Many snakes eat fish out of the 3,000 plus snake species listed in the annals of science. While many people think that only sea snakes eat fish, this could not be further from reality.
From colubrids to boas and pythons, all there are snakes in every classification that eat fish. However, 11 snakes stand out for their fish-eating and hunting abilities.
Snakes that Eat Fish
1. Garter Snake
Apart from fish, garter snakes eat earthworms, slugs, frogs and their eggs, and rodents. They can grow up to 54 inches in length, and they mostly live close to water.
The garter snake is a colubrid that many people thought was non-venomous.
However, in the early 2000s, people found out that it produces a neurotoxic venom. However, the toxicity of the venom is not strong enough to harm humans.
Read More: What Do Garter Snakes Eat?
Anacondas are the largest snakes in the world. They eat fish when they are young. Once they reach maturity, they prefer to hunt mammals like deer and capybara. Some of them will even kill a caiman.
The anaconda is a water boa that is common in the Amazon Rainforest. There are many types of anacondas, but the most popular in media is the green anaconda.
There are four species of the anaconda, and they are so big that they are capable of consuming a human being.
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The most popular pet is the ball python, and it can grow up to five feet in length. Ball pythons eat fish, but it is not the best diet for them. They are better off with mice and other mammals.
There are also multiple verified reports of pythons eating humans, especially in Indonesia.
The python is one of the most popular pet snakes in the world. They eat rodents, lizards, fish, and small birds. The big ones would hunt for monkeys and even wild pigs.
Read More: What Do Pythons Eat?
The cottonmouth is a type of viper, and it is venomous. In some areas, people call them water moccasins, and they can grow up to four feet. They live close to bodies of freshwater and regularly hunt and eat fish.
They are visible day and night, but they mostly hunt after dark. They are opportunistic feeders, and they eat small turtles, small alligators, birds, and small mammals. One notable thing about cottonmouth is that they prefer to eat fish.
5. Sea Krait
Sea Krait snakes eat fish, small octopuses, eels, squids, and crabs. To digest food and lay eggs, they must come back on land. Some of them even feed on land.
The sea krait is one of the most venomous snakes in the world, especially the yellow-lipped sea krait.
They are closely related to the cobra family, but they spend most of their time in the sea. They do not breathe underwater, as some people believe.
Related Article: Does Salt Keep Away Snakes?
6. King Cobra
The king cobra eats fish, small vertebrates and birds, as well as other snakes. Despite being an elapid, it is also a constrictor. After a huge meal, a king cobra can go on for months without eating again as it has a slow metabolic rate.
The king cobra is one ferocious species that eats other snakes—snakes are its main diet. It also eats lizards and other animals when food is scarce. It is not an aggressive snake, but it is dangerous.
Read More: Snakes That Eat Other Snakes
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7. Boa Constrictor
As ambush predators, boa constrictors eat medium-sized mammals, birds, and fish. When small, they eat rodents, ocelots, and fish. They also eat lizards, amphibians, and bats.
Also called the red-tailed boa, it is one of the big snakes that pet owners love to have. It is common in South America, and it has nine subspecies.
The lifespan of a boa constrictor in the wild is 30 years, and it can grow up to 13 feet.
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8. Northern Water Snake
Northern Water Snakes eat different types of fish including brook trout, minnows, catfish, and hogsuckers. They also eat amphibians like toads, cricket frogs, and bullfrogs.
Also called the common water snake, this one is a non-venomous species that belongs to colubridae family of snakes. They are native to North America, and people often think they are water moccasin.
Northern Water Snakes can grow up to 4.5 feet, and they have dark bands. Their bodies have different colors like gray, tan, and brown.
See Also: 10 Snakes that Eat Birds
9. Banded Water Snake
Banded Water Snakes commonly eat frogs and fish in the water. Like the northern water snake, they are often mistaken for cottonmouths.
An aquatic snake, the banded water snake is endemic to the United States. They can grow up to 43 inches, and some can reach up to 62 inches.
Banded water snakes are commonly gray. Some are greenish or brown. These snakes have flat heads, and they have huge bodies despite being short in size.
Read More: Can Snakes Swim Underwater?
10. Ribbon Snake
Ribbon snakes are like all snakes in the sense that they are carnivorous. They mainly prey on frogs and toads. In the water, they eat tadpoles when they are young. Then, as they grow, they begin to eat small fish.
The ribbon snake can grow up t 35 inches. While people call it that, it is one species of the garter snake family. It is not venomous, and it usually has a striped pattern. They mostly live in creeks and are highly active from April to October.
Related Article: 5 Snakes That Can Move Sideways
11. Grass Snake
Grass Snakes tend to live close to bodies of water and primarily eat amphibians like the common toad or frog. Adult Grass Snakes also feed on small fish.
Sometimes, people refer to the grass snake as the ringed snake. It is non-venomous, and it is a strong swimmer. They typically live close to bodies of fresh water.
The grass snake is a picky eater. In captivity, many of them refuse to eat food offered by hand.
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Summary: Do Snakes Eat Fish?
All snakes can eat fish. However, not all snakes can digest fish properly and not all snakes have the hunting skills to catch fish. In captivity, pet owners feed fish on rare occasions only. They use fish only as a treat.
The safest animal to feed snakes in captivity is the mouse.
In the wild, some snakes would feed on fish only if they were small. Examples of these are the larger species like the anaconda, python, and boa. However, as they mature, they prefer to eat bigger meals.
Stuart is the editor of Fauna Facts. He edits our writers’ work as well as contributing his own content. Stuart is passionate about sustainable farming and animal welfare and has written extensively on cows and geese for the site.