Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Do Cats Hunt & Eat Snakes? Everything You Need to Know!

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer


Cats are known for their excellent hunting skills. Not only do cats hunt small animals for nutrition, but they like to do so just for the fun of it. Hunting is an important way for cats to keep themselves entertained, fit, and mentally stimulated. Mice are thought of as the preferred prey for cats, but the truth is that cats don’t care what kind of animal they have an opportunity to hunt down.

Believe it or not, cats can hunt down and even eat various animals, including snakes! Luckily, snakes are not commonly found inside houses (although it does happen). So, we typically do not have to worry about our cats killing and eating snakes at home. However, what might happen if your cat finds a snake slithering around outside or in the garage? Let’s find out more in this article!

Yes, Cats Can Eat Snakes!

As mentioned, cats can hunt down and eat snakes. It isn’t a common sight for us humans to experience, but it can and does happen. Sometimes, a snake will put up a good fight and end up getting away from a cat. However, cats are patient creatures that will sit in wait for the perfect time to pounce if they find a snake hanging out in their vicinity. Also, cats will only pounce on prey if they are sure that they can overcome the prey without getting too hurt.

Cats may eat some of the snakes that they kill, but often they leave behind remnants of the snake, which can be unpleasant for us if we find those remnants. It usually takes some time for a cat to kill a snake because the hunt is like a game to them, and they enjoy playing with their prey before going in for the kill.

cat hunting
Photo Credit: katya-guseva0, Pixabay

Cats Don’t Always Eat Snakes

Just because a snake is lurking around does not mean that your cat will attack it. Opportunity is what cats look for when it comes to attacking prey. If they don’t feel like they have the upper hand or perceive that the snake is a bigger threat than the hunt would be worth, they will leave the snake alone and let it go on its way.

Therefore, you should not count on your cat to keep your home and property free of snakes. There is a chance that they’ll take care of a snake now and then, but they will not take on snake hunting like a job. If your property harbors too many snakes for your liking, you should seek help from a professional pest control specialist instead of turning to your cat for help.

Can Snakes Be Dangerous to Cats?

Snakes can be dangerous to cats, especially venomous ones. One wrong move and a cat can be poisoned by a snake quickly. It is best to keep cats from spending time in areas where venomous snakes are known to live, as this is the only way to ensure that they will not end up getting poisoned at some point. Signs that your cat has been bitten by a venomous snake include the following:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Weakness and lethargy
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Shaking or shivering
  • Lack of appetite

Suppose your cat has been in areas where venomous snakes are known to be and displays any of these signs. In that case, it is important to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible or consider making a trip to the emergency vet’s office.

laying cat sick
Photo Credit: Sisacorn, Shutterstock

A Final Recap

Yes, cats can kill and eat snakes. The smaller the snake, the better chance a cat will have of overcoming it. The most common snakes that cats come across and hunt down include the king snake, the garter snake, and the gopher snake. Cats can work as a great deterrent for snakes, but they should not be relied upon to get rid of an infestation.

See Also: 

Featured Photo Credit: Wild0ne, Pixabay

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Authored by

Rachael has been a freelance writer since 2000, in which time she has had an opportunity to research and write about many different topics while working to master the art of fusing high-quality content with effective content marketing strategies. She lives off the grid in Hawaii with her husband, her garden, and her rescue animals including 5 dogs, a cat, a goat, and dozens of chickens. She is an artist at heart and loves...Read more

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database