Do Foxes Eat Snakes? Amazing Facts!

Foxes and snakes have occupied overlapping habitats for thousands of years, leading many to wonder whether foxes eat snakes.

As cunning predators, foxes are well-equipped to hunt a variety of prey, including dangerous animals like venomous snakes. Given the predatory nature of foxes and the prevalence of different snake species worldwide, it’s understandable that the question “Do foxes eat snakes?” frequently arises.

In this article, we’ll explore the evidence around whether foxes actively hunt, kill, and consume different types of snakes.

We’ll look at examples of foxes preying on snakes in the wild, consider if young foxes eat snakes, examine which snake species are most often targeted by foxes, and learn how foxes manage to hunt these elusive and potentially hazardous prey.

Finally, we’ll discuss whether the presence of foxes can help deter snakes and whether having foxes in your own backyard is advisable if you want fewer snakes around.

Do Foxes Eat Snakes?

The evidence overwhelmingly shows that the answer is yes, foxes do eat snakes as part of their varied omnivorous diet.

Foxes have been documented hunting, killing, and eating many different snake species around the world.

fox-eating snake (carlswildlife)

Researchers have found remains of snakes in fox scat and fox stomach contents, proving they ingest snakes. Scientists have also directly observed foxes preying on snakes in the wild.

Foxes are opportunistic predators and snakes provide a protein source, so they will readily hunt them.

Although not all individual foxes may prey on snakes, snakes are certainly within the fox’s predatory repertoire.

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Do Baby Foxes Eat Snakes?

Yes, there is evidence showing that young foxes will eat snakes once they transition from nursing to solid food.

Adult foxes teach juvenile foxes how to hunt through example. Young foxes start hunting with their parents at around 3 months old. They begin eating solid food like adult foxes between 2 to 3 months old.

Baby Fox Eats Snake

Field researchers have witnessed fox pups as young as 5 months old hunting and killing snakes.

Baby foxes likely start off hunting smaller, slower snakes before graduating to more dangerous prey. Their snake-hunting skills increase steadily as they gain experience under guidance from the adult foxes.

So while very young fox pups may not be ready for snakes, juvenile foxes a few months old and older definitely become adept snake eaters.

What Types of Snakes Do Foxes Eat?

Foxes are not picky about snake type when hunting. They will consume both venomous and nonvenomous snakes that cross their path. 

Foxes have been observed and documented hunting venomous snake species like rattlesnakes, copperheads, and cottonmouths.

Do Foxes Eat Snakes?

Foxes frequently prey on nonvenomous snakes as well, which offer an easier meal. Garter snakes, rat snakes, and gopher snakes are common nonvenomous snake species foxes eat.

These snakes rely on camouflage and playing dead rather than venom, which is ineffective against foxes. Their lack of venom makes them more vulnerable to fox attacks.

Also, foxes have the ability to catch and eat aquatic snake species like water moccasins and water snakes.

Foxes who live near streams, rivers, lakes, and wetlands will hunt these swimming snakes. Though slippery, aquatic snakes can become cornered along shorelines, where foxes will snatch them.

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Are There Any Snakes That Are Too Big for Foxes to Eat?

Foxes are able to eat a wide range of snakes but there are some very large snake species that are too big for a fox to successfully hunt and consume.

Extremely large constrictor snakes like anacondas, reticulated pythons, and Burmese pythons can grow over 20 feet long and weigh hundreds of pounds, which would pose great difficulty for a fox to kill.

Their girth would also make them nearly impossible for a fox to swallow whole. Older, full-grown snakes are also more formidable prey with stronger defensive abilities.

Additionally, large venomous snakes like king cobras can deliver dangerous amounts of neurotoxic venom that could more easily kill a fox before it could eat the snake.

So while foxes prey on many snake types and sizes, colossal snakes at or over 15-20 feet long would likely prove too hazardous and physically challenging for a fox to feasibly eat. They stick to smaller, younger snake prey they can handle.

