Can a Snake Live if Cut in Half? (And Heal From Cuts?)

Animals are pretty impressive creatures. It does not matter if they belong in the mammal, amphibian, or reptile family. Many of them can survive through dangerous and risky situations.

An example of an animal is a snake. The bigger the snake, the larger their prey could be. It is interesting to see these creatures swallow their meal whole. However, even powerful snakes such as boa constrictors can get hurt.

One way a snake can get hurt is by getting cut in half. It is a popular myth that has existed for snakes. In this article, we will find out if snakes can truly live if they have been cut in half.


Can a Snake Survive Being Cut in Half?

There is a prevalent myth that a snake can survive if it is cut in half. It really is nothing more than a myth because a snake cannot survive if it is cut in half. The reason it is not going to survive is that of blood loss. Eventually, a snake is going to succumb to the loss of blood.

This myth has existed for some time. Worms can survive if they are cut, provided the head survives the cut. It will simply regenerate a tail. Because of their similar shape, people may think that this also applies to snakes, but worms and snakes are two quite different animals.

One is a reptile, and a worm is a bilaterian. There is no way they can be compared even if the shape is the same. Same goes for the size of the snake. It does not matter the size. If they are cut in half, they are not going to survive.

Can a Garter Snake Survive Being Cut in Half?

One common type of snake all people may have come across at some point are called the garter snakes. They are common in north and central America, usually found in the backyards of people’s homes.

These small to medium-sized snakes (that are usually harmless I might add) will not survive getting cut in half. If they do happen to be somehow cut in half, they will bleed to death like any species of snake will.

There are a total of 35 species and subspecies that fall into the garter snake category. Not one of them would live after being cut in half. They would all eventually succumb to blood loss and nerve damage that was caused by the injury.

Species do not discriminate if part of its body is amputated. However, it might play a part in how long the snake survives after being cut in half in the first place.

How Long do Snakes Live After Being Cut in Half?

We know that a snake, no matter the species, will eventually die after being cut in half due to blood loss.

Interestingly enough, snakes can live a few minutes or hours after they have been cut in half. We say interesting because it could take up to a few hours for them to die fully. In the end, it is not very great for the snake when you think about it because who wants to be lying there for hours as they wait for death?

The reason it can take so long is that a snake does not need as much oxygen to keep its brain going. The same goes for the ectotherms, which are animals that require an external source of body heat.

Again, it still is not that great for the snake who has had part of its body forcibly removed.


Can Snakes Heal From Cuts?

Depending on the severity of the wound or cut, the snake can heal from it. However, the bigger the cut or wound, the longer it could take for a snake to heal. This is if the wound does not get infected either, which is common for wild snake injuries.

Snakes crawl on the ground to get from place to place. On the ground is dirt and other such material that is ripe with bacteria. So, wounds getting infected is quite common for snake injuries. If this happens, the snake is not going to move well or take care of itself with such an injury.

Eventually, the snakes may succumb to their injuries because of another animal has come by and attacked them, it has gotten too cold, or simply because they got weak.

Do Snakes Feel Pain When Cut in Half?

Snakes do indeed feel pain when cut in half. Even if they do not appear to be in pain, remember that looks can be deceiving. Plus, a reptile’s pain perception is different from a human so they are not going to react say the same way you would if you were hurt.

Seeing is not always believing, so just because the snake looks fine remember they were just cut in half. Anything is going to hurt after that!

You also have to remember that a snake can remain alive for up to a few hours after being cut in half. This means that the snake could be in pain for a decent amount of time until it finally dies from its injuries.

How do You Know if a Snake is in Pain?

A snake can feel pain even if they do not show it, which we covered in the previous section. This is something you understand pretty well by now. However, one thing you may wonder is how to even tell if a snake is in pain.

If a mammal is in pain, they are going to show that they are in pain, commonly through their facial expressions or vocalizations. The thing with snakes is that they do not really show their facial expressions and cannot do so in the way we humans can. So, if they were in pain, we cannot tell by just looking at their face.

There really is not a great way to tell if a snake is in pain or not. They may lash out physically should you get too close—if they can that is—and this is one way to tell, but if they have been cut in half, this is unlikely to happen.

All you can do is assume that if there is some kind of wound on a snake (or if they have been cut in half) that they are in pain like any other creature would be in that situation.

Can a Snake Survive an Injury?

We touched on this subject briefly when we discussed whether a snake could heal from a cut.

If the cut cannot heal, then chances are the snake is eventually going to die. Depending on the severity, a snake could survive, but it depends on how serious the wound is and where it occurred.

If a snake has some human intervention, it could have a better chance of surviving a more serious injury. Remember, never approach a wild snake on your own. The best way to help is to call your local wildlife expert, animal control, or an animal professional with knowledge of wild snakes. You never want to touch it yourself because it may lash out and try to hurt you.

What if you do not have any services available where you live? Then, unfortunately you are just going to leave it be and let nature take its course. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, there is nothing we can do.

Can a Snake Survive With its Tail Cut off?

A snake can simply not survive if it is cut in half, or its head is cut off. If instead its tail is cut, it could survive. You need to consider how much of the tail has been cut. Is it just the tip? Then, the snake could survive provided the bleeding is stopped. Should the bleeding not be stopped the snake will eventually bleed out.

Now, if the cut is too far up and cuts through an important vital organ that belongs to the snake, there is no chance for it to survive. It does not even matter if it bleeds out or not, because without that vital organ they will die.

Losing the tip of its tail is the best option for a snake should it get a part of its body cut off. Any more than just the tip, then the snake is going to eventually pass on.

Final Thoughts

The myth of a snake being able to live with being cut in half is just that. It is a myth and not grounded in any truth. If a snake is cut in half, it is eventually going to die and any severe injury on a snake is going to result in its death.

The only exception is if the tip of a snake’s tail is all that is amputated. In that case, the snake may get lucky to see another day.

Disclaimer: This blog should not be considered as being professional pet medical advice. The content published on this blog is for informational purposes only. Please always consult with a licensed and local veterinarian for medical advice.

About Shaun Clarke

Shaun is passionate about pets and animals, especially dogs, cats, and rabbits. He owns a dog and a couple of cats too. He loves visiting wildlife sanctuaries and shares a strong bond with animals. When he is not writing, he loves to do a barbecue in the backyard with his family and friends.