Do Crows Eat Snakes – Is It Safe and Beneficial for Them?

Yes, crows eat snakes. They often attack and kill snakes. However, unlike other prey, snakes are not defenseless. Being poisonous and carnivores, snakes also attack crows. Sometimes, crows can be killed and eaten by snakes, too. 

Crows are omnivores and will eat anything edible they find nearby, and that includes snakes. Snakes are also a good source of nutrition for these birds. They are rich in calories and also serve as essential protein for crows. 

Snakes are mostly safe for crows as they usually hunt non-poisonous ones. Besides, most snake species are venomous and so are not harmful to eat for birds or other predators. 

Nutrition Value of Snakes

This might sound odd, but snakes have their nutritional value, too. Have a good look at the following table:

NutrientAmount per 100g
Calories93 (approximately)
Protein19 g
Fat1.5 g
Iron1.8 mg
Zinc2.5 mg
Vitamin B121.5 mcg

Why Do Crows Eat Snakes: Benefits of Eating Snakes for Crows

As already mentioned, crows can also become the victim while hunting snakes. This might make you wonder why they should want to eat snakes, then. Well, there are several benefits of taking the risk, such as:

1. A Source of Protein

Snakes can provide crows with the necessary protein. This is an essential nutrient for snakes’ growth and energy. Protein works as the building block of cells and helps crows grow and develop. Besides, protein is also necessary for enzyme function and the immune system. 

2. Natural Behavior

Crows are naturally attracted to snakes. They eat them out of instinct in most cases. It helps them adapt to their surroundings and survive whatever is available in the environment. 

3. Reducing Competition

Another major reason for crows attacking is to protect their domination. Crows and snakes share some common prey like mice, frogs, insects, etc. If the number of snakes increases in a particular area, crows may not get enough prey for themselves. Therefore, they eat and reduce competition in the territory. 

4. A Good Source of Energy

Snakes are quite a healthy food for these avians. Snakes contain little amount of fat and protein that can help crows gain energy for flying. Besides, protein makes their feathers denser and stronger. They can fly better. 

How Does A Crow Attack A Snake?

Snakes are not helpless like other prey of crows. So, the attacking strategy of crows is not similar to the other prey. For crows, the size of the snakes does not matter. It can attack both small and large snakes based on its appetite. 

What crows do is keep harassing the snake. It will fly off and down to peck the snake endlessly. This guerilla-like attack continues till the snake gets tired or dies. Snakes also do not give up so easily. They fight back. They will jump and let out a loud caw after being pecked. 

Crows have a hard and strong pair of beaks. They use it to keep pecking the snake. Once attacked, the snake does not run away. Instead, it usually coils up and keeps the tail near its mouth. The bird keeps circling the reptile, which makes the snake often dizzy and tired. 

The continuity and determination of the crow make it a winner in the end. However, if the crow gets caught by the snake, then the snake kills the bird by injecting poison. Quickness and continuity are keys here for crows. 

What Helps Crows Win Over Snakes

Crows have certain in-built advantages that help them fight and win over snakes. The following features of the bird come in very handy:

  • Sharp Beak: Crows have sharp and strong beaks. They can use their beaks to keep speaking to the snakes and harass them continuously. 
  • Intelligence: Crows are highly intelligent birds and are known for their problem-solving abilities. This intelligence allows them to assess and respond to potential threats. Crows have learned how to deal with these venomous reptiles long ago. 
  • Agility: Crows are agile flyers. It allows them to maneuver quickly and avoid potential strikes from snakes. Their flight capabilities also help them access different vantage points for observation.
  • Observation Skills: Crows are keen observers of their environment. They can detect subtle movements and changes to spot snakes and respond accordingly.

What Types of Snakes Do Crows Eat?

You must remember that most snakes are venomous, not poisonous. There are differences between the two terms. The venomous ones can ingest venom by biting prey and killing them. On the other hand, poisonous ones cannot ingest venom. They are harmful only when digested. 

Therefore, crows and other birds that eat snakes attack venomous snakes. Here is a list of snakes that crows like to attack:

  • Garter Snake
  • Malagasy Blind Snake
  • Peter’s Thread Snake
  • Ringneck Snake
  • Smooth Green Snake
  • Rat Snake
  • Western Ribbon Snake
  • Rosy Boa
  • Western Hognose
  • Rat Snake
  • Rainbow Boa
  • Dekay’s Brown Snake
  • Lined Snake, etc. 

Is Snake Poison Deadly for Crows?

As mentioned above, crows do not attack poisonous snakes. They will attack a venomous snake and only attempt to eat it once it is dead. Dead venomous snakes are not toxic. So they are safe for eating birds. 

