What Do Snakes Eat?

Last Modified on: 07/16/2018

You are here because you want the answer to the question what do snakes eat and we are here to give you the answer you are looking for.

For thousands of years people have been interested in reptiles and in particular snakes and many people have owned them as pets.

Others on the other hand have been are very scared of snakes and won't go anywhere near them. In addition to snakes being scary they can also spread disease and do great damage to livestock and crops.

As an owner of a snake though it is important to know what they can and cannot eat as you want them to have a happy and healthy life.

Here are just a few animals that snakes eat:

  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Cockroaches

Make sure to keep in mind that this is just a small sample of the types of animals that snakes can and will eat. In addition to the list above snakes will also eat less harmful animals too.

It is a shock to find out that recently in the news a Burmese python was actually found with the hoof of a deer in its stomach in Florida.

When you think about it is pretty amazing to find out that when a snake eats its prey it will eat the whole thing and not leave anything behind. This means it will eat the hooves, head, ears, legs, arms and everything else!

The way a snake is able to eat its whole prey even if the animal is larger than their mouth is because they have the ability to unlock their jaws to fit many different large prey. Such as:

  • Lizards
  • Eggs
  • Other snakes
  • Frogs & Toads
  • Chickens
  • Other Birds
  • Goats

The trick as mentioned above for a snake to eat larger prey is that they have the ability to unhinge their lower jaw to swallow prey whole.

And the reason a snake eats their prey whole is because they are unable to tear their prey up in order to eat it. They do not have the strength in their jaw like other predators such as lions to rip and tear the preys flesh.

Additionally the teeth of a snake is not meant to chew at all and therefore they swallow their prey.

There are certain types of snakes that have fangs but they aren't used to chew but rather used to carry venom so poison and stun their prey before eating them.

While the prey is paralyzed they can take a strong grip of their prey with their body and slowly swallow them whole.


Other Related Questions

Here are some related questions owners or even snake enthusiasts may want to know the answer to when it comes to what snakes can eat.

Table Of Contents

Do Snakes Eat Crickets?

Yes, some snakes will eat crickets while other types of snakes will not as they are not interested in eating this food. So, yes it is safe to feed crickets to snakes but as the snakes grow older and bigger they will prefer to eat larger foods compared to their head and body size. The larger foods take long to digest in their system and that is the type of food they enjoy eating.

Do Snakes Eat Insects?

Actually yes snakes do in fact eat insects as part of their diet. Especially as babies and the smaller snakes will eat insects as part of their regular diet. However for the larger and adult snakes their diet will usually consist of larger prey that carries more substance such as as mice and rats because they are more filling.

Do Snakes Eat Rabbits?

Yes, snakes will eat rabbits as they are carnivores and one of the foods they like to eat includes rabbits. A snake depending on its size will shallow a rabbit whole that is a comparable size of its body. Snakes usually try to stick to eating foods that they can easily swallow without difficulty so they can slowly digest the food after its been consumed as they cannot chew their prey.

Do Snakes Eat Plants?

Nope, snakes do not eat plants as part of their diet at all because they are completely carnivores and strictly eat meat only. Therefore never try and feed plants or something similar to your snake as it is not good for their health.

Do Snakes Eat Birds?

A matter of fact, yes snakes will eat birds among other things. Snakes that are big, strong and brave enough will kill and swallow birds whole. Normally what a snake will do is constrict around the bird until it is dead and then swallow the bird whole just like it does with majority of the foods it eats. Smaller snakes are less likely to eat birds but if they are easy prey they will try and feed on birds.

Do Snakes Eat Squirrels?

Yes, if a snake is large enough and can catch the squirrel it will eat it whole. However depending on the type of squirrel there are some instances where squirrels are actually resistant to snakes venom and therefore escape being captured and eaten by snakes. There is also one documented chase where a California ground squirrel actually caught and ate the small snake which is very rare. Most squirrels do not eat meat let along snakes. However to answer the question again yes snakes will at times eat squirrels.

