Prehistoric Texan consumed poisonous snake completely and raw

In their new study, some archaeologists from Texas A&M University share their – very special – findings. Using droppings, they wanted to find out more about the indigenous people who used to populate the canyon area in Texas: a strange people who were fond of poisonous snakes.

At least it became clear from the coprolites – preserved excrement – of a person who lived in the canyon area of the Lower Pecos in Texas during prehistory. The snake teeth of a poisonous specimen were found between the food remains in his excrement.

Raw snake

Stung by the bizarre find, the archaeologists decided to further analyze the droppings. This showed that the snake was completely eaten, including teeth, scales, and bones. Moreover, no scorch marks were found on the scales, which means that the beast was eaten raw.

Prehistoric Texan consumed poisonous snake completely and raw

By the way, it was a snake belonging to the adder family, presumably a Texan rattlesnake that can be up to a meter and a half long, or a copper head that is about twenty centimeters shorter.


Now the question is why, for