The sourcing of feeder animals for snakes kept in the UK

  • Kelsey Jones (Author)
  • Wanda McCormick (Author)
  • Gavan Cooke (Author)

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsOral presentationResearch


The popularity of reptile keeping is apparently on the increase in the UK, with the PFMA Pet Population 2019 estimating 200,000 snakes being owned, and yet limited attention has been given to how owners source the vertebrate prey items that they feed. The purpose of this study was to empirically examine which species of snake pet keepers, breeders and trained employees kept, where they obtain their feeder animals from and what influences this decision. The objective was to not only establish a picture of the trade but to distinguish if the feeder animals being sourced and the factors affecting sourcing differed between the those who kept snakes commercially versus for pleasure. It was hoped that his may start towards developing understanding of the challenges that may be faced not only for providing appropriate diets but also for the welfare of the feeder animals. Participants (n=651) completed a 29 item online survey, available publically over a 152-day period. The majority of participants were pet keepers who kept popular common pet species and fed rodents that were sourced from pet shops. The predominant reasons cited for the choice of food source were convenience and cost. The results also showed that more specialist species including giant and venomous species were predominantly kept by pet keepers rather than trained zoo, college or shop employees.
Period13 Feb 2020
Event titleCompanion Animal Nutrition 2020
Event typeConference
LocationNorthampton, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionLocal


  • animal feeding
  • animal nutrition
  • snake
  • exotic animal nutrition