Do Snakes Eat Turtles?

No, it is not recommended for a snake to eat turtles and for the most part they do not try to eat turtles. However there are rare instances when snakes have tried to eat turtles but this isn't the ideal case because turtles have very strong shells that snakes cannot easily digest it. Additionally snakes do not have powerful jaws and are unable to crack the shell of a turtle to more easily digest this prey. Therefore it is best for snakes not to try and eat turtles.

Do Snakes Eat Turtle Eggs?

Yes, unlike turtles themselves snakes have much easier time eating turtle eggs as they are a lot softer as the shell of the turtle hasn't fully developed and isn't very strong like it is with an adult turtle. Therefore you will find that snakes will swallow turtle eggs whole and are a good snack for snakes to have. However in the wild snakes have a very difficult time finding turtle eggs as they cannot dig them up like coyotes, foxes, and dingos can.

Do Snakes Eat Fish?

Yes, all types of snakes can eat fish but that doesn't mean you should be feeding fish to your snake. Lots of inland species of snakes don't know how to catch fish as they are unfamiliar with them. As well eating fish can make a snakes poop stinky and runny which makes for a big mess to clean up. Also a lot of snakes don't like the taste of many types of fish. Therefore fish can be eaten by snakes but it isn't really recommended.

Do Snakes Eat Spiders?

Snakes can eat spiders but not many species of snakes are known to eat spiders in general. There can be some issues that arise for snakes if they were to eat spiders such as some of the spiders can be poisonous and cause issues for a snakes health. Also some larger spiders are even known to eat smaller snakes. However some snakes such as the ribbon snake are known to eat spiders and other cold-blooded prey. As well the ring-necked snake is known to eat spiders.

Do Snakes Eat Frogs?

Yes, snakes can eat frogs but there are some instances where some frogs can be toxic and in that case a snake has to be very careful. Snakes that find poisonous frogs need to bite them first and let the poison where off and the frog die first and then they can swallow the frog whole afterwards. The dying frog can hop some distance before it dies so the snake will need to track it for while before eating it whole. But yes some snakes dog eat frogs. There is also one instance recorded in Australian news where a frog actually eat a whole small snake whole.

Do Snakes Eat Pigs?

Yes, some of the larger snakes such as Anacondas and Pythons do have the ability to eat pigs whole! What they will do is constrict around the pig until they kill it and then slowly swallow the pig whole and digest it over a long period of time!

Do Snakes Eat Weasels?

Weasels (Mustela) for the most part are very small mammals the only grow roughly up to 18 inches in length and weigh a few pounds at most. Since they are pretty small in size snakes are known to swallow weasels whole. So to answer this question yes snakes definitely do eat weasels as part of their diet.

Do Snakes Eat Snakes?

It may surprise some people to find out that the answer is Yes snakes do in fact in other snakes. In particular King snakes and King Cobras are known to be cannibals in that they will eat other snakes as one of their primary sources of their diet. King snakes also have the ability to eat other poisonous snakes because they have resistance to some venom's. Also some kingsnakes have the ability to kill and eat snakes that are up to 20% bigger than them. They first strangle the larger snake and then consume it whole. Most other types of snakes don't normally eat other snakes but in the right conditions such as starvation will eat other snakes to survive.

Do Snakes Eat Crows?

Yes, snakes do in fact eat crows if they can catch them. It is also known that some crows will eat smaller snakes. So it works both ways but for the most part snakes, especially the bigger types will have the upper hand and eat crows and swallow them whole.

Do Snakes Eat Flies?

Yes, snakes such ribbon and queen snake will eat such flies as dragonflies. As well you can purchase carrion flies from the pet shop to feed to your snake. Snakes are carnivores and therefore they strictly eat meat and for the most part flies don't provide a lot of substance to them but smaller snakes may enjoy eating flies from time to time.

Do Snakes Eat Zebras?

