While eating a snake seems like a risky venture, there are many different types of animals that eat snakes, including birds, mammals, and there are even snake-eating snakes. Some snakes, like King Cobras, specialize in eating mainly snakes. Some snakes may not only eat other snakes, but birds and mammals as well. In this article, we’ll look at 10 different snakes that eat other snakes.
Bur first, let touch briefly on ophiophagy.
10 types of snakes that eat other snakes
1. King Cobra
- Scientific name: Ophiophagus hannah
- Where they are found: Parts of India, Southern and Southeast Asia
As mentioned before, the Latin (scientific) name for the King Cobra literally means “snake eater”. King Cobras are unique because their diet consists almost entirely of snakes, however they have also been known to eat large lizards like monitor lizards.
King Cobras are active foragers or hunters and will chase down a snake once they pick up the scent. They are also one of the largest snakes in the world.
- Scientific name: Lampropeltis sp.
- Where they are found: Through North America to the Northern tip of South America
Kingsnakes get their common name after the famous King Cobra as they also tend to only eat snakes. There are several species and subspecies of King Snakes found throughout their range. King Snakes are thought to have developed an immunity to the venom of other snakes, which allows them to eat Rattle Snakes.
3. Coral Snake
- Scientific name: Family Elapidae (6 genera)
- Where they are found: Asia, North America and South America
Coral Snakes are in the same family as King Cobras, Kraits, and Cobras. There are many species of them from several genera that are found throughout the world. Worldwide, Coral Snakes tend to eat other snakes, frogs, lizards and even small birds.
- Scientific name: Masticophis flagellum
- Where they are found: Southern United States to Northern Mexico
Coachwhips are non-venomous snakes most commonly found in drier, more arid habitats. They are known to be very quick and will chase down their prey. They tend to eat smaller lizards, amphibians, insects, small rodents as well as other snakes.
- Scientific name: Bungarus sp.
- Where they are found: Throughout Asia
There are several species of Kraits throughout much of Asia. Kraits are a highly venomous snake in the family Elapidae. Snakes in this family have very strong Neurotoxic venom (venom that attacks the nervous system).
Kraits eat mainly snakes and will even eat other Kraits. Not only that, but Kraits may also scavenge on or eat other dead snakes.
6. Indigo Snake
- Scientific name: Drymarchon couperi
- Where they are found: Southeastern United States
Indigo Snakes are large (up to 8.5ft) nonvenomous snakes found in the United States. They can be found in sandhills and near wetlands. Indigo Snakes are not particularly picky and will eat birds, mammals, amphibians, small turtles as well as snakes.
Indigo Snakes have been known to eat venomous snakes and are thought to be immune to the venom of Rattlesnakes, which allows for them to prey upon Rattlesnakes with little worry.
- Scientific name: Agkistrodon piscivorous
- Where they are found: Southeastern United States
Cottonmouths, also known as Water Moccasins, are venomous Pit Vipers native to much of the Southeastern United States. As one of the common names suggests, these snakes like aquatic habitats or anywhere near water.
Cottonmouths, like other Pit Vipers are ambush or “sit and wait” predators where they wait for their prey to come along before quickly striking, biting, and envenomating them. They primarily eat fish, mammals, rodents, frogs, newly hatched alligators and other snakes. Cottonmouths have also been known to cannibalize other Cottonmouths.
8. Garter Snake
- Scientific name: Thamnophis sp.
- Where they are found: Throughout North America
Garter Snakes are one of the more common snakes in North America. They can be found in a wide range of different habitat types and eat a wide variety of prey items. Garter Snakes are very docile snakes, so it may surprise you that they can actually be fierce hunters, capable of hunting down other snakes!
In addition to other snakes, Garter Snakes also eat insects, earthworms, amphibians, slugs, fish, and crayfish.
9. Corn Snake
- Scientific name: Pantherophis guttatus
- Where they are found: Southeastern and Central United States
Corn Snakes do not eat corn, as some people have guessed due to their name. Corn Snakes are somewhat common in parts of the United States and are also popular pets due to their pretty coloration and calm temperament. This makes them good pet snakes.
Another common name for the Corn Snake is Rat Snake, which is more accurate because they do in fact eat rats and other rodents. But Corn Snakes also eat bird eggs, amphibians, small lizards and have been known to occasionally eat other snakes.
- Scientific name: Naja sp.
- Where they are found: Africa and Asia
There are many different species of Cobras spread throughout Asia and Africa. While they are related to King Cobras, Cobras are actually in their own genus as King Cobras are not actually true Cobras.
Cobras tend to eat rodents, eggs, and birds, but also eat other snakes. In fact, cannibalism is more common in Cobras than was previously thought.
To sum it all up, some snakes have very specialized diets to include mainly snakes which makes them ophiophagic. But ophiophagy is fairly common in the snake world, however many snakes are not very picky and will eat other things too. Some of these snakes even practice cannibalism and will eat others of the same species! Ophiophagy isn’t limited to snakes though, there are other animals and even humans that eat snakes from time to time.