Watch Hungry Snake Try to Eat Itself: 'He Must Have Swallowed Almost Half His Body'

A video of a snake attempting to eat itself has emerged online, with the cannibal reptile managing to swallow almost half of its own body before being rescued.

In a Facebook Live video, Jesse Rothacker, from the Forgotten Friend Reptile Sanctuary in Pennsylvania, is seen trying to free the kingsnake from its own jaws. However, the animal resists his attempts as it tries to eat even more of its own body.

Kingsnakes are nonvenomous, opportunistic predators that normally kill their prey by constriction. They are known to eat other snakes—including venomous rattlesnakes—and sometimes mistake their own tails for food. Normally, they take a bite then realize their error.

However, the hungry kingsnake found by Rothacker did not let go, and instead tried to eat its own body.

Jesse rescues a hungry kingsnake from eating himself 🐍😮😳👍🏻

Rothacker told Newsweek the snake in question was called Kronos. He was brought to the sanctuary a few months ago after his owner went to college. He is about five years old and measures three feet in length.

"According to his history form, he had a habit of being an aggressive eater and had been observed many times biting himself over the years, even though he came from a great, caring home," Rothacker said.

In the video posted to Facebook, Rothacker said it is rare for kingsnakes to try to swallow themselves. "As you can see, he did not just find a snake to eat. He did not just nibble on himself. This poor kingsnake is actually in the process of swallowing his own tail... He is not the smartest kingsnake around."

Rothacker then carries out a rescue attempt, tapping Kronos on the nose and loosening his jaw. Eventually, Kronos starts to regurgitate his own tail until he is free. "Look how much of himself he's eaten," Rothacker says as the tail starts to come out. "He must have swallowed almost half of his body...That is what happens when a kingsnake gets too hungry."

After being freed from himself, Kronos was offered a frozen mouse that had been thawed to eat—which he gobbled down.

kronos kingsnake
Kronos the kingsnake trying to eat itself. Jesse Rothacker /

Rothacker said some people suggested Kronos was eating himself because he was stressed. "We want to point out this snake showed no signs of stress, had plenty of access to food and water and burrowing material and a hiding cave and appropriate temps, just like all our snakes.

"Rough markings on his scales indicate past damage from digestive enzymes, suggesting that he had swallowed himself in previous years, so it's probably a bad habit of his. Sometimes animals do silly things, like dogs chasing their own tails, or in rarer cases, snakes swallowing their own tails.

"This snake seemed to have that odd occasional habit, although the rest of his behavior was happy and healthy, including climbing, burrowing, hiding, eating, drinking, and other popular snake forms of recreation and relaxation."

This article has been updated to make clear the mouse Kronos was fed was not alive.