Pigs kill and eat snakes, though they won’t actively seek them out as prey. Pigs kill snakes more out of natural instinct than anything else. Pigs do this by viciously attacking snakes by stomping on them until they devour and eat them.
Whether it’s a rattlesnake, cottonmouth, copperhead, coral snake, or any other species of snake, a pig – whether that be a hog or wild boar, is more than up to the task of killing and eating a snake.
Why Do Pigs Eat Snakes?
Pigs don’t eat snakes as a tasty treat or because they prey on them, pigs eat snakes because pigs don’t discriminate and will eat almost anything. If a snake is in a pig’s vicinity, the pig may act out of natural instinct and kill the snake and eat it. Considering that pigs are unable to completely look up, they are almost always focused on the ground and will therefore spot something new in their environment quite easily.
While pigs are omnivores, opportunistic, and will eat whatever is available, they prefer to eat mostly plant matter, invertebrates such as worms, insects, and insect larvae, and small animals.
Can a Pig Survive a Snake Bite?
Very few animals are immune to snake bites and the venom that snakes release – and pigs are no exception. Pigs are more likely to survive snake bites than other animals, though, due to their thick layer of skin that makes it harder for the venom to seep into their bloodstream.
Some pigs are more likely to survive a snake bite than others. Fully mature, wild adult 250-pound pigs, for example, generally have thicker hides that are tougher to penetrate than domestic pigs, though the size and weight of both wild and domestic individual pigs can vary.
How to Tell If a Pig’s Snake Bite is Venomous
While there is no foolproof way to tell if a snake is venomous just by looking at it, there are a few indications that can help.
- Most venomous snakes have an elliptical pupil that looks like a cat eye
- Most venomous snakes in the USA have a heat sensor that looks like a small depression between the eye and the nostril
- A poisonous snake has a thinner appearance at its “neck” area
- Examine the bite marks. A set of puncture marks indicate that a snake has fangs and is therefore venomous
What to Do If Your Pig Gets Bitten By a Snake
First, it is a good idea to know the kind of snakes that live in the area, so you know if you will be dealing with venomous species or not. In any case, if one of your pigs or a group of pigs is bitten by a snake, it is best to assume that it was by a venomous snake.
There are a few general rules that you should follow, including what to do and what not to do.
What to Do
- Immobilize the part of the body that has been bitten
- Identify the type of snake to better aid a veterinarian with treatment. It’s best to take a photo
- Seek veterinary attention as soon as possible
What Not to Do
- Do not attempt to capture or kill the snake
- Do not cut over the fang marks
- Do not allow the pig to freely move about
- Do not administer any medications except on a veterinarian’s advice
Are Pigs Able to Keep Snakes Away?
There are a few reasons why you might want to own a pig or two but are pigs being able to keep snakes away from your property another reason that can be added?
A few years ago a news story was going around that the presence of feral hogs has caused rattlesnakes to refrain from rattling. The idea was that rattlesnakes didn’t want to draw attention to themselves because pigs would kill and eat them. While this sounds logical, there isn’t much evidence to back it up.
For one thing, rattlesnakes have been rattling for hundreds of thousands of years, so it’s very unlikely that feral hogs have been able to silence them in such a short period of time. Perhaps more importantly, a rattlesnake, or any other snake for that matter, is not an animal that a pig naturally preys upon, so there wouldn’t be much reason for snakes to avoid pigs in any case.