Kingsnake Eats Copperhead in Shocking Video Shot in Alabama Yard

An Alabama resident has shared a video of the moment she witnessed one snake eating another in her back yard.

Last month, Karen Vick Scarbrough, from the city of Camden, took to Facebook to post several photos and some video footage of the two snakes fighting. They were identified as a copperhead, which gets its name from its bronze coloration, and a kingsnake.

It ended with one of the animals eating the other. She said in a caption: "I've heard of this and seen pictures but I've never seen it myself."

Scarbrough was alerted to the fight after she heard her dog barking and went to investigate. She told McClatchy News her dog had been bitten by a copperhead snake a month prior.

Copperheads, which typically grow to between two and three feet in length, are large venomous snakes found throughout the southern and eastern United States. The species, also known as agkistrodon contortrix, is responsible for more venomous snake bites than any other in the U.S, according to National Geographic. This is partly because they are widespread and also because they can put up with living in developed areas.

However, their bites are rarely deadly, and children, the elderly, and immunocompromized people are most at risk.

"We were shocked when we realized it was two snakes,"Scarbrough said. "The entire encounter lasted roughly an hour from the time we saw the two snakes until the kingsnake had completely eaten the copperhead."

Log into Facebook to start sharing and connecting with your friends, family, and people you know.

Kingsnakes are widespread in the U.S. and are known for killing and eating other snakes. They are known predators of copperhead snakes and are immune to their venom.

Kingsnakes do not have venom of their own, so they kill their prey by wrapping themselves around it, and squeezing the other animal to death.

As well as other snakes, they also eat lizards, rodents, birds, and eggs. Kingsnakes may not eat for days at a time if they have had a big enough meal.

One of the videos Scarbrough shot of the kingsnake eating the copperhead had been viewed more than 250,000 times as of Thursday morning.

Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division shared Scarbrough's video on its Facebook page last week, alongside the caption: "This is what happens when you bring a copperhead to a kingsnake fight."

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, there are an estimated 7,000 to 8,000 venomous snake bites in the U.S. every year—about five of which are fatal.

These deaths would be much higher if people did not seek medical attention, according to the CDC.

Eastern Kingsnake
A stock photo shows an Eastern Kingsnake coiled on a log. Kingsnakes are known to eat other snakes. JasonOndreicka/Getty