Coral snakes are venomous elapids known all around the world for how dangerous they can be. They are one of the only snakes known to have their own personal and worldwide-known rhyme. Although they aren’t anywhere as dangerous as some vipers, such as the saw-scaled viper or the Mojave rattlesnake, coral snakes still have one of the most toxic venoms.
Coral snakes, like many reptiles, mostly feed on rats and small mammals. But just like their prey, these animals are also hunted and preyed upon by other animals. If you’re wondering what animals would dare prey on such toxic snakes, you’re in for a shocker; find out what animals eat coral snakes.
How Venomous Are Coral Snakes?
Many coral snakes are tricolored snakes with red, yellow, white, or black rings. They are known to be reclusive and avoid human company. They are mainly nocturnal but may be spotted in the early hours of some cool mornings.
Coral snakes have venom that contains neurotoxins that cause paralysis and respiratory failure. There are over 80 coral snake species divided into two groups: Old World elapid snakes and New World elapid snakes. Consequently, they have a wide range of venom potency and yield. However, the eastern coral snake has a maximum venom yield of 20 mg, according to Dr. Peterson, an Oregon State University College of Veterinary instructor.
Since its lethal dose is 4-5 mg, the coral snake has venom that is strong enough to kill 5 humans. However, since the 1960s, no death by coral snakes has been recorded. This is probably because of how rarely they bite.
What Animals Eat Coral Snakes?
Shockingly, birds are one of the top predators of snakes. Many birds, such as hawks (some of them), feed primarily on snakes. Most snake-eating birds have strong wings for flying, sharp beaks for dissecting and fighting, and powerful talons and claws, which they use to hunt and kill venomous snakes such as the coral snake.
These birds can kill snakes with a single kick, as many of them kick with 5-times their body weight in force. The harpy eagle, for instance, can kick with more than 110-pounds of force and weigh 8 to 20 pounds on average.
Ground squirrels are another species that eat snakes. They do this by catching and wrestling snakes to death before eating them. Although ground squirrels mostly go for nuts and plants, they are opportunistic hunters, which means that more often than not, they will only eat snakes that they find dead.
Ground squirrels can fight and eat snakes because they have a level of resistance to the venom of many snakes, such as rattlesnakes. These mammals may look cute and harmless, but don’t let them fool you; squirrels even attack humans (although rarely).
Another surprising thing that ground squirrels do is finding the skin of dead or molted rattlesnakes and coating themselves in their scent to smell like them to warn predators to keep off. Talk about dangerous!
Other Coral Snakes
Coral snakes are carnivorous and are known to eat other snakes. Many times, this includes other coral snakes. These snakes don’t discriminate; they eat smaller, venomous, nonvenomous snakes. Remember that coral snakes measure 35 to 60 inches on average.
If you needed any more information to confirm just how scary spiders can be, here it is: spiders eat snakes. These incidents aren’t all opportunistic either, as spiders can fight and eat snakes up to 30 times their size. Their venom is extremely potent, and their webs are strong enough to hold these snakes down.
The coral snake rhyme goes thus: Red touch black; safe for Jack, Red touches yellow; kills a fellow. However, this rhyme only applies to most coral snakes in the USA. Coral snakes in other locations may not follow this pattern, and considering that we cannot be sure where it was taken or see its head clearly, we cannot decide its species without reasonable doubt.
Bullfrogs look like amphibians who love to snack, which is a hundred percent true. They eat or at least attempt to eat anything they can, including snakes, human flesh, and other bullfrogs, making them cannibals. The American bullfrog, for instance, eats snakes but is also eaten by snakes.
Bullfrogs are generally known to be aggressive. African bullfrogs often inflate their bodies and open their mouths while they attack. On the other hand, American bullfrogs are known to let out a piercing shriek-scream when they are under attack.
Opossums are omnivores which hints at their wide diets. They eat fruit, eggs, leaves, small mammals, birds, garbage, maggots, and snakes. They aren’t afraid to work for their kills and often attack and kill venomous snakes. Like ground squirrels, they have a measure of resistance to the venom of many snakes.
Luckily, these animals aren’t aggressive and rarely attack humans. When they see humans, they either hiss to look dangerous or play dead. Opossums only bite when they have no other option. Their bites aren’t venomous and would likely only need simple first aid to avoid infections.
Dogs are known to be capable protectors; one way they show this is by their ability to kill snakes. Many people have dogs to protect against snakes, especially those in snake-filled areas. Sometimes, they go the extra mile and eat these reptiles, which may make them sick.
Some dog breeds such as terriers, dachshunds, and German pinschers are bred because of their natural inclination to chase and kill snakes. Terriers, in particular, are hunting dogs and commonly hunt and kill venomous snakes.
However, if your dog eats a snake, you should see your vet immediately. Even though many animals can eat venomous snakes without dying, there is still a measure of risk attached.
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