Do Owls Eat Snakes? You Would Be Surprised

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Diverse Diet, Including Snakes: There are over 225 species of owls in the world, and their diets vary according on their size and habitat. It is known that a number of species, including the Great Horned Owl, Eastern Screech Owl, Barred Owl, and Burrowing Owl, eat snakes.
Opportunistic Hunters: Although owls don’t go out hunting for snakes, they will consume them if the chance presents itself. Small to medium-sized prey makes up the majority of their diet; snakes are a secondary source of nutrition.
Types of Snakes Eaten: An owl’s diet of snakes is determined by its size and environment. For instance, eastern hognose, rat, and common garter snakes are the prey of eastern screech owls, but burrowing owls hunt smaller species such as smooth green snakes.
Owls hunt by using their binocular eyesight to perceive depth and make precise strikes. With their strong talons, they discreetly descend on their victim, pulling snakes up off the ground. Once in the air, the snakes have no surface to defend themselves against, therefore they are unable to fight back.
All throughout the globe, owls belong to over 225 distinct species. They range in size from the little and appropriately titled Little Owl to the world’s biggest owl, the Blakiston fish owl.

An owl’s diet is quite variable due to the wide variety of species it inhabits. So do owls eat snakes? Which ones, if any, do, and how are they caught? We’ll attempt to address each of those queries in this post.

Indeed, owls like eating snakes and do it often. It is known that four primary species of owls—the Great Horned Owl, Eastern Screech Owl, Barred Owl, and Burrowing Owl—eat snakes.

Although they don’t actively seek for snakes, owls are opportunistic hunters that would gladly kill and consume them when the opportunity arises.

Find out what kinds of snakes owls consume and how they capture them by reading on.

Which kinds of snakes do owls consume?

The kinds of snakes that owls consume are determined by the kinds of snakes that are tiny enough to overcome them and the kinds of snakes that are present in their natural area.

Large and widespread over much of North and South America, the Great Horned Owl is a species of owl. They have one of the most varied habitats and diets due to their wide range. They live in suburban areas, grasslands, woodlands, and deserts.

Rabbits and hares are among the tiny to medium-sized prey items that Great Horned Owls primarily hunt. Their diets do not primarily consist of snakes.

The common garter, rat snake, and eastern hognose are among the snakes that eastern screech owls primarily consume. These snakes may be found in their native environment, which includes woodlands, woods, and residential areas. They are tiny enough for the owl, which is rather small, to hunt effectively.

The ribbon, common garter, and rat snakes are among the snakes that are consumed by barred owls, which are medium-sized owls.

Digging Small owls that build their nests on the ground, owls mostly hunt tiny snakes that are readily subdued. They have a reputation for hunting and preying on smooth green snakes.

Common snakes that certain owl species consume include:

  • Common Garter
  • Rat Snake
  • Ribbon Snake
  • Eastern Hognose
  • Smooth Green Snake

Pursuing and Capturing Reptiles

Like humans, owls are binocular observers, with both of their eyes facing the same direction. Unlike other birds, which typically have eyes on the sides of their heads, this one has eyes.

Because of this, owls have exceptional depth perception, which is necessary for them to determine the necessary distances to hit their prey. This is especially crucial while handling potentially fatal snakes.

They can hunt snakes efficiently because of their acute vision and ability to attack unsuspecting victims stealthily. Owls use their strong talons to pluck the snakes from the ground and carry them to a limb where they may be eaten when they swoop down and attack.

Since there is no ground under them to support their bodies, snakes that are airborne are essentially defenseless and are unable to reach the owl to strike and retaliate.

Snakes have powerful abdominal muscles, but they need a surface underneath in order to use them for movement or striking. Snakes have no way of getting away from the owls once they have them, which makes them their next meal.

I'm Nauman Afridi, the bird enthusiast behind Birdsology.com. My lifelong passion for birds has led me to create a space where fellow bird lovers can find valuable insights and tips on caring for our feathered friends.Professionally, I'm a brand strategist and digital marketing consultant, bringing a unique perspective to the world of bird care. Whether you're a novice or an experienced bird owner, Birdsology.com is designed to be a welcoming community for all.Feel free to explore, and reach out if you have any questions or just want to chat about birds.
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