Do Snakes Eat Birds?

During the summer, when snakes begin to come out to play, there are many misconceptions about how to deal with these amphibians. One of the main misconceptions, born out of the snake’s favorite hiding place, is that snakes are vegetarians. However, this is one of the most common, and also most inaccurate, ideas that people have about snakes.

As opposed to common perception, snakes are carnivorous. While they might enjoy cooling themselves off in small holes in the ground, or under leaves and moss, they do not eat any of these plants, instead choosing to feast on small rodents, insects, and even larger animals occasionally.

Since snakes do not have teeth, other than their large fangs, this can pose a problem when devouring their prey- or so you would think. Snakes’ jaws do not have bones keeping them in place, instead they have easily bendable cartilage, which can allow them to open their jaws wider than their body, and giving them the unique ability to swallow much larger animals whole.

The fangs that snakes have, as opposed to being able to chew large animals, are usually used to grab or hold their prey. In venomous animals, these fangs are also the transmitter of poison, which can be used to subdue animals while they either constrict or swallow them.

After catching and subduing their prey, the snake then swallows their treat whole, allowing the muscles that run the length of its’ body, as well as its hook-shaped fangs, to push the food towards its stomach. The food is then digested over a long period of time, dependent on how warm the snake stays.

Since snakes can devour much larger animals than they are, as well as the fact that snakes can actually climb trees, using the same muscles that run the length of its body, it should be no surprise that snakes will often go after much larger prey than we believe they would. This list, in addition to insects, can run the gambit from birds to rats, even up to much larger animals such as deer. However, birds and mice are two of a snakes’ favorite meals, especially since both can give the snake a comfortable place to stay for long periods of time, during the heat of day or while molting.

Snakes will often climb trees to eat birds, including feasting on any eggs that might be hiding in the nest as well. Snakes the eat eggs are often equipped with sharp ribs that will puncture the eggshell after ingesting, allowing the egg to be digested much more quickly than other prey. After clearing out the nest, the snake will often make its home there, as well.

Read the How to get rid of snakes page for helpful information and to learn more about Do Snakes Eat Birds?

Do Snakes Eat Birds?

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