can ball pythons eat birds

Yes, Some Snakes Love Snacking on Birds

Considering the diversity of snake diets, among the more than 4,000 species found worldwide, some snakes consider birds to be a staple food. Although certain species primarily consume birds, Maritz asserts that no snake exclusively consumes bird food because true specialization on a single prey is uncommon.

Maritz states, “I would guess that body size is the single biggest predictor of whether you can eat birds.”

In fact, the consumption of adult birds is relatively rare. There are some species that like the taste of adult birds, but they’re generally the larger-bodied snakes — such as kingsnakes — supposedly because of the physical constraints of swallowing a bird.

Maritz warns, “Remember that snakes are consuming their prey whole.” “The strange ways in which birds’ wings protrude are problematic.” They are rather large, round animals with a lot of extra fluffy feathers all over them that serve no nutritional purpose. ”.

The majority of snake species would rather target chicks or bird eggs because they are simpler to grasp and consume. Not only are they easier to swallow whole and smaller in size, but they also have a lower likelihood of retaliating, particularly the eggs.

Additionally, as they get older, snakes will occasionally alter their diet. Initially, they will only eat amphibians and reptiles, but as they get larger, they will also occasionally include more endothermic prey, such as mammals and birds.

The Tale of the Common Egg-Eater

“There are, however, species that exclusively eat a diet of bird eggs,” says Maritz. He’s thinking of a species of African dasypeltis, also known as the common egg eater. “Dasypeltis are these just outrageous snakes.”

This is how they do it. First, they move around the landscape, find a nest, and grab an egg. Then, they swallow it into their throat without cracking it, because they have basically toothless jaws, and they press it with their throat against several protuberances off the back of their vertebral column, which causes that egg to crack. Finally, they drink down the contents and regurgitate the eggshells.

“It’s this really, really cool system,” says Maritz, a system that has also been studied in the Indian egg-eating snake (Elachistodon westermanni), which is ecologically similar. Various rat snakes are also known for eating a bunch of bird eggs, as are bull snakes, kingsnakes, and eastern racers.

How Snakes Kill a Bird

Both venomous and non-venomous snakes frequently consume birds, and a variety of venoms can effectively immobilize a bird, such as toxin cocktails that target the nervous or circulatory systems, respectively.

Furthermore, it appears that both ground-dwelling and tree-climbing snakes enjoy nibbling on bird seed. Both of these habitats are inhabited by birds, which is advantageous for various snake species that have distinct hunting preferences.

Maritz states, “We tend to think of it as a continuum; it’s not a clean-cut one or the other.”

Some species are more active foragers, and they search around their environment and try to find cues of their prey to then snatch it — whip snakes, garter snakes, and some species of rat snakes like to play this hunting game. They might actively raid nests both on the ground and in trees, for example. Other snake species might sit still and wait for prey to pass them, and then reach out and grab them. That’s the case for some of the Asian Vipers or American rattlesnakes, or pythons and boas.


Can I feed a ball python a bird?

Can a ball python snake eat a bird? Absolutely. Dietary studies show them eating many kinds of mammals and birds. In fact males eat a roughly ratio 70/30 ratio birds/mammals and females eat a roughly 70/30 ratio of mammals/birds.

Do pythons eat birds?

Depending on the size of the snake, pythons may eat rodents, birds, lizards, and mammals like monkeys, wallabies, pigs, or antelope. One rock python was even found to have a small leopard in its stomach! Once the meal is consumed, pythons look for a warm place to rest while their food is digested.

What is the largest thing a ball python can eat?

Larger ball pythons typically eat larger mice or rats. Selecting prey for a ball python. As a general rule, you should select a rodent that is 1 to 1.25 times the size of the midsection of your snake. Smaller prey is fine, but avoid getting food that’s too large.

Can ball pythons eat finches?

While there have been recorded instances of wild ball pythons eating birds, I doubt that you’ll have a ton of luck feeding a captive ball python a finch … the ball pythons shy nature coupled with the panicked flapping of a bird in a small enclosure probably won’t go over too well for either animal.