So, Can You Eat Snakes for Survival?

In a long-term survival scenario when at grocery stores aren’t being restocked and your pantry is running low, all bets are off.

man holding a corn snake on hand
man holding a corn snake on hand

Eating wild animals that you would never dream of eating otherwise, are suddenly on the shortlist of your menu.

This is about survival, and it is time to put away any squeamishness or sentimentality when it comes to getting high-quality protein on your plate.

To prepare for this unpleasant eventuality it is good for preppers to familiarize themselves with what can be eaten, not necessarily what they would like to eat.

How about snakes? Is it possible to eat snakes to survive?

Yes, snakes are edible and nutritious so long as they are prepared carefully. Maximum caution must be used both when it catching and preparing a venomous snake.

You might shiver at the idea of eating one of these sneaky, slithering reptiles, but you can’t argue with the fact that:

  • snakes are plentiful,
  • pretty easy to catch,
  • easy to prepare,
  • and generally provide a sizable amount of meat.

Learn more about incorporating snakes into your survival diet below.

Where Can You Find Snakes in the Wild?

Snakes are found all over the world, pretty much everywhere except the coldest and highest regions.

Luckily for us, there also happens to be a tremendous variety of snake species that inhabit every imaginable biome.

You could be in a forest, in the desert, or even in the middle of the suburbs and find plenty of snakes if you know where to look.

Snakes are so common in some places that they might well be your primary prey item if you are looking to supplement your survival food stores.

Your best bet if you want to get started is to familiarize yourself with the most common, larger snake species in your area since they will provide the best return on your efforts.

Smaller snake steaks might be easier to come by, but it is difficult to make a meal even out of several of the smaller kinds.

Nutritional Profile of Snake Meat

Snake meat is surprisingly nutritious, if somewhat limited in vitamins and minerals.

Although the specific numbers vary somewhat from species to species, snake meat is comparable to chicken in terms of protein typically has far less fat and very few carbs.

Calcium and iron are present as is a little bit of phosphorus along with some vitamin A and a tiny bit of vitamin D.

it should be apparent that snake meat is nowhere even approaching nutritionally complete when it comes to human requirements, but it will provide plenty of calories and lots of protein.

If you’re able to supplement your diet with fruits, vegetables, and nuts you’ll be in good shape relying on a snake as animal protein.


Does Snake Taste Good or Bad?

Snake, like many animal proteins that are somewhat novel to the Western palate, is commonly said to taste just like chicken. It sort of tastes like chicken, though it is stringier and somewhat more fibrous in texture.

I actually think that snake does not have a ton of flavor on its own, and while this might make it boring to some, and also means that you can prepare or season snake however you want and expect it to come out pretty good.

If you have plenty of other ingredients on hand, and are inclined to prepare your snake in a special way such as frying it or even barbecuing then it will probably be delicious.

In any case, it cannot be said to taste objectionable to the average person so long as they can get past the mental roadblock of eating snake!

Is Raw Snake Meat Safe to Eat?

No, raw snake meat is not safe to eat. Like all meats, eating raw meat dramatically increases the chances of contracting a foodborne illness, be a bacterial, viral, or parasitic.

Snakes, like most reptiles, are host to a wide variety of pathogens, most commonly salmonella. Contracting it or another serious illness in the middle of a survival scenario is going to severely hamper your chances.

Should You Cook Snake Meat Prior to Eating?

Yes, absolutely. Snake meat should be cooked thoroughly, and well done, in all cases. This is the only way to guarantee the destruction of the dangerous germs mentioned above.

Some meats are safe (or at least safe enough) to eat when prepared rare but snake meat is not one of them.

You don’t have to turn it into a lump of charcoal but you don’t want any undone spots in there either.

Can You Eat Snake Skin?

Yes, you can, but you probably don’t want to. Scales don’t taste very good even when they are cooked, and they probably aren’t going to make your freshly cooked cut of snake crispy and crunchy like you are imagining.

Instead, they will make it taste strange and chewy, and you don’t want that.

Worse, you aren’t really missing out on any nutrition either from the snakeskin: It has quite literally no redeeming qualities culinary or nutritionally.

Skin the snake before cooking it for the best taste.

How About Snake Eggs?

If you are lucky, you might be able to come across a clutch of snake eggs in the bargain. Snake eggs, like the eggs of most animals, are healthy and make for pretty good eating.

Just make sure you cook them very well to deal with the germs as above, and it might be a good idea to candle them if you can to make sure they aren’t ready to hatch.

That being said, the young snakes inside are still edible when cooked if they are far along.

This might prove to be a severe test when it comes to edibility for some people, but this is survival after all!

Are the Bones of a Snake Safe to Eat?

You can eat some of the bones of a snake, but you really shouldn’t.

People aren’t designed to eat bones unlike some other animals, and the risk of bones splintering and getting caught in your throat or gut is fairly high, especially considering that snakes are mostly ribs!

Now, it should be pointed out that if you eat a smaller snake and accidentally miss some tiny bones when preparing it you likely don’t need to worry about it.

You should not, however, make a point of eating larger bones from larger snakes as this can prove hazardous.

Are the Organs of a Snake Safe to Eat?

Snakes, surprisingly, don’t seem like they have a ton of organs inside those long bodies. You’ll notice the lungs immediately, but these are not very good eating.

Certain reptiles, and even individual snakes, may have dangerous levels of metals or vitamins in their organ meat.

Though this is rarely a problem in the short term, repeated consumption of these organs can cause serious health effects.

Considering that the organs of snakes don’t make for very good eating, I recommend you discard them when preparing the snake for cooking.

Double Your Caution When Preparing a Venomous Snake

One special concern you’ll have when catching and preparing a snake for consumption is whether or not the snake is venomous.

A venomous snake will have venom glands or other similar organs in or immediately behind the head, and you must handle even a dead snake with extreme caution so you do not accidentally become envenomated.

The snake doesn’t have to bite you, necessarily; if the venom makes its way into your bloodstream by any way you’ll be in major trouble.

This complicates catching and preparing a venomous snake for eating. When dispatching a snake you must be cautious not to rupture the venom glands and potentially contaminate the meat.

Once the snake is dead, you must carefully cut off and dispose of the head without once again rupturing the venom sac and also without being accidentally pricked by the still very much functional fangs.

But assuming you can take care of this with certainty and safely dispose of the head preparing the rest of a venomous snake is the same as any other, and completely safe.

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