How Long Can Snakes Hold Their Breath

How Long Can Snakes Hold Their Breath? 9 Secret Revealed!

How long can a snake go without taking a breath? Despite what most people think, it doesn’t go on forever, and the answer varies.

Snakes might look calm and harmless one minute, and then they might slither across the ground, flashing their tongues and getting ready to strike the next.

One of the most common questions about snakes, though, is how long they can go without breathing before they die.

How Long Can Snakes Hold Their Breath

How long a snake can go without breathing depends a lot on how active it is and what kind of snake it is.

Some snakes that swim long distances can hold their breath for up to 10 minutes. Snakes that spend most of their time on land, on the other hand, can hold their breath for up to 30 minutes.

Snakes can hold their breath for long periods of time, which helps them stay under water while they look for food. This is also helpful when snakes are in danger and need to run away quickly.

How Long Can Snakes Hold Their Breath

If you’ve ever wondered how different species compare when it comes to how long they can go without taking a breath, we have some useful information for you.

There are a lot of false beliefs and myths about snakes. So, if you want to know how long a snake can live underwater, keep reading. We’ll also tell you what experts think about this.

Common SnakesLength of Time Underwater
Ball Pythons15-20 minutes
Garter Snakes15-20 minutes
Rat Snakes7-10 minutes
Rosy Boas3-7 minutes
Bull Snakes10-15 minutes
Anacondas8-10 minutes
Water Mocassin Snakes13-30 minutes
King Cobras15-20 minutes
Water Snakes14 minutes – 8 hours
Pit Vipers5-10 minutes

How Do Snakes Hold Their Breath Underwater?

Some people may find it hard to believe that snakes can hold their breath underwater, especially since they don’t have a diaphragm or, more importantly, gills.

Either their noses or their glottis are used to take in air. Behind their tongue, there is a small hole. Air will go straight from this little pocket to their windpipe and lungs.

Most snakes only have one lung, and the other one is either not there, is too small, or can’t be used. There’s no reason to worry because this happens all the time. Since they don’t have a diaphragm, which helps them breathe, they just tighten their muscles to get rid of air.

Snakes can’t breathe under water, that’s for sure. Even sea snakes can’t breathe under water. This is because snakes don’t have gills.

Before diving into the water, snakes take in a lot of air from the surface. This helps them stay afloat.

When that air runs out, they have to go back up to get more before they can dive again.

How Do Snakes Breathe When Eating?

When you learn more about how snakes eat, you’ll learn that they open their jaws wide around big prey.

When this happens, the prey may close their airways all the way or almost all the way.

MORE  Can Snakes Heal Themselves? 10 Important Facts To Know!

These things have noses and can breathe through them, but when they eat, they don’t get enough oxygen.

During feeding, the tracheal lung helps the snake breathe.

When a snake eats, the opening to its tracheal lung opens up and moves to the side of its mouth. This makes a path to its lungs.

If you have a snake and have watched it eat closely, you may have seen a hole or tube on the side of its mouth.

This is the glottis, which is a small opening to the tracheal lung.

When the blockage is gone, the glottis goes back to where it should be, and breathing goes back to normal.

Because they can change the way their organs that help them breathe work, they can breathe even if something is in the way.

Snakes make hissing sounds with their glottis.

Inside the glottis, there is a small piece of cartilage.

When a snake breathes out hard, the cartilage vibrates, making the hissing sound that everyone knows snakes for.

Respiratory Infections In Snakes

Knowing how and how often a snake breathes will help you, as the owner, figure out if there is something wrong with its health.

Snakes often get respiratory illnesses, which is sad. If the snake is wheezing or gasping for air, you should find out more about it and talk to a vet.

However, these are not the only signs of trouble breathing. Snakes usually breathe through their noses or mouths, or both at once if they need a big breath.

If a snake is only breathing through its mouth, it may have an infection in its lungs. It’s important to know how your snake breathes when it’s healthy, calm, and at ease. This will help you figure out if there is a problem or not.

Listen for whistling, crackling, or deeper, stronger breathing. There is also a lot of mucus coming from the mouth or nose. Snakes often get respiratory infections, but this is usually because their enclosure is too cold.

When it is too cold, it is hard for the snake to fight off microorganisms that cause diseases in the lungs.

Antibiotics are used to treat respiratory infections, so if you think your snake has one, take it to the vet as soon as possible. The vet will find out where the infection came from and figure out how to treat it.

Can Snakes Drown?

Snakes really can drown. You can breathe a sigh of relief, though, because snakes don’t drown even though they can’t swim. In fact, all snakes are very good swimmers.

Their bodies were made so that they could swim perfectly, whether it was to avoid being caught or to chase down prey. Snakes’ different ways of swimming are very interesting.

Some snakes like to go completely under the water, but others, like the water moccasin snake, like to float on the water with their heads sticking out.

Snakes drown when other things are present. For example, something underwater is keeping a snake from climbing to the surface to get more oxygen.

