Watch Snake Eat Stillborn Snake in Video Viewed Over 1M Times

A coral snake has been filmed dragging away a stillborn viper to eat at a Kentucky reptile park.

The video shows the eastern coral snake latch onto to the body of a dead Brazilian lancehead and drag it away as its jaws clamp down. The footage was captured at the Kentucky Reptile Zoo, which posted it to Facebook. The clip has been viewed one million times in seven days.

Eastern coral snakes are native to the U.S. They live in the shrub and woodland areas in the south-eastern states such as Florida, Alabama and Georgia. They are known for their distinctive red, black and yellow bands and are a highly venomous member of the elapid family of snakes that also includes cobras.

Kentucky Reptile Zoo co-director Kristen Wiley told Newsweek about their diet: "Coral snakes almost exclusively eat other snakes. In captivity we have to get food for them so if we have snakes that are stillborn for example we will save them for the coral snakes to eat. It's eating a juvenile type of lancehead viper that we put in there. It's basically a coral snake getting excited to eat its dinner."

Coral snakes are elusive animals and generally shun encounters with people.

"I think a lot of people know [of] coral snakes, but not a lot of people know much about them. They are actually really shy, retiring snakes," Wiley said. "They spend a lot of time hiding in the leaf litter or even down in the top soil ... Of course they are venomous snakes but they really don't cause too much of a problem here in the United States because they are so shy.

"Most people who get bitten accidentally encounter them because they are gardening or something and don't notice them, or they are intentionally messing with them."

Approximately 9,000 people are bitten each year by snakes in the U.S., with around five resulting in death. The National Center for Biotechnology Information said that between 20 and 50 bites on humans involved coral snakes in the U.S.

The Kentucky Reptile Zoo is home to a variety of poisonous snakes and staff at the zoo extract their venom for use in various medicines, including snake antivenoms. The zoo has also worked with scientists to asses the use of black mamba venom to counter Alzheimer's disease.

It closes each winter but has continued to post updates, including the popular coral snake video, ahead of its reopening this Friday.

"[The video is] definitely got more attention than we were expecting," Wiley said.

Screenshot of Kentucky Reptile Zoo coral snake
Screenshot of Kentucky Reptile Zoo coral snake eating a Brazilian lancehead viper. KRZ said that the coral snake diet is largely made up of other snakes, so they feed them stillborn snakes at the zoo. Kentucky Reptile Zoo/Facebook