Would you feed your snake a live rabbit?
How about a dead one?
A lot of people would not. Luckily, you can always feed your snake a rat instead. Dead or alive.
If you feel squeamish about feeding a snake any animal, I hate to break it to you, but you probably shouldn’t be a snake owner.
Apart from one species that eats only eggs, all snakes eat animals.
Does that include rabbits? Let’s find out.
Table of Contents
- 1 Do Snakes Eat Rabbits?
- 2 Related Questions
- 3 Conclusion
Do Snakes Eat Rabbits?
Some snakes love rabbits. But not all snakes like to eat them.
If a species of snake is not used to eating them in the wild, they won’t want to eat rabbits in captivity either.
Your particular snake might also just have certain preferences when it comes to what it wants to eat.
What types of snakes eat rabbits?
Generally, larger snakes will eat rabbits. These include boa constrictors and pythons, because they can easily swallow adult rabbits whole. Rattlesnakes are another species that prey on rabbits.
If you own a snake, it is important to do your research and find out if your species will accept rabbits as part of its diet. If it does not generally feed on rabbits in the wild, don’t feed rabbits to your snake in captivity either.
How Large A Rabbit Snakes Can Eat
Snakes are capable of eating prey that’s almost 100 percent bigger than their own size. But that doesn’t mean that all snakes will eat any kind of prey they can fit down their throats.
Some snakes only eat certain things. A good example is the Dasypeltis, which only eats eggs.
That said, most snakes have a varied, carnivorous diet.
Quite a few types of snakes eat rabbits. They are an easy target, because rabbits are vulnerable and much weaker than snakes. Young rabbits are especially prone to becoming snake food.
Although some species of snakes love to eat rabbits, while others prefer other kinds of prey, most snakes will eat whatever they can catch and fit down their throat
They may have a preference for rats or whatever, but if they are hungry and a rabbit comes hopping by, they will not turn down that meal.
When hunting rabbits, snakes don’t always use poison to kill them. Only a small minority of snakes use venom. Cobras and vipers are good examples.
All snakes swallow their prey whole, but they have to be sneaky with rabbits because they’re quite in tune with their surroundings!
Garter snakes hunt rabbits during the late afternoon or early evening, and they make use of hunting strategies like ambushing their prey to take the rabbits by surprise so they can’t flee.
I’m sure you know this, but ambushing is when snakes use stealth instead of direct force to attack their prey.
They will wait and watch their prey to find the best timing for their attack. Garter snakes have slightly toxic venom that they can use on small prey, but it’s their sharp teeth that really work well to immobilize their catch.
Gopher snakes also snatch their prey very quickly. They are especially dangerous to rabbits, because they change their hunting strategies regularly.
Both species above, and many others, like the Burmese python and Kingsnake, kill the rabbits they catch by wrapping their bodies around them and constricting them.
A species like the rattlesnake, on the other hand, will strike their prey with their much longer teeth and inject venom into the rabbit. The venom immobilizes, and soon kills, the poor bunny.
Should You Feed Rabbits To Your Snake?
Here’s where things get a little prickly. The issue of feeding rabbits to a snake can ruffle up some people’s feathers.
Some believe that feeding live animals to snakes is inhumane and unethical. Most obviously feel even more strongly when that live animal is cute like a bunny.
If you don’t have those concerns, you might think nothing of feeding live rabbits to your snake. But you should also bear in mind that it could actually be dangerous to the snake.
The rabbit could use its sharp teeth and claws to actually injure the snake. Your snake could get seriously injured by the rabbit’s claws, if the wounds end up becoming infected.
A better idea is to purchase frozen rabbits from farms that supply them. Most pet stores will have some options in various sizes.
But unless your snake is large, you can probably also feed it mice or rats. Frozen mice and rats are much easier to find. You can even buy them on Amazon.
The truth is that you don’t need to feed your snake live prey, even if you think that it makes sense because your snake would hunt prey in the wild. Feeding your snake prey that’s already been killed is better to ensure the safety of your snake.
How To Protect Your Rabbits From Snakes
If you own snakes and rabbits as pets, it should go without saying that you need to keep them far away from each other to protect your rabbits.
And if you only have rabbits, you also want to protect them from any snakes that might frequent the region and be attracted to your property because of your rabbit hutch.
Here are some things you should do to keep your rabbits safe.
- Check your rabbit hutch for any openings that are smaller than a quarter inch, because this is enough for some snakes to fit through. If there are a lot of openings, a good snake fence can keep snakes from taking advantage.
- Make sure you cover up any openings in the hutch with wood putty. You should then place hardware cloth over any windows and wire fencing.
- Cut bushes and plants that are too close to the rabbit hutch because snakes can use these to easily gain access. It’s also important to keep the grass around the hutch short so snakes can’t hide in it. There’s a reason there is a species called the grass snake.
- Don’t leave any food lying around in or around the rabbit hutch as this will attract snakes and other animals to it.
- You can also use a snake deterrent that’s non-toxic and safe for other pets around the hutch to deter snakes.
Are Rabbits Completely Helpless Against Snakes?
While it’s easy to think that a rabbit won’t stand a chance against a quick and powerful snake, they do have a very good sense of hearing, sight, and smell.
This keeps them attuned to potential dangers and allows them to take precautions well in advance. Even before the snake is near, they can camouflage themselves in their environment.
There have also been reports of rabbits to fending off and even fighting snakes. There’s a video of an incident that shows an eastern cottontail rabbit attacking a black rat snake that was preying on its babies. The snake actually tries to flee the scene and the rabbit keeps biting and kicking it!
Dana Krempels, a biologist from the University of Miami in Florida, explains that the reason the rabbit tries to kick the snake repeatedly is to try to disembowel it. Now that’s fighting for survival!
How To Get Your Snake To Eat
If you’re battling to get your snake to eat the frozen prey you’re trying to feed it, whether a mouse or rabbit, you should always ensure that you warm it up so that it’s at room temperature.
You can thaw the frozen prey in a bag in the fridge or by floating it in cold water and then putting it in warm water just before you’re ready to feed it to your pet snake.
If your snake doesn’t want to eat the frozen rabbit, you can try making it more appealing by dipping it in chicken broth (just make sure it’s free of sodium). The smell of chicken might interest your snake and make it want to bite the prey.
Another strategy is to use feeding forceps to present food to your snake and wiggle it around so it looks like it’s moving. They snake will think it is trying to get away and feel compelled to strike at it.
Can a rabbit kill a snake?
A rabbit can’t kill a snake. Some wild rabbits have successfully attacked snakes and driven them off. If the rabbit is ferocious enough, the snake will make its escape and look for easier prey.
Are any snakes vegetarian?
No snakes are vegetarian! They all eat meat, even if different snake species prefer different types of meat. Some snakes even eat other snakes.
Some snakes love rabbits and most snakes will eat them if they are large enough to swallow one. If you don’t want to feed your snake live rabbits, you can use frozen ones instead.
But usually, it is easier to just feed it frozen rats. They are easier to find than the rabbits and they cost less. Even if your snake prefers rabbits, you can get it used to eating rats.
We tried to cover everything you need to know about snakes eating rabbits in this article, but if you have any additional questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments below.