What Eats Snakes? Enemies That Can Really 'Rattle' Snakes!

Deepthi Reddy
Feb 20, 2023 By Deepthi Reddy
Originally Published on Oct 27, 2021
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao
Cute mongoose sitting on the rock
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.8 Min

Snakes, some of the world's most feared reptile's, have their own fears ranging from birds to humans.

We are well-versed in how dangerous snakes can be, but have you ever wondered about the dangers faced by snakes? Nature balances itself out by providing predators for predators!

Many people are afraid of these slithering reptiles that eat things like rodents, insects, eggs, fish, and other small animals of the food chain. It is hard to imagine that these same snake species could also be terrified of something or someone. In fact, snakes are their own predators at times too!

If you have pets in your house, such as a cat or a dog, it may come as a surprise that they can occasionally tackle a non-poisonous snake. One dog breed that is quite adept at hunting down snakes is the Scottish Terrier.

A dog or a cat can put up a good fight against a snake if it ever finds its way into your house or yard.

Other animals, besides pets, that might keep these snakes away from your backyard can be a fox or a raccoon. Other animals like pigs, turkeys, coyotes, and cats can also keep snakes away from your yard.

Want to learn more about snakes? Then we suggest you read about them by clicking on these articles on how to get rid of Garter snakes and how do snakes move?

What eats snakes in the desert?

Snakes are quite a lethal species, but several other animals love to prey on them. Common predators include certain birds of prey, coyotes, mongooses, honey badgers, bobcats, foxes, owls, hawks, and eagles.

These animals hunt all types of snakes. Some snakes are known to kill snakes of another breed. Fearsome carnivores like the honey badger also kill even the deadliest of snakes, such as the King Cobra itself!

Honey badgers are immune to the venom in a snake's bite and they kill them by crushing their heads and eating them. Even crocodiles are known to hunt snakes on land for a quick meal.

Snakes are spotted in almost all parts of the world, which also includes the desert. The desert kingsnake is native to this habitat and is a non-venomous snake.

In fact, this is one of those snakes that consumes other snakes, whether venomous snakes or non-venomous ones. While hunting for rodents and other small creatures, this snake is also hunted for by predators present in the desert wildlife. Animals like hawks, eagles, and several raptors prey on snakes in deserts.

What eats snakes in the rain forest?

Rain forests are probably a snake's favorite habitat due to the natural habitat that is offered. A variety of non-venomous and venomous snake species are found there. They prey and get preyed on by predators such as mammals, birds, and other giant snakes.

The Red-tailed hawk is one animal species known to catch and eat snakes in various habitats. Small to medium-sized snakes are a part of this hawk's diet. If you wonder how can it catch snakes, then the answer lies in the Red-tailed hawk's beaks and sharp talons, allowing them to grasp and eat snakes quickly.

Moreover, were you aware that one of the world's longest venomous snakes, the King Cobra, is a predator of its fellow snakes? They are mainly found throughout tropical rain forests in India, Africa, and Southeast Asia.

Interestingly, the snake's habit of eating other snakes gave the snake the title of a king. Their ability to paralyze their prey by injecting venom into it makes them amazing hunters.

Members of the cat family are also involved in the hunting of snakes. They prey on medium to giant sized snakes. In fact, you could say big cats pose a more significant threat because tigers live in rain forests, specifically in India and other areas of Southeast Asia.

Did you know that snakes are part of the diet of animals living in water as well? Snakes live on land, but reptiles, such as saltwater crocodiles, that are exclusive to rainforests and saltwater estuaries do kill small to medium-sized snakes.

These full-grown species even hold the power to pursue larger snake species! Their narrow snouts enable them to kill snakes and eat them.

Lastly, let's take a look at the famous predator-prey pair. The mongoose kills snakes quickly and easily! In fact, the mongoose is the primary animal that can hunt for cobra, one of the most venomous snakes! Hailing from the treetops of rain forests, these mammals utilize their quick reflexes to avoid the venomous bite of king cobras.

What eats sea snakes?

Sometimes having venom in the body can make an animal less susceptible to attacks and death, but this is not the case for sea snakes.

Sea snakes are known to have potent snake venom, but that does not stop animals such as sharks, large fish, and even certain birds from eating snakes that live in the sea. The most common animal that eats sea snakes is the tiger shark. The tiger shark remains unaffected by their venom and continues to eat snakes.

