Do Donkeys Kill Snakes? (Explained)

by Kloee Ngozi
Updated on

Donkeys usually serve as guard animals on livestock farms and they help to protect sheep and other herd animals from predators.

Donkeys will kill snakes when they come across them or if they see them as a threat. Donkeys can kill snakes by stomping on them with their hind legs and braying so as to alert the farm owner. The donkeys can however get bitten by the venomous snakes which have to be treated immediately to avoid death.

Snakes will usually come around farm fowl because of their chicks and eggs, however even a mini donkey can usually help to dispatch the snakes if they are not too large.

Do Snakes Bother Donkeys?

Do Donkeys Kill Snakes

Snakes will visit farms if they feel there is something for them to be had there.

Coops and eggs especially attract snakes as they smell a good source of food which they will come to investigate.

Quite a variety of snakes both venomous and non-venomous are found around farmyards and they can be pretty difficult to keep out.

If you have a large flock of poultry such as chickens, ducks, geese and others you might want to get a guard animal to keep out predators of the poultry flock.

A mini donkey is usually a good guard animal for small flock and they can usually hold their own against the snake, however it is possible for them to sustain snake bites injuries if they are not careful with venomous snakes. 

The donkey will see the snake as a threat and bother and will not hesitate to try to dispatch it.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on do donkeys protect sheep?

Can Snake Bites Hurt Donkeys?

Venomous snake bites to donkeys can be very hurtful and should be treated immediately.

Hurt donkeys should be given the veterinarian’s attention as soon as possible as home made remedies can sometimes do more harm than good.

Donkeys usually get bitten in their feet or nose as that is the most accessible place for the snakes to get the donkey and snakes can bite a donkey severally and as such the donkey should be checked for various snake bites.

A donkey that has been bitten will experience some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Pain 
  • Swelling
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Shock 
  • Collapse
  • Paralysis 
  • Death 

The venom of the snake can cause blood clotting in the donkey and impair his heart functions.

As soon as the donkey’s agitation is noticed, veterinary care should be obtained while the veterinarian will treat the donkey depending on the severity of the wound.

What Are The Dangers Of Snakes In Your Farm?

Venomous snakes pose a big danger to farmsteads because of their venoms which can cause a variety of negative reactions which range from pain, swelling, paralysis to death if the bite is not properly treated on time.

For farms who keep large numbers of poultry flock such as geese, chicken, ducks, turkey, they are usually sitting ducks  (pun intended) for snakes.

Farmers can wake up to eggs gone,chicks and hens snake bitten and dead. If this persists it can cause a significant decline in the farmers poultry population.

Snakes can also bring in diseases to the poultry which can decimate their numbers within a short period of time.

Other livestock such as sheep or goat herds can also be bitten by both venomous and nonvenomous snakes. These bites can lead to serious health complications and infections.

Snakebites can be expensive to treat depending on the kind of anti vermin prescribed by the veterinarian. 

There are several ways to reduce the threats of snakes on your farm and some of them include:

  • Mowing grass and keeping it dry
  • Keeping coops elevated and well maintained
  • Building a fence 
  • Feed your pets inside if possible
  • Seal every possible crack.

Even though some snake activists believe that snakes are beneficial to the ecosystem, the harm they cause quite outweighs their benefits and farm owners should take care to keep them away from their farms. 

Also check out this article I wrote on do donkeys protect chickens

What Animals Keep Snakes Away?

As dangerous as snakes can be, they are not all powerful and some animals can help protect a farm’s livestock from the feared reptile.

Large birds are one of the major predators of snakes. In the wild and desert, large birds like eagles and hawks prey on snakes regularly. Due to their vantage point, they are able to watch the snakes and then snoop down for an accurate kill.

Other predators of snakes include:

  • Mongoose
  • Hedgehog 
  • Badgers
  • Bobcat
  • Wolverine

Most of these animals live in the wild and prey on the snakes usually killing them for food. You can also read up more about other snake predators.

