A black whipsnake met its end after attempting to swallow a hedgehog whole in the heart of the central Israeli town of Shoham. Unfortunately, the hedgehog didn't survive the encounter either.
Passersby noticed the black snake lying motionless on the grass while walking their dogs, clutching a hedgehog in its mouth. Aviad Bar, an Israel Nature and Parks Authority ecologist specializing in reptiles, was called to the scene. He identified the snake as a nonvenomous Dolichophis jugularis known as a black whipsnake.
"From analyzing the situation, which involved a hedgehog found inside a snake's coils, it seems that the snake tried to eat the hedgehog. However, as soon as it decided to abandon its unconventional meal, it became clear that it had made a grave error," Bar said. "The hedgehog's sharp quills prevented the snake from releasing its prey, resulting in a tragic ending for both the snake and the hedgehog."
In Israel, there are three species of hedgehogs, collectively populating the entire country. Their diverse diet includes insects, small invertebrates, birds and even snakes.
According to the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, the black whipsnake belongs to the colubrid snake family and is one of the longer snakes found in Israel. This nonvenomous snake, due to its significant appetite, is considered beneficial as it helps control various pests, including venomous snakes, within its range. The black desert snake is an active and common snake in Israel, and like all Israeli snakes, it is a protected species.
There are 41 snake species in Israel, with the majority posing no threat to humans. The Israel Nature and Parks Authority emphasized that only nine snake species in the country are venomous.
Snakes use their venom for hunting or self-defense against predators. Although snakes have often been associated with traits like cruelty and sneakiness, the reality is quite different. Snakes play a crucial role in preserving the ecological balance of their habitats. They significantly contribute to controlling populations of pests and other harmful creatures, proving their importance in maintaining a healthy ecosystem.