Diet in the Wild
- Grass snakes in the wild eat a diet consisting of small live animals, primarily frogs and toads. However, the grass snake is also known to eat fish, worms and small rodents. Younger grass snakes may eat smaller amphibians, water insects and tadpoles.
The wild habitat of the grass snake directly relates to its diet, as grass snakes in drier areas may eat more rodents, while those near water are more likely to feed on fish and amphibians.
Diet in Captivity
- In the United Kingdom, catching native wildlife and keeping it as a pet is legal and so many grass snakes are kept as pets. Grass snakes in captivity normally eat small rodents and frogs if available, although some may eat bugs if offered. Grass snakes are hesitant to eat dead prey in captivity.
- Like most snakes, the grass snake uses its tongue to "smell" the air, picking up scent molecules and touching them to the Jacobson's organ inside of its mouth, sending signals to its brain identifying the smell. This is how it finds its prey.
Use of Teeth
- The grass snake is nonvenomous and is not considered a constrictor like boas and pythons. While even smaller snakes will constrict their prey to both kill it and position it for swallowing, the grass snake catches its prey in its teeth and then swallows it.
North American Grass Snakes
- The common term "grass snake" is often applied to both the rough and smooth green snake in North America. The diets of both of the snakes are different than those of the European grass snake, consisting of mostly larvae and bugs. According to the Museum of Natural History in Nova Scotia, it is very difficult to get the smooth or rough green snake to eat in captivity.