On the farmstead some dogs, cats, pigs, donkeys and llamas are usually good at keeping snakes away.

Cats can easily kill smaller snakes and snakes do not care for the smell of a cat’s urine which is loaded with ammonia.

It serves the double purpose of keeping rodents such as rats also away.

Can Donkeys Protect Other Livestock?

Donkeys are reputedly known for their hardiness and stubbornness. Stubborn as a mule is a phrase almost every one has come across.

However they are also super smart and have an innate dislike of predators.

Donkeys are known to chase off or injure coyotes who are livestock thereby effectively protecting the farm animals from the coyote.

The donkeys have sharp eyesight, sound vision and they are brave. They do not easily get spooked and will stay to fight off any threat they perceive.

They make a braying sound to alert other donkeys and the farm owner when they feel an intruder.

All sizes of monkeys from mini donkeys to mammoths can serve as guards to other livestock, although mini donkeys should be allowed to guard smaller animals as it might be vulnerable to prey of bigger farm animals.

One donkey can protect about 300 head of sheep or goats, however farm owners have to ensure the livestock are not scattered in a wide expanse of land to enable the donkey to easily survey for any threats.

Donkeys are easy to maintain and once they have been raised with the livestock will learn to be protective of them.

All this has made the gentle donkey a favorite of the livestock owners as a guard animal.

What Makes Donkeys Unique In Your Farm?

In recent times, donkeys are being used as guard animals to protect other livestock and this has come as a surprise to many.

There are different animals such as trained dogs or llamas who can serve the purpose of keeping your farm animals safe but donkeys have special qualities which especially recommend them to the task. 

  • They do not disturb with barking
  • They do not dig around or patrol the perimeter unlike guard dogs.
  • They are gentle and affectionate. They can serve as pets for humans and once used to the herd will not hesitate to protect them.
  • They are low maintenance and can eat regular livestock feed
  • They are long livers. Donkeys are known to live as long as 30 – 40 years
  • They are not easily spooked like horses, are curious and will stand to fight off perceived threats or predators

What Farm Animals Will Kill Snakes?

If you have a snake infestation on your farm or you regularly come to the farm to meet your chicks dead and your eggs gone, you might want to have farm animals that can kill snakes on your farm. 

Some animals, even though gentle, can easily dispose of snakes when they come across their way on the farm and some of them include:

  • Dogs

Dogs will dig around for food and when they unearth a snake they will not hesitate to kill it. Even small dogs can dispatch tiny snakes who might still cause harm to other animals.

  • Cats

Cats will not hesitate to kill a snake when they spy it. Cats and rodents are mortal enemies and for centuries, humans have used cats as rodents control. This dislike also spreads to snakes and a house cat can effectively hook a snake by its claws.

  • Guinea Fowls

Guinea fowls are silly like birds which farmers often keep as guards on their poultry. Guineas can kill bugs, rodents and snakes which might threaten the stability of the other livestock.

  • Pigs

Yes pigs can also kill a snake especially when it comes to defending their young. The pig will not hesitate to stomp the snake to prevent it from biting its young ones.

  • Chickens

As surprising as it might be, chickens also kill snakes, especially smaller ones.

Having developed an innate fear for the snake, a mother hen will attack a snake viciously when it has to protect its young out in the open.

It is of importance to note that although some or all of these animals might be effective at killing snakes to an extent, they can also be bitten and injured by the snake which might lead to a number of health problems.


Having snakes around is a livestock farmer’s worst nightmare. It terrorizes the livestock and while causing losses for the livestock farmer, and also causing injuries to the farm animals.

It is essential that every farm owner knows the best way to keep snakes out of their farms by keeping their farms clean and dry and carrying out proper maintenance. 

Photo of author

About the author

Kloee Ngozi

Kloee is a backyard farmer and avid gardener who enjoys tending to her garden and plants. She is so engrossed with her plants that she has pet names for all of them. She likes to relax with a bottle of wine and read a book.


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