Why Do Snakes Eat Themselves?

Posted by Christy Caplan
Snake Eating Itself
YouTube/Brian Barcyzk

Why in the world would a snake eat itself? We learned a lot as we researched whether or not this is actually a thing. It is not a myth and it has a name according to an article on iflscience.com. 

"Sometimes snakes will go full-on Ouroborus and begin to eat their own tails, creating a circle."

Don't let your snake get too hot. Iflscience.com reports that if a snake gets too warm they can become confused. They also cannot see well and may confuse their tail for FOOD. 

"They also get a ramped-up metabolism, causing them to have a false sense of hunger and a desire to eat the first thing they see. As captive snakes typically live alone and food isn't routinely consistently available to them, they end up attacking themselves."

PetMD.com has a similar theory and it's related to their environment,

"One explanation for why a snake might bite its own tail is that when kept in small containment, the snake is unable to stretch out fully and may think that its tail is that of another snake."

Warning: This video is really gross. 

How do you save your snake from eating itself to death?

Thankfully, you can cool them off which is one way to jump in and assist them!
Here is some advice yet we cannot speak from personal experience!
  • Reduce the temperature by turning off heat lamps
  • Spritz the snake with cool water as that can help alleviate the stress and the snake may let go
  • Intervention by a veterinarian may be required

Snakes have evolved to trap food and guide it in, it can be difficult for them to let go once they have started eating. In the video above, the expert does help his snake and everything seems to turn out ok but who knew this could actually happen in the first place! 

So now you know the term 'Ouroboros' and that a snake eating itself can happen but there are ways to help your pet snake. Keep an eye on your heat sources and hopefully, you can save your snake. If you see your snake eating its own body than intervene!

There are so many different types and species of snakes but it seems like this can happen to all of them.

Do you own a reptile or a snake? Please leave us a comment below!

WATCH NOW: Learn About the Hognose Snake!

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Why Do Snakes Eat Themselves?