Are you curious about what snakes should or should not be eating?
Have you seen a snake on T.V. eat an egg and are wondering if they eat eggs whole?
Many snakes do eat eggs as part of their diet, but this might make you ask:
How do snakes eat eggs?
Snakes use their flexible jaw to open their mouths wide enough to take in large food, in this case, an egg. The snake then cracks the egg by pressing it against bones in their vertebrae and drinks the contents of the egg, and regurgitates the pieces of the shell.
While not every snake species eats eggs, some species survive solely on eggs, and some other species fall in the middle, only eating them occasionally.
Continue reading to learn even more about how snakes eat eggs.
How Do Snakes Eat Eggs?
Not all snakes eat eggs, but those who do have a fascinating process to get to the yolk inside.
Like any snake working to consume any meal, egg-eating snakes often have to open their mouths extremely wide to take in large food.
Contrary to common belief, a snake doesn’t unhinge their jaw when they want to open their mouths wide.
Snakes have flexible jaws, making it possible for them to open extremely wide.
Their lower jaw is not fused to the upper portion.
Instead, it connects by stretchy ligaments.
On top of this, the jaw’s right and left sides are also not connected but rather move independently of the other to help “walk” their large prey into their mouth.
As they do with live prey, a snake will open wide to take the egg into their mouth.
The hard outer shell presents a problem for snakes, as it is not something they can digest.
Snakes use their muscles to press the egg against the bones in their vertebrae.
If you happen to be around a snake when it eats an egg, you will hear loud cracking noises as the snake works to collapse the egg and get at what’s inside.
Once the egg cracks, the snake drinks the yolk and the other contents, getting every bit of the liquid.
They then regurgitate the shell.
Other species of snakes can digest the egg just like they do any other meal.
Instead of having to regurgitate the eggshell, they break it down.
What Snakes Eat Eggs?
Not every species can consume eggs as part of their diet.
There are a limited number of species have a strict diet of only eggs.
Of this tiny sample, only two species are kept as pets, including the African Egg-Eating snake and the Indian Egg Eater.
These animals don’t have fangs or teeth and have evolved to eat a diet only of eggs.
Most snakes survive by eating mice and other small animals like birds, lizards, insects, and even other snakes.
Snakes will eat the eggs if they find them, or sometimes as a last resort.
Rat snakes often hang around chicken coops, and once all the mice and rats are gone, they will eat eggs laid by the chickens.
Some snakes absolutely cannot eat eggs, including pythons, rattlesnakes, and boas.
These snakes are unable to digest the eggs and most often fail to regurgitate them.
Unfortunately, this often results in their death.
These species are unable to digest the eggs because their spinal structure is more rigid than other species.
The bottom line is genetics and evolution plays a vital role in a snake’s ability to eat eggs.
Do Snakes Eat Their Own Eggs?
Since eggs are often part of a snake’s natural diet, you might be wondering if they eat whatever eggs they might come across, even their own.
It is very uncommon for a snake to eat their eggs, but it does happen.
This is more likely to happen with a snake in captivity than with a wild snake.
Most of the time, snake abandon their eggs soon after laying.
The eggs are left on their own, hatch, and the hatchlings emerge to care for themselves.
Some species of snakes stay with their eggs until the young emerge, protecting them from predators.
In some cases, the snake will eat an infertile egg to prevent it from rotting.
The rot would contaminate the other eggs if the snake didn’t eat it.
It is normal when a female lays her eggs for some of them to be infertile.
Females are known to examine their eggs after she lays them, and eats the ones she knows are not good.
She can tell the difference because these infertile eggs, often referred to as slugs are smaller than healthy eggs.
Additionally, they have a yellowish or brownish coloration.
This isn’t always the case, and sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between healthy eggs and slugs.
There are other instances where snakes eat their eggs in the wild.
If a snake is stressed, sick, or starving, there is a much better chance they will eat their eggs.
Pet snakes more often eat their eggs if left in the enclosure for too long.
This is because they get confused and think their eggs are food.
If your snake lays any eggs, it is crucial to remove them from their enclosure as soon as she finishes laying her clutch.
After reading this article, we hope you have more knowledge about a snake’s diet and understand how a snake eats eggs.
Eggs are part of the snake’s regular diet in the wild.
If they get the opportunity, they will not only eat the egg, but they will enjoy it.
By opening their mouths wide, they can consume even large eggs, just like they consume large rodents, birds, or lizards.