Yes, but it is not normal that a snake will eat a zebra because they are just too large in size. However there are been some documented cases where very large snakes such as anacondas have actually eaten a Zebra whole so it is possible. However as mentioned it isn't a normal occurrence.

Do Snakes Eat Grasshoppers?

Yes, snakes such as the garter snake will get grasshoppers are part of their diet. Sometimes it can take them a long time to digest the insect but do eat grasshoppers as part of their diet. Most other types of snakes however do not eat grasshoppers.

Do Snakes Eat Bees?

Technically they could eat a bee but it is highly unlikely that they would be able to catch and eat on in the first place. Would take a lot of effort to catch and eat the bee. Hardly worth the effort for a snake. If any type of snake would eat a bee it would be a garter snake as they are known for eating insects.


Do Snakes Eat Bugs?

We actually created a separate page on our site to answer the question do snakes eat bugs. Make sure you click on the link to get the answer.

Do Snakes Eat Caterpillars?

No, in general most types of snakes do not eat caterpillars but on occasion a garter snake may eat a caterpillar if they are hungry. The good thing about caterpillars are they they are slow and therefore a lot easier for a snake to catch them some other faster moving prey. So therefore yes, garter snakes will eat caterpillars but majority species of snakes will not.

Do Snakes Eat Toads?

Yes, just like how we briefly mentioned above toads are on the list of prey snakes will eat. Some snakes are even not affected by the poisons that some toads may carry. Therefore as long as the toad isn't to fast to get away from a snake a snake will take advantage and swallow a toad whole.

Do Snakes Eat Worms?

Yes, in particular a garter (garden) snakes will eat worms specially known as earthworms on a regular basis. Since this type of snake is so small it likes eating smaller prey such as worms and will eat them up to 8 times a week as part of their regular diet.

Do Snakes Eat Berries?

No, snakes are strictly carnivores and therefore they do not eat berries. As a child you may have been told by you parents to watch out for snakes when picking berries but that didn't mean that snakes actually eat the berries too. Just means that they enjoyed the environment in that area. Snakes will eat toads and frogs and similar prey in the area though.

Do Snakes Eat Grass?

No, as mentioned a few times on this website snakes are carnivores and therefore do not eat grass as part of their diet. They would rather be swallowing prey that is meat and slowly digesting it overtime.

Do Snakes Eat Meat?

Yes, but the word "eat" might be slightly misleading as its more like swallow for the most part. Snakes have the ability to unlock their jaws and swallow their prey whole. Snakes are strictly carnivores and therefore their diet consists of all meat.

Do Snakes Eat Bird Eggs?

Yes, some snakes are known to eat bird eggs such as black rat snakes and Cobras. Some other snakes such as rattlesnakes may actually die from eating bird eggs as their body isn't built to handle this type of food. If they aren't able to regurgitate the egg they could die. Also it is important to note that usually snakes will only eat bird eggs if they are more desperate for food. Otherwise they usually eat other foods instead.

Do Snakes Eat Moles?

Yes! Snakes will eat moles as part of their diet. Therefore in some cases it may be useful to have a snake in your yard as it can help with your mole issues. However most people are scared of snakes so maybe this isn't the best option. But yes a snake will swallow a mole whole!

Do Snakes Eat Blackberries?

Similar to the berry question do snakes eat blackberries and the answer is No! Snakes are strictly carnivores and therefore are not interested in eating fruit of any kind.

Do Snakes Eat Owls?

Yes, snakes do eat owls but also the other way around is also true in that owls will eat snakes. Therefore it really depends on the size of the snake as well on the size of the owl. Snakes need to be careful to not be eaten by the owls as well. Bigger snakes that can get the sneak attack on an owl do have the ability to eat and swallow owls whole but they need to catch them first. It can at times be difficult for a snake to actually catch an owl as they are very quick and can fly away.

Do Snakes Eat Roaches (Cockroaches)?

Yes, from time to time snakes such as the brown snake will eat a roach, however it is not very common. For the most part snakes will stick to other types of foods listed above instead of roaches.

