Do Owls Eat Snakes? Everything You Need To Know

  • Reading time:7 mins read
  • Post last modified:April 25, 2022

Barn Owl searching pray

Do Owls Eat Snakes?

In total, there are more than 225 different owl species that may be found all over the world. They are available in a variety of sizes, ranging from the small and aptly titled Little Owl to the Blakiston fish owl, which is the largest owl in the world.

Because of the large number of species found throughout the owl’s broad range, the diet of an owl can vary greatly. Do owls, on the other hand, prey on snakes? If so, which ones do so, and how do they catch them in the process?

In this article, we’ll attempt to provide answers to all of those inquiries.

Do Owls Eat Snakes?

The answer is yes, owls do in fact eat snakes, and they seem to enjoy them. The Great Horned Owl, the Eastern Screech Owl, the Barred Owl, and the Burrowing Owl are the four main species of owls that have been observed to consume snakes.

Owl eating snake in his nest

When it comes to snakes, owls are opportunistic hunters who do not actively seek them out but will cheerfully hunt and consume them when they become available. Continue reading to learn more about how owls catch snakes and the different sorts of snakes they consume.

What Owl Species Eat Snake?

The types of snakes that owls eat are determined by the size of the snakes that they can overcome and the variety of snakes that can be found in their natural environment. One of the largest owls on the planet, the Great Horned Owl may be found throughout North America and a big portion of South America.

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Because of their extensive range, they have one of the most diversified ranges of habitats and diets on the planet. They can be found in a variety of habitats including deserts, woodlands, grasslands, and suburban areas.

Owl Eating Rabbit in wild forest

Great Horned Owls hunt mostly on tiny and medium-sized prey, like rabbits and hares. Snakes do not constitute a significant portion of their diet. Eastern Screech Owls prey mostly on snakes, such as the common garter snake, rat snake, and eastern hognose, according to the National Wildlife Federation.

Despite their small size, these snakes are small enough for the owl to successfully hunt them, and they can be found throughout their natural environment in woodlands, woods, and suburban areas.

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Barred Owls are medium-sized owls that prey on snakes, such as the rat snake, common garter snake, and ribbon snake. Burrowing Owls are little owls that build their nests on the ground and hunt primarily on smaller snakes that they can readily subdue and capture.

Rat Snake

They are known to prey on and hunt snakes, such as smooth green snakes, and have been observed doing so. The following are some of the most common types of snakes that particular owl species consume:

  • Common Garter
  • Rat Snake
  • Ribbon Snake
  • Eastern Hognose
  • Smooth Green Snake

How Do Owls Catch Snake?

Owls have binocular vision, which means that both of their eyes are directed in the same direction – much like us people. Other birds, on the other hand, have their eyes on the sides of their heads.

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Consequently, they have great depth perception, which is essential to make decisions about the distances required to hit their prey, and in this situation, it couldn’t be much more critical when dealing with snakes, which can be extremely dangerous.

Flying Owl looking for pray 1

Their acute vision, along with their ability to strike unsuspecting prey in the dark, allows them to successfully hunt snakes in their natural environment. As soon as they land and strike, owls use their strong talons to snag the snakes from the ground and transport them to a branch where they can be consumed.

When snakes are elevated above the earth, they are rendered virtually helpless, as they are unable to reach the owl to hit it and fight back because there is no ground below to support the snake’s body and so no way to defend themselves.

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Snakes have powerful belly muscles, but they require a surface on which to move or strike in order to be effective. As a result, after the owls have captured them, snakes become the owls’ next supper because they have no way of escape.

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