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Do Snakes Eat Birds?

Yes, snakes eat birds. In the wild, snakes hunt birds, especially young ones that cannot fly. Most snakes that eat birds are arboreal (living in trees).

Do Snakes Eat Birds

While snakes eat birds, it is rare for a snake to capture an adult bird. Snakes can also be wary of other birds, especially those that prey on snakes such as eagles and owls.

See Also: 10 Snakes that Eat Birds

Why do Snakes Eat Birds?

Snakes eat birds because they are obligate carnivores. All snakes are carnivores, but they have different diets and food preferences.  

There are snakes that feed mostly on warm-blooded animals like rodents. Others, however, feed on cold-blooded animals like frogs and other snakes. Then there are those that hunt fish underwater.

Since all snakes are strictly carnivorous, they will eat anything. Pet snakes would even eat thawed animals, provided that the owner trains them to recognize it as food. Some snakes also eat eggs.

The feeding habit of snakes does not just depend on their environment but also their body size. It could be rare to see snakes eating birds in the wild because most snakes hunt on the ground.

While there are arboreal snakes, birds could possibly see them and would therefore not build a next on the same tree.

Smaller snakes also eat smaller prey. Juvenile pythons are likely to target birds, while big ones would typically hunt for deer or even crocodiles.

Related: Do Bird Feeders Attract Snakes?

How do Snakes Capture Birds?

Rat Snake

A bird is a warm-blooded animal. Its temperature does not change drastically, even if the surrounding environment does. As such, it produces heat.

Snakes like vipers can detect the heat coming off birds because they have heat sensors. What they can do is to creep up behind the bird and then strike.

Snakes are also likely to attack baby birds only. There are many recorded video evidence of snakes losing to a bird in a fight. They die after a few strikes of the bird with its beak.

What snakes typically do is find a nest and then wait until the mother is gone. Snakes detect the position of the nests because the chicks are noisy. If the mother is gone, the snake will attack and eat the chicks.

However, it is not always a successful hunt. If the mother bird ever sees the snake, it is going to protect its chicks with such violence that the snake would retreat.

There are some snakes that attack bird nests from the ground. In populated areas, snakes attack pets and livestock, including poultry like chickens.

It is widely known that backyard farming attracts snakes of all sorts, especially cobras and pythons. They would eat the chickens either day or night. It is the reason many chicken raisers put their poultry in a coop with screens—they make them safe from snakes.

Related: Are Birds Immune to Snake Venom?

Do Snakes Eat Crows?

Yes, snakes eat crows too. Snakes have no bias against what animal to eat. For as long as the animal can fit in its mouth, the snake will attack and eat it.

When a snake eats a crow, it is highly likely that the snake is a big one, like a python or cobra. However, small snakes rarely stand a chance against crows.

One would see online videos where a small snake lost the battle against a crow:

Crows have powerful beaks that can kill a snake. Unlike owls, however, they do not use their feet to kill the snake.

Crows are agile, and they can avoid snake bites. They are also smart. Adult crows will take on a venomous snake, and the snake is likely to hit their legs only.

Since the legs are covered with scales, the venom is not likely to penetrate the crow’s circulation system. If this happens, the snake would eventually get tired and give up. Then, the crow will take the opportunity to go for the kill.

On the other hand, a python or cobra can deliver a powerful bite. If a python does this, it will wrap itself around the crow and constrict it. A cobra, however, must successfully bite the crow to deliver its venom.

There are some people who believe that crows are deterrent for snakes. It is based on many instances of crows attacking snakes in backyards.

There is an incident where a python in Australia attacked a currawong—a crow-like bird. The snake was coiled around a TV antenna, and the unsuspecting victim perched there. The python won this battle:  

Related: Do Snakes Eat Chickens?

What other Birds do Snakes Eat?

Snakes eat all kinds of birds. However, snakes may be more cautious around birds that prey on them such as owls and eagles.

Bowerbird

Depending on the bird, some snakes are bold and fearless. For example, a python will not be afraid to approach a duck mother with 12 chicks.

While the duck mother would gather her chicks to run, it has no capacity to fight. The python is faster and can catch up to the group. The snake could either attack the mother or the chicks.

This is in stark contrast to owls, raptors, and other birds of prey, who can easily take down a snake with their sharp beaks and talons and even hunt snakes for food.

Although large snakes prefer to hunt big prey, they will not refuse small prey if it is available. Some python caretakers would disperse several chicks in a python’s cage, and the python would gladly eat them.

Sometimes, the python would catch two chicks at a time. This method, however, is time-consuming. The snake could only eat one prey at a time.

Conclusion

Snakes attack and eat birds. It is only a matter of where the snake lives. In populated areas, snakes will target chickens. In the wild, they are more likely to hunt chicks in a nest. Only juvenile snakes are likely to hunt chicks. Big ones prefer bigger prey.

Snakes are also weary of birds, especially the big ones like eagles, falcons, and owls. Snakes are part of some birds’ diet, and the snake would rather slither away than risk a confrontation. Some snakes, however, are willing to risk it—they would wait until the mother is gone and then eat the chicks.

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