Do Snakes Eat Frog Eggs?

Yes, it is possible for snakes to eat frog eggs if they are very hungry but it is unlikely overall. Snakes are known to eat frogs and toads but a lot less likely to eat the eggs of frogs.

Do Snakes Eat Eagles?

If a snake is big and strong enough and has the opportunity then yes a snake will eat an eagle. However, more likely to happen is that hawks and eagles will eat snakes as they for the most part have the upper hand. Eagles have the ability to quickly swoop down on snakes and catch them with their claws and pick them up and drop them. This is actually the symbol on the Mexican flag which is an eagle eating a serpent.

Do Snakes Eat Geckos?

Yes, in subtropical and tropical regions of the world there are snakes that will eat geckos as part of their meals. In particular the Asian red-tailed rat snake and African tree boa snake will eat geckos. These types of snakes will often squeeze and suffocate the gecko first and then swallow them whole.

Do Snakes Eat Snails?

Yes, there are snakes known as snail eating snakes that will eat snails in certain parts of the world. In particular the Southeast Asian snakes is known for eating snails. These snakes have found a technique where they are able to extract the snail from its shell in order to swallow it whole.

Do Snakes Eat Dead Animals?

Yes, snakes are definitely known for eating dead animals. Most common are dead rats or mice that are fed to their snakes by their owners. Sometimes live prey can be dangerous for pet snakes and it can harm them if left unattended and therefore a dead rat or mouse is ideal option.

Do Snakes Eat Cats?

Shockingly yes larger snakes in fact do on rare occasions eat cats. It is not a common occurrence but it is important to remember as a pet owner to make sure your small pets are kept inside especially at night time in locations where larger snakes are known to live. Larger snakes such as carpet pythons have been seen swallow cats whole!

Do Snakes Eat Deer?

Yes, it has been documented that a Burmese Python Snake has devoured a whole baby deer that was bigger than itself! It is shocking to think a snake can swallow such a large prey whole but with the snakes ability to unlock its jaw it has the possibly of swallowing very large prey it show normally not be eating.

Do Snakes Eat Armadillos?

Yes, if the snake is big enough and the armadillo is small enough there is the possibly that a very large snake such as a green anaconda could kill and swallow an armadillo whole.

Do Snakes Eat Koalas?

Yes, it is very possible for a baby or small koala to be subject of being eaten by a larger snake. However, with that being said it is very unlikely for an adult Koala to be eaten by a snake as they are too big and are able to climb and protect themselves.

Do Snakes Eat Bluebirds?

Yes, snakes if they have the chance will eat a bluebird. They will eat baby blue birds and also adult bluebirds if the opportunity presents itself.

Do Snakes Eat Muskrat?

Yes, snakes can and will eat muskrats if there is an opportunity and the snake thinks the prey is an easy target. This means only larger snakes will go after muskrats because it has also been noted that sometimes muskrats will also eat snakes too!

Do Snakes Eat Badgers?

For the most part the answer is no snakes do not normally eat badgers especially honey badgers as they are known as snake killers. Badgers may lack in size but they for the most part do extremely well against snakes and often kill them and eat them. Badgers have the ability to eaten eat venomous snakes.

Do Snakes Eat Chickens?

For the most part snakes do not eat chickens unless they are larger snakes. The smaller snakes that are often found in places where chickens are more likely to be are smaller and normally do not pose a threat to chickens. However, snakes are more known to eat chicks and chicken eggs then adult chickens. Much larger snakes would have no problem eating chickens but those types of snakes are more often found in the jungle and the rain forest where chickens are unlikely to be.

Also it is common for chickens to actually eat smaller snakes if they get the opportunity. Chickens like to play games where they often steal the snakes from other chickens as a keep away game.

Do Snakes Eat Newts?

For the most part the answer is no snakes will not eat newts as many of them are toxic and poisonous. However, sometimes garter snakes will eat newts and swallow them whole as they have a resistance to their toxins.