Red Tailed Hawk with a Snake

What non-venomous snakes eat venomous snakes?

Can you imagine a non-poisonous serpent killing a poisonous snake? Sounds strange, right? However, nature does have its own rules and regulations, which may come across as a surprise at times.

One such strange rule is followed by the Kingsnake that's native to North America. It is known for killing venomous serpents. In fact, this species of snakes got its name because it can kill fellow snakes, just as the king cobra does.

They kill other wild snakes by constricting them. Kingsnakes also eat a variety of local wildlife like rodents, lizards, birds, and eggs. They are immune to the poison of most of the wild snakes except the king cobra and the black mamba.

What eats cobra snakes?

The toughest of the toughest still have their own competition and so does the king cobra! It is known as the king because it can practically eat any wild animal. It also preys on its own kind for a meal.

The list is short for animals that eat cobras. However, the first animal that comes to mind that does eat cobras is the mongoose.

These animals have the ability to defeat cobras in a fight owing to their agility and speed. They are such swift mammals that they can bite the cobra's back before the cobra gets a chance to defend itself.

But, you may ask, how do they manage to stay immune to snake venom? Well, their thick fur comes to their rescue when a cobra attempts to use its fangs.

Not just the mongoose but several other wildlife creatures have the ability to confront the king serpent in the wild. Birds, like hawks and eagles, catch snakes and kill them when the opportunity presents itself.

Their large hooked beaks and strong talons make them a part of one of the most lethal bird clans that are collectively known as snake eagles. Examples of these birds of prey are the Western banded snake eagle and the Congo serpent eagle.

We are, however, missing an important predator. Any guesses? Us! Yes, humans are indeed the worst threat in the world to a snake, even though we fear them. Despite not being immune to the venom of these reptiles, we don't think twice before hunting snakes for food, leather, and medicine.

Which animal kills snakes easily?

Quite a few animals, including different mammals, reptiles and birds, kill snakes. Most of us are familiar with the mongooses being the snake's worst enemy, but there are several other wild animals you probably weren't aware of that eat snakes as food:

A fox is an omnivorous member of the canine family, often found to be vegetarian during summer. However, they show an interest in animals in the winter due to a lack of vegetation. The fox's diet consists primarily of small birds, rodents, and raccoons. When they encounter a snake, they will probably have a go at eating it.

Falcons are a part of the eagle family and are also one of the birds of prey that hunt smaller snakes. In fact, these birds have an ingenious tactic to prevent the reptile from biting them; they use their beaks to clip their spine.

Owls are also birds of prey that feed on reptiles like snakes. These species of birds, like great horned owls and barn owls, are found eating medium-sized snakes as a part of their diet at night.

Snapping turtles are aggressive freshwater turtles with razor-sharp beaks that eat aquatic snakes, frogs, and fish. Most of us mistakenly think of them as calm and peaceful, but not all turtles are the same.

Have you heard about bobcats? These are medium-sized cats that eat a diverse range of wild animals, including raccoons, insects, and snakes. Usually, they would take on a snake when there is a lack of food and natural prey available.

Last but not least, the Secretary bird is a deadly bird that is found in Africa and strikes fear into the hearts of many poisonous snakes. Their long legs enable them to stamp on their prey, and they are capable of killing cobras! The Secretary bird is known to eat snakes and other reptiles, mammals, and birds.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our fun facts about what eats snakes? then why not look at how big do corn snakes get? Or vine snake facts.

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Written by Deepthi Reddy

Master of Business Administration

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Deepthi ReddyMaster of Business Administration

With an MBA under her belt, Deepthi has discovered her true calling in content writing. Her writing repertoire is diverse, covering travel, movies, pet care, parenting, animals and birds, and more. Her joy of learning and creating has helped her craft well-written and engaging articles. When she isn't writing, Deepthi enjoys exploring new cultures, trying different foods, and spending quality time with her two children aged 7 and 12.

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Fact-checked by Gowri Rao

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

Gowri Rao picture

Gowri RaoBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

With a bachelor's degree in Economics from Krea University, Gowri is a highly skilled data analyst and an expert in regression and causation modeling. Her interests in economic trends, finance, and investment research complement her professional expertise. In addition to her professional pursuits, Gowri enjoys swimming, running, and playing the drums, and she is also a talented tutor.

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