Snakes have a lot of natural predators including mongooses, honey badgers, secretary birds, hedgehogs, bobcats and other snakes.
Snakes are common prey for a lot of forest-dwelling creatures such as birds. Owls, hawks and falcons all hunt snakes and do a good job at keeping snake populations at bay.
A lot of snake species also cannibalize other snakes.
Land mammals represent the third biggest threat to snakes after birds and other snakes. Land mammals that hunt snakes tend to be opportunistic. If a predator such as a bobcat or honey badger is hungry and hasn’t eaten in a few days, they’ll likely seek out a snake, which could be seen as a relatively easy catch.
List of Animals that Eat Snakes
Common animals that eat snakes include:
- Honey Badgers
- Cats and Dogs
- Honey Badgers
- Other Snakes
Below are explanations of each, including how and why they eat snakes!
Do Mongoose Eat Snakes?
Mongooses are natural snake predators and can kill them pretty easily. Mongooses eat several different varieties of snakes, rodents, lizards, insects and worms.
They have specialised acetylcholine receptors in their small bodies which act as an immunity agent against the deadly venom from snakes.
This ability makes the mongooses unfearful of a bite or attack from snakes, most likely because they will cause little harm.
The thick fur of mongooses enables them to pose a pretty big threat against snakes and can eradicate snake infestations in a matter of weeks when introduced.
Because mongooses have indiscriminate diets, they are not able to be imported to counties where they aren’t native.
Do Honey Badgers Eat Snakes?
Africa, Asia and Europe are home to the formidable honey badger, who loves to eat snakes.
These creatures are also immune to snake venom and can kill snakes immediately with one crushing bite to the head with their immensely powerful jaws. Honey badgers are brave creatures who are fearful of very little in their natural habitats.
Wildlife conservationists have observed honey badgers chasing away young lions from their kills on the savannas of Africa. This demonstrates their innate ability to stand their ground, especially with snakes who they fear very little.
Honey Badger skin is thick and more like a hyde than actual skin. Very few predators can pierce honey badger skin which only adds to their snake killing prowess.
Do Cats & Dogs Eat Snakes?
Both cats and dogs have a natural curiosity when it comes to hunting. Even highly domesticated animals still have raw instincts for the hunt.
Cats and dogs are both natural predators of snakes and will kill and eat them if given the chance.
It does depend on the breed of the cat or dog and the species of snake, but generally, non-venomous snakes are no match for domesticated animals who sometimes kill snakes for fun.
Do Hedgehogs Eat Snakes?
Surprising as it sounds, hedgehogs are natural predators of snakes. They might be somewhat docile but are ferocious killers and snakes feature high on their list of prey.
The pointed spines found all over a hedgehog’s body are its main defence against snakes. It makes it almost impossible for the snake to launch a successful attack. If a snake does happen to bite a hedgehog, it will get a mouth full of spikes and will most likely dash away.
If a snake becomes incapacitated due to a mouthful of spikes, hedgehogs will instinctively try to kill the snake by jumping on its head and ripping through its vertebrae with its sharp snout.
Do Birds Eat Snakes?
Apart from other snakes, birds are a top predators of snakes in the wild. Most birds have notoriously good vision and can spot fast-moving snakes from a couple of miles away.
No snakes are safe in the presence of birds of prey and are usually seen as an easy meal for hungry chicks in the nest. Snakes do harbour a few protective traits that allow them to camouflage and disguise themselves with little to no movement.
This is why snakes tend to move around and feel safer in low lying grasslands and areas thick with foliage. It gives them somewhere to hide at quick notice if they feel they are under attack.
Because snakes have poor eyesight, they often don’t know they are being targeted by a bird until it is too late. Instinctively, they hide from birds and other predators unless they have an advantage such as venom or large fangs.
Do Cobras Eat Other Snakes?
King Cobras stand out as the most cannibalistic of all snake species. They have found other snakes to be easy targets for their meals.
Cobras move with enormous speed and can pinpoint and locate their prey with precision.
Their keen sense of smell enables them to hone in on other snakes, wait patiently in ambush attacks and then startle and kill their unsuspecting prey. Other snakes pose a significant risk for smaller snakes such as milk snakes and garter snakes.
Do Bobcats Eat Snakes?
Bobcats are notoriously good hunters. They will spend hours tracking and taking down prey many times more deadly than they are.
Bobcats are snake catching aficionados, with a brilliant sense of smell, eyesight and evasive manoeuvres.
Bobcats are amongst the most agile of natural predators to snakes.
They can instinctively match the movement of snakes making it almost impossible to land a successful bite. They have thick furry coats which make it hard for the snake to latch onto and inject its venom.
Bobcats aren’t known to give up and can pin down snakes with very little energy. It often attacks in successive waves, slowly tiring the snake out until it’s forced to either retreat or rest. Bobcats will then use this opportunity to pounce and kill the snake.
Snakes are formidable creatures in their own right but they do have natural predators in abundance. Snakes aren’t sociable animals which means that they are often on their own when under attack.
Snakes can sometimes be easy pickings for predators who want any easy meal. But snakes do have their own defenses and are extremely careful not to make their presence known when they sense danger.