6
$\begingroup$

p[![][1]]I just saw this video in which a snake is swallowing grapes. ("Whip snake eating grapes"). In the video, the snake just doesn't eat but goes on to swallow 2-3 grapes. I did some research on the internet and in "bio stack exchange" but only to find that "snakes are obligate carnivores", which simply means they don't have the body mechanism to digest a vegetarian diet. My guess is that it mistook the grapes for a prey due to the smell coming from the grapes, which may be left there by a rodent or any other organism the snake feeds on. Can you provide a possible explanation for this snake's behavior? Regards

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Hi, and welcome to the site! Please don't just include links; they break with time. Describe the behaviour, including pictures & figures as needful, with the link for reference. Please edit so that this question would make sense even if the link were to break. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – rotaredom Mar 16 at 16:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @rotaredom Hello, I didn't know about that. Made the changes. $\endgroup$ – abhishek Mar 16 at 17:37
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Maybe that's an egg-eating snake that confused the fruits with eggs? $\endgroup$ – Roland Mar 17 at 12:54
  • $\begingroup$ @Roland : Maybe, but my guess is that its something to do with the smell/odor of the grapes. Either the pray (like a small mouse) left its smell on the grapes or certain smell released by the grapes caught the attention of this snake. But I'm not sure.. $\endgroup$ – abhishek Mar 17 at 15:21
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Biology.SE! Please take the tour and then go through the help pages starting with How to Ask questions effectively on this site and edit your question accordingly. In particular, the title of your question should be clear and as specific as possible โ€” the current title unhelpful since you've already provide clear evidence that yes they can. โ€”โ€”โ€” We also encourage you to do some research on your own and then, informed by what you have learned, ask any questions you still have (ideally with references to reliable sources). Thanks! ๐Ÿ˜Š $\endgroup$ – tyersome Mar 18 at 18:19
2
$\begingroup$

You're right, snakes rely on scent to capture their prey. The fact that snakes are carnivores may be the one constant among all snake species; absolutely none feed even partially on plant matter. So if plant matter is found in their feces, it must have gotten there accidentally.

Here, check out this post, which answers your question perfectly:

In most instances, these have been attributed to accidental ingestion, perhaps eaten with a prey item or mistaken for prey by scent...One interesting case was discovered by Harvey Lillywhite in a study published in the journal BioScience in 2008. Studying the scavenging behavior of pitvipers in the intertidal zone, Lillywhite observed cottomouth droppings that were composed almost entirely of seaweed. This was too much plant material to have been eaten secondarily or by accident, and he suspected that there was some other cause for the snakes to be eating it (it certainly wasn't for energy as the seaweed was passing through completely undigested. Lillywhite wondered if it was possible the snakes were feeding on seaweed simply because it smelled like fish. An interesting laboratory experiment proved their hypothesis correct; they offered various plants to cottonmouths, some with fish and others without. The plants without fish were investigated by the snakes, but ultimately left uneaten. Those that did contain fish were quickly devoured. Even when the fish was removed, the snakes ate the remaining seaweed simply because it smelled like their prey!

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thanks. The blog post, as well as the research (mentioned in the blog) conducted on such behaviors of snakes, answered my question very well. Thanks again. $\endgroup$ – abhishek May 12 at 10:08
-3
$\begingroup$

I've seen a deer eating a live bird so a snake eating grapes doesn't surprise me. My philosophy is that animals know better than us what they are doing, so if someone is mistaking it's probably us.

Anyway, my answer would be that this snake needs a substance (perhaps the acid since it's unrip) contained in those grapes, if it's not for feeding then it's for healing.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Biology.SE! Please take the tour and then consult the help pages for additional advice on How to Answer effectively on this site. In particular, answers are expected to be based on facts rather than speculations. You are also more likely to get a positive response to an answer if you include supporting references to reputable sources. Without this your answer is indistinguishable from opinion. Thank you! ๐Ÿ˜Š $\endgroup$ – tyersome Mar 23 at 19:03
  • $\begingroup$ an herbivore eating meat and a carnivore eating plants are very different, all herbivores can digest meat, meat is just far easier for an animal to digest. $\endgroup$ – John May 7 at 15:00

Your Answer

By clicking โ€œPost Your Answerโ€, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.