Snakes are carnivorous reptiles that first appeared approximately 128 million years ago. Even though back then snakes used to inhabit only south regions with relatively mild climate, they have successfully adapted to living in various parts of the world. They can be found anywhere except for Iceland, New Zealand, Ireland, Antarctica and a set of small islands in the Atlantic Ocean. In this article, we will be looking at snake predators.
- Snakes are descendent from lizards that are considered to be their closest relatives in terms of several characteristics.
The skeleton of these cold-blooded creatures can be divided in 3 parts: head, body and tail. One of the most peculiar characteristics of snakes is their long, movable and flexible body that has strong, well-trained muscles.
- Pythons and anacondas are stated to be the biggest snakes. Their body may be over 7 meters in length.
Believe it or not but eyesight and hearing are not the strongest sides of snakes. In fact, when compared to lizards, snakes tend to have an obviously worse eyesight. Their main organ of senses is the forked tongue that provides its owner with valuable information. For example, information about the shape of the surrounding objects and location of a perspective victim. It is the tongue that allows a snake to successfully find its prey even at night.
There exist more than 3000 types of snakes in the world, but only 250 of them are venomous. The poison of snakes paralyzes and disrupts a normal functioning of organs thus ensuring almost an immediate death of the prey. Luckily for us, the discovery of antidotes to snakes’ poison led to a sharp decrease in the number of humans dying as a result of a snake’s bite.
- According to the latest data, each year 100 000 people worldwide die as a result of a snake’s bite. About 50 000 of the cases are registered in India.
- Fish are more immune to the poison of snakes than hot-blooded animals. That’s why the poison of sea snakes is more toxic than the poison of land snakes.
- The poison is produced by special glands located behind the eyes of a snake. It consists of proteins, amino acids, fatty acids and enzymes.
- Gaboon viper has the longest poisonous fangs. They may reach up to 2 inches in length.
- Taipan snake is the most venomous snake in the world. The poison of one snake is enough to kill 100 people. It’s proved that the poison of Taipan snakes is 180 times more toxic than the poison of King cobra.
- King cobra is the biggest venomous snake of all.
One more thing that makes snakes scary and dangerous is their ability to eat animals that may be 3, 5 or even 10 times bigger than a snake itself. All due to the unique structure of the skull.
It may seem like these reptiles have no one to be afraid of. It’s not true. There are animals and birds that hunt for snakes and consider them to be one of the best meals to have for dinner.
Predators of Snakes
This small but very brave animal is not afraid of snakes. Why? We’ll there are several reasons for that. First, a mongoose is immune to the snakes’ poison. Second, its fur serves as a great protection mechanism. Third, is that mongoose has a very quick reaction. This predator of snakes is capable of biting off a snake’s head in the blink of an eye.
2. Honey badger
This fearless animal manages to come as a winner out of any fight. Its diet is more than diverse and one of the most dangerous snakes on this planet are part of it. The worst that may happen in case of a snake’s bite is falling in a coma for several hours. However, the animal will survive. Is it really possible? Yes, it is. Honey badgers have a very thick and calloused skin.
This predator of snakes is skillful at biting through the spinal bones of a snake’s skeleton. When fighting with a snake, hedgehogs follow a special strategy called “bite and hide”. Their efforts are soon paid off. Snake continues attacking and hurting itself. (You do remember that one of the peculiarities of a hedgehog is its spines, don’t you?) Even though hedgehogs are immune to the majority of snakes’ poison, they have no chances to win in a fight against King cobra.
Owls and hawks do not need to be immune to a snake’s poison in order to survive its attack and kill it. They attack a snake while still being in a flight. Their sharp pounces don’t leave a snake even the smallest chance for a survival. Actually, that’s one of the reasons why snakes prefer hiding in places where they won’t be noticed by these birds.
Next predators are snakes are suprisingly dogs and cats, which may attack a snake if they feel that the reptile may harm them or their owner. Dogs turn out to be exceptionally protective. For them their owner is their best friend. It shouldn’t be surprising that a dog will do anything possible to protect the owner from the danger that snakes pose.
6. Certain types of snakes
Snakes live according to strict and sometimes cruel rules. Cannibalism is very common in their case. It’s one of the ways by means of which they decrease the number of specimens in their own population. Non-venomous snakes are notorious for killing their own wild relatives. King cobra is immune to the poison of many other snakes in the world which makes her an unconquerable predator of snakes.
Like all the rest representatives of the animal kingdom, snakes need to always be on the lookout for potential predators. In their case, it’s really a matter of life or death. I hope that this article on predators of snakes was helpful. If you are interested, I highly recommend visiting the Animal Facts Page!