Watch An Indigo Snake and A Rat Snake Square Off

Written by Kirstin Harrington
Updated: March 30, 2023
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It feels as if you’re watching an old western movie where two cowboys square off. As a rat snake slithers on the rocky surface, it notices an indigo snake appear from a small cavern. With heads and necks slightly raised on both snakes, they’re aware of the other’s presence.

There’s a noticeable size difference between the two, the indigo snake is larger and more dominant. The average adult Eastern Indigo Snake measures 60-82 inches in length. These huge and heavy snakes are glossy black with iridescent violet or blue accents when viewed in the sunshine.

The golden-yellow rat snake is attempting to make a run for it when the indigo snake makes the first attack. Having none of it, the rat snake continues to leave when the indigo snake sneakily lunges from behind and starts swallowing his opponent head-first.

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indigo snake
Although indigo snakes enjoy a varied diet, they are particularly fond of reptiles and are known to enjoy eating poisonous snakes

©Radiant Reptilia/

Eastern Indigo Snakes devour a variety of vertebrates that are tiny enough for them to dominate and consume. These snakes seem to prefer eating other reptiles (particularly poisonous snakes), although they have also been observed eating frogs, mammals, and fowl.

For a moment, the rat snake has its nose and mouth hanging out of the side of the Indigo snake’s grasp. With both of their bodies slithering today, it isn’t long until the Indigo snake begins swallowing.

These serpents are not constrictors, thus they grip their food in their extremely strong jaws. They do this by holding it against the earth and using brute force to subdue it in their jaws, sometimes pinning it against a rock or the wall of a burrow it until it stops resisting. They will also swallow prey whole. You can watch as the body of the rat snake gets shorter and shorter as it fills the belly of the Indigo snake.

It takes less than three minutes before the beautiful black and iridescent creature is finished with his meal. He slithers away back towards a rocky cavern to have an afternoon nap after such a large lunch! One thing’s for sure – it’s a good day not to be a rat snake!

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Eastern Indigo Snake peeking through some palm leaves

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About the Author

When she's not busy playing with her several guinea pigs or her cat Finlay Kirstin is writing articles to help other pet owners. She's also a REALTOR® in the Twin Cities and is passionate about social justice. There's nothing that beats a rainy day with a warm cup of tea and Frank Sinatra on vinyl for this millennial.

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