Can Sand Cats Kill Snakes?

Yes, sand cats kill snakes very efficiently even if they are venomous. In some areas of the sand cat’s distribution reptiles play an important role in the cat’s diet. For example the nomads of the Sahara desert in North Africa say that the sand cat has a reputation for being snake hunters.

This cute and diminutive cat regularly kills horned vipers and sand vipers. This is reported by Alain Dragesco-Joffé who spent thirteen years photographing Saharan wildlife (1993 – La Vie Sauvage du Sahara).

Dragesco-Joffé photographed a sand cat attacking and killing a viper 40 centimetres long. See the photo on this page for one of his photographs of the sand cat attacking and eating a Saharan snake.

The snake was forced to lower its head after the sand cat hit it with quick blows from her paws. This lead to a blow to the snake’s head followed by a killing bite into the snake’s neck.

Beginning at the head, the sand cat devoured the viper in ten minutes.

Sand cats are opportunistic hunters and will attack what is available. In the Sahara one such prey item is the snake. It seems that the sand cat is more than able to kill venomous snakes as a normal event.

P.S. Sand cats have a bite force quotient of 130 compared to the domestic cat at 67. This means the bite of the sand cat is about twice as strong as the domestic cat’s. A reason why they are such effective killers.

Source: Wild Cats of the World ISBN: 0-226-77999-8

4 thoughts on “Can Sand Cats Kill Snakes?”

  1. Ha ha
    These tiny cats weighing only 4 – 6 pounds might look all sweet & innocent but when it comes to hunting prey they can be quite fierce!


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