Snakes have been known and observed attacking their own body or tail and dying as a result.
However, can snakes poison themselves by their own venom or are they immune to it?
In this article, we will see why would a snake try to kill itself and can it be Poisoned by their Own Venom.
We will also see if snakes are immune to another snake venom.
Why Do Snakes Kill Themselves?
Snakes are sensitive to movements and may attack instinctively when there is sharp movement around them. With a hint of movement around, sometimes individual snake may bite its own tail, under the impression, there was another snake there. This results in physical harm which can prove fatal on certain occasions.
Why would a snake kill itself
A snake would kill itself only if it bites itself too hard and consequently leaves a grave wound. Snake does not intentionally kill itself. It may only be instinctively biting itself, which is caused by its own sudden movement making the reptile believe there was either a prey around or a life threat.
Snakes see the moving body or tail, think it’s an enemy or prey, take a bite on it and then realize they bit their own body. That doesn’t usually result in deaths. Still, if the physical injury from biting itself was too bad and sustained for a long time, they might ultimately die.
Can Snakes Commit Suicide?
No, snakes do not commit suicide, talking from a cognitive point of view. They may not have that understanding to wishfully take their own lives. Suicide among snakes refers to the kind of self-destructive behaviour that the reptile is seen displaying that results in its death.
Contradicting the natural survival instinct of animals, there are situations where they seem to take their own lives.
There are reports of observations where animals, including snakes were seen taking their own lives. One such incident being an experiment carried out centuries ago where the snake apparently drowned itself.
Similarly, there are videos and written reports about snakes biting themselves to death or cutting their own body in two halves. However, there is no ample proof to suggest the repetition of any of those actions.
This accidental self-harm caused by the snake cannot be called suicide because this is neither intentional nor does the animal understand its own act. Neither does a snake eat itself to death.
Can Snakes be Poisoned by their Own Venom? How do Snakes Not poison Themselves?
Snakes cannot be poisoned by their own venom because the venom is secured in special glands that does not allow it entering the reptile’s blood vessels. Therefore, they are safe from the deadly effect of their own venom.
Secondly, there is a good chance that the snake digests its own venom, however, that will cause no harm because the digestive systems treat the venom to divide it into harmless forms.The primary constituent of venom is protein. And for protein toxins to be effective, they must directly be injected into the blood vessels or absorbed into the bloodstream.
It is important to clarify that venomous snakes are often referred to as being poisonous, however, venom and poison are two separate things. Poisons must be ingested, inhaled or absorbed, while venom must be injected into the blood vessel by mechanical means.
This may be unusual but there are a few snake species of snake that are poisonous. Whether they may be self-effected by the poison is not well established.
Read More: Do Black Snakes bite
What happens if a snake bites itself?
Depending on the gravity of the wound damage caused by the bite a snake may recover or die. Generally, the injuries would heal soon as the snake is not expected to bite itself more than once.
Usually when a snake bites itself it will instantly realise its own mistake and refrain from repeating the act. However, if the bite was too strong to cut the body in two halves that can be fatal as one half may instantly go limp. Similarly, in events of sustained bad injuries, the snake might ultimately loose its life.
Are Snakes Immune to other snakes Venom?
Snakes are immune to the venoms of the same species, they have developed immunity overtime. Snakes biting the same species is considered a common event as they live with each other all the time. It is normal for a venomous snake to get bitten by another snake of its own species in a fight or during mating. They are not observed to be affected by these bites.
However, if a snake gets bitten by a venomous snake which belongs to a different species, it will probably be affected in majority of the cases. Some snakes, such as the king cobra are found to be immune to even other snake species’ venom. However, most snakes are not immune to venom of a different snake species.
Can a snake eat itself to Death?
No. A snake will not eat itself to death. The reason simply being the fact that snakes bite themselves only accidentally. They never mean to cause themselves any harm. They usually bite themselves thinking their tail being another snake. But once they realise, they have bitten themselves, they will refrain from repeating the act.
Recently there was a story going viral where a snake was trying to swallow its own tail and was rescued by animal rescuers. Depending on the studies carried out so far it was improbable the snake would have gone all the way to eat itself to death if it was not rescued.