Table of Contents: 1 Do Snakes Bite Their Own Tails? Snakes deposit them on the ground, although some have also been found to be airborne, according to research published in Biology Letters. But a snake being regularly bitten by another snake from a different species? Call animal control if you are worried about its welfare. Different snakes have differing levels of resistance to their own venom. Ouroboros (or Uroboros) is a well-documented behavior that occurs in wild and captive species of snakes. While they can hear some airborne sounds, they can’t hear them very clearly. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. However, there are some theories that hold some weight. Save my name and email in this browser for the next time I comment. The two reproductive organs of a male snake act like each testes. People that have snakes as pets often see this. This makes them poisonous if the snake’s body is eaten. If a venomous snake is bitten by another venomous snake of the same species, (for example during a fight or mating), then it will not be affected. Some snakes can inject their toxins into their prey, which makes them venomous. Over time, many other animals will have learned that it is not safe to eat those snakes, so this trick helps keep them safe. Your email address will not be published. Your email address will not be published. Hello, curious kids! You can send an audio recording of your question too, if you want. Many people often mix those words up. Ultimately, no matter what your pet snake eats, it doesn’t need to eat every day the way that mammals do. Pheromones are chemicals secreted through the skin. Snakes can attack themselves when they are overly stressed, aggressive, hot, or hungry. If a lethally poisonous snake bites another lethally poisonous snake of the same species does the bitten snake suffer healthwise or die? Male king cobras have been observed to “growl” at one another during combat, suggesting that they may be able to hear each other. Instead, they use their forked tongue. How Snakes Communicate with Each Other. It may be that the snake is confused and mistakes its own tail for prey. Almost all snakes can make a hissing noise by forcing air out of their glottis (the end of the trachea). I hope that you find this website useful! A snake uncomfortable with the temperature and humidity, for example, will quickly become unhappy. So, the snake won’t issue enough venom to cause its own demise. Recently it was discovered that cobras in Africa and Asia regularly eats its own kind. An erratic or inappropriate feeding schedule, The substrate does not feel organic or natural, An insufficient alternation between light and darkness, Excessive handling or handling at the wrong times. The exception ‘may’ be the king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah), whose hisses are so low-pitched that they overlap with snakes’ hearing range, and sound more like growls. In some species, such as European and Asian rat snakes, the male may even gently bite the female’s neck. Which Species of Snakes Is Most Likely To Bite Themselves? Of course, snakes use different methods to communicate their ‘message’ when trying to defend themselves, such as hissing and musking. Snakes stick out their tongues and “flick” them in the air, to catch odor particles, including any pheromones deposited by other snakes. There are many snakes that eat other snakes (kingsnakes, coral snakes, etc) so ‘confusion’ over a food source is a common explanation. This sort of fight usually revolves around territory rights. How Do Snakes Protect Themselves from Predators? Snakes have inner ears and can hear certain noises, but they specialize in picking up ground-borne vibrations. Read more: Required fields are marked *. — If it continually does so and it becomes a habit, there will be an explanation for why it happens. The Christian missionary E. Stanley Jones popularized the image of a rattlesnake biting itself. A snake attacking itself by biting its tail, the mythical tail-eating serpent, is a symbolic image that’s based on real-life habits. He said that the snake is still alive and growing, even though it does not eat or drink. This could denote a neurological condition, or it may suggest that the snake is in pain. However, they may come into contact if two male snakes want to mate with the same female. If it cannot stretch out, it may mistake its own tail for another snake. When a snake’s common name includes the word “king,” it usually means that it eats other snakes. A snake breeder found the baby Chinese cobra on his farm in Yulin, southern China, ten days ago. It can happen, but it's very rare, and for two to do it at the same time is totally impractical. Snakes are easily stressed. When a snake detects pheromones from another snake, it will instantly know if the other snake is male or female, and whether it is ready to mate. How Do Snakes Communicate Using Pheromone Signals? Jones memorably claimed that “a rattlesnake, if cornered, will become so angry it will bite itself.”