Blackbird eats grass snake

This video from Britain is called Britain in COLD BLOOD – The Grass Snake (Natrix natrix).

From Wildlife Extra:

Early Bird Catches the Snake

The British Trust for Ornithology often receives reports of birds eating unusual prey items, a recent record of a Blackbird taking a snake proved to be quite exceptional.

The snake, identified by the observer Christine Dancey as a young Grass Snake, was reported to the BTO Garden BirdWatch Team. It was seen to be coiled in the beak of the Blackbird, with the head and tongue clearly visible dangling from the beak. However, it wasn’t all plain sailing for the Blackbird – it had to defend its prize from a pair of Magpies that seemed intent on stealing its meal.

Mike Toms, BTO/CJ Garden BirdWatch Organiser commented ‘Although it may seem odd that a Blackbird should attempt to predate a snake, young Grass Snakes are surprisingly small and are not much thicker than a large worm. The snake would make a good meal for the Blackbird and it is possible that this choice of menu item is more widespread than we realise. We would love to hear from any other observers who have witnessed Blackbirds (or other species) taking snakes or small lizards.’

Last year, the BTO commented on Blackbirds taking newts, tadpoles and even small fish. This shows that they are adaptable when it comes to diet and this may be why they have done so well.

* The Blackbird, a member of the thrush family, is a common garden bird; the UK population is estimated at 4.9 million pairs. It has a varied diet, feeding mainly on earthworms, other invertebrates, soft fruits and berries.
* The Grass Snake has a largely southerly distribution within the UK and is often found close to water. Garden ponds are well used since this species hunts mainly amphibians. It is not poisonous. This particular incident took place in Suffolk.

House sparrow vs. grass snake: here.

USA: Clearing forests is generally bad news for many native animal species, including rat snakes, but a new study has found that rat snakes that manage to survive in fragmented forests do quite well — much to the detriment of the birds they prey on: here.

Common lizards in Britain: here.

7 thoughts on “Blackbird eats grass snake

  1. Fish-eating snake caught in the act

    By Rachel McAthy

    Caught red-handed – this grass snake has been snapped stealing and eating a fish from a pond.

    When goldfish started to go missing in Paul Cackett’s pond, he blamed a visiting heron.

    But then he stumbled upon the truth – a wild snake with its jaws still locked around its prey.

    The snake had managed to drag a Shubunkin goldfish, around five times the size of the snake, out of the water and onto the patio,

    He then began to tuck into it, in front of a shocked Mr Cackett, of Greatstone.

    In the end the snake lost his appetite, spitting out his prey and diving back into the pond, where he now remains.

    Mr Cackett, of Coast Drive, Greatstone, said: “My wife was jumping up and down as you can appreciate, with a great big snake in the garden.

    “I am just still amazed how the thing could actually get it out of the pond, bring it onto the patio and then start devouring it.”

    The pond used to hold about 17 fish but Mr Cackett has now lost three and is unsure how many of the thousand newborns he bred this year have survived.

    The RSPCA have identified the snake as a grass snake and said it is common behaviour for it to eat fish and amphibians from garden ponds.


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