What Snakes Eat Eggs? Mystery of Snakes and Eggs

While snakes may inspire fear in many, these reptiles never eat humans. Many snakes, however, do feed on eggs. While eggs are seldom a snake’s first dinner choice, many varieties include them as a part of their diets.

Some of the snakes that eat eggs are the dasypeltis scabra, black rat snakes, pine snakes, coachwhip, and scarlet kingsnakes. While some may prefer eggs, others are simply opportunistic and will eat a multitude of things. Western hognose, Indian, garter, and eastern racer snakes also eat eggs.

This article provides an overview of these species and their eating habits. 

1. Dasypeltis Scabra

Dasypeltis Scabra snakes base their entire personality on their passion for eating eggs. These non-venomous reptiles are frequently called “common egg eaters” because ova comprise their whole diets.

Dasypeltis Scabra live in African forests and woods. The snakes make their homes near birds for easy dinner access.

Dasypeltis Scabra snakes have sharply honed olfactory senses they use to determine if an egg is still edible. The snakes don’t eat rotten eggs or those too far along in development. 

The reptiles eat the eggs by:

  1. Pushing the eggs into their throats.
  2. Contracting their muscles.
  3. Crushing the eggs against their spines.
  4. Squeezing all the liquid from the collapsed egg.
  5. Vomiting out the shell.  

These snakes have no teeth; however, their jaws unhinge to eat eggs far larger than the reptiles’ heads. 

2. Black Rat Snake

Black rat snake is the far more manageable, common name of the Pantherophis Obsoletus snake.

These are opportunistic feeders; they eat what food is available. The black rat snake’s diet includes the following:

  • Small vertebrates
  • Other snakes
  • Reptiles
  • Young rabbits and possums
  • Songbirds
  • Bird eggs

The reptiles must devour several eggs in one meal to satiate their hunger, so eggs may not be their first choice of meal compared to a young rabbit.

Black rat snakes are non-venomous and live in North America. The reptiles prefer wooded locations and hibernate through the winter.

3. Pine Snake

Pine snakes, scientifically dubbed Pituophis Melanoleucus, are among the largest North American slitherers. These reptiles grow up to six feet long but, luckily, are non-venomous. 

The reptiles have four subspecies, all of which hibernate underground in the winter. Pine snakes prepare for their long winter naps by eating small prey such as: 

  • Rodents 
  • Small mammals 
  • Birds 
  • Bird eggs

4. Coachwhip

Coachwhip is the more pronounceable name of Masticophis Flagellum. These opportunistic predators eat whatever’s available to eat, including: 

  • Small mammals
  • Birds
  • Bird eggs
  • Lizards
  • Turtles
  • Other snakes
  • Frogs
  • Insects

These slender snakes grow 42 to 60 inches (3.5 to 5 feet) long and have six subspecies. They are most commonly found in the United States and Mexico.

5. Scarlet Kingsnake

The scarlet kingsnake, scientifically named Lampropeltis Elapsoides, lives in the southeastern and southern parts of the United States. These non-venomous snakes provide the template for the reptiles in Snakes on a Plane.

Scarlet kingsnakes don’t often eat dairy, and they only dine a handful of times every few weeks. When they do eat, the reptiles enjoy:

  • Toads
  • Bird eggs
  • Lizards
  • Rodents
  • Frogs
  • Tadpoles
  • Turtle hatchlings

6. Western Hognose Snake

The Heterodon Nasicus, or western hognose snake, gains its common name from its clever snout use. The North American reptiles dig through dirt and earth using their noses as shovels. 

The western hognose snake is comparatively small and stout. They typically consume the following small prey:

  • Frogs
  • Lizards
  • Mice
  • Birds
  • Snakes
  • Reptile eggs

Western hognose snakes have toxic saliva for subduing their prey. However, the venom isn’t harmful to humans.

7. Indian Egg-Eating Snake

The Indian egg-eating snake, scientifically named Elachistodon Westermanni, is a relatively rare species indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. The serpents live in:

  • Bangladesh
  • India
  • Nepal
  • Maharashtra
  • Gujarat
  • Punjab
  • Madhya
  • Pradesh
  • Telangana
  • Karnataka

Indian egg-eating snakes can reach up to 31 inches (2.58 feet) long. 

The reptiles eat bird eggs lacking embryonic growth and have special adaptations to abet in eating eggs, including vertebral hypapophysis. These evolutions are enamel-capped cervical vertebrae projections jutting into the esophagus that cracks the eggs.

8. Garter Snake

Garter snakes are one of the more common snake varieties. The reptiles have 35 species and subspecies.

Garter snakes, scientifically dubbed Thamnophis Sirtalis, eat pretty much anything they can swallow.

Garter snakes are relatively small and must be able to overpower any prey they hope to devour, including: 

  • Many insects
  • Reptiles
  • Amphibians
  • Rodents

These reptiles swallow their food whole. Garter snakes only eat eggs in situations of scarcity; however, in a pinch, they’ll feast on available eggs.

While garters produce toxic venom, the amount they can deliver to humans doesn’t have much impact. 

9. Eastern Racer

Coluber constrictors, commonly called eastern racers, are fast movers and great climbers. The reptiles often live near water sources and swamps. The snakes often choose areas near trees where birds live so they can eat their eggs.

Eastern racers eat:

  • Small rodents
  • Mammals
  • Frogs
  • Toads
  • Lizards 
  • Other snakes 
  • Eggs

The snakes use their superior climbing abilities to scale trees and reach eggs.

Eastern racers are non-venomous and indigenous to North and Central America. The snakes have 11 subspecies. 

10. Milk Snake

Milk snakes, scientifically labeled Lampropeltis Triangulum, hunt nocturnally. The reptiles make their midnight snacks from:

  • Insects
  • Worms
  • Slugs
  • Small mammals
  • Lizards
  • Birds
  • Fish
  • Frogs
  • Other snakes
  • Bird eggs

Milk snakes have 24 subspecies with remarkably varied appearances. They’re Indigenous to southeastern Canada and the eastern United States, and aren’t venomous to humans. 

The snakes prefer forest regions; however, they can also live in: 

  • Prairies 
  • Swamps 
  • Farmlands 
  • Beaches

Milk snakes hibernate from October to Mid-April.

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