do garter snakes eat bird eggs

How do rat snakes locate bird nests?

The majority of snakes locate their prey by using scent and visual cues. Even in situations where possible prey is hidden high in the forest canopy, rat snakes are adept at sending out signals.

Rat snakes use nests positioned at various heights within real vegetation as part of an enclosure study to discover how they locate their prey. Next, the scientists employed a model bird that only visited certain nests.

During the day, it was observed that the rat snakes in the enclosure tracked the movements of the model birds with their eyes and heads.

Snakes awaited nightfall before ascending to their nests, where they observed the activity and consumed the material. The model bird paid little attention to the nests that it did not visit.

Field observations appear to agree with this behavior.

A rat snake was observing an active bird nest when casual observers noticed that the snake’s head movements followed the movements of the adult birds as they entered and exited the nest.

Snakes are alerted to the presence of a bird’s nest with possible food when there is increased activity around a nest because the parents are feeding the young by coming and going.

2. Corn snake (Elaphe [Pantherophis] guttata)

corn snakes raid bird nestsPhoto: Noah-K.-Fields/Flickr/CC by 2.0

Description: The Corn Snake has a rather attractive color pattern. Large reddish-brown roundish or squarish blotches cover the warm brown body. In some individuals, the blotches have black edges. A distinctive field mark is a marking on top of the head that resembles an arrow. The belly has a checkered pattern with large black spots on a white background.

The corn snake can grow to a maximum length of 76–122 cm (30–48 in).

Habits: Corn snakes spend a lot of time hiding undercover and are relatively shy. They are both nocturnal and diurnal, but during the warmer months of the year, they appear to become mostly nocturnal. They eat almost anything they can catch and swallow, and they are skilled climbers.

5. Pine Snake (Pituophis melanoleucus)

pine snake climbs tree to reach bird nestsPhoto: Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission/Flickr/CC by 2.0

The color pattern of the pine snake varies, ranging from tan to brown, and it has dark saddles on its back. It shows reddish spots near the tail. White or whitish on the belly or underside, with dark patches on the sides The presence of a triangular frontal (facial) scale allows for the identification of pine snakes. The head itself is relatively small.

Pine snakes average 48-66 inches (122-168 cm).

Habits: Pine snakes favor semi-open woodland, preferably flat. They make use of longleaf pine stands, other semi-open woods, and defunct fields. Pine snakes spend a lot of time underground and dig dens for the summer and winter.

FAQ

Will snakes eat bird eggs?

Snakes are frequent predators of bird nests and therefore potentially have an important impact on bird population dynamics. However, while many species are known to consume nestlings and chicks, few species have been recorded consuming bird eggs.

Will a garter snake eat a baby bird?

They are carnivores! These snakes are small and swallow their prey whole so they will eat anything they can overpower. This includes snails, earthworms, leeches, small fish, grasshoppers, and other insects. Occasionally they will eat small birds and rodents.

What eats bird eggs?

Crows and other corvids (magpies, jackdaws, rooks, ravens and jays) are probably the most common predators of bird nests.