Small Animals

Roadrunner VS. Rattlesnake


Living in Arizona I often see roadrunners scampering all about. To me they look like cute, silly little birds, but after watching this video I have a whole new respect. It attacks that snake like a boss- for the sake of Wile E Coyote maybe it’s a darn good thing he never did catch that roadrunner.

Its name says it all; this bird was born to run.  It can run faster than a human with speeds up to 26 MPH.  While they do have wings and they can fly,  these birds are much better on the ground. Agile and quick they are able to catch pray and defend their territory, and while they have wings and are able to fly they rarely do. Flying is generally reserved if they bird needs to quickly get to a perch to escape danger.

Unlike the adorable cartoon image portrayed, these birds really are pretty vicious ; they dine on a cuisine of poisonous delicacies like venomous lizards, snakes and scorpions. It’s actually so bad ass that it strategically eats a horned lizard by swallowing it head-first making sure the bones are pointed outward so it does not piece its internal organs. They have also been seen holding tarantulas down and ripping off their legs to get to the succulent soft center.


Sometimes when taking down the prized rattle snake roadrunners actually work in a team of two. One bird will distract the snake but putting on a show of jumping and flapping, while the other bird ambushes the snake, pins its head and bashes the snake up against a rock…almost makes you feel bad for the snake, huh?

Just goes to show, never judge a book by its cover. If you are ever in the southwest and you see one of these seemly cute little birds scamper by, you can smile knowing you’ve just encountered one of nature’s most ruthless predators.


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Wendy Aburto

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