Do Snakes Eat Quail?

Yes, larger snakes can easily eat quail as part of their main diet. Smaller snakes will definitely have a hard time in consuming quail but large snakes such as red tail boas, boas, emerald tree boas as larger snakes that have the ability to eat quail and they enjoy it too.

Do Snakes Eat Slugs?

For the most part snakes will not eat slugs but garter snakes will actually eat slugs. Therefore it is sometimes it isn't such a bad issue to have garden/garter snakes in your garden as they can help control the pest population including slugs.

Do Snakes Eat Anteaters?

Yes, in particular the Inland Taipan snake will eat Anteaters. Specially they will eat numbats which are a small marsupial anteater. Inland Taipan will usually take a quick strike at they prey and then wait for them to die before swallowing it.

Do Snakes Eat Chipmunks?

Yes, it is very possible and likely that some types of snakes will eat chipmunks. In particular garter and black snakes are known for eating and swallowing whole chipmucks.

Do Snakes Digest Bones?

Some people may be shocked to find out Yes snakes actually do have the ability to digest bones. This is very important as snakes normally do swallow their prey whole and therefore it is useful that they have the ability to digest bones. Snakes use enzymes along with muscular contractions to breakdown and digest bones over time. However, having said this snakes are unable to digest chitin and keratin proteinaceous materials. These are materials such as hair, finger nails, claws, scales, hooves, and insect exoskeletons. These materials are pooped out.

Do Snakes Eat Humans?

Technically it is possible for the larger snakes (Green Anaconda, Reticulated python, Burmese python, etc) to eat a human whole. However, the cases documented are very rare as the human's shoulders can cause issues for snakes. A person's shoulder blades are not collapsible and therefore could cause a snake to burst.

Do Snakes Eat Ducks?

Yes! Snakes will definitely eat ducks if they get the opportunity to. Just like many things a snake will eat it will require the snake to be larger than the duck in order to swallow it whole and also overpower it in the first place.


General Feeding Questions About Snakes

How Long Can A Ball Python Go Without Eating?

As an owner of a ball python snake you may be asking yourself how long this type of snake can go without eating? You could be very worried because its been a long time since their last meal. Therefore to get a bit more information on this query we've done some research and have come up with an answer here.

How Long Can A Garter Snake Go Without Eating?

Garter snakes are common snakes to have as a pet. As a pet owner you may be worried if your garter snake has went a long period of time without feeding. The help you take better care of your pet garter snake we have answered this question on our site.

How Long Can A Hognose Snake Go Without Eating?

Hognose snakes come in a variety of species but majority of them eat similar things. Find out the answer to this question here.

How Long Can A California King Snake Go Without Eating?

California King snakes are known for going longer periods of time without eating food. Find out exactly how long they can go without eating food by reading this article.

How Long Can A Anaconda Go Without Eating?

Anaconda snakes are known to be one of the largest snakes in the world so it stands to reason that they would manage to go a longer period of time without feeding. However, to get the full answer to this question please make sure to read our detailed answer here.

How Long Can A Corn Snake Go Without Eating?

Corn snakes are popular pet snakes to have in your home. Find out how long a corn snake can go without eating here.

How Long Can A Black Snake Go Without Eating?

Black snake can refer to a variety of types of snakes that are black in color. Read this article to learn more about how long this type of snake can go without food or water.

What Do Baby Black Snakes Eat?

To best answer this question we've create a page to answer this. Really depending on the type of baby black snake you have the answer will vary. Check out this page to learn more.


Types of Snakes and What They Eat

Garden (Garter) Snake

Garden (Garter) Snake

Worm Snake

Worm Snake

King Cobra Snake

King Cobra Snake

Grass Snake

Grass Snake

Bull Snake

Bull Snake

Coral Snake

Coral Snake

Rat Snake

Rat Snake

Python Snake

Python Snake

King Snake

King Snake



Anaconda Snake

Anaconda Snake

Rainbow Boa Snake

Rainbow Boa Snake