If a snake gets hurt underwater and can’t get to the surface in time because of it, it could drown. All of these things have to do with wild snakes, of course.

What about snakes in zoos? Can a snake drown by itself?

Snakes that are kept as pets can drown in the following ways:

  • The snake was tired and dehydrated, so it laid down in the water bowl. It is so tired that its head has fallen below the surface of the water, and it can’t lift it back up.
  • A snake that its owner “hand-soaked.” But the snake couldn’t swim in the water, and its body couldn’t rest on the bottom of the container. So, the snake is forced to swim in circles until it is caught.
  • A snake was wet, but its owner forgot to give it something to hold on to, like a hide or a rock.
  • hen a scared snake rolls over to look like it’s dead, but its head is still in the water.
  • When a snake is in water, it can drown if it has an undiagnosed respiratory infection that keeps its lungs and windpipe from working right.
MORE  Can A Snake Survive Being Cut In Half? 7 Reasons For That

How Does a Snake Hold Its Breath?

When a snake holds its breath, it is not actually breathing. This can happen for a number of different reasons, such as:

  • Snakes can hold their breath when they want to hide. Snakes can feel vibrations, so if they feel something coming toward them, they may hold their breath to stay still and not be seen.
  • Snakes may hold their breath while they break down their food. Digesting takes a lot of energy, so when a snake is digesting its food, it will need to breathe less.
  • Snakes may hold their breath when they shed their skin. Snakes get stressed when they shed their skin, and being able to breathe helps them use less oxygen.

How Long Can Different Snakes Hold Their Breath?


Anacondas are some of the biggest snakes in the world, and they are known for how well they can squeeze. Even though they are scared, they are shy animals that hide most of the time in the water.

Most of the time, they come out at night to look for food.

Anacondas can hold their breath for up to 10 minutes, but they have to come up for air more often when they are moving around.

Most of the time, they eat big animals like deer or pigs, but sometimes they will eat smaller animals or birds.

Anacondas live in South America. They like swamps, marshes, and rivers that move slowly.

Burmese Pythons

Burmese pythons are one of the largest snake species in the world, and they are very good at living in water.

Their bodies are long and thin, and their noses are on top of their heads. They also have special valves that close their throats when they are underwater.

Burmese pythons, on the other hand, can stay underwater for a long time without taking a breath, which is different from many other aquatic animals.

They store a lot of oxygen in their muscles and lungs, and their metabolism is slow, so they don’t need as much oxygen as other animals.

Because of this, they can stay under water for up to 30 minutes. This skill gives them a big advantage when hunting because it lets them stay underwater until it’s too late to surprise their prey.

Ball Pythons

A cool fact is that ball pythons can hold their breath for about 20 minutes. Snakes like ball pythons live in Africa. Most of the time, you can find them in savannas or grasslands, where they hunt for mice and rats.

Ball pythons are constrictors, which means that when they wrap their bodies around their prey, they suffocate them. Since ball pythons don’t have poison, they have to use their strength to kill their prey.

MORE  How Long Can A Snake Go Without Water? 12 Facts To Know

Ball pythons are small snakes that don’t get much longer than 3 to 5 feet. They can live up to 30 years if they are kept as pets. Because they are often eaten by other animals and get sick, their wild lives are often shorter.

Their lungs are very old, which makes it hard for them to breathe underwater. So, ball pythons have to be careful not to stay underwater too long or they will drown.

How Can Sea Snakes Hold Breath For So Long?

Most sea snakes spend most of their lives underwater and only come to the surface to breathe.

But how do they stay under water for such long times? Sea snakes are able to hold their breath for long periods of time because of many things about them.

First, their lungs are smaller, so they take up less space inside the body. So, their blood and muscles can hold more oxygen because of this. Also, sea snakes have a good circulatory system that helps oxygen get to all parts of their bodies.

How Long Can Snakes Hold Their Breath

The last thing they can do to save oxygen is slow down their metabolism. Because of these changes, sea snakes can stay under water for up to eight hours at a time.

What Affects How Long Snakes Can Hold Breath

How long a snake can hold its breath depends on many things, such as the type of snake, the temperature of the water, and how much it is moving. Snakes that live in cold water can usually hold their breath longer than snakes that live in warm water.

This is because the snake’s metabolism slows down in cooler temperatures, which lets it save oxygen.

How active a snake is also affects how long it can go without breathing. A snake that is swimming uses more oxygen than one that is resting at the bottom of the tank.

In the end, how long a snake can go without breathing depends on a number of different things.

Final Thoughts

Snakes show that changes in the environment and physical problems do not stop evolution from adapting.

Snakes can all swim, but there are differences in how they swim and how long they can hold their breath underwater.

Even so, snakes find a way to do well even when the environment makes it hard.

This doesn’t mean you should throw your pet snake a pool party, but it does give you peace of mind knowing that snakes are well-equipped to handle water problems on their own.

Princy Hoang
See more articles in this category: Snakes

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *