Do Tigers Eat Snakes (The Answer May Surprise You)

Tigers are an amazing species of the big cat family that are well known for their huge size, power and cool stripe patterned fur.

Their unique qualities make them an interesting species to learn about and more and more facts about tigers are being discovered as time goes on. 

Do Tigers Eat Snakes (The Answer May Surprise You)

One interesting part of tigers is their diverse diet. Because tigers have subspecies that range in biomes and areas of habitat, their diets can have quite a bit of variety to them – so what do they eat and do tigers eat snakes? 

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If you want to learn more about tigers and their interesting diets, then check out all the information you need to know right here! 

What Do Tigers Eat?

All species of tiger are carnivores, meaning that they get most of their nutrition and energy through eating sources of meat. They do not eat plants or grass and instead, hunt down other animals to eat. 

But, because there are multiple subspecies of tiger that live in such different habitats and environments, each subspecies can have a diet that varies from the other.

Of course, tigers mostly hunt down similar types of animals including deer, goats, pigs and cattle, but what species of animals they eat vary from place to place. 

Some tigers are even known to eat rarer creatures like tapirs, porcupines, monkeys, bears, jackals and more! However, most of their diet consists of mammals and a few birds or fish – but what about reptiles? Do tigers eat snakes? 

Do Tigers Eat Snakes?

There is evidence to suggest that tigers do indeed eat snakes. 

Way back in 2008, a deceased tiger was found dead.

A port mortem was carried out to determine the cause of death (it was concluded that a crocodile had killed the tiger as it swam across a river) but inside its stomach was the remains of a king cobra snake and an Indian python. 

So, tigers can and do eat snakes. However, this is a rare occurrence and tigers are rarely seen at all attacking snakes unless protecting themselves from an attack.

It’s unlikely that tigers actively hunt snakes for food but will not turn away from the opportunity.

This is because tigers require a lot of energy, thus they need to take down a fair sized prey in order to consume the necessary amount of food needed to sustain them.

Tigers can consume around 100 pounds of meat in one single sitting but king cobras weigh on average only 13 pounds, so they are an unlikely source of prey for tigers because they lack the amount of meat needed for tigers to survive. 

Pythons, however, can weigh over 100 pounds when fully grown, so perhaps a tiger will see a python as a potential meal due to their huge size and weight.

However, it’s unlikely that tigers actively go out of their way to hunt for pythons like they do for deer or buffalo, so it is more likely that this tiger either found two freshly dead snakes and ate them, or killed them in an attack and ate what remained. 

Tigers do have a very varied diet because they will attack and kill any kind of creature nearby that could be a potential food source for them.

This is why they have been seen hunting and killing monkeys, porcupines, bears, wolves, foxes, and even humans and domestic cattle.

Some tigers have even been seen taking down an Indian elephant, although this is a very rare and very extreme case. 

Food is food, after all, and if a tiger can take down a creature and eat it – it will. 

But because tigers require larger sources of food, they will actively hunt and search for more common sources of prey like deer or cattle. But – if given the opportunity – they will take down a large or medium sized snake and consume their kill.

Smaller snakes are usually safe from a tiger’s notice because they will probably waste more energy trying to catch it than they would receive if they ate it. 

Do Tigers Eat Snakes In Captivity?

Do Tigers Eat Snakes In Captivity?

Zookeepers like to try and keep their animals as enriched and as happy as possible and one great way to do this is to shake up their diets now and again.

However, zookeepers do also try and stick to the same types of food that their animal would naturally eat in the wild but they are also restricted by laws related to cruelty, hunting, and the price of shipping meat from around the globe. 

Because of  this, most zookeepers locally source the food they feed their captive tigers. Instead of Sambar deer or Indian buffalo, captive tigers are more likely to be fed ground beef from local farms.

They also receive bones from cattle and deceased rabbits for variety and to exercise their strong jaw bones. 

As for snakes however, zookeepers are very, very unlikely to ever feed their tigers snakes. This is because the amount of recorded events of tigers eating snakes in the wild is very, very low.

Statistically, a tiger may go their entire lives without eating a snake in the wild so zookeepers prefer to avoid feeding them any meat that is not a regular part of their diet. 

Thus, zookeepers stick to feeding their captive tigers types of cattle instead. 

Conclusion

So, it is possible for tigers to eat snakes and it has even been recorded in rare instances.

This rarity is most likely because snakes do not offer a lot of nutritional value to tigers so they would rather spend their energy trying to capture prey with more meat on their bones.

This type of prey is more likely to sustain a tiger for longer and thus, they rarely eat snakes in the wild.

Because of this, tigers are never fed snakes when kept in captivity because zookeepers prefer to feed their captive animals a regular diet of food similar to what they would find in the wild. 

Joe Edwards
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