Do Mountain Lions Eat Snakes? (Answered)

For more than ten years, Travis Perry, a biologist from Furman University, has been conducting research on mountain lions about their population, general eating habit, and food diet.  However, a lot has been said and will be said but do mountain lions eat snakes?

Research is quite expensive; therefore, we’ve taken the extra mile to find concrete answers to the most burning questions concerning mountain lions. Read this article and gain insight into the preying habit of mountain lions.


Do Mountain Lions Eat Snakes?

Yes, mountain lions will prey on small and nonvenomous snakes where possible, especially when hungry, although it’s not their main diet. Large and venomous snakes are hard to prey on because they can end up hurting the mountain lion with a single bite.

Mountain lions will only prey on snakes as an opportunistic meal, but they are not worthy of being their diet. To be full, mountain lions will consume between 20 to 30 pounds of meals a day. However, they are not always successful hunters. Sometimes they go for a week without anything for their mouth. The amount of food makes them always prey on large animals like dears.

How Do Mountain Lions Eat Snakes?

Mountain lions kill before eating the snake. They do so by attacking the snake using their strong front paws while delivering massive punches on the snake’s head. When dead, they lie down on their chest and eat the snake with the help of forelimbs to hold on tight when tearing out the flesh.

Generally, mountain lions, just like savannah lions, have the same eating habit. Even when eating on large animals, they seem comfortable eating when lying on their chests on the ground or up the trees. However, snake kill is not always a success for the mountain lion, especially when the snake is large and venomous.

How Often Do Mountain Lions Eat Snakes?

Mountain lions rarely eat snakes because they aren’t their main diet. A mountain lion eats snakes, especially when hungry, but the snake’s size cannot satisfy the lion’s stomach. A healthy and full-grown lion will feed on a large meal with an average weight of 25 pounds.  

However, mountain lions are opportunistic hunters meaning they’ll feed on any animal that is an easy target to kill for a meal. Nonvenomous snakes like the python could be an easy target for the mountain lion. Because they have no pangs, they are harmless, making them fewer attackers and hence killed by mountain lions for meals.

Do Mountain Lions Eat Dead Snakes?

Mountain lions will eat dead snakes if it comes across its carcass. However, remember that mountain lions are not scavengers like vultures and coyotes. They only scavenge when seasons are tough. Such feeding habit mainly happens when food is scarce.

During the winter season, food normally becomes scarce as most animals hibernate, making the food availability for mountain lions scarce. Animals, especially snakes, are rare to find during cold conditions. Therefore, a mountain lion will eat any carcass for survival. The digestive mechanism of the mountain lion can work on carcasses without causing any harm to the mountain lion.

Do Mountain Lions Eat Humans?

Mountain lions, also known as pumas or cougars, are carnivorous and will eat humans where possible. They are mainly not picky eaters and will feed on any opportunistic meal where possible. They usually attack animals unfortunate enough to kill using their strong paws and suffocating neck bite. They then open the body and feed on soft body organs like the liver and heart and leave the rest for the scavengers.

When you tress pass on a mountain lion territory and feel threatened, it will always attack mainly for protection. But if it’s hungry and you look so vulnerable, it will always see the opportunity to attack for food. Therefore, if you come across a mountain lion or sport it from afar, seek shelter where possible and report for help.

Do Humans Eat Mountain Lions?

Humans are omnivores and will eat any meal of their choice since they have the free will to do so. As long as the mountain lion’s meat is harmless, some humans will eat it. In the United States, it is legal to hunt and kill mountain lions for their meat but illegal to sell the meat.

Most people around the US say lion’s meat is edible, although bad for the taste. Historically, people used to hunt lions for their skin but it was taboo to kill the lion for its meat. Like the other cats, most people consider them unclean because they feed on other animals. This is entirely your choice to either kill for meat or leave. However, recheck your state laws; is it legal to kill a lion? If not, you can end up in jail for something you could escape. Rules are not always the same in every state, be wise and act accordingly.

What Do Mountain Lions Eat?

Mountain lions are carnivorous and mainly eat meat for survival. The animals in which mountain lions prey for their meat include; coyotes, deer, raccoons, feral hogs, elk, mice, porcupines, moose, rabbits, badger, antelopes, bighorn sheep, beavers, feral horses, marmots, birds, squirrels, caribou, black bears, and many others.

Like the other cat family animals, mountain lions attack their prey from behind using their powerful, strong paws. They are also smart in suffocating their prey when they catch them. They do so by making strong neck bites to prevent air from entering the body. If you come across any mountain lion, stand still and do not bend. When standing, you’ll not be a target, and it won’t see you as other animals to prey on. If you have a jacket, spread it wide open using your hands to look big; this way, you’ll scare away the mountain lion.

What Other Animals Prey on Mountain Lions?

Animals like coyotes, wolves, bears, Andean condors, and alligators prey on mountain lions. Although mountain lions are close to a higher hierarchy in the food chain, they are also prey to other animals. They are also solitary animals, and a park of other carnivores can always challenge them.  

However, it’s not quite common for other predators to hunt mountain lions simply because; the lions are great hunters themselves. Normally, competition for food creates conflict between these animals. And the vulnerable one can end up being prey for the others. Mountain lions are always victims because they are not in parks.

Will a Mountain Lion Challenge a Snake?

It’s no surprise a lion will always win because it takes only a single bite for the lion to slay the snake’s head. Also, it can snag using its powerful paws before the snake defends itself. Even if they start the fight at the same time, the lion is always in a position to win.

Body size is always an advantage to winning a fight because it is accompanied by strength. Although most snakes are venomous, they can take time to react and respond accordingly. This way, they always fall victim and end up killed in a fight with mountain lions. Most of all, mountain lions are so first in delivering quick and strong punches, strong enough to cut off a snake’s head in no time.

Can Snake Poison Kill a Mountain Lion?

Yes, snake poison can kill a mountain lion. Most snakes are venomous except the python. A single bite from a venomous snake can kill a lion within a short time. However, the poison power depends on the age and snake type. Some snakes’ poison attacks the nervous system, making the host unable even to move. 

When a venomous snake bites a mountain lion, the lion will only have a higher chance of survival if seen by a veterinary. A veterinary will give an anti-poison injection to help fight the poison in the body. However, it’s rare to find a mountain lion killed by a snake. Lions are very good at defending themselves against snakes.

Which Animals Kill Snakes?

Animals that kill snakes are mainly from the rapper species: Hawks and Eagles. Hawks and eagles have strong paws with sharp nails able to tear out the snake’s flesh. They also have sharp and curved bikes to help them feed on flesh. They only attack snakes they can kill and carry. Big snakes are challenging to hunt and kill; therefore, they are not always a priority.

Hawks and eagles’ body is covered with feathers, making it almost impossible for the snake bite to reach its flesh. Mongooses also feed on snakes as their main diet. Mongoose has nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, which help to protect them against snake venom.  They are also great hunters with skills in hunting down snakes. Unlike other animals, their digestive system can neutralize snake poison and will not always fall victim to the poison.

Final Verdict

Mountain lions, also known as cougars or pumas, are carnivorous animals. They are opportunistic eaters and will feed on most animals they can attack and kill, including snakes.

From research, their number keeps on increasing. This is considered to be the fact that they can feed on carcasses of other animals in times of food scarcity, although they are not known to be scavengers.

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.