do snakes poop?'; it is important to look at any problems that snakes may have where toileting is concerned. For pet owners, this knowledge is invaluable and may help to avoid an unpleasant situation for your pet.
Much like us, snakes can suffer with constipation, or the inability to pass stools. In some cases, this can present as a total blockage where the snake cannot expel the poop whereas other times, it could be that pooping is challenging.
Most commonly, this occurs if digestion takes too long and the poop becomes too dry to pass. If this happens and is not addressed, the poop could start to rot within the body causing death.
If you are concerned about your pet, it is important to speak to your vet who can offer advice. However, giving the snake a bath can moisten the cloaca and help shift the stool.
It is also important to remember that snakes typically stop pooping in the weeks before they shed, so if there are signs that she will shed imminently, then this could be the reason for a lack of faeces.
Snakes, just like any other animal poop. But the way that they do this is quite unlike anything that humans are familiar with. First of all, snakes poop far less often the we do, in some cases as little as annually.
What's more, their poop and pee come out of the same opening where their reproductive organs are located, demonstrating the huge differences in their anatomy when compared to mammals.
For pet owners, it is important to keep an eye on your snakes toileting habits because if they become constipated, there is a chance that this could make them seriously ill, or worse.