April 10, 2022

What animals eat snakes

What animals eat snakes

Who is the enemy of snakes, so well protected by nature? Do they have any enemies at all? It is generally believed that snakes have a fierce hatred for people: when they meet a person, the snake will rush to attack, and if it escapes, it will chase them for a long time. In fact, this is not the case. Snakes feed on rodents, birds, insects, birds’ eggs, and humans are indifferent to them.  What animals eat snakes?

What are snakes?

Snakes are commonly called a peculiar group of animals, representing the class of reptiles. They are represented by a single order – scales. All of them are predators. However, among the huge variety of these animals there are both harmless and cute creatures, and creatures that pose a serious threat to other animals and, of course, people.

Snakes have been found by humans on almost every continent. The exceptions are Antarctica, some large (New Zealand, Ireland) and small islands of the Atlantic Ocean and central Pacific. Currently on our planet there are more than 3,000 species of all kinds of snakes. About a quarter of them are poisonous. By the way, all of them are grouped into 14 families.


What animal eats snakes? Since childhood, everyone remembers the beautiful tale of R. Kipling about the brave mongoose. It is the friend of humans and the enemy of snakes Rikki-tikki-tavi. Indeed, mongooses are not afraid of snakes, because they are agile and dodgy. In India, for example, they are specially tamed and kept as pets in places where venomous snakes live. They easily adapt to humans and will bravely defend their master if a venomous snake crawls into the territory where he lives. The animal boldly rushes at the snake, which is often stronger and larger than itself. However, his agility and stealth help him defeat the snake and grab it by the neck, biting through its spine. The snake is defeated and can be eaten.

Does the mongoose have immunity to snake venom? Yes, it does, but only to the venom of snakes that live in the same place as the mongoose, and it is immune from birth. It is not uncommon for an animal to be hit by a snake, but it takes a large amount of venom to kill it. Experiments have shown that if the mongoose is transported to other regions inhabited by other snake species, it becomes just as vulnerable to their venom as all other animals.


Brazil is home to a snake mussurana. It goes out to hunt at night and catches snakes coming down from the shore to drink water. When it spots a poisonous snake, the mussurana swiftly pounces on it, entwines with it in a ball, sinks its teeth into the neck and, moving its teeth, makes its way to the head. Clamping the snake’s head with her teeth, the mussurana turns it, like an unscrewed nut, 360°. It breaks the bones of the spine, and the snake is paralyzed. The mussuran begins to swallow at the head. The paralyzed snake gradually disappears into the snake’s mouth. In those cases where the victim is too big and can not be swallowed whole, only half of the snake enters the stomach. The other half, sticking out of the mouth, the mussurana gradually retracts into the stomach until it swallows it whole.


An interesting feature of these prickly animals is that their bodies are insensitive to snake venom. Also, they are not particularly worried about being bitten by a dangerous adversary, because the vulnerable parts of the body are covered by densely planted prickles. When catching such prey, the hedgehog makes a lightning bite of great force and immediately afterwards curls up in a ball. This tactic protects the hedgehog from a dangerous retaliatory strike. Then the animal repeats its trick and continues until the snake is completely weakened. Now the snake becomes easy prey for the hedgehog, which, by the way, is a dangerous and ruthless predator. So the hedgehog is the animal that eats snake.


In India and other countries where venomous snakes live, the relatively small Neomorphinae live. Unlike mongoose and mussurana it has no immunity to snake venom, but it has another property. Dexterous and very agile, when it sees a venomous snake, it spreads its feathers in all directions, turning into a large fluffy ball. Attacking, the snake strikes the feathers without reaching the body of the bird, which tries to catch the snake by the neck. Before that, the bird with its long and strong beak strikes the snake in the head until it loses its orientation, partially losing its mobility as well.

The Secretarybird also likes to eat poisonous snakes – a tall, graceful bird with a long beak resembling tweezers, with which it is able to penetrate the skull of a reptile. What animal kills snakes from the air? Some eagles hunt snakes, with a different way of hunting. Having spotted a reptile crawling on the ground, they dive down sharply, grab the snake and lift it to the height of their flight, and from there throw it down, often choosing stony places for that. Sometimes you can see a large bird in the sky with a snake wriggling in its talons.


In the wild, snakes eat a variety of foods. They are all predators and often attack even snakes. As you may have noticed in the Mussurana example, snakes often feed on other snakes. And often there are even cases of cannibalism, when a snake feeds on another snake, which belongs to its species. This is normal for many reptiles, so there is nothing surprising about it. If you look for animals that eat snakes, snakes are often these animals. 

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April 10, 2022

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