There is a broad range of predators that eat snakes. This includes many birds who have the ability to drop down on the normally suspicious reptile, catching it off guard in the desert or in the forest. There are plenty of animals with the chops who get the drop on snakes. And we won’t mention one of the biggest snake killers is a certain two-legged animal.
What follows is a list of 10 animals that eat snakes.
Wolverines are the penultimate predators. Ruthless and nondiscriminatory, the animal will attack and eat anything it comes across. Rodents, rabbits, worms, mice, frogs, birds, and, yes, snakes were all part of their food chain. The wolverine is known to take down cobras!
Though relatively small, the wolverine is a large member of the weasel family. The wolverine is a powerful, versatile scavenger and predator. A solitary animal, the creature’s muscular and stocky. It climbs, spending a lot of time in trees snatching up birds. But the wolverine isn’t a stationary creature. The predators move across 15 miles a day looking for food. The animal digs burrows solely to capture other hibernating animals.
To read more about the wolverine, click here.
The mongoose has a unique defense against most poisonous snakes. According to some, these predators have unique acetylcholine receptors that render them immune to a variety of venoms. Others say the wolverine only has minimal resistance but avoids a poisonous attack simply by besting the bite with ninja reflexes. The creature’s infamous for its ability to take out poisonous snakes like cobras.
One of the animals that eat snakes, the wolverine’s speed and thick coats also make going against snakes easier. It has an almost balletic technique, darting and feinting quickly, forcing the snake to try and strike repeatedly. When the moment comes, the wolverine catches the snake’s head in its bite. The animal captures, kills, and greedily guzzles and it doesn’t matter if it’s a snake or a chicken coop full of eggs.
Read more about the mongoose by clicking here.
It almost seems like a cannibalistic act knowing the kingsnake takes on a cousin and kills it by constriction. But this type of behavior isn’t uncommon in the snake kingdom. Whether in the desert or in the forest, it’s rumored that’s how the animal earned the “king” status, for its gleeful ability to lord over its snake kingdom, happily eating its own kind.
The kingsnake is a popular choice as a household pet. The predators belong to the family Colubridae and tend to have a colorful tri-colored pattern. Common species in the family are the milk snake (with one of the largest subspecies populations) and the scarlet king snake which also consumes lizards. Science considers both these creatures to be false coral snakes. That’s because their patterns and coloration mimic the poisonous coral snake.
#4 Snake Eagle
It’s said snakes have nightmares about the snake eagle. This predatory bird has the capacity to decapitate and swallow an entire snake in flight. Though smaller than eagles they are a huge image when soaring. They spot food — a sumptuous snake — and dive, catching the reptile in its talons. It returns to the air, the snake writhing. While midair, the eagle strikes!
The legs of the snake eagle get serious protection via a layer of scales. The thick layer puts the kibosh on poisons. That’s a great advantage for a bird that regularly and easily takes on black mambas and cobras in the rainforest and more of the world’s deadliest and swiftest snakes. The snake eagle also gets its kicks hunting rodents, lizards, fish, and bats.
A bobcat is going after a smaller animal every chance it gets. The predators feast on rabbits, snakes, rodents, eggs, and lizards. But the bobcat also likes a challenge, going after white-tailed deer and rattlesnakes in the desert. Pure opportunists, if it moves, if they can catch it, the bobcat eats it.
The bobcat is territorial and solitary, marking boundaries with their scent to keep out other cats. Males let their regions overlap with several females while reigning over 40 square miles of claimed land. They’re shy and elusive. The bobcat is rarely seen by people. Bobcats roam at night and consciously avoid us. They climb, sleeping in rock crevices, fens, thickets, and hollow trees.
Check out more about the bobcat here.
One of the unusual and unique characteristics of the hedgehog is its immunity to a variety of toxins. It gives the animal the ability to consume a group of poisonous animals of the food chain with no ill effects. This includes scorpions, spiders, beetles, frogs, bees, and snakes. During a nightly hunt, the bobcat consumes a third of its weight, munching on plants, insects, small vertebrates, and small animals that would sick or kill others.
There are species of hedgehogs that sustain themselves mainly on small insects. Other hedgehogs are a combo of herbivores, insectivores, and carnivores (i.e., omnivores). They eat anything and feed for long periods of time. Yet, the creature’s also known to go extended periods without eating. In controlled environments, the hedgehog’s gone over two months with no food or water.
Find the scoop on the hedgehog here.
#7 Scottish Terrier
No species of dog has a natural taste for snakes. But they are curious. The dogs chase the way other pooches happily sprint after a car, cat, or squirrel. The Scottish Terrier is a dog bred to hunt and kill. Other canines in this category include Rat Terriers and Airedales. Breeders trained these dogs to seek out animals that move, so a lot of them go after animals like snakes.
The Scottish Terrier is a confident and independent companion with high spirits. The dog has a piercing stare that conveys an acute awareness and erect ears that imply attentiveness. This is a working dog who comes off as efficient and professional. They make excellent watchdogs and if there are snakes or snake eggs on your property, expect the creatures to skedaddle after meeting your terrier. Or worse.
You can learn more about the Scottish Terrier here.
#8 Honey Badger
With its immunity to a bite from a King Cobra, honey badgers stay on the trail of snakes. Seen as high-yield meals, the honey badger keeps its eye on the dense brush, the trees, and even burrows looking for animals on its food chain. During the warmer parts of the year when snakes are active, the predatory badger makes more than half its total feed of snakes.
Even the deadly puff adder is prey. Science has not been able to explain the honey badger’s immunity. A honey badger once collapsed after feeding on a puff adder’s head. The badger appeared to die, only it woke from a groggy nap two hours later and staggered off. There are accounts of other animals with violently potent venoms having no impact on the honey badger.
Get a closer look at this critter by clicking here.
#9 King Cobra
Out in the rainforest, the king cobra is the longest poisonous snake in the world. Some reach a frightening span of 18 feet. And one item that’s always on the menu is other snakes. The scientific Latin name for this animal — Ophiophagus hannah — translates to “snake eater.” While these predators will eat large lizards and similar cold-blooded creatures, they live to keep snakes on the food chain.
King cobras hunt and forage for their own kind constantly. The deaf king cobra has an acute sense of smell. It stays on alert for this prey and once an odor’s picked up, the cobra’s on the hunt. Researchers say, for some reason, these predators tend to consume the snakehead first as it seems to help with digestion. Curiously, some king cobras eat only one type of snake their entire lives.
There’s more to learn about the king cobra if you go here.
#10 Secretary Bird
The secretary bird has one heck of a kick. The predator’s force is five times their body weight. That’s far more than enough to take out a big, poisonous snake in the blink of an eye. With crane-like legs, the secretary bird is over four feet tall. Unlike the majority of birds who look for their prey from the air, this creature hunts on foot. Another deviation from other bird hunters is instead of going after its prey with a beak or talons, the secretary bird stomps on the snake.
What venomous snakes in general use to their advantage are efficiency and speed. Unfortunately, the secretary bird can match it, landing a fatal blow to its prey’s head with great accuracy. Otherwise, the bird risks getting bitten or caught. But research shows the secretary bird moves fast enough that if the first strike went array their motor control and visual targeting make a second shot a good bet.
*** BONUS — Humans
While not considered a delicacy in Western culture, a snake is popular in other cultures of the world. In some societies, it’s healthy and a game exotic meat. Whether in the rainforest or in the East, snake soup has been part of dinner for over two thousand years. While the taste won’t appeal to everyone, a number of cultures enjoy snake eggs.
Read more about humans here.