Snakes That Eat Birds: A Detailed Guide

Spread the love

There are over 2700 different species of snakes on the planet, and every single one of them is a carnivore.

Contrary to their diet of carnivores, most snakes swallow their food whole rather than chewing on it.

Because of this, snakes adjust the size of their prey to match their own: larger snake species will target larger animals or birds, while smaller species and juvenile snakes will seek tiny birds, chicks, and eggs.

Even enormous and gigantic snakes, nevertheless, will stay away from certain birds, such hawks, owls, and falcons.

In addition to being naturally occurring predators of snakes, these birds are large enough and equipped with the means to defeat even the largest snake in combat.

Therefore, even a large snake would happily accept a different course of action if one is available to it rather than squabbling with a predatory bird, such as one of the aforementioned species.

Let’s also investigate whether snakes can and will consume a juicy, flavorful bird as a meal, as well as the methods they use to do so.

Seven Bird-Eating Snakes:

Eastern Rat Snake

The nonvenomous Eastern Rat Snake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis) goes by many names, including the Everglades rat snake in Florida, chicken snake, pilot black snake, black rat snake, and yellow rat snake.

A few species grow to be longer than two hundred centimeters; the largest Black Rat Snake reached 230 centimeters. The shiny black Chicken Snake is between 90 and 180 centimeters in length, including the tail.

The Black Rat Snake has a black and white pattern on its belly that becomes uniformly grey towards the tail. Its mandible and neck are either white or creamy in color.

The Black Rat Snake suffocates its food by coiling its body around it and applying pressure until it dies, killing it since it is not poisonous.

The Black Rat Snake’s diet also includes rodents, lizards, frogs, and, of course, chicken eggs—despite gaining its name from its voracious hunger for young chickens and chicks.

While the adults are known to have relatively few predators other than humans (hawks and great horned owls), the younglings are much more susceptible to predators like raccoons, foxes, and even domestic cats.

Burmese python

One of the largest snake species is the Burmese python (Python bivittatus), which is nonvenomous, dark-colored, and has brown spots all over its back bordered in black.

The documented average length of a Burmese python is around five meters, despite reports of specimens as long as seven meters.

Adult Burmese pythons may grow up to 5.74 meters in length, but they often measure 3.7 meters in the wild. In captivity, the minimum size is 2.5 meters.

The Burmese python inhabits areas surrounding swamps, marshes, jungles, river valleys, and forests since it is a semiaquatic species that can remain in the water for up to thirty minutes.

The (young) Burmese python, however, likes to remain on land and is often seen in the trees because of its prehensile tail, which allows it to climb quite well.

The snake usually retreats to the ground as it becomes older, larger, and heavier, particularly since it prefers to “sit and wait” for its prey:

Due of its poor vision, the Burmese Python hunts by using heat sensors located along its jaws and chemicals in its tongue to assist it track down its prey.

The Burmese python mostly consumes birds and animals, which it captures by seizing with its razor-sharp teeth and coiling around the victim’s body until it is killed.

Red-Tailed Boa

Originating from a few Caribbean islands and tropical South America, the Red-Tailed Boa (Boa Constrictor), often called the Common Boa, is a big, heavy-bodied, nonvenomous snake that is frequently maintained and raised in captivity.

The Red-Tailed Boa is comparatively middle-sized, with a length of 0.91 to 3.96 meters and a weight of up to 27 kilograms (very rarely, some individuals reaching up to 45 kilograms), when compared to its cousin, the Burmese Python, and other big snake species.

The Red-Tailed Boa has remarkable and diverse coloration that varies throughout subspecies and even among individuals within the same subspecies, perhaps an attempt to make up for its diminutive stature:

The coloration of the Common Boa may be brown, grey, silvery grey, cream, or scarlet, depending on the habitat it must hide in. Its mysterious and mesmerizing patterns include of circles, ovals, hexagons, and jagged stripes.

Despite being a terrestrial species that feeds on small animals, the Red-Tailed Boa hunts from nightfall to morning. It frequently climbs trees to pursue birds.

The Red-Tailed Boa often catches its prey by the head and coils its body around its body until it kills it. This behavior is characteristic of a constriction species.

Were you aware?

Anacondas are a subspecies of Boas; Pythons and Boas are two distinct species of snakes; the primary distinction between the two is that the former lays eggs, whilst the latter gives birth to live younglings after internal incubation of the eggs.

Taylor’s Cantil

The dangerous pitviper known as Taylor’s Cantil (Agkistrodon taylori), often called Metapil (in Spanish) or the Ornate Cantil, is native to northern Mexico.

Taylor’s Cantil, the most popular name, was given in honor of Edward Harrison Taylor, a Missouri-born American herpetologist.

While it may sometimes be found close to tiny sources of water, the Tylor’s Cantil is more attracted to rocky slopes, grasslands, dry thorny woods, and tropical deciduous forests.

The body length (tail included) of the medium-sized Taylor’s Cantil viper ranges from 64 to 90 centimeters, with some individuals reportedly growing to 96 centimeters.

