Female copperhead snake cannibalises mate

By Australian Geographic 5 February 2020
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Copperhead snakes are opportunistic cannibals.

A LOCAL TASMANIAN snake catcher stumbled upon an unusual sight over the weekend.

After being called to a home in Sorell, north-east of Hobart for a “snake in the driveway”, Reptile Rescue’s Chris Daly discovered it was in fact two snakes – one had the other’s tail sticking out of its mouth.

(Image credit: Chris Daly)

It’s believed that the female copperhead snake had been mating with the male and afterwards, consumed him. Chris, however, thinks the young male had “tried his luck” and the female “wasn’t having it” and so it ate him.

According to Dan Rumsey from the Australian Reptile Park, “Copperhead snakes are opportunistic cannibals, similar to other species like red-bellied black snakes.

“This behaviour isn’t that common but, if the opportunity arises, they will predate on their own species.”

The male snake survived the ordeal after the female regurgitated him. Chris says both snakes are resting up before he releases them back into the wild.

(Image credit: Chris Daly)