The Silent Stalkers: Do Snakes Eat Chickens?
Snakes are lethal chicken predators. These reptiles will not only eat your chicken eggs, ultimately reducing your yield, but they can also eat your baby chicks.
Giant snakes have a voracious appetite for adult fowl. Most snakes are venomous and can inflict painful bites on chickens.
Natural Diet of Snakes
All snake species are strictly carnivores. These reptiles don’t consume plant material, such as vegetables and leaves. Their bodies can’t digest plants or derive nutrients from plant material.
Snakes have short digestive tracts, so they swallow prey without chewing. A snake’s natural diet can comprise many creatures. Some medium-sized snakes, for instance, feast on warm-blooded animals, such as rodents, birds, and rabbits.
Smaller snake species eat smaller prey, such as rats and mice. All snakes prefer to feast on live prey over dead prey.
Larger snake species, such as pythons and anacondas, consume larger prey, including deer, goats, and monkeys.
Snakes that Prey on Chickens
A couple of snake species prey on chickens. Most people call them chicken snakes because chickens are their primary prey. However, these reptiles consume other animals like rodents, amphibians, and rats.
They inhabit different areas across the North American continent. Most snakes that prey on chickens and domestic fowl inhabit woodlands, swamps, and marshes, although they sometimes inhabit farmlands and areas close to humans.
Since chickens are their favorite food, these snakes can inhabit homes, especially near chicken coops, where they launch their attack on unsuspecting chickens. These are some of the snakes that prey on chickens.
Eastern Rat Snake
The Eastern rat snake is a non-venomous giant snake. It can measure over seven feet in length. Eastern rat snakes have shiny black scales on their backs. Their stomachs have pale black scales, while their throat and chin regions are white.
Eastern rat snakes have slender bodies, although their heads are broader than other snake species. These snakes are prevalent in South Carolina and Connecticut. Eastern Rat snakes consume smaller and adult chickens.
They can also eat chicken eggs, although they usually go for chickens.
Corn snakes inhabit corn-growing regions throughout the country. These snakes are thin and small. Most corn snakes measure around two to three feet long. Corn snakes are non-venomous.
These serpents come in multiple colors, ranging from gray and reddish-brown to orange. Their scales have spotted patterns. They have single stripes running from under their eyes to the torsos.
Corn snakes are notorious for eating baby chicks. They are too tiny to scare and consume medium-sized and large adult chickens.
Although corn snakes prey on domestic fowl, these chickens don’t harm humans. In fact, they are among the most fantastic snakes to keep as pet snakes.
Black Rat Snake
The black rat snake is another non-venomous snake that preys on chickens. They are giant snakes, measuring around six feet in length. Black rat snakes have bright and white scales on their bellies, while their backs have black and dull scales.
Their throat areas are whitish. They have smaller bodies than their heads. They are prevalent in the US Midwest and the Eastern States.
Black rat snakes can feast on both baby chicks and adult chickens. These reptiles also prey on chicken eggs when they don’t get chickens to eat.
Gray Rat Snake
The gray rat snake is harmless but a ferocious chicken predator. Gray rat snakes don’t bite, but they swallow their prey live. They are among the largest snakes that prey on chickens, measuring up to eight feet long.
Gray rat snakes have distinctive dark gray markings on their backs. These snakes are dark brown or black. Their bellies have checkerboard patterns that are either dark yellow or white. Their heads are thinner than their bodies.
These snakes are prevalent throughout all the states. They usually prey on adult chickens because of their large size. Gray rat snakes also feast on baby chicks and chicken eggs.
Northern Pine Snake
The Northern Pine Snake is a non-venomous serpent measuring around eight feet long. Northern pine snakes have dark body splotches that can be rusty-brown or gray-brown.
Their bellies vary in color, ranging from tan to yellow and cream. They have larger bodies than their heads. These snakes have a tortoise-like look.
They are common in the eastern region of the US. Northern pine snakes prey on baby chicks, chicken eggs, and adult chickens.
Keeping Snakes Out of Chicken Coop
Snakes are terrible chicken predators, although they are effective in keeping the rodents that can kill your baby chicks and steal chicken eggs at bay.
Having snakes near your chickens can spell doom on your poultry flock, so you should strive to keep them away from the chicken coop to protect your chickens.
Here are tips to help chicken raisers keep snakes out of their chicken coops:
- Check the coop for any possible snake entrances– Check your coop for cracks and holes and block such possible snake entrances. Blocking such entrances can help deny snakes access to your chickens.
- Collect eggs regularly– Chicken eggs can lure snakes into the chicken coop. Collecting the chicken eggs frequently means snakes have no reason to visit the chicken coop and prey on your chickens.
- Minimize feed spillages in the coop-Feed attracts rodents like rats to the coop. Since snakes visit where rodents are, there are good chances of attracting snakes to your cage if you don’t minimize and clean feed spillages.
- Cut the grass around the coop-Snakes move undetected, so the grass around your chicken coop will make an excellent cover for these reptiles. Cutting the grass around the cage ensures snakes don’t get near the coop.
Snake Control in Your Backyard
Kindly use the tips below to control snakes in your backyard
- Use snake repellents to repel snakes away from your backyard
- Scare snakes off from your backyard using a garden hose to spray a strong stream of water on the reptiles until they slither off.
- Deal with all the factors that entice snakes into your backyard. Some of these factors include the availability of foods, such as rodents.
- Keep your backyard tidy and cut long bushes and grasses that encourage snakes to frequent your backyard.
Snakes are carnivores, so there is a chance these reptiles will eat your chickens if they get an opportunity.
Snakes can also steal chicken eggs, significantly reducing egg production. Consequently, it helps to keep these reptiles away from your flock.