When Taylor’s Cantil is young, it has a yellow tip tail, orange, yellow, or white stripes, and a dark-brown coloration. As it ages, all of these colors vanish and the snake becomes much darker.

With frogs, lizards, birds, and mammals making up the majority of its diet, Taylor’s Cantil’s hunting technique is striking quickly to seize the victim and using its venom and teeth to kill it.

Because the yellow tip-tail is distinct in color from the rest of the snake, it facilitates hunting for juveniles until they reach adulthood, at which point they lose it.

To entice prey closer so it may attack, the juvenile Taylor’s Cantil lifts its yellow tail four centimeters above the ground and wags it.[3]

Coachwhip Snake

Because of its scale pattern, which resembles a braided whip, the Coachwhip Snake (Masticophis flagellum), a nonvenomous native of Mexico and the United States, is often referred to as the Whip Snake.

The Coachwhip Snake has a slender body and may range in length from 127 to 235 centimeters, depending on the subspecies. It weighs about 1.2 to 1.8 kg.

The Coachwhip Snake has a very flexible coloring scheme. It begins with a black head and, depending on its surroundings, progressively changes to dark brown, light brown, tan, pink, or even white.

In addition to eating lizards, amphibians, insects, and even other snakes, the Coachwhip Snake also consumes rodents and small birds due to its slim build.

The Coachwhip Snake, in contrast to most other snakes, is only active during the day. It is most often seen during the hottest summer days, when most other snakes are dormant.

In addition to liking the heat, the Coachwhip Snake vigorously pursues its victim throughout the day when hunting, generally with its head held high.

The Coachwhip Snake, although not being poisonous, just grabs and grips its food with its jaws while devouring it alive. It does not coil around its prey to kill it before eating.

The Coachwhip Snake can achieve a speed of 6.43 kilometers per hour, making it one of the quickest snakes in the world with superb vision.

Speckled Kingsnake

Native to the United States of America, the Speckled Kingsnake (Lampropeltis holbrooki) is a medium-to-large, nonvenomous snake with an average length of around 120 centimeters and a record length of 180 centimeters.

The term “salt-and-pepper snake,” or Speckled Kingsnake, originates from the snake’s black hue and the scattered yellow-white spots, one in the middle of almost every dorsal scale.

The adult Speckled Kingsnake’s eyes are typically red, its belly is golden with black markings, and the dark ground color ranges from dark brown to blue-black.

The Speckled Kingsnake, like the Coachwhip Snake, is a diurnal species that actively pursues its prey in a manner similar to how hounds scent the prey; however, unlike dogs, the snake uses its forked tongue for “sniffing,” not its nose.

In contrast to the Coachwhip Snake, the Speckled Kingsnake, which is active from April to October, dislikes hot summer days and seeks cover from them.

As a result, during the hot summer days, it also becomes active at night, searching for whatever it can find, including eggs, tiny animals, small reptiles, small amphibians, and, of course, birds.

The Speckled Kingsnake sometimes feeds on fish as well as other snakes, both poisonous and nonvenomous.

The Speckled Kingsnake catches its victim, squirms itself around it, and kills it before devouring it, much like the majority of nonvenomous snake species.

Pine Snake

The nonvenomous pine snake (Pituophis melanoleucus), often referred to as the carpet snake, bullsnake, or pilot snake, is found in the southeast region of the country.

Measuring between 120 and 230 centimeters (tail included) and weighing between 1.8 and 3.6 kilos, the pine snake has a powerful body structure for its size.

The background color of the pine snake ranges from white to light grey or yellow, and it is covered in areas of deep black, brown, or reddish-brown that fade from darker (near the head) to lighter (near the tail).

Though the Pine Snake sometimes climbs trees and small bushes, its color scheme is intended to blend nicely with its terrestrial surroundings.

A diurnal snake with few subspecies that are active at night, the pine snake is an outstanding burrower and spends most of its time underground.

It has been observed that the pine snake increases its body temperature by bathing in the early light.

As adorable as that may seem, it’s important to remember that pine snakes are still predators and that their diet includes a variety of prey, including rodents, small mammals, amphibians, birds, and eggs.

The pine snake, which is nonvenomous, kills its prey by coiling and smothering it until it is dead, at which point it swallows the victim whole.

Were you aware?

Scientists believe that when a pine snake feels threatened or furious, it may mimic the sound of a dangerous rattlesnake thanks to a cartilaginous crest located in front of its vocal cords.

Final Thoughts

Since they are predators and cannot pursue larger prey due to their size, snakes must consume flesh in order to live. This includes eating birds when they are young.

But not all snake species consume birds. For starters, certain snake species, like Garter snakes, are simply too tiny to eat birds, while others, like cobras, would rather eat other snakes and reptiles.

As a hunting tactic, nonvenomous snakes grip their target, coiling their bodies around it until it is dead, and then devouring it whole.

Certain diurnal snake species like sunbathing in the morning to warm up their bodies, despite the fact that the majority of bird-eating snakes are nocturnal.

A snake’s eating habits are influenced by its surroundings, age, hunting prowess, and prey size (relative to its size).

Posts created 71

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

Begin typing your search term above and press enter to search. Press ESC to cancel.

Back To Top