Do Snakes Drink Water?

Many people have long interesting beliefs about snakes, and one of the most popular ones is that they do not need to sleep. This has long since been disproved. But what about the idea that they do not drink water?

Snakes must drink water for survival. While they can survive extended periods without drinkable water, keeping a pet snake without water for more than one week is not recommended. Its water should be filtered or bottled to prevent exposure to chemicals commonly found in tap water.

This article will explain how snakes drink water, how long they can go without it, and why tap water is not a good choice. Read on for everything you need to know about snakes drinking water. 

Do Snakes Need To Drink Water To Survive?

It was once a common belief that snakes did not need to drink water to survive. However, this theory has been scientifically disproven.

Snakes need to drink water to survive. In nature, they get much of their hydration from the prey they eat, but they still need to drink water. Pet snakes need to drink more water than wild snakes.

However, the way they drink is probably unlike anything you would suspect.

How Different Snakes Drink Water

The species of snake determines the way it will drink water. None of these options involve lapping as a cat or dog would do.

A study conducted at Lehigh University demonstrated that most snakes drink water using a method of absorption through mouth tissues. In this situation, the snake will open its mouth and allow water to enter. 

Once the water is inside, their mouth tissue absorbs it, much like a sponge would. Then, the water travels down the snake’s esophagus.

Other snakes use a straw-like method of drinking, where they suck in water through a small hole in their mouths. In this process, the snake must completely close its mouth to force the water into its pharynx.

Many snakes have specialized scales that hold water droplets or even redirect them to their mouths.

How Long Can a Snake Survive Without Drinkable Water?

You will want to ensure your pet snake always has access to clean, drinkable water. It needs to be able to hydrate as needed on its own schedule. 

However, it may happen that you cannot provide water for an extended period. Knowing precisely how long your snake can survive without drinkable water is crucial in this situation.

Wild snakes can endure weeks and even months without a water source, depending on the environment and availability. 

For instance, in the desert, rainfall is often spread far apart. For snakes in this climate, it’s crucial to take every droplet available. Some snakes take it to an extreme: since they are surrounded by seawater, sea snakes can go for as long as 6 months without drinking water.

On the other hand, domestic snakes need to be treated differently. They should not be deprived of water for more than one week. 

Can Snakes Have Tap Water?

Snakes can’t have tap water. The ideal water for snakes is purified water, such as bottled water or filtered tap water. Tap water can contain chemicals such as fluoride and chlorine, which are irritating to snakes. Don’t give your snake distilled water.


While it may be surprising to some, snakes drink water and need it to survive. Their drinking methods are more creative than other animals, making them even more unique creatures. When you have a pet snake, you must ensure it receives the correct amount of water and avoid using tap water.

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