Many large aquatic snakes eat ducks, but it’s not a regular part of the diet of most snakes.
One of the areas where it is common to see snakes eating ducks is in Florida. Currently, there is an infestation of pythons in the state. Unfortunately, Muscovy ducks are also an invasive species in the state, so it is not unusual to see pythons eating them in the wild.
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Why Do Snakes Eat Ducks?
Snakes are obligate carnivores. They will eat any animal that they can fit in their mouths. Ducks are meat, so a snake will eat them if given the opportunity.
People rarely see footage of snakes eating birds because birds fly. Also, not all snakes are big enough to attack birds. Snakes are more likely to eat the birds’ eggs than the birds themselves.
It is this snake behaviour that made people call some snakes “chicken snakes.” The truth is that there is no such thing as a chicken snake. When people call them such, they typically refer to corn snakes and rat snakes.
The nickname “chicken snake” comes from the habit of these snakes lurking in chicken farms and coops. The farmers thought that they ate the chickens. But, instead, the snakes were really after the chicken eggs.
The same thing goes for duck farmers. They see snakes in the area, but these snakes are really after the eggs, not the ducks. An exception, of course, is if the snake is big enough to eat the duck.
Do Rat Snakes Eat Ducks?
It is uncommon for rat snakes to eat adult ducks since they are so small, however they may attack the ducklings or the duck eggs. Rat snakes are small coloubrids that grow to a maximum of five feet in length.
While rat snakes can open their mouths wide, the opening is not big enough to fit an adult duck. If anything, they can easily swallow a duck egg.
They can also eat baby ducks, but there is no documentation of a rat snake eating an adult duck. Rat snakes and others would attack duck nests if they were after the eggs or the chicks.
Do Geese Help Keep Snakes Away?
Geese can help keep snakes away. Geese are capable of killing snakes, but only the small ones. Although geese seem harmless, they are protective enough to kill intruders like snakes.
Geese also attack humans. With snakes, the geese can easily overpower them, provided that the snake is small and non-venomous.
If the snake has venom, like the cobra, then the goose is not in a good position. One bite from the cobra and the goose’s life is over.
A battle usually occurs between snakes and geese on a farm if the snake attempts to attack the goose’s eggs or little ones. Since geese are bigger, they have more power and the advantage to fight off small snakes.
Is Snake Repellent Safe for Ducks?
Snake repellents are products that claim to repel snakes from an area. The truth is that there is no such thing as a 100% effective snake repellent. Most products contain sulphur and naphthalene. Generally speaking, they are safe for pets and other animals but it’s important to read the directions before use.
It is not a wise idea to rely on it as a snake repellent. There is a study showing that it is not as effective as it claims to be.
If you have a snake problem, the best way to deal with it is by calling in a qualified pest controller.
How To Protect Ducks from Snakes
For people who have farms, snakes will eventually find their way on the farm and eat ducks. The best option is to use wires and fences to keep the snakes away and prevent the snakes from getting inside the farm.
While this is not foolproof, it can undoubtedly discourage snakes from climbing the fence. At best, the farmer must keep the ducks in fenced and screened cages if no one is watching.
Do Water Snakes Eat Ducks?
Water snakes will eat ducks if the ducks are small enough. Water snakes can grow up to a maximum length of around 4.5 feet. This size is still too small to attack an adult duck that can grow up to five inches and weigh up to two kilograms.
An adult water moccasin can certainly eat a duckling. These snakes are semi-aquatic, and they would eat anything that moves. Of course, the prey must be able to fit in their mouths.
Among other things, the water snake eats these:
- Small bird
They also eat small mammals like rodents. A duckling is certainly always on the menu.
Are Ducks Afraid of Snakes?
Most ducks are not afraid of snakes. Ducks are capable of killing some snakes, and they can fly away to safely escape any snake.
All animals will defend themselves against a predator. Their defense mechanisms vary. Some run; some fight back. It is not at all weird to see a duck attack a snake. Besides, ducks are omnivores. They eat grasses, worms, insects, and even small amphibians.
When a duck sees a small snake, it may attack if it is hungry. To the duck, the snake is food. The duck has a beak and bite force that can kill a snake after several attempts. Of course, if the snake is venomous and gets the duck first, the duck loses the battle.
Read More: Can Ducks Eat Snakes?
Summary: Do Snakes Eat Ducks?
Snakes eat ducks, but only usually the chicks. If a snake is very large, then it might attack and eat an adult duck. One area where it is common to see a python eating ducks is in Florida. There is an infestation of both pythons and Muscovy ducks in the state.
Geese are great for keeping snakes away, but only if the snake in question is small. A goose can get aggressive if it tries to protect its young or eggs.
On a farm, snakes typically target duck eggs and chicks. To keep the ducks safe, the farmer has to build a screened fence around the ducks.
Ducks are generally not afraid of snakes. They are just not interested. Although there are some reports of ducks killing snakes, they would rather have nothing to do with it.
Stuart is the editor of Fauna Facts. He edits our writers’ work as well as contributing his own content. Stuart has written extensively on cows and geese for the site.