Snake Eating Itself

 Snake Eating Itself

by Cary Salter


TGO, Nature, Center, Education, Nature Center, Titusville, Florida, Wildlife, Reptile, Snake, Garter

Snake Eating Itself
Photo Courtesy of Bob Rosenberger


June 24, 2013, Bob Rosenberger, TGO resident and, along with wife Brenda operator of Golf Carts Unlimited in the park, found a most unusual site when he got to work—a dead garter snake which apparently tried to make itself its own last meal.

A quick internet search revealed a surprising number of entries regarding this self-cannibalistic behavior of snakes, including a video of a hog-nosed snake consuming itself in a British pet shop.

According to the Daily Mail, the London newspaper, snakes which dine on other snakes can confuse their own tails with something to eat.  The process begins, and is made worse by backward-facing teeth which act ratchet-like to take prey into their mouths.

The IFL Science web site says that snakes being cold blooded animals can become disoriented and confused when their bodies get too hot.  They then can confuse their tails with food.  Another complicating factor for pet snakes is a small enclosed environment.

Such behavior gives support to Greek mythological ‘Ouroboros’—self-consuming dragons.  An “old wives’ tale” comes to mind about a snake grabbing its own tail to form a barrel hoop structure then rolling down the street—a common myth according to the Texas-based Austin Reptile Service.

Uncyclopedia states in a “spoof” article of humorous writings that a ‘hoop snake’ native to New Zealand has been imported to the U.S. as part of a shipment of Hula Hoops.

Thanks, Bob, for catching this photo, and bringing this unusual reptilian behavior to our attention.



TGO Nature Center – “Living in Harmony with Nature

Contact Us

To reserve the meeting room, contact:

Josiah Monk at Recreation Services for reservations on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings and Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.

Loretta Anne’ for all other times.