Why Do Snakes Eat Themselves?

Snakes are known for their ability to slither, shed their skin, and eat prey. But why do snakes eat themselves? It is a question that has baffled scientists and naturalists alike.

There are many reasons why snakes might eat themselves, but the most common reason is that they cannot thermoregulate or maybe stressed. It commonly happens when snakes are held captive and struggle to move around and regulate their temperatures.

Do you know the difference between poisonous and venomous? Find out here.


Inability to Regulate Body Temperature

Snakes cannot control their body temperature, and this is why they die when the temperature changes. This cold-blooded reptile relies on its sense of touch to detect whether it is too hot or cold for it.

But, due to their poor thermoregulation, snakes often end up eating themselves. This is often seen in captivity, where the snake cannot move to a place to regulate itself.


Stress is a common problem in the wild. With the rise of the human population, snakes are also facing stress. Humans stress them out, and so they eat themselves to death.

A snake eating itself is a sign of stress. It may be caused by other factors like hunger, lack of prey, or simply being too big for its own good.

What Is Thermoregulation in Snakes?

Thermoregulation is the process of maintaining the body’s core temperature. In snakes, this is done by controlling the amount of heat lost from their bodies.

The snake has a very thin layer of tissue that covers its entire body, called the epidermis. This layer helps regulate heat loss from the body and keeps it at an optimal temperature.

Snakes use their tongues to sense prey, which allows them to detect when they are in danger by sensing temperature changes. It also helps them to hunt for prey by detecting its scent.

Coral snakes are known to change colors depending on their surroundings, but they also use thermoregulation as a defense mechanism when threatened by predators.

What Causes Stress in Snakes?

Stress is a natural phenomenon that many things can cause.

The most common causes of stress in snakes are:

  • Being handled too much
  • Moving from a dark area to a bright one
  • Change in temperature/humidity/light
  • Noise
  • Being held for too long

Ensuring Your Pet Snake Does Not Eat Itself

Regulate Tank Temperature

If you have a pet snake, you need to take care of it properly. You need to ensure that the tank is at the right temperature for your snake so that it does not become too hot or too cold and potentially die from eating itself.

Ensure Your Snake Is Not Stressed

It is essential to ensure that your pet snake does not eat itself. There are many ways to avoid this from happening, some of which include making sure the snake has enough hiding places, providing your snake with a substrate that it likes to eat, and ensuring that it isn’t stressed out.

Snakes are generally solitary animals and don’t like being around other snakes. They will often find ways to escape their enclosure or hide in places where their owner cannot see them. This can lead them to eat themselves or other animals if they are stressed out or hungry enough.

What Snake Is Most Known to Eat Itself?

The North American Rat Snake is also called the “self-eating snake” because of its habit of eating itself after it has eaten something else. It will usually do this if it has been captured or if it has been injured in some way.

What Happens When a Snake Eats Itself?

Eating their own tail is a self-destructive act that snakes do when they are too hungry to find food, and they can’t escape from hunger. When this happens, the snake’s body will start to digest its own body parts until it dies in the process.

The most common ways that snakes eat their own tail are by swallowing their head, swallowing their whole body, or swallowing themselves up into their own mouth. So if a snake eats itself, it will die shortly after and then decompose into fertilizers for other animals to eat.

Do Snakes Eat Their Young Ones?

Snakes are a common and often feared creature. They are known to be voracious eaters and have been found to eat their own tails. However, they are also very intelligent creatures who communicate with their prey through body language.

Snakes do not eat their young ones. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but for the most part, snakes will not eat their young unless they are dead. This is because all snakes lay eggs, and it would be detrimental to the survival of the species if they were to eat their young.

What Should You Do When Your Snake Tries to Eat Itself?

When your pet snake starts to eat itself, it’s usually a sign that the snake is stressed out. Sometimes snakes will do this when they are in captivity and don’t have enough space to move around.

If your snake is eating itself, try moving it to a new location and providing it with more hiding places.

Can a Venomous Snake Poison Itself?

Venomous snakes can bite themselves when they eat their own venom, but the process is not always fatal. The venom has been shown to cause self-poisoning in some cases, but it is not always successful.

However, a venomous snake can easily poison itself if it eats a poisonous snake which is also venomous.

Final Thoughts

Snakes are cold-blooded animals and have an ideal body temperature of about 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The best way to keep them at a comfortable temperature is by providing them with heat sources like rocks or logs.

Snakes need to be kept at a constant temperature to survive. Different types of enclosures can be used when caring for snakes, such as glass aquariums or plastic tubs with a moist substrate.

Some people might not know what the best enclosure is for their snake, so here are some things to consider when choosing an enclosure: size, cost, ease of cleaning, and humidity level.

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