Poisonous snakes can transfer toxins when touched or eaten. There is no such risk with venomous snakes. So, the poison of snakes is deadly if it is ingested. 

During the duel between snakes and crows, snakes continuously try to catch and bite the crows. One proper bite can often be deadly if the snake is a big one. Crows remain careful and always tend to dodge the bites.

Can Crows Keep Snakes Away?

Crows are one of the common birds that eat snakes. However, snakes are not afraid of their eaters, not even the small snakes. Whether it is hawks, eagles, owls, or crows, snakes do not feel scared. 

Crows are known to eat just about anything. They tend to eat snakes if available. Snakes can also eat crows and falcons. Therefore, snakes do not leave their territory in fear of birds. However, if you have crows near your households, there is a chance that there can be snakes, too. 

Crows and snakes have identical diets for prey. If there are enough crows, then there must be enough food. And it can attract snakes. However, the presence of crows might help you in this regard. 

The existence of snakes and crows is bound to the ecosystem. Crows not only eat snakes but also eat insects, rodents, frogs, and other prey of snakes. This can also lead to a decrease in the number of snakes. So, yes, you can say that the presence of crows in a household can keep the number of snakes in check by keeping them away. 

How Do Snakes Defend Themselves from Crows?

Snakes defend themselves with their venom. They do not run away from a duel. When they are attacked, they do not turn and run. Instead, they coil or bend to pounce at the predator. Their venom is their primary defensive mechanism. A bite can be a deterrent for potential threats, including crows.

Some snakes also provide warning signs. Rattlesnakes, for example, use their rattles as a warning signal to potential predators. Snakes often prefer to avoid confrontations. When sensing a threat, they may retreat into hiding places and take camouflage. 

Some non-venomous snakes may hiss or strike as a bluff to scare away predators. This behavior can be a form of mimicry to deter potential threats. Some snakes mimic the appearance of venomous or dangerous snakes to deter predators.

Do Snakes Attack Crows?

Do crows eat snakes? You know they do. However, it is not always that crows attack and kill the snakes. It can also be the other way around. Snakes like to attack nests when the parents are not around. They will steal the eggs or baby birds and eat them. This is a natural habit of snakes. 

A snake-eating bird is a common habit. However, snakes do not always seek to attack birds. They just like to steal the eggs of birds. In most cases, venomous snakes may bite if they feel threatened. However, venomous snakes typically use their venom for subduing prey rather than for defense.

Here is a thing. Crows can attack, kill, and eat smaller snakes. However, they maintain a good distance from larger snakes, like pythons. These snakes are large and can catch quickly by stretching their bodies. Such large snakes usually do not make the attack first on birds. 

What Other Birds Eat Snakes?

Crows are not the only birds that eat snakes. There are some other species of avians who like to have a good meal with snakes. Here are some other birds other than crows that eat snakes:

  • Chicken
  • Ravens
  • Roadrunners
  • Hawks
  • Eagles
  • Owls
  • Kookaburras
  • Egrets
  • Kingfishers
  • Secretary Birds
  • Falcons
  • Shrikes 
  • Herons, etc. 

FAQs

Snake or crow which is faster?

Crows are generally faster flyers than snakes are slitherers. Crows can reach speeds of 20-30 miles per hour in flight. Snakes, in contrast, usually move at speeds ranging from 1 to 8 miles per hour on land. The speed varies on their species, but it is less than crows. 

Do ravens eat snakes?

Yes, ravens, like crows, are opportunistic feeders and may eat snakes. Though snakes are not a primary part of their diet, ravens often consume snakes. Their diet can vary based on the availability of food in their habitat.

What does a crow-like to eat the most?

Crows are omnivores with a diverse diet. Crows enjoy a variety of foods, including insects, small mammals, fruits, seeds, carrion, and even human food scraps. Being opportunistic feeders, crows can adapt their diet based on seasonal availability.

Do birds eat poisonous snakes?

Most birds do not eat poisonous snakes. However, some birds can digest the toxins of snakes and so eat them. For example, secretary birds have been known to consume venomous snakes. However, not all birds can handle venom, and some may avoid eating poisonous snakes.

What domestic bird kills snakes?

Guinea fowl and chickens are domestic birds that may kill snakes. They are effective at controlling pests, including snakes. Their loud calls and aggressive behavior contribute to deterring and combating potential threats like snakes.

Conclusion: Do Crows Eat Snakes!

Crows are intelligent birds with a habit of omnivore and opportunistic feeding. If the condition is on their side, they will attack and kill snakes. However, they tend to avoid large snakes and poisonous snakes. It adds a variation to their omnivorous diet and helps them to survive in different kinds of environments.