Do snakes eat their own eggs? Most bizarre things about snakes

snake eating their own eggs
snake eating their own eggs

While it is very common for most of the snake species to consume eggs as part of their diet. But it sounds very absurd when you find a snake eating their own eggs. But do they really eat their own eggs? After seeking the answer here is what I learned.

Do snakes eat their own eggs? Snakes do not eat their own eggs under natural circumstances. This usually occurs when the eggs get deformed or are infertile to develop and hatch. In such instances, the snake will eat its own eggs in order to retain the necessary nutrients.

This is a very rare scenario as most of the snakes usually abandoned their eggs after laying. And some snakes such as the ball python will show a maternal instinct and will stay with their eggs and protect them during incubation.

A snake eating its own eggs can possibly because of sickness, stress, starvation, or if the egg gets deformed.

Snakes do not do this intuitively as this will be against the survival instincts for the whole species.

If you are a snake owner then there is a lot more to know like what makes a snake to eat its own eggs, and why will a snake even do this. Keep reading further to know more about such behavior.  

Why do snakes eat their own eggs?

When a captivated snake is kept in the same confined enclosure where they laid the eggs. They confuse their eggs as prey and end up eating their own eggs. Although this occurs mostly in captivity because, in the wild, the snakes abandon their eggs after laying them. 

As some snakes species are not smart enough to distinguish between their own eggs and potential prey, they end up feeding upon their eggs. But such circumstances mainly occurs when the snakes are in captivity.

Such incident mainly happens with snake species like corn snakes, king snakes, hognose snakes, bull snakes, etc. Because as these snakes feed on eggs of other animals like lizards, birds, and other reptiles. 

While kept in captivity with their own eggs, snakes confuse them with food and end up eating them. 

Other than this there are some other reasons like stress, starvation, and infertility of the eggs that can trigger such behavior.

The snake is hungry 

The snakes living in captivity lay eggs in the same enclosure where they reside. And are mostly fed by their owners. If such snakes get pregnant they will stop eating after ovulation till they lay the eggs. 

Usually, this gestation period takes nearly 30 to 60 days. And during this time they get really hungry, so if they are not fed at the right time after laying eggs they are not left with any option other than eating their own eggs out of starvation.

The snake is stressed

Stress can cause some serious agitation to the snakes.

Due to stress the metabolism rate of the snake increases which leads to disorientation and a false urge of hunger.

Because of this the snake can possibly attack their own eggs and end up eating them.

There are many instances that show the snakes biting and eating themselves due to stress. If the vivarium is too hot or the enclosure is too confined or there is no hiding space and the snake feels like too exposed. This all can lead to stress.

In such circumstances, the stressed snake can also indulge itself in eating their own eggs.

The Eggs are Infertile

As all the eggs that snakes lay are not healthy, some of them turn out to be infertile or deformed in such a case the mother snake consumes the unfit eggs in order to prevent the rest of the eggs from mold grown from the unfertile rotten egg.

Eating these eggs also help the snakes to consume the nutrients and reclaim the energy they lost during gestation. But every snake does not come across these situations. But you must know which snakes can face such circumstances.

What snakes eat their own eggs?

milk snake with his eggs
milk snake with his eggs

The snakes that eat eggs of other creatures in the wild, when kept in a confined enclosure often confuse their own eggs with food. And thus end up eating their own eggs. Snakes such as corn snake,  king snake, bull snake, milk snake are mostly found eating their own eggs when kept in captivity. 

Usually in the wild, these snakes left their eggs as soon as they lay them. So it becomes less likely for them to come across their own eggs and end up eating them.

But while they are kept in captivity they have to live around their eggs due to this they may get tricked by their intuitions and can confuse their own eggs with eggs of other creatures and end up eating them. 

There are some of the possible measures that you can take in order to save your snake form getting into such trouble keep reading to know the possible actions you can take from your side.

Steps to take if you find your snakes eating their own eggs

While the possibility of you encountering your pet snake eating its own eggs are very rare. As this doesn’t happen with every pet snake. But you must need to know what to do if you are one who ends up such a situation.

These are the following possible things you can do to save your snake and its eggs from any harm.

  • Remove the eggs from the terrarium and put them in a place where the snake cannot reach.
  • Look for any damage that occurred to other eggs in the clutch, and separate the damaged egg fro the rest.
  •  Check the eggs with the candle method to find if any egg is infertile.
  • Remove the infertile egg from the clutch as it can grow fungus and infect other eggs in the clutch. 
  • If the snake has eaten too many eggs soak them in lukewarm water and provide them a gentle massage. To help them regurgitate.
  • Keep a watch on the snake for at least 48 to 72 hours to trace any unusual activity
  • If the snake has regurgitated avoid handling and feeding your snake for some time.  
  •  If the snake in not accepting any food after eating the eggs. And is constantly losing its weight then you must visit the veterinarian

However, to avoid such a situation you can take some of the following steps to ensure you can avoid getting in such trouble.

Things to do to avoid such a situation

Take care of your pet snake can really impact a lot of things. while there is no proven research done on why do snakes eat there own eggs but here I have listed some of the most potent things you can do to avoid such kind of situation.

  • Keep a close eye on your snake when they are pregnant and in a period of laying eggs.
  • Keep the temperature and humidity adequate as per your pet snakes requirement.
  • Provide them with sufficient space in their enclosure so they can move around freely without being felt liked trapped. Do not captivate them in a small size enclosure especially when they are pregnant.
  •  Give them appropriate hides to make them comfortable and reduce the chances of stress. You can provide them with two identical hides one being at the cold side while the other at the hot side.
  • Avoid handling your pet snake while she is pregnant as this can cause a lot of stress to the snake.
  • Provide them with an adequate amount of food and water if they prefer to eat after ovulation
  • If it looks like your pet snake is ill when she is pregnant. Make sure to make a visit to the veterinarian.

While there are very few such incidents where the pet snakes are found eating their own eggs. These steps can help you prevent being one of such snake owners that have encountered.

Do snakes eat their babies? 

baby snake hatching from egg
baby snake hatching from egg

Snakes do not eat their babies, because most of the snakes abandon their eggs before hatching and never comes back to feed or take care of their young. Thus the odds of the snakes eating their own babies are none.

But things can vary if the snakes are kept in captivity with their babies. As some snakes such as milk snakes, are cannibals in nature and will end up eating their own babies if confined in the same enclosure.

Snakes are not very intelligent and they do not exhibit any affection to their babies.

They will treat their own babies as prey and will end up eating them. 

So you need to keep this in mind if you have any pet snake that feeds on their own species in the wild. Then you must keep their babies in a different enclosure.    

However not every snake shows this type of behavior. Snakes like ball pythons tend to protect their eggs by coiling around the clutch of eggs until they hatch.


There are many incidents recorded where the snakes are seen eating their own eggs. But there is such a rare occurrence that there is no sufficient research done to provide valid reasoning for such behavior in snakes. However, the most possible things that can cause this has been listed above.