Do Snakes Eat Rabbits? Plus 5 snake and rabbit facts you don't know

Do Snakes Eat Rabbits? Plus 5 snake and rabbit facts you don’t know

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We’ve always kept some of our rabbits outside in rabbit tractors, and we know from first-hand experience what happens when a snake gets into a rabbit enclosure. I’ll tell you that story in a bit, but first, let’s answer your question.

Snakes do eat rabbits. Snakes are carnivores predators and they will eat any animal that is small enough for them to swallow whole, including rabbits. Smaller wild snakes common worldwide will eat young bunnies, and larger exotic snakes like Boas or Pythons can easily swallow an adult bunny.

How Do Snakes Eat Rabbits?

Image of a snake eating a mouse.

When snakes eat rabbits, they swallow them whole. Snakes do not chew their food, instead, they use their strong muscles to crush the recently swallowed whole animal to be digested in their stomach. While some snakes kill their prey before they swallow them, many swallow their prey while still alive and the pressure inside their body finishes off the prey.

I mentioned above that we had a first-hand experience with a snake eating rabbits. I’m going to share the story here, but it is a little graphic.

Fill free to jump to the next question if you don’t want to hear the details.

Story About A Snake Eating Our Bunny

We had a New Zealand Doe and her litter of three-week-old bunnies in a rabbit tractor in our back yard. A rabbit tractor is a rabbit hutch that sits on the ground and is designed to be moved regularly to give the bunnies access to fresh grass while protecting them from predators.

In the morning we went out to do chores and found a four-foot-long black tree snake (also called a black ratsnake) in the corner of the cage.

We soon figured out what had happened. The snake entered through the wires on the cage which were about 1″ wide. Inside the cage, the snake had swallowed one of the bunnies whole. But with the bunny in the snake’s stomach, it could no longer fit through the wires, so it was trapped.

While we were sad, we were not mad at the snake. The snake was just being a snake and part of that means eating small animals like rabbits. We’ll talk more about that in the next section.

We gathered up the snake and took it to the other side of the pasture to let it go. We wanted the snake to be far away from our rabbits because we know that once a predator finds an easy meal source, they’ll keep coming back until all the food (bunnies) are gone.


Why Do Snakes Eat Rabbits?

Snakes are Obligate Carnivores { Source >>> } which means that they are true meat-eaters that can’t get the nutrition they need from non-meat sources. They simply lack the enzymes they need to be able to get nutrients from plant foods.

Snakes are also predators of opportunity. While they will hunt for food, they will also eat easy prey when possible.

This means that snakes that find our chicken coop will eat chicks and even eggs. It also means that snakes that find their way into a rabbit hutch will eat any bunny small enough for them to swallow.

Snakes eat rabbits as an easy and low threat source of food. Snakes are true carnivores and they will eat any animal that is small enough for them to swallow, which certainly includes young rabbits and even some mature dwarf rabbits and other small rabbit breeds.


What Kind Of Snakes Eat Rabbits?

As I mentioned above, we’ve had bunnies eaten by a non-venomous Black Tree Snake which is a very common snake in North America, but that isn’t the only snake that will eat a rabbit if given the chance.

Nearly any snake over two feet long will eat young rabbits if given the opportunity. The vast majority of snakes will eat a rabbit if the snake is big enough to swallow the rabbit whole and if they have the opportunity.

Here is a list of some of the types of snakes in our area that commonly eat rabbits. The first three are common wild snakes, and the last two are common pet snakes.

  • Brown Snakes
  • Pig Nosed Snakes
  • Bull Snakes
  • Boa Constrictors
  • Pythons

With no doubt, I know that there are types of snakes in your location that will happily eat rabbits that aren’t on this list. The above list only includes snakes that I’m familiar with.

The truth is that nearly any snake large enough to swallow a bunny will eat a bunny.

It would be easier for me to list my local snakes that won’t eat a bunny than to list all of those that would. All you really need to know is that all of those non-rabbit-eating-snakes are very small.


How Big Of Snake Can Eat A Rabbit?

A two-foot-long snake can eat a newborn rabbit. A four-foot-long snake can eat a young bunny or tiny adult rabbit. Adult bunnies are safe from snakes of less than six feet.


How To Protect Your Bunny From Snakes?

The only way to protect your bunny from being eaten by a snake is to keep the snake away from your bunny.

How To Protect Your Indoor Bunny From Snakes

If your bunny lives indoors the only snake threat to your bunny will be pet snakes. Pet bunnies and pet snakes don’t make great roommates; snakes are predators and rabbits are prey. If you have both a pet rabbit and a large pet snake, you are going to have to keep them well separated with secure cages for one or both.

How To Protect Your Outdoor Rabbit From Snakes

If your bunny lives outside, wild snakes can be a real threat to your rabbit, but only if your rabbit is very small or your wild snakes are very large.


Protecting Adult Rabbits From Being Eaten By A Snake

If you don’t live in an area where large exotic snakes (like Boas or Pythons) live in the wild, then your adult rabbit isn’t in danger of being eaten by a snake. Even adult dwarf breeds like Holland Lops are not prey for standard wild snakes of less than six feet long.

In our area, those black ratsnakes from the above story can grow to up to eight feet long, but they simply aren’t a thick enough snake to swallow an adult rabbit.

I have never had an adult rabbit eaten by a snake, and I don’t even worry about it happening here in the middle of America. If I lived in an area where very large snakes lived, I’d be much warier.

Protecting Baby Rabbits From Being Eaten By Snakes

If your bunny is going to have litters of babies, you’re going to have to keep those little ones secure from all predators including snakes.

Remember that a snake as small as two feet long can easily eat a newborn bunny.

To protect baby bunnies from being eaten by snakes, they need to be kept in a hutch with wire openings of less than 1/2″ so snakes can not get to them. You might also consider bringing your rabbit and her babies inside a secure building until they are large enough to not look like food to snakes.


Don’t keep yourself up at night worrying about your bunny being eaten by a snake. Adult rabbits are safe from snakes under six feet in length, and this includes smaller breeds of rabbits.

Your Rabbit Friend,

~Stacey

Stacey

My name is Stacey Davis and my family has kept rabbits for decades. Here on RabbitPros.com we share our love of rabbits, our experience, and lots of research to help you enjoy your pet bunny even more.

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