Two rabbits in a cage - are they safe from snakes?

Do Snakes Eat Rabbits?

Snakes of all sorts are predators that eat small animals of any type that they can find. If your rabbit has a play enclosure or a hutch or run to get exercise outside, then you need to make sure it’s snake-proof. Snakes do eat baby bunnies and any rabbit that is small enough for them to swallow whole.

How Do Snakes Eat Something That is Bigger Than Their Mouth?

Small snakes are most probably not a concern for your rabbit as they won’t be able to swallow them whole. The snake’s upper and lower jaws are not hinged together, so this allows them to open very wide. It is a coping mechanism for them to eat larger prey and less often in the wild. After eating, the bulge is apparent in the snake’s stomach and it will remain where it is for several days to digest the food. Keep in mind that rats, mice, and other creatures are attracted to outside rabbits and these smaller animals can attract a snake to your rabbit’s enclosure in the hopes of getting a quick meal.

What Animals Do Snakes Eat?

Snakes will eat just about anything they come across when they are hungry. They eat small mammals and rodents, such as rats, mice, hamsters, squirrels, prairie dogs, chipmunks, and gerbils. If none of these are available, they will eat toads, frogs, lizards, small birds such as pigeons and sparrows, and even eggs if they can reach them.

Dangerous brown snake
Python

What Species of Snakes Eat Rabbits?

Less than 300 of the incredible 3400 species of snakes can actually be dangerous to yourself and your rabbits. They can control how much venom they inject into the prey to paralyze them and it makes it easier for them to eat them if they are fighting to get away. Snakes also have some teeth that point backward to help the meal stay in their mouth and not escape their jaws.

Reticulated pythons are originally from Southeast Asia and they grow up to 20 feet long. There are records of them actually eating adult humans as well. The Burmese python is also from Southeast Asia and it reaches about 16 feet long. Note that these snakes sometimes escape captivity in non-native areas of the world, and they can become a serious problem such as the reticulated pythons are currently in Florida.

Boa constrictors grow to be about 10 feet long and they will actually squeeze their prey to death before swallowing it whole. Anacondas can reach 17 feet long and weigh over 145 pounds. They spend a lot of time in the water and usually capture their meals by the water.

Bullsnakes are some of the largest snakes in North America. They can grow up to 8 feet or longer. Bullsnakes are native to our region, as they can definitely eat a rabbit if it is inclined to do so.

As you can see, snakes in the wild need to be pretty large to eat an adult bunny, but most snakes can eat baby bunnies because they are so small when they are born. Large bull snakes, rattlesnakes, and even large garden snakes or grass snakes would be the likely culprits in the attack of a rabbit.

Coiled outdoor snake
Grass snake

How To Keep Rabbits Safe When Outside?

If your rabbit lives outside in a hutch, there is a much greater chance of a snake attacking it than if you let your rabbit out in a run or an enclosure to get exercise in the daytime while you are watching them. The outdoor bunny’s hutch should not have any openings in it that are larger than 1/4 inch or a snake could fit through it.

Snakes often feed at night because that’s when they find their prey, so you need to be very cautious about your furbaby’s hutch or enclosure in the dark.

If your hutch has a wooden frame, you should examine it often for signs of failing wood. You can patch these areas up with new wood. You may be thinking that treated wood will be better because it will last for years outside, but don’t use treated wood as your furry friend may decide to nibble on it and it can cause him to be very ill.

Often, a rabbit hutch or enclosure that is outside will be under or near some trees, bushes, or large shrubs to give the rabbit some extra shade and cooling in the heat of the day. You should also realize that these items can give snakes a place to hide as well. Many types of snakes will hide somewhere and they only come out when they are ready to attack and devour their next meal, so you may not even realize the threat is there. It’s best to keep the tree and bush limbs trimmed back from the hutch or pen and keep the grass cut short around it as well.

After your rabbit finishes his nighttime meal, it’s best to remove any leftover food that would attract other small mammals such as mice or snakes that are looking for a tasty snack.

If you have a woodpile for barbeque wood or for your fireplace, try to keep it as small as possible. Snakes love to hide in wood and also have babies in the wood, especially if it’s seasoned wood that is starting to disintegrate. You can put a snake-proof fence of hardware cloth around the woodpile to keep snakes from this area in your lawn. It can also prevent babies that may be venomous, such as rattlesnakes that can have a litter of 10 babies at a time and hognose snakes have litters of 15 to 20 babies at a time.

What Are Natural Snake Repellents?

You can enlist the help of some common household items to repel snakes from entering your lawn to keep your rabbit safe while he’s outside. Natural repellents work well and there is less of a chance of a neighborhood cat or dog being killed by commercial snake repellents.

You’ve seen the slithering motion that snakes make when they move by twisting their bodies. If you make the movements harder and with something that will irritate snakes, they will not come onto your lawn. You can sprinkle cat litter or gravel around the perimeter of your lawn so that snakes won’t cross it to get to your rabbit hutch.

In addition to the cat litter or gravel, you can also sprinkle a 50:50 ratio of salt and crushed garlic on top of the litter or gravel. Snakes have a great sense of smell and if they don’t like a scent it will repel them. The salt will make it harder to move and irritate their skin and the garlic scent is something that all snakes hate–snakes will slither away from your lawn if they try to enter it and get garlic on their skin.

Other snake repellents include white vinegar. You merely place it in a squirt bottle and spray it around the perimeter of your lawn to send snakes on their way. You will need to repeat the process after each time it rains though, because the rain will dilute the smell. If you are not a fan of the smell of vinegar yourself, you can mix 1 tablespoon of cedar oil, 1 teaspoon of clove oil, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon oil into 2 cups of water and spray this on the edges of your lawn. The result for humans is a nice scent, but snakes despise it.

Final Thoughts

The safest place to keep your pet rabbit is inside the home, especially at night. This isn’t always possible, but with a bit of extra effort, you can snake-proof your lawn so that snakes don’t eat your baby rabbits or small breeds of rabbits if they stay in an outside hutch. The answer to the question do snakes eat rabbits is yes, but only if they can access them.

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