Snakes are not always the main diet of predators, but many animals opportunistically eat snakes. Large birds eat snakes as part of their diet, including owls, eagles and kookaburras. Land predators like mongoose, bobcats and foxes are also known to eat snakes.
So while snakes are aggressors who eat many animals themselves, they need to protect their backs! In fact this is quite literal.
One of the snake’s greatest weaknesses is attacks from the sky. Keen eyed animals will watch the grass, looking for a snake to attack from the air.
To defend themselves, snakes will use venom and construction, or slither away if they feel they cannot win. But if they are successful, they may even have a meal to themselves!
Below is a list of 10 predators who are known to eat snakes from time to time.
10 Animals that Eat Snakes
The mongoose is one of the most famed snake predators because snakes are actually a central part of their diet. Mongoose have evolved to be immune to many snake venoms, making them particularly fearless predators to the snake.
Furthermore, mongoose urine is considered to be an effective snake deterrent. The smell of the urine may scare snakes away because they prefer not to be in the vicinity of one of their biggest predators.
Owls are not picky birds and will eat anything from a small insect right up to a snake. Larger owls like barn owls are more likely to go for rodents and snakes, while smaller owls will mostly stick to insects.
Coyotes mainly eat rabbits, rodents and deer because they have significantly more meat on them than most snakes. However, coyotes are known to eat snakes regularly because they’re opportunistic animals. If they can kill it, they’ll eat it.
Bobcats will eat just about anything. According to this article, a Bobcat has even been seen dragging a shark out of the ocean. That same article claims that bobcats will occasionally eat snakes when the opportunity arises, but snakes don’t appear to be their preferred food source.
The main food source of foxes are large insects and small mammals. They also eat plants, making them omnivorous animals. But foxes are known on occasion to eat snakes when they manage to catch them.
Raccoons eat nuts, fruits and berries as central parts of their diet. But they’re also known to eat small mammals and snakes when they get the opportunity.
Raccoons are crafty, clever critters! They’re even known to use rocks and other tools to attack their prey. Wildlife Removal USA states that “a raccoon will grab a rock and use it to smash the snake’s head” in order to ensure they can kill the snake without being bitten themselves.
Weasels are much like mongoose. They eat snakes as part of their diet regularly. One interesting thing about weasels, according to Mental Floss, is that they will kill far more than they eat, then drag the food into food caches they store near their dens. Because they often live in cold climates, the food in these caches can keep for a long time.
8. Snapping Turtles
Snapping turtles seem like harmless animals, but they sure do their fair share of hunting. They eat fish, frogs, birds and yes, even waterborne snakes.
But the attacks aren’t all one way. Snakes are also keen to eat the turtles’ eggs when they can, so these two creatures have quite the adversarial relationship. Check out Fish and Stream’s footage of a fight between a snapping turtle and snake.
Alligators are another animal with a strange relationship with snakes. Some large snakes like pythons have been seen eating small alligators, while alligators themselves will eat smaller snakes when they get the chance. This is because alligators will eat just about any meaty animal that crosses their paths.
When I was growing up in Australia, my house was bordered by endless bushland. My mother would always tell me that it was good to have kookaburras around because they scared snakes away.
And it was true. Occasionally you could see a kookaburra dive bombing a snake, grabbing it in its beak, and bashing the snake around to try to kill it and eat it for dinner. They were particularly good at attacking the most venomous of snakes, like red bellied black snakes.
How do Snakes Defend themselves?
While snakes clearly have many mean predators, they’re not defenceless. In fact, snakes themselves are quire the aggressor.
Snakes can defend themselves through their fierce, fast and venomous bite. Some also wrap themselves around other animals and constrict them to death. Additionally, snakes like the rattlesnake have piercing tales that can also sting a predator when they need to protect themselves.
While snakes are themselves ferocious predators, they’re known themselves to be eaten when they’re caught unawares. They need to keep their guard up from predators from the skies like eagles and kookaburras, who have sharp eyes and can pick away at the snake from above.
But they also need to protect themselves from land borne animals like mongoose and weasels.
To both go on the attack and defend themselves, they will use construction and venom. And if they win, they may have a meal themselves, because snakes are well known to eat a wide range of different animals.
I’m a Scorpio, I love the outdoors, and I’ve written articles in some major online publications like Medium and The Weekly. My favorite metaphor? Anything that’s got to do with baseball. I’m fascinated by the fact our language has baseball weaved all through it. Read more about me here.