Why Do Snakes Eat Themselves?

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It’s a question that has baffled humans for centuries. Why would a snake an otherwise intelligent and self-preserving creature choose to eat itself?

There are a few theories out there as to why snakes might do this. Some believe that it’s a way for the snake to rid itself of parasites.

Others believe that it’s a way for the snake to get rid of old damaged or shed skin. And still others believe that it’s a way for the snake to get nutrients that it would otherwise be unable to get.

Whatever the reason it’s clear that snakes eating themselves is not a rare occurrence. In fact it’s been documented in many different species of snakes both in the wild and in captivity.

So why do snakes eat themselves? Let’s take a closer look at some of the theories.

Theory #1: Snakes Eat Themselves To Get Rid Of Parasites

One theory is that snakes eat themselves to get rid of parasites. Parasites can be a big problem for snakes and they can often be difficult to get rid of. By eating themselves snakes can eliminate the parasites from their bodies.

This theory makes a lot of sense and it’s backed up by some evidence. For example there have been cases of snakes who have been observed eating their own skin after shedding it. It’s possible that they’re doing this in order to get rid of any parasites that may be clinging to the old skin.

Theory #2: Snakes Eat Themselves To Get Rid Of Old Damaged Or Shed Skin

Another theory is that snakes eat themselves to get rid of old damaged or shed skin. This makes sense as snakes shed their skin regularly. And sometimes the old skin can be difficult to remove. By eating it the snake can get rid of the old skin and make way for the new.

This theory is also supported by some evidence. For example there have been cases of snakes who have been observed eating their own skin after shedding it. It’s possible that they’re doing this in order to get rid of the old skin and make way for the new.

Theory #3: Snakes Eat Themselves To Get Nutrients They Wouldn’t Otherwise Be Able To Get

Another theory is that snakes eat themselves to get nutrients they wouldn’t otherwise be able to get. This one is a bit more speculative but it’s possible that snakes eat themselves in order to get nutrients that are otherwise unavailable to them.

For example some snakes are known to eat their own shed skin. Shed skin is a good source of protein and it’s possible that the snakes are eating it for this reason.

Whatever the reason it’s clear that snakes eating themselves is not an uncommon occurrence. So if you ever see a snake eating itself don’t be too alarmed. It’s just nature taking its course.


Some More Possibilities Of Why Snakes Eat Themselves

There are a few theories out there but no one really knows for sure. Here are 5 possible explanations for this strange behavior:

1. It’s A Way To Get Rid Of Old Skin

One theory is that snakes eat themselves as a way to get rid of old skin. Snakes shed their skin regularly – usually around once a month – as they grow.

Eating old skin is a way for them to get rid of it quickly and efficiently. It’s also thought that the act of eating their skin helps to stimulate the growth of new skin.

2. They’re Stressed Out

Another theory is that snakes eat themselves as a way to deal with stress. Snakes are known to be very sensitive to changes in their environment.

If they’re suddenly moved to a new enclosure for example it can cause a lot of stress. This can lead to them turning on themselves and eating their own skin.

3. They’re Sick

Eating oneself can also be a sign of illness in snakes. If a snake is sick it may not be able to digest its food properly.

As a result it may start to eat its own body as a way to get nutrients. This is especially common in snakes that are infected with parasites.

4. They’re Bored

Another possibility is that snakes eat themselves out of boredom. If they don’t have anything else to do they may start to play with their own tail or body.

This can sometimes lead to them accidentally biting themselves and then swallowing a piece of their own skin.

5. It’s A Survival Instinct

Finally some experts believe that eating oneself is a survival instinct. If a snake is injured for example it may start to eat its own tail in order to prevent the injury from spreading.

This is thought to be a way for the snake to prevent itself from dying.

So there you have it – 5 possible explanations for why snakes eat themselves. Of course we may never know for sure why they do it. But it’s definitely a fascinating behavior that’s worth studying!