With there being over 600 known venomous snake species in the world, and 200 that are capable of killing humans, it’s understandable that many of us see these carnivorous reptiles as some of the deadliest and most fearsome creatures in the animal kingdom.
However, while they are certainly dangerous in their own right, there are still some fierce animals that have been known to hunt and kill snakes, whether this be for fun, or as a food source.
These animals are fearless enough to regularly hunt down any type of snake they find out in the wild.
With that being said, let’s take a look at some of these fierce creatures that have been known to kill snakes rather than run away in fear.
Great Horned Owl
Birds may not initially be the type of animal that would seem capable of hunting down snakes, however, this only really applies to the smaller and more docile birds that some snakes will actually catch and consume.
When it comes to bigger and more threatening birds, such as the great horned owl, they are so quick and deadly that it makes it hard for the snake to even react in time when this bird comes swooping down to catch them.
This is all thanks to this owl’s devastating talons which have been estimated to range from 200 to 500 lbs which is enough to cause serious injuries to a human.
These talons make the great horned owl an extreme threat out in the wild with frogs, rodents, scorpions and snakes being just a few examples of their common prey.
With how fast and efficiently these owls can take out snakes, it’s no wonder they are well known as the largest and most powerful raptors in South and Central America.
This medium-sized bird is commonly found in East, West and Southern Africa and is said to be a snake’s worst nightmare due to how easily they can catch and decapitate a snake before eating them during flight or taking them back to the nest for its young.
They are very recognizable for their beady yellow eyes, black hooked beak, and pale gray cere, however they also stand out a lot more than other dangerous eagles because of how scaly their legs are, helping to protect them from any bites or venom when they are out on the hunt.
Since this bird is an eagle, it is also granted the benefit of having 8X power eyesight, meaning they can clearly spot a snake making any sudden movements from 1200 yards away, along with having an inner eyelid called the nictitating membrane which keeps its eyes clean at all times, making these birds the animal that snakes fear the most.
Wolverines have a very deceiving appearance as while they might look small and furry, they are actually ruthless penultimate predators who have been known to take on creatures bigger than their own size, and openly challenge those that could cause them serious damage, including snakes.
While their incredible sense of smell is one trait that makes it easy for them to hunt down snakes in the wild, it is their agility that makes wolverine’s so dangerous, along with their long and sharp claws which are usually used for burrowing and climbing but will often be utilized to catch prey too.
Wolverines are known for ambushing creatures when they hunt, hiding in bushes and on rocks before pouncing from behind.
While certain types of snakes, such as the rattlesnake and the cottonmouth viper, are incredibly agile and possess great reflexes, all snakes find it challenging to compete against a wolverine since not only are they incredibly quick, but they also possess big thick coats that protect them from bites.
Not only are these opportunistic omnivores known to eat snakes, including the venomous types like cobras and vipers, but snakes are actually a common part of a coyote’s diet, which isn’t too surprising seeing as these canines will eat just about anything since they are known as scavengers.
The way coyotes are able to prey on snakes is through their own unique hunting method called mousing, where the coyote will patiently wait for any prey to make a noise before quickly figuring out their location and then pouncing on them.
This hunting style works incredibly well for them because coyotes possess incredible hearing, being able to pick up on the sound of a pin drop from 100 to 200 yards away while on the hunt, and while snakes might not make too much noise on their own, even a hiss is enough for the coyote to figure out where their next meal is going to be.
While it is a myth that mongoose are completely immune to snake venom, it is true that they have a much better chance of surviving it than many other animals of its size, however, the primary reason mongoose are known to snack on snakes is simply because they are not picky eaters and are known for being opportunistic carnivores that will hunt down any rats, lizards, beetles or snakes that they spot.
Mongooses can easily hunt down snakes by hiding in their burrows, keeping them out of sight while they poke their nose out to the surface or against the ground to smell for any potential food, making them incredibly hard to defend against since they are so good at camouflaging themselves.
Mongooses also tend to hunt in packs, especially when they have their sights on a large venomous snake, making it much easier for them to take on the challenge without getting seriously injured.
While bobcats have been known to hunt down multiple different kinds of snakes, they mostly prey on rattlesnakes, not only because they are a lot easier to hear, but also because bobcats tend to live in swamps and deserts where these snakes are most commonly found.
While they may not be immune to the venom of rattlesnakes, bobcats instead have developed a technique of slapping the rattlesnake’s head with their very large and powerful paws before finishing them off with their claws.
Bobcats have incredibly good vision even when it’s dark out thanks to their “eyeshine” which is the biological name for the layer of tissue located behind the retina that reflects visible light back onto the retina, producing twice the amount of light that would usually be available and giving the bobcat much sharper and more efficient vision at night.
Cannibalism is not exactly uncommon when it comes to snakes, however while some snakes will eat others only on the odd occasion or when they have no other options, king cobras dine on other snakes as a regular part of their diet, which actually makes things very awkward during mating season when it can be unclear if both snakes are just sizing each other up.
King cobras mainly reside in China, India and other countries across Southeast Asia. While they will eat other king cobras, they primarily prey upon smaller and more harmless species such as pythons and rat snakes, with some king cobras getting nearly half their calories from other snakes.
Recent studies have even suggested that female king cobras will sometimes even eat their own kin, making this species a serious threat and predator to other snakes.
While their preferred diet does change from season to season, raccoons have been known to prey on snakes when the need arises, with them being a great source of protein, especially for younger raccoons who require enough of it to grow and develop.
Raccoons possess 40 incredibly sharp teeth and a jaw as powerful as a pitbull, giving them immense biting power. Raccoons have also been shown to have a very high IQ according to studies being just below a monkey on the mammal IQ scale, and they use this superior intellect to good use by picking up rocks, branches, and any part of their environment to use as weapons.
While they will therefore usually prefer to prey on smaller animals, insects, fish, vegetables and fruits, raccoons are more than capable of taking on a snake when it needs to.
While some animals use their small frame and agility to outmaneuver a snake and take it down strategically, honey badgers instead lunge into the snake with full force, using a flurry of relentless bites and swipes to take down even the biggest of snakes.
While there is a common misconception that honey badgers are entirely immune to snake venom, it is true that they are heavily resistant to it, which is what makes them so fearless when attacking bigger snakes like king cobras and the black mamba.
Pair this with skin that is thicker than most mammals in the animal kingdom, and it makes honey badgers natural-born snake hunters.
While they may seem threatening to most of the animal kingdom, these are just a few animals that will never back down when up against a snake in the wild and have been known to come out on top in most scenarios.