A hungry bird has been pictured taking on a venomous snake in Texas.
Posting on the Facebook group Texas Snake Identification, Waller resident Bonnie Blink said the bird was her “resident roadrunner.”
In the picture, the bird can be seen perched on a tree branch with the snake dangling from its mouth.
Blink said it was a baby copperhead—a species of venomous snake native to Texas.
“The roadrunner seems to be living on the property. We see it nearly every day,” Blink told Newsweek.
Blink said that the bird is usually spotted eating “little snakes and lizards.”
“I can’t always tell exactly what it has,” Blink said.
Roadrunners can be found across the southwestern and south-central U.S. and Mexico. The birds will eat anything but they are particularly partial to eating small snakes and other reptiles.
And it is not unusual for them to feast upon venomous snakes. It is often spotted feasting on rattlesnakes, another native venomous species.
Birds are not immune to snake venom, but roadrunners are well known for their snake-killing technique. It is rare that a snake will be able to kill the bird.
According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, to kill a snake, a roadrunner will start by moving around it in circles. To avoid the snake’s fangs, the bird leaps up into the air, and proceeds to stab the reptile with its beak.
Eventually, the snake will become stunned and unable to move, meaning the bird can snatch it.
Once the snake is securely in the bird’s beak, it will repeatedly slam it against the ground or a rock until its bones and head are crushed.
Copperhead snakes are native to Texas, and particularly active during the warm spring and summer months.
The snakes bite more people per year than any other snake in the U.S, the North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension Service reports.
Young copperheads, such as the one pictured, possess just as much venom as an adult.
Deaths in humans from copperhead bites are extremely rare. However, they can be dangerous if they are left untreated.
The photograph generated some discussion among Facebook users.
One Facebook user, commenting on Blink’s post, said: “My brother was bitten by a copperhead that size five years ago and it put him in ICU for four days, and only one fang penetrated the skin!”
Another Facebook user said: “I sure wish we still had a roadrunner around.”
“Yikes! Brave bird!” another person said.
“I LOVE roadrunners!!” another Facebook user said.
Do you have an animal or nature story to share with Newsweek? Do you have a question about roadrunners? Let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org.