Do Snakes Eat Butterflies? Quick Answer!

Last updated on October 11th, 2022

Snakes will eat almost anything they come across. They are opportunistic predators who feed on whatever food source is available at the moment.

Snakes aren’t usually known for being herbivores, but they do consume insects.

They may even prey upon other creatures such as lizards, frogs, turtles, mice, rats, rabbits, squirrels, deer, horses, cattle, dogs, cats, and humans, but do snakes eat butterflies?

Snakes do eat butterflies but it’s useless for them to cripple the insect with venom due to its small size and since the butterfly’s wings are very thin and lack nutrients, most snakes will focus on grabbing the body of the insect instead.

Do snakes like eating butterflies?

In the wild, it is difficult to say whether butterflies are the preferred food of snakes. Snakes usually hunt for rodents, small birds, and other similar creatures.

However, that does not mean they will not eat insects, butterflies, and moths.

For example, if there is a swarm of butterflies, you might find a snake there waiting to hunt and bring down suitable prey.

Hence, there is no reason to conclude that snakes do not like butterflies. 

Do snakes hunt butterflies?

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The answer to this question is yes! Snakes are known to hunt for butterflies, especially ones that climb trees to look for suitable prey.

Even snakes that spend most of their time on the ground are known to hunt for butterflies.

However, only the more giant snakes like pythons, anacondas, and boa constrictors will not hunt for butterflies.

This is because these snakes require larger animals to fulfill their appetite; hence, the smaller butterflies are not suitable prey for these giant snakes.

Can butterflies be toxic to snakes?

The Monarch is considered poisonous, but there is no record of it being dangerous to snakes.

In most cases, it is the wings of a butterfly that are poisonous.

Snakes are known to avoid the wings of a butterfly and concentrate more on the body of the insect.

Hence, the chances of butterflies proving to be poisonous to snakes are minimized.

How do snakes eat butterflies?

The common notion is that snakes eat their prey whole. But when it comes to butterflies’ snakes behave quite differently. The creature avoids the wings as they do not have many nutrients.

So, when you look at a butterfly, the first thing that will catch your eye is the wings of the insect.

But in the case of a snake, it will concentrate on the slender body of the butterfly.

The creature avoids the wings as they do not have many nutrients so it will concentrate on the slender body of the butterfly.

Why do snakes prefer the body of the butterfly and not the wings?

The primary reason for this is all nutrients that the snake can get from its prey are concentrated in the body of the butterfly and not its wings.

Moreover, the wings of certain butterflies can be toxic, and hence snakes tend to avoid these.

Hence, you will find that snakes eat the bodies of butterflies and discard the wings.

Is there any particular method that snakes employ to hunt for butterflies?

Most snakes are ambush predators, meaning they will lie in wait for their prey and then hunt them.

According to the website, PetMD, snakes use their tongues to figure out which direction to move and in doing so, they will be able to hunt for butterflies.

In addition, when it comes to catching insects, it is necessary to prevent them from flying away.

Therefore, a snake will flick its tongue and grab hold of the butterfly in its tongue to prevent it from flying away. This is the preferred way for snakes to hunt butterflies.

Why doesn’t a snake use its fangs to hunt butterflies?

First, you need to understand that all snakes are not poisonous and that several species of snakes have small fangs.

Some snakes, like milk snakes, do not have fangs. Hence, fangs are often not the preferred hunting device of snakes.

Moreover, when it comes to insects like butterflies, it might be useless because the body of the insect is small, and they might not deliver the venom correctly to the body.

Snakes use venom to immobilize their prey, and it is most effective against prey of slightly larger sizes like rats and mice.

Hence, snakes never use their fangs while hunting butterflies.

Are there any particular species of snake that eats butterflies?

It is usually the smaller species of snakes that eat butterflies.

But among them, the small and medium-sized Viper called Vipera berus is the most common predator of butterflies.

Snakes like this one are poisonous, but they are also shy. It will not attack unless it feels threatened. Therefore, it usually avoids any confrontation.

It is also the most common species of Viper found in Europe and Asia.

Can you teach your pet snake not to attack butterflies?

It is impossible to teach a snake anything! Snakes are predatory by nature, and a butterfly is its prey.

Hence, if a snake sees a butterfly and identifies it as suitable prey, it will hunt it.

In addition, snakes are solitary creatures and do not interact well with other creatures.

Hence, if you have a pet snake, then it is best that you keep it in a glass box and away from your other pets.

Do snakes have teeth to chew their prey?

Snakes do not have teeth to chew their prey, but they have strong jaw muscles. Therefore, they eat their prey whole.

Sometimes they can swallow their prey whole. Otherwise, they can discard the parts they do not wish to swallow.

Can snakes be dangerous in a garden?

Butterflies are essential pollinators and necessary if you want to have fruits and flowers in your garden.

If you have snakes in your garden, then you must take steps to remove these.

These reptiles can be dangerous because you do not know if they are venomous or not.

Moreover, they can significantly reduce the number of butterflies in your garden, affecting the harvest of flowers and fruits.

Hence, if you have a snake infestation in your garden, you should call in experts or use snake repellents.

What do snakes normally eat?

Snakes are carnivores, so they must be given an animal-based diet. But different types of snakes eat different things.

For example, a rare snake species eats only eggs; you cannot give such snakes animal-based food.

But in general, snakes eat rodents, small birds, insects, and other similar creatures.

Snakes do eat butterflies but they’re ambush feeders and don’t go out searching for butterflies, instead, they will use their tongues to figure out which direction to move.

There are quite a lot more animals that eat butterflies and you can learn more about them in that article.

Further reading:
Wikipedia – Snake

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