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LuckyGuy's avatar

What animal, other than humans, hangs a dead snake in a tree branch?

Asked by LuckyGuy (30097 points ) February 22nd, 2014

I live in Western NY. I found a moderately sized snake, about 85 cm long (~32 inches) and about about 3 cm (1 inch) in diameter hung on a low branch in a pine tree. I know that Shrikes do that with rodents and usually impale them on a short branch. What would take a snake of that size? Can some type of raptor do it?

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19 Answers

thorninmud's avatar

A red-tailed hawk (or similar Buteo raptor) would be my prime suspect. They love snakes.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, certain species of Hawks often impale snakes for easy dining. Tree branches, fence posts, barbwire fencing. I saw a Coopers Hawk eating a big King Snake that he had wound around a strand of barbwire while he perched on a fence post once.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Thank you! We have both red-tailed hawks and cooper’s hawks in this area.
Unfortunately, it is very windy today so my motion sensing camera will not work properly. I will set it up tomorrow and see what it catches. I hope the snake is still there.

CWOTUS's avatar

I wonder what a snake was doing out and about in your neck of the woods at this time of year. I would think that it would be in hibernation until the ground warmed up quite a bit more.

Symbeline's avatar

Honey badgers eat snakes, and thye may do so in the branches of a tree…but I don’t think there are any of those in your neck of the woods. (trees honey badgers, that is)

Coloma's avatar

@Symbeline I just watched a PBS Nature documentary on Honey Badgers the other night. They are so cool!

Symbeline's avatar

@Coloma I saw a documentary on them about ten years ago, they are pretty damn vicious haha.

LuckyGuy's avatar

The ground is covered in snow. I have no idea where the snake came from. I clearlyu did not die in the tree naturally. It’s head is smashed. Ecch.

1TubeGuru's avatar

Any wild snake living in New York this time of year should be dormant and in a burrow, did some ones pet snake escape and get its head smashed on the road by a vehicle. did a raptor snatch it up from the road and deposit it in a tree limb? the situation that you describe seems really odd.

talljasperman's avatar

Cougars and other large felines.

thorninmud's avatar

There’s also the possibility that one animal dug it out of hibernation and another installed it in the tree.

LuckyGuy's avatar

^^^ Its…Its!

LuckyGuy's avatar

6:50 AM I just looked out there with my binoculars and the snake is gone. I will go out there after breakfast and see if I can find any evidence in the snow.

LuckyGuy's avatar

There was no sign of the snake when I went out to retrieve the trail camera. The camera was not aimed at the tree because the branches were moving too much due to high winds. However it was aimed at an area about 10 yards from the base of the tree. The only animals I saw were: raccoon, possum and a skunk. I will keep my eye on that tree for the next couple of weeks.

Symbeline's avatar

I sure do wonder what the hell happened with that snake…

dougiedawg's avatar

We saw a red tailed hawk with a snake just yesterday while driving to town. Likely suspect;)

Coloma's avatar

KInda off topic, but since we’re talking birds…I had the coolest experience yesterday. I was feeding the park ducks and geese when a huge Great Blue Heron that was perched in a tree flew down and landed on the edge of the group only about 8 feet away from me and just hung out and watched the geese eat oat nut bread. I might have to start taking a bucket of fish to the park with me now. lol
He/she was really magnificent and very curious.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Great Blue Heron are magical birds. They are so graceful. Unfortunately they are not well loved by koi pond owners. They steal the fish.

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