Do domestic cats kill snakes?

Snake killed by domestic cat

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Do domestic cats kill snakes, today? We know that at the beginning of wild cat domestication (about 9,500 years ago) semi-domestic cats killed snakes because the snake is on the pray diet for the wild cat ancestor of the domestic cat. Therefore, today’s domestic cats should kill snakes.

The short answer, therefore, is that domestic cats do kill snakes if snakes are available. Perhaps, one immediate problem is that the modern day domestic cat is less adept at attacking and killing a snake than his wild cat ancestor, the North African wildcat. But domestic cats are predators and they have all their wild cat ancestor’s behavioral traits. Therefore they are at risk when attacking poisonous creatures.

In the UK there are very few snakes and I would doubt very much if there are more than a handful of attacks on snakes by domestic cats annually.

However, poisonous and nonpoisonous snakes are widely distributed throughout North America. Domestic cats will come into contact with snakes while hunting or out of curiosity.

Domestic Cat Kills Four Snakes

Jasper hunts snakes and kills them
Jasper hunts snakes and kills them

Bailey Ryan has a cat companion whose name is Jasper (Jas). On one occasion when Jas requested to come inside through the patio door with his usual quiet voice he had difficulty moving his hind legs.

They were barely functioning and his owner was concerned. As Jas had a history of bringing into the house deadly snake trophies Bailey immediately understood the possibility that he may have been bitten by a snake. Therefore, she urgently took him to the veterinarian. As she headed to the car she looked out for snakes and low-and-behold she saw one dead red-bellied black snake (a venomous snake), two small brown snakes, half a live tiger snake (venomous) and a dead legless lizard lying on the driveway. I think that Jasper’s hunting exploits answer the question in the title. Yes, domestic cats do kill snakes.

There are four varieties of poisonous of snake in the United States and they are cottonmouths, rattlesnakes, copperheads and coral snakes. There are also two species of poisonous lizard in the United States both in south-western states. They are the Gila Monster and the Mexican beaded lizard. The bites of both these losers can be fatal to a domestic cat.

Some cats can survive a coral snake bite. The bites of rattlesnakes, cottonmouths and copperheads can cause death to occur in cats in severe cases. The first signs are extreme restlessness, painting, drooling and weakness. I am told that 25% of poisonous snake bites lack venom and therefore they don’t produce a local reaction. It may take several hours for a snake bite to produce symptoms depending upon a range of factors such as time of year and the species of snake.

Note: the tiger snake is native to Australia. Feral cats in Australia are killing millions of reptiles allegedly.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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