Animals That Eat Snakes (9 Examples + Pictures)

Photo: Dr. Harsha Vardhan Reddy / Shutterstock

Many species, including people, fear them, but you’ll be surprised at the number of animals that eat snakes in the wild. While not massive in size (except for the odd anaconda or the reticulated python), their meat is very high quality and it presents a tasty meal.

Take a look at all the animals that eat snakes below:

  • Other Snakes
  • Hedgehogs
  • Various Cats
  • Various Birds
  • Crocodilians
  • Honey Badgers
  • Mongooses
  • Wild Boars
  • Wolverines

1. Other Snakes

Photo: tabacco / Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Scientific name (suborder): Serpentes

Believe it or not, snakes are one of their own biggest enemies. King cobras gained a notoriety for actively hunting down, killing and eating other snakes – usually constrictors. Hence the name – ‘King’ cobra.

They aren’t the only example of this, there’s also the kingsnake. This snake isn’t venomous like the king cobra, but it also mainly preys on other snakes, usually constricting them to death.

This behavior is observed in at least a dozen snake species, but there is another interesting fact about cannibalism in snakes. Snakes often present the phenomena of self-cannibalism.

If starving, a snake will presumably lose its mind and start eating itself from the tail. This behavior is more often observed with snakes than with other species.

2. Hedgehogs

Photo: semantix_photo / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Scientific name (subfamily): Erinaceinae

Who would guess that the adorable hedgehog is actually a vicious snake killer? Well, these small animals eat snakes gladly and they’ve even gotten good at it.

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Since their entire body (except for their faces and stomachs) is covered with spikes – snakes can’t really bite them or coil around them to kill the hedgehog. These mammals have a strong bite and they’ll mount the snake before biting its neck until the snake dies.

3. Various Cats

Photo: Yellowstone National Park / Flickr / CC PDM 1.0

Scientific name (family): Felidae

Most species of cats will kill a snake and eat them if possible, predominantly jaguars and bobcats. In the wild, jaguars are often in contact with green anacondas, which provide them with plenty of meat as they’re the largest snakes on the planet.

However, there are also instances of green anacondas killing jaguars and eating them. Bobcats are also famous as snake killers, given that they’re deceptively quick and agile. It’s almost impossible for a venomous snake to land a killing blow.

They’re also smart enough to know that they should never eat the head.

4. Various Birds

Photo: Mathias Appel / Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Scientific name (class): Aves

Although not all birds eat meat, there are plenty of bird species that will eat a dead snake if they find one. There are also birds that have become experts on catching and eating snakes.

A good example is the snake eagle, but many other birds from the falcon family will kill and eat snakes. Eagles are without a doubt their greatest threat as snakes are completely defenseless against them.

They just swoop in from the high and once the snake is in the air – they can’t bite anymore. Even if the snake did manage to bite the eagle, it has thick scales on its legs that prevent the snake from injecting venom.

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5. Crocodilians

Photo: Danny Ye / Shutterstock

Scientific name (order): Crocodilia

Crocodilians and snakes eat each other in the wild and that’s a completely normal relationship. It’s more likely that a crocodilian will eat the snake than the other way around, but when they do it – it’s usually as a snack.

Believe it or not, large snakes that would provide large animals with nice meals aren’t common and an adult alligator or a crocodile won’t bother themselves with a 4-foot-long python.

6. Honey Badgers

Photo: Jindrich Pavelka / Shutterstock

Scientific name: Mellivora capensis

This is one of the few animals that eat snakes as it’s also immune to snake venom. The honey badger will even let the snake bite to get the upper hand and crush the snake’s skull with its powerful jaws.

Snakes are a primary element of their everyday diet and these animals aren’t afraid of them at all. The reason they’re immune to the venom is their skin – it’s so incredibly thick that most snakes can’t pierce through it, so most bites are actually dry.

7. Mongooses

Photo: Dr. Harsha Vardhan Reddy / Shutterstock

Scientific name (family): Herpestidae

Here’s another family of animals that eat snakes that’s completely immune to snake venom, allowing it to approach and kill snakes with no fear. This makes mongooses one of the few natural predators to snakes.

Authorities in countries with snake infestations often utilize mongooses as tools for snake eradication – that’s just how effective they are when it comes to killing snakes.

It’s worth noting that there are common encounters between mongooses and cobras, some of the most lethal snakes in the world, and the mongooses are usually the ones to walk away alive from the fight.

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8. Wild Boars

Wild boars standing in mud
Photo: Marieke IJsendoorn-Kuijpers / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Sus scrofa

Although not as immune as the previous two entries, wild boars do have some immunity to snake venom (depending on the snake and the age and size of the boar), and they’ll definitely eat a snake if possible.

These animals are omnivores – eating everything in their path. They’ll rather avoid contact with a snake, but if they’re attacked, it’s more likely that they’ll trample the snake to death than to die from a snake bite.

9. Wolverines

Photo: Kitsusi / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Scientific name: Gulo gulo

Wolverines are primarily scavengers – they’ll definitely eat a dead snake if they come across one. However, they’re also fierce fighters. They’re able to take down prey several times their own size!

They’re also not afraid of killing venomous snakes and they definitely have the dexterity necessary to avoid the killing blow from the snake.

To End

Snakes are incredible predators in their own right, but there’s always a ‘bigger fish’ as they say. Snakes are one of many species to report cannibalism, as kingsnakes and king cobras are two most well-known species of snake to eat other snakes.

This behavior is common with some other snake species too, as they’ll even eat their own young. There are some animals that eat snakes which have specialized in snake hunting with time.

Taking mongooses and honey badgers as an example, these animals are incredibly dangerous for snakes and they’ll approach more or less any species of snake without fear.

Larger animals, like larger cats or crocodilians, will only eat snakes if they’re big enough to support their diet.

James Ball

James has had a lifelong passion for animals and nature, tracing back to his childhood where he first began fostering intimate knowledge and connection with pet frogs and snakes. He has since honed this interest into a career as a trained Wildlife Biologist, specializing in Biogeography, sustainability and conservation. In addition to his professional pursuits, James maintains an active lifestyle, regularly indulging in outdoor activities such as hiking, and musical pursuits like playing piano and swimming.

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