Snakes. They startle even the bravest soul, slithering by in near silence. Some find them fascinating, others terrifying. A rattle of warning from one of these legless, carnivorous reptiles will put anyone on alert. Spotting a snake in your garden might lead to a search for information–poisonous or safe? While these mysterious creatures seem so intimidating, even the largest ones have their own predators to worry about.
What Kinds of Animals Eat Snakes?
With varying species of snakes existing on every continent (except Antarctica) and most land masses (except for a few islands) the types of predators vary. Some are venomous, some are not. Some are big, some are small. All of these factor into what animals might consider snake a delicious snake. Some of these animals include:
- Birds: While snakes will also eat birds, there are a number of birds that choose snake as their prey. For some birds of prey, like hawks and eagles, snake is often a primary part of their diet. Because of their large talons, quick speeds, and ability to swoop down from above, hawks can easily grab a snake from behind its head. They eat both venomous and non-venomous snakes. Only young, inexperienced haws risk dying from a snake bite. Owls have large talons, sharp beaks, and incredible eyesight–all tools that make catching a snake a breeze. Even young owls will feed on small snakes. Crows will scavenge a dead snake, but have also been known to capture and eat live ones. Some Eagles specialize in eating snake, even the venomous ones. Thick skin along their talons and legs make it difficult for snakes to bite them. Other snake eating birds include: falcons, roadrunners, herons, chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, cranes, peacocks, secretary birds, and kookaburras.
- Weasels: These voracious eaters will feed on a small snake.
- Foxes: Foxes will also dine on smaller snakes that are easier to overpower.
- Snakes: Big snakes eat small snakes. Most snakes will snake on another snake, but there are specific species of larger snakes that make a habit of eating their smaller cousins. These include: king snakes, king cobras, black-headed pythons, mussuranas, and indigo snakes.
- Mongoose; Some species of these small, omnivorous mammals are known as legendary snake fighters. They will kill and eat even the most venomous snakes. They are faster than cobras, which makes them able to defeat a cobra in a battle.
- Predators of Big Snakes: Even the biggest snakes have to watch out for some hungry predators. Crocodiles and leopards sometimes kill and eat pythons in Asia and Africa. The largest snake in the world, the anaconda, needs to look out for Jaguar and Caiman.
The list of animals that will hunt and dine on a snake is long, including domestic cats and dogs. Of course, depending on the snake, the hunter could just as easily turn into the hunted, or at the very list suffer because of the poison that some snakes use to defend themselves. Read on for more about the types of predators that hunt for specific species of snakes.
What eats kingsnakes?
With 45 different subspecies, kingsnakes throughout the Americas and Southeastern Canada. They often have vibrant colors, and some species can grow to a length of 6 feet. They often become part of the diet of birds of prey like hawks and eagles. Tarantulas also enjoy a meal of kingsnakes, although this happens more often with tarantulas raised in captivity.
What eats rattlesnakes?
Rattlesnakes are vicious predators themselves, but they too have natural predators. Animals will either kill him while trying to defend themselves, or with the intent of a rattlesnake meal. For example, a hoofed animal like a horse or a deer will trample on a rattlesnake in self-defense with no desire to eat it. A rattlesnake can kill these animals, so they will kill it first if they feel threatened. Owls, eagles, and hawks are dangers from above for these dangerous snakes. They have the advantage of powerful claws, sharp beaks, and the ability to sneak attack from the air. Other animals that intentionally hunt rattle snake include: foxes, coyotes, feral cats, and turkeys. Rattlesnakes also need to look out for some snake-y cousins like the king snake and black snake. Of course, the rattlesnake has many ways of protecting itself from becoming prey. Between coloring that helps them camouflage themselves, a rattle that warns enemies away, and the ability to puff up their bodies to make them look bigger–rattlesnakes are often able to simply avoid predators. If that fails, however, they also have powerful bites and poisonous venom for self-defense.
What eats copperhead snakes?
Copperheads, named for their copper-colored, unmarked heads, triangular-shaped heads live in a variety of different terrains. Most often they can be found near woodlands, which provides them a place for cover and also south-facing rocks for basking in the sun. While these snakes are venomous, they are rarely lethal to humans. Still, it is best to stay clear if a copperhead shows up in your yard. The snake-loving owls and hawks are their most dangerous predators. Copperheads also fall prey to opossums, raccoons, and other snakes.
What eats king cobra?
King cobra are the longest, most toxic venomous snake in the world. On average they grow to be about 13 feet long, but some have been known to grow to 18 feet. Found in Southeast Asia, they live in the forests near the water. They can swim and move quickly on both land and in trees. This makes them truly dangerous predators, although they are not considered aggressive. They would prefer to avoid humans rather than attack. Still, the venom from one bite is strong enough to kill 20 men. Given all this, its not surprising that there are not many animals that prey on these creatures. Their biggest threat comes from humans because of deforestation, or for its meat, skin, and use in Chinese medicine. Still, they too have at least one natural predator, and that is the mongoose, particularly the Indian gray mongoose. Mongoose are immune to the venom of the king cobra. They are also faster than cobras, so can win after a vicious battle. Still, mongoose rarely attack king cobras unless they have to.
Snakes, both predator and prey. They are truly amazing creatures, that should only be observed from a distance to be safe.