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How Do Foxes Hunt Snakes?

Foxes rely on their speed, stealth, agility, and pouncing ability to successfully hunt snakes. Here are some of the key tactics they use.


  • Foxes stealthily approach snakes while staying downwind to avoid detection. Their bushy tails aid with balance for slow, quiet stalking.

Surprise Pouncing

  • When close enough, foxes pounce from a crouched or coiled position onto the snake, pinning it down. This restricts the snake’s movement for capture.

Grabbing Behind the Head

  • Foxes try to grab snakes right behind the head/neck area. This avoids the snake’s biting and venom-injecting capabilities.
  • Their jaws are strong enough to crush the snake’s spine or windpipe.

Agile Evasion

  • If bitten, foxes can rapidly recoil and evade further strikes. Their gymnastic-like leaping and dodging helps them acquire hard-to-catch fast and venomous snakes.
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Are Foxes Immune to Snake Venom?

Foxes have a higher resistance to snake venom than some other mammals, but they are not completely immune.

Multiple studies analyzing the blood serum of foxes have shown they have proteins that neutralize the toxic effects of certain snake venom compounds.

However, the protection varies depending on the specific snake species.

They can fall victim to bites from extremely venomous snakes. A fox bitten by a cobra or black mamba is unlikely to survive for example.

Still, foxes’ natural defenses allow them to hunt and eat snakes more safely than they could without partial venom resistance. Their agility to evade bites also aids their survival.

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Do Foxes Keep Snakes Away?

There is no definitive evidence that foxes actively deter snakes or significantly decrease local snake populations through predation.

Do Foxes Eat Snakes?

Some argue that since foxes eat snakes, their presence should minimize snakes. However, snakes are adept at hiding and camouflaging themselves, and many snake species thrive living near fox habitats. Ultimately, the two animals coexist in shared environments.

That said, foxes may occasionally kill individual snakes that pose an immediate threat. For example, a fox mother might kill a snake near her den to protect her kits.

But overall, snakes have evolved to withstand fox predation and seem undeterred by their presence.

Poisonous snakes can also pose a danger to foxes, further complicating the dynamic. Foxes also do not specifically hunt snakes over other prey. They are opportunistic predators, not specialized snake killers.

In most cases, the ecosystem allows both foxes and snakes to inhabit the same areas. Neither fully displaces the other.

While the idea of attracting foxes to your backyard as a way to control a snake problem may seem appealing, it is not recommended.

Foxes are best left wild rather than purposely drawn to a residential yard due to legal issues, safety risks, property damage, lack of effectiveness, and ethics.

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Final Thoughts

The evidence clearly shows foxes do eat snakes as part of their varied diet. Images of foxes catching snakes in the wild confirm they are adept hunters of these elusive reptiles. Both venomous and nonvenomous species get consumed.

Young foxes learn snake-hunting skills early from their parents. Their natural caution and resistance help them feast on snakes without serious consequences. Though not immune to venom, they can withstand bites better than some other predators.

Foxes and snakes evolved to coexist, neither fully displacing the other. While foxes snack on them occasionally, snakes have adapted to survive the predation.

However, it’s unwise to attract foxes to your backyard. Let them be, as their instinct drives them to eat snakes when the opportunity arises in their wild domain. That maintains nature’s balance best.


Can foxes kill a snake?

Yes, foxes can kill snakes through their skilled hunting techniques.

Can foxes eat rattlesnakes?

Yes, foxes can eat rattlesnakes, but they do so cautiously to avoid getting bitten by the rattlesnake’s venomous fangs.

Resources – (for further reading)

JSTOR – Fox Calling as a Hunting Technique

ScienceDirect – The diet of urban foxes (Vulpes vulpes)

I'm Ernest M Noah, the founder of I have years of experience as an exterminator in Texas and Idaho, and I'm passionate about educating people on how to deal with pest problems effectively and safely.