Hedgehogs are among some of the cutest and most fascinating creatures on our planet. Found commonly in urban gardens or forested landscapes – hedgehogs are best known for their strange and quirky appearance.
Distinguished by their pointed faces, short legs and spiky backs – these amazing critters have become a popular pet of choice among more eclectic animal lovers.
Because we often associate them with overwhelming amounts of cuteness, we often misremember that hedgehogs are wild animals with a variety of natural enemies. In the wild, hedgehogs are often the victims of larger carnivorous animals who enjoy eating the bristly creatures due to their small size.
However, this does not mean that hedgehogs can’t put up a fight when they are feeling threatened. Don’t forget that in the wild even hedgehogs are considered skilled and ruthless predators.
We understand that it can be hard to imagine, but these spiky balls of fun are not so cute when you consider just how diverse their diets can be.
Hedgehogs are nocturnal insectivores, which means they will often spend their nights foraging in the earth for insects to consume. However, hedgehogs have also been known to hunt larger and more sinister creatures.
Can A Snake Eat A Hedgehog?
Hedgehogs are small nocturnal creatures who often thrive in forested environments, and because of this, they are often the target of various predators. Hedgehogs can be the victims of foxes, weasels and owls – but they have also been known to meet their fate in the coils of a snake.
Snakes eating hedgehogs is not uncommon, but snakes will often avoid eating hedgehogs due to their size and the sharp spines that protrude from their backs.
Mature hedgehogs have more chances of surviving a brawl with a snake and are even capable of injuring or killing the snake in the process. However, young hedgehogs (otherwise known as hoglets) are more likely to be killed and eaten by snakes.
Although hedgehogs are born with an immunity to snake venom, they can still be killed by suffocation or being swallowed.
By nature, snakes are not picky eaters which means they will try to devour anything small and scurrying that crosses their path – unfortunately, this includes hedgehogs. If the snake is big enough to digest a small hedgehog, then chances are it will succeed in eating it.
Do Hedgehogs Eat Snakes?
Although hedgehogs sometimes find themselves on the snake’s dinner menu, this does not mean that the tables can’t be turned upside down. Zoologists have recorded that the average hedgehog will usually include a variety of snakes as part of their diet.
As we have previously mentioned, hedgehogs are born with an immunity to many toxins, which means they are highly capable of killing and eating poisonous snakes without effect.
Hedgehogs are small animals, but they are also predators who are born with the instinct to hunt for their food.
Like snakes, wild hedgehogs are not particularly picky when it comes to their evening meal, and if they uncover something small and juicy, then chances are the hedgehog will consume it.
Beyond snakes, hedgehogs have also been known to target other venomous creatures for their prey – with scorpions, frogs and spiders also making the list.
Because of their toxin immunity, hedgehogs are capable of easily attacking small toxic animals and killing them without being injured or affected by their poison. This unusual superpower helps to make hedgehogs one of the more ruthless and specialized predators in the wild.
Can Hedgehogs Eat Small Snakes?
On our planet, there are seventeen species of hedgehog, and each species can grow to a size of 20 centimetres when reaching maturity. This means that most species of hedgehog are capable of catching and eating small species of snake. However, the most common species of snake to be targeted by the hedgehog is the viper.
The term viper refers to a family of venomous snakes that can be found in most countries around the world.
When fully grown, certain species of the viper are capable of reaching a length of 30 centimetres, although more common varieties will usually grow to a length of 12 centimetres.
Vipers are distinguished by their hinged fangs, which they use to inject their prey with a large amount of venom.
Although vipers are considered highly poisonous snakes, the hedgehog’s immunity means that the viper’s venom has very little effect when received in small doses.
When compared to other animals, studies have shown that the hedgehog is capable of surviving more than 35-40 doses of viper venom before they will eventually die. This allows the hedgehog to attack the viper with little repercussion to their physicality or health.
How Does A Hedgehog Kill A Snake?
When looking at a hedgehog, it can be hard to believe that these cute creatures are capable of killing and eating a fully-grown snake – but they are! The hedgehog’s approach to hunting a snake is very simple, as they use their two most important assets to keep themselves protected during the attack – their immunity and their quills.
Hedgehogs begin their hunt by finding a snake and irritating it until the snake is angry enough to attack and defend itself.
During this process, many snakes will repeatedly lunge at the source of their discomfort until the animal has retreated or is dead. However, hedgehogs do not retreat, instead, they curl into a ball and allow the snake to keep attacking them.
While this is happening, the snake is not injuring the hedgehog but instead wounding itself on the hedgehog’s spiky back. Eventually, the snake will reach a point where it will be too exhausted or injured to strike, and this is when the hedgehog will deliver the final blow.
The hedgehog will confront the snake and bite into its neck several times, ensuring that the snake’s vertebrae are completely severed.
The hedgehog will then begin to devour the snake, starting with the head and working its way down the body.
The eating process can take several hours, as the hedgehog’s teeth are not equipped to easily tear through the snake’s hide. A single hedgehog will never be able to consume a whole snake by themselves, as their stomachs are too small.