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10 Animals That Eat Snakes – The Full Guide

By Kerry
Updated on

When most of us think of snakes, we presume that they’re toward the top of their respective food chain, depending on where they live.

However, this isn’t always the case, and many other animals will look to feed on smaller snakes and less-venomous forms of the reptile.

Because of this, many people wonder what animals specifically want to take on a snake and eat it. They’re certainly braver than a lot of us!

Crested serpent eagle with snake kill

Snakes will often keep themselves to themselves and only socialize with other creatures when looking for food or defending their territory.

Therefore, it’s not exactly a walk in the park for another creature to simply track down and kill a snake for their next meal.

Many snakes are the masters of stealth and will defend themselves with venom that can either kill or debilitate their foes. Makes you wonder what animals are brave enough to take on these reptiles!

1) Owls

Owls aren’t afraid of much but one thing they absolutely hate is the sight of a large snake. These birds have been known to swoop down on smaller snakes like garter snakes and grab them by the neck.

They then proceed to carry the snake back to their nest for feeding purposes. This type of behavior has also been observed with other smaller forms of the reptile. Larger forms of snakes are usually avoided.

Owls such as the Great Horned Owl and Burrower Owls have been recorded choosing small snakes as part of their diet and will take full advantage when these scaly creatures aren’t paying too much attention, leaving them unaware of an attack.

The element of surprise when an owl swoops down and uses its sharp talons to grasp its prey makes owls a surprising entry to this list but makes sense.

2) Bobcats

These cats love nothing more than a good meal of any kind and if there happens to be a snake involved, they’ll do anything to catch it.

Bobcat attacks on larger snakes have sometimes been reported, and they’re even known to use their claws to capture a snake before going after it with their teeth.

Bobcats possess all the tools to take on a snake and will often target the reptiles when the two meet.

Of course, snakes probably aren’t toward the top of the bobcat’s menu of things to eat, however, animals in the wild will often snap at the chance for a good meal, with snakes being common throughout bobcat territory.

3) Mongooses 

One of the main animals that many people know isn’t afraid to battle against a snake is the mongoose.

These brave little critters are known to go after snakes and lizards, where they’ve been seen attacking some fairly large species of the reptile.

A mongoose’s favorite way to hunt snakes is using its long, sticky tongue to ensnare its prey.

Once the snake is caught, the mongoose will clamp its jaws around the tail of the snake and pull it into its mouth.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s poisonous or not, because once the mongoose gets hold of the snake, it’s pretty much game over for the snake.

We know that attacking a snake takes a lot of guts and the mongoose certainly has a lot of those!

Often defending its home and its young, the mongoose will put up a good fight against a snake and will have a nice snack afterward as its reward.

4) Coyotes

While coyotes have been known to pick up rodents, rabbits, and deer and bring them back home to eat, they’re also known to attack snakes.

If a snake comes across a coyote while hunting rodents, it’s likely that the coyote will chase after the reptile and try to snatch it off the ground.

Like most predators, coyotes don’t care about the size of the predator; they’ll attack whatever they come across first.

We all know that coyotes are opportunistic creatures and will get their food from anything and anywhere.

Attacking domesticated animals and smaller rodents alike, it comes as no surprise that they sometimes switch their attentions to alive and dead snakes for their next meal.

5) Baboons

If there’s one thing that can rival a snake in terms of intimidation, it’s the baboon.

With their strong and muscular bodies, large heads, and big mouths full of sharp teeth, these primates definitely look like something out of a scary movie.

They’re quite used to dealing with dangerous situations and will attempt to steal meat whenever they find it. Whether it’s a mouse, a rat, or a snake, a baboon will grab onto it by the weak point and drag it back to its den.

From there they’ll eat their dinner, which could be either rodent or snake depending on what was available in the area.

When it comes to taking down a snake, the baboon isn’t really interested in the size of the snake. Instead, they prefer to focus on the speed of the moving creature and how agile they are.

If a snake moves quickly enough then it might be able to escape the clutches of an aggressive baboon, especially if it can squeeze between small spaces to get away.

Bird killing snake

6) Snake Eagles

Snake eagles are actually larger than other eagles, and they’re often considered to be among the most powerful birds in the world. While the bird itself is impressive, it’s the fact that they hunt snakes that make the eagle stand out.

Unlike other predatory birds, the snake eagle does not use its talons to capture its prey but instead uses its powerful beak. This allows the snake eagle to swallow its prey whole without much harm coming to it.

Even though this method of eating a snake may seem cruel at first glance, the snake eagle doesn’t appear to mind too much. It seems that they enjoy the taste of the snake and will keep eating until they’ve eaten every last bit of it!

7) Wolverines

Wolverines are other animals that love to go after snakes when they see them. These special hunters spend hours looking for a snake to kill and will track them through snow, ice, and even mud if need be.

When wolverines do manage to corner a snake, they won’t hesitate to attack it and risk getting hurt themselves just so they can take a bite out of it.

It’s interesting to note that although the wolverine is more commonly known for killing things such as moose, elk, and caribou, they’re actually capable of catching and eating a wide variety of different types of snakes.

