Watch a Bobcat Fight a Rattlesnake to the Death

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Written by Kirstin Harrington

Updated: November 10, 2023

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Continue reading for our analysis...

Head shot of a bobcat
© Victor Arita/Shutterstock.com

Key Points:

  • Bobcats are excellent hunters because of their heightened senses and ability to stalk their prey.
  • They are lighting quick – quick enough to beat a rattlesnake’s strike!
  • When they are hungry, bobcats will take on dangerous prey, like snakes, and even larger animals, like small deer.

Bobcats may appear to be adorable, but they are actually vicious predators that exist across North America. In their natural habitat, they don’t shy away from larger creatures, such as young deer, by leaping as far as 12 feet to capture food.

Bobcats are carnivores who like to consume only meat. Rabbits are their preferred meal, although they will also consume birds, reptiles, rodents, and snakes. In early October 2020, a trail cam caught something wild. 

bobcat

These look cuddly, but bobcats are stealthy predators.

©Victor Arita/Shutterstock.com

We see a bobcat looking around as it walks in the forest, just before stepping out of frame. Within seconds, the feline jumps back and starts to meow and swat at something. Birds and other animals in the area are heard reacting to the commotion.

Upon closer inspection, a rattlesnake is seen lunging at the cat! Rattlesnakes are really quick when it comes to striking, yet the bobcat dodges its attacks with such agility. Rattlesnakes are poisonous reptiles with huge bodies and triangle-shaped skulls that are highly specialized. Because of the distinctive “rattle” located near the tip of the tail, they are one of the most well-known families of North American snakes.

The slithery critter seems to have had enough at one point and begins retreating back into fallen leaves and twigs. Unfortunately for him, the bobcat knows the fight is far from over. With a few more swats from the feline and a bite to the snake’s head, suddenly the reptile goes limp. 

A Black-tailed Rattlesnake, Crotalus molossus, striking at a prey or a threat

A rattlesnake deploys its venom through its oversized fangs.

©Joe McDonald/Shutterstock.com

The feline quickly takes the snake up the hill before taking what looks to be a few nibbles. Who knows if the kitty decided to make a meal out of the kill, but he sure looks proud. Rolling around in the sand, this bobcat looks right at the trail cam, almost to say, “Did you see that? That snake had no chance!” 

We’re glad someone caught this wild encounter on camera, and you can check out the video below!

Is This Behavior Normal? Do Bobcats Usually Fight Snakes?

bobcat - wild lynx - Dangerous Animals in West Virginia

Bobcats will prey upon snakes in the wild.

©Vaclav Sebek/Shutterstock.com

While this encounter seems accidental on both sides, this bobcat doesn’t let the opportunity go to waste. He seems to know just how to avoid getting bitten by the snake. He also knows just where to bite back in order to kill the snake and turn it into dinner. The bobcat seems to have had plenty of practice so snakes are likely a common part of his menu. We don’t know just how often bobcats kill snakes, but we do know that domestic cats are one of the greatest threats to small snakes, lizards, and ground-nesting birds. If a fluffy house cat can decimate a snake population, his bigger, tougher cousin can too.

Rattlesnakes vs Other Predators

While rattlesnakes are very threatening, the bobcat is not the only wild animal that will fight and kill a rattlesnake. Here’s a look at 11 types of wild animals that do fight or hunt rattlesnakes and why they do so:

RankHuntersReason
1KingsnakesConsumption
2EaglesConsumption
3OwlsConsumption
4HawksConsumption
5TurkeysProtection/consumption
6RoadrunnersConsumption
7CoyotesConsumption/protection of young
8Black Racer SnakesConsumption
9BobcatsConsumption
10Feral CatsConsumption
11BadgersProtection/consumption
Honorable MentionMongooseConsumption

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About the Author

Kirstin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering animals, news topics, fun places, and helpful tips. Kirstin has been writing on a variety of topics for over five years. She has her real estate license, along with an associates degree in another field. A resident of Minnesota, Kirstin treats her two cats (Spook and Finlay) like the children they are. She never misses an opportunity to explore a thrift store with a coffee in hand, especially if it’s a cold autumn day!

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