A nature drama unfolded in Shoham this week when several dog owners noticed a large black snake lying near the town’s local dog park. The snake was found motionless with an equally motionless porcupine stuck in its mouth.
Aviad Bar, a reptile ecologist with the Nature and Parks Authority, visited the scene and identified that it was a non-venomous snake of the black whip snake species that was trying to eat a common porcupine.
“From an analysis of the situation, it can be assumed that the snake tried to devour the porcupine and as soon as it decided to abandon its unusual meal, it realized the magnitude of its mistake,” Bar stated.
“The one-way direction of the porcupine's quills did not allow the snake to spit out the porcupine and in the end both the porcupine and the snake met their deaths in the tragic encounter."
Israel is home to three species of porcupines. A porcupine’s diet includes insects, small mammals, birds, and reptiles - including snakes.
Snakes are misunderstood creatures
The Nature and Parks Authority explained that the black whip snake is one of the most common snakes in Israel, along with being the longest reptile in Israel. It is not venomous and is considered useful for keeping the rodent population in check.
About 41 different species of snakes live in Israel, most of which are not dangerous to humans. In fact, only nine species of snakes in Israel are venomous.
Venomous snakes use their venom to immobilize prey while hunting and to defend against attackers, while non-venomous snakes kill their prey by swallowing them alive or constricting them to death.
Although snakes are sometimes given a bad name and associated with traits such as cruelty and cunning, the truth is a bit different.
Snakes are very important in maintaining the balance of the ecosystem in which they live and they are very helpful in limiting the proliferation of rodents and other pests.
Snakes and porcupines are protected animals in Israel. If you encounter an animal in distress, please report it to the Parks and Nature authority by calling *3639 and they will arrive to take care of the situation.