Do bobcats eat snakes?
Do bobcats eat snakes? Yes, is the answer although the bobcat’s diet is dominated by rabbits or hares throughout much of its range.
It depends where the bobcat is as to its diet, by which I mean the range of animals on its menu because where he/she lives dictates the availability of prey items.
Snakes are on the menu in Baja California Sur, Mexico and Florida. And probably other places but the studies I have access to provide data for these areas.
The frequency of occurrence of snakes in a bobcat’s diet in percentage terms is as follows in the above mentioned places:
- Baja California Sur, Mexico — 9%
- Florida — 0.4%
The conclusion is that overall, amongst all bobcats, snakes are relatively rarely on the menu!
Normally rabbits, hares, white-tailed deer are the primary prey items for the bobcat.
I have only seen cats that have a fascination with snakes when they are slithering about; the same fascination that they have with lizards and grasshoppers. They are content to “play with them”, and they never actively hunt them. Their “play” may result in the demise of the snake, but I’ve never seen a cat consume one.
It’s interesting to me, too, that I have never seen even a feral cat pursue any sort of snake here that isn’t benign (non-poisonous). And, we have plenty of poisonous snakes in this state.
Of course there are exceptions. A very docile house cat named Scribble turned into a laser focused stone cold killer when his owner brought a snake into the home.
– First of all, no common house pet will hunt snakes or keep them away without special training, and even then, you put the animal at great risk. Cats and dogs may do a decent amount of snake hunting, but they will not actively patrol your property just for snakes. You will have to take into account, too, the fact that any house pet exposed to snakes will also be prone to bite injuries. If you live in an area with venomous snakes, this can be disastrous
Wild cats will kill snakes and eat them if they are hungry enough.
Thanks Eva – agreed. The wild cat ancestor of the domestic did of course hunt snakes but the domestic cat is unable to, due to 10,000 years of domestication. They probably steer clear of snakes because they’d recognise them as dangerous.