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Is Gatorade Safe for Snakes?

People seem to love the idea of giving water to a snake on a hot summer day, but what about using Gatorade instead? Another viral video shows a person pouring blue Gatorade into the mouth of some kind of pit viper. 

While the origins of the video are unclear, it shows the snake in a defensive position — coiled on the ground with its mouth open. Then, the cameraman pours the sports drink into its mouth. “Bro about to be the first ever snake to try Gatorade. It’s a shame though because it’s about to spend the rest of its life trying to find more but it never will,” the cameraman says. 

There are several things wrong with what happens in the video — the main one being that it’s cruel, because that’s not how snakes drink liquid — but it also raises the question: Is Gatorade safe for snakes? 

While the general consensus among experts is that you should never approach wildlife, the answer is really more for people who own snakes. If a snake is dehydrated — by showing symptoms such as dry skin, inflexibility, receding eyes, weakness, inability to shed, etc. — it needs to be re-hydrated, according to Reptiles Life. Experts say you can treat a snake for dehydration in mild cases by giving water in a dish, misting it, increasing humidity levels, or soaking it in water. 

However, it’s also important to understand how snakes ingest liquid. According to the Brevard Zoo, the way in which a snake takes in water depends on the type of snake. Big snakes like pythons may stick their heads into a body of water and drink, while smaller snakes will drink water off of their bodies or absorb it through their scales. 

In more severe cases of dehydration or after frequent bouts of dehydration, you should bring the snake to a veterinarian who treats snakes. The vet may utilize a number of fluid treatment options, such as putting it in a humidity chamber, giving it intravenous fluids, or giving it a soak in an electrolyte bath. 

The vet may also advise you to rehydrate your snake orally by giving it water or a diluted electrolyte drink such as Pedialyte or Gatorade with an eye dropper over several days, according to Snakes for Pets

So, the answer is “yes,” you can technically give a snake Gatorade, but you should first try gentler methods than pouring liquid down its throat so you don’t hurt or kill it. Of course, when in doubt, you should also follow the instructions of a trained snake doctor before you do anything. 

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