. The noise generated by a rattlesnake’s tail could provoke a predatory response, such as biting. The reason the male snakes have two reproductive organs is tied to the fact that female snakes … The snake may be mistaking its tail for that of another snake. For example, a rattlesnake won’t respond to pheromones left by a garter snake. It just happens more in the wild than it does with captive-bred snakes where more trust has been established. They lift their front halves off of the ground and “wrestle,” wrapping their bodies around each other and trying to bring the other one down. However, research suggests that snakes cannot hear each others’ hissing sounds. Read more: If this applies to a pet snake, take it to a vet immediately. James Cook University provides funding as a member of The Conversation AU. Snakes have limited communication skills, but the methods that they use are highly effective. Poisons need to be ingested or swallowed to be dangerous, while venoms need to be injected via a bite or a sting. Confusion and excitement surrounding food is another common explanation for snakes biting themselves. I hope that you find this website useful! Required fields are marked *. Instead, they use strong pheromones. We won’t be able to answer every question but we will do our best. If a snake can’t avoid detection or escape when scared, it will use defensive techniques to scare us away. This is instinct, as the snake does not know when it will eat again. 1.1 Why Do Snakes Try to Eat Themselves? The pheromones are species-specific. It is located inside the snake’s head, somewhere between its eyes and nostrils. Snakes can bite themselves when they cannot see well, such as when they are shredding, or when they believe their tail is that of another snake. Once a male snake has followed the pheromone trail of a female, he must communicate his wish to mate with her. Snakes do not use visual or sound signals to communicate with other snakes. However, a snake devouring its own body or tail continues to be a relatively uncommon behavior. — Also, unless there’s a neurological problem, a snake will usually bite once (or stop biting), realizing its mistake. Have you got a question you’d like an expert to answer? Garter snakes, for example, clamor over the female in one large “mating ball.” Some males may even release female snake pheromones, according to Reed College. Snakes are adapted to hear only low-pitched sounds. Regardless of whether a species of animal is social or solitary, they all need to communicate with others from time to time. Instead, they use strong pheromones. Explanations revolve around the following: Possibly the most common reason why a snake would eat its tail is stress and agitation. Snakes swallow their prey head first, and in so doing, if one snake grabbed the others head in its mouth, that one would have the advantage and end up eating the other. The organ then interprets these odors and sends signals to the brain. These include water snakes, egg-eating snakes and other specialty species. Send as many questions as you like! Ultimo, New South Wales, Copyright © 2010–2020, The Conversation Media Group Ltd. Scientists often collect venom from snakes to create anti-venoms. Ask an adult to send your question to us. Especially if it believes its tail is that of another animal. So the snake’s stomach can quickly deal with the venom in the animal it just ate before it has a chance to harm the snake. Approaching it could result in a snake bite. Applying Behavioural Insights Course These include the following: Predators are often intimidated by these highly communicative defensive displays and will leave the snake alone. All questions are welcome – serious, weird or wacky! I’ve always been fascinated by snakes and reptiles. There are at least 2 recorded cases of self-cannibalism. These particles are mixed with fluids in the mouth, and then pass through special ducts to the vomeronasal organ. It’s unlikely that would happen very often, so snakes haven’t really had a chance to develop immunity to venom from other species. Disadvantages), Rearing up, spreading out their ribs, or flattening their heads and necks out to make themselves look bigger, Rattling their tail: this behavior is not limited to rattlesnakes, as many other snakes also, Striking, often with their mouths closed, and the biting as a last resort. South Australia, Applying Behavioural Science to Create Change However, if a snake is bitten by a venomous snake of another species, it probably will be affected. Research Fellow x 2 - Materials & Nanofabrication, RMIT, Commissioning Editor - Business & Economy Desk, Senior Principal Research Fellow - Research Leader. Your email address will not be published. By the way, scientists usually use the word “venomous” rather than “poisonous” when they’re talking about snakes. This is an article from Curious Kids, a series for children. So, snakes communicate with other snakes out of necessity. The second snake won’t die. It isn’t a common behavior. Jones was preaching at the time, suggesting that he was speaking metaphorically, but he had a point. Snake eating snakes are Cobras and Kingsnakes. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. While the act of self-cannibalism may seem absurd to humans, to a snake, it may seem entirely logical.