It’s even possible for them to catch a rattlesnake, though it would take some serious effort to do so because of the reptile’s maneuverability. 

8) Alligators

Alligator snatching is extremely common in Florida where many people live. For those who don’t know, alligators will chase down and grab any type of prey that they come across whether it’s land-based or aquatic.

And since snakes move relatively slowly, they make great meals for hungry gators. Alligators are usually toward the top of their food chain and don’t fear many other creatures, particularly small snakes.

Of course, alligators aren’t always successful in capturing their prey, but they never give up trying.

Even if they miss once, they’ll keep on going until they succeed, or they become exhausted.

Because of this, you should always exercise caution around these animals as they have been known to cause severe injuries to humans.

Snakes on the other hand? They can certainly defend themselves, but we wouldn’t fancy their chances against a gator!

9) Hyenas

Another species that enjoys hunting snakes is hyenas. In Africa, hyena mothers teach their cubs how to eat and hunt smaller creatures by giving them a demonstration from time to time.

But there’s no need for the mother hyena to worry about her baby being harmed with this training.

As soon as the young cubs grow old enough, they learn to hunt on their own. At the start, they will watch and then join in with reaping the rewards.

When they’re ready to start hunting, hyenas will look for the easiest snakes that they can find. Often, they try to ambush their prey by hiding behind large rocks or tree trunks.

Once they spot a snake, they pounce on it and tear into it with their sharp claws.

Like the wolf, the hyena has very strong jaws which allow it to crunch through bones easily. Hyenas usually move in groups, so they will usually have little problem taking on a snake.

Hyenas also have good opportunistic skills, with many of them acting as scavengers.

So, if a larger animal like a lion has killed a snake, then hyenas will usually wait nearby until they can have some scraps left behind when the larger animals are done eating.

This is a tactic that they might use when encountering big snakes, so they don’t risk their own health and well-being when encountering them.

10) Other Reptiles (Including Snakes!)

Some other reptiles that might pose a threat to snakes include poisonous frogs, crocodilians, poisonous lizards, monitor lizards, and iguanas.

We know that the list is long, but there are a lot of them! Some of these animals may be able to kill snakes, while others will only injure them.

Still, it’s important to remember that most of these animals are not native to North America and therefore won’t be found hunting North American variations of snakes.

Also, just because an animal is venomous doesn’t mean it will attack another creature unless provoked.

There are plenty of nonvenomous reptiles out there, so hopefully, you won’t encounter one of these animals while enjoying your outdoor activities.

Smaller snakes will often come into contact with larger reptiles like monitor lizards and alligators, which we have already mentioned. However, it does not necessarily mean that they will fight them for any reason.

A lot of the time it will be defensive because of the other reptiles invading their territory threateningly. Snakes will often try to avoid confrontation unless they feel like there’s a chance to eat at the end of it.

11) Bonus Animal – Humans!

Finally, we would like to bring up humans as an animal that eats snakes. While this may seem strange at first glance, humans do actually eat snakes.

They do this in African and Asian countries, where the snake is often considered a delicacy in some regions. A lot of these snakes are also used for their skin, which can be made into materials for clothing.

However, this isn’t something that people typically do in North America. It’s likely that you’ll never see someone eating a snake here in North America unless you stumble across a restaurant serving the dish.

If you do happen upon such a place, however, you should definitely check it out – especially if you love snakes! Although, you’re bound to see some snake-based materials used in clothing from time to time.

Snakes are usually kept clear of humans because of the threat that they pose to human life and will often find themselves near human homes, causing stress to humans.

The fact of the matter is that snakes are probably just as scared of us as we are of them.

Therefore, we need to make sure that if one does come near us, and it isn’t posing a threat, we just try and let it leave, rather than looking to kill it straight away.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Have to Worry about any of these Animals?

The vast majority of the animals on this list don’t reside in the same sort of environment as humans, however, it’s best to avoid a lot of them if they come too close. A lot of the time, they will be trying to avoid you as well.

What is in a Snake’s Natural Diet?

In general, this varies by species, but most snakes feed off of insects, small rodents, amphibians, fish, birds, and even other snakes. It all depends on their habitat and their surroundings.

Are there any Animals that Eat more Snakes than Others?

Yes, there are indeed many types of animals that consume snakes. Alligators, mongooses, and hyenas have been known to tussle with these reptiles every now and then. If they want to eat them all comes down to how hungry they are and whether they see it as worth their time.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to which different animals see their next meal in the form of a snake, there are lots of different examples.

The main thing is whether there are animals in the same habitat as a snake that will see themselves as a formidable appointment to the reptiles.

After all, it’s very rare that an animal smaller than a snake will risk their lives against one of these scaly creatures.

A lot of the animals on this list are larger than the snakes they’re viewing as their next snack and will need to pick and choose their battles depending on the situation and the size of the snake in their crosshairs.

Ultimately, the animal kingdom can be a ruthless place that will often lead to confrontations involving creatures like snakes.

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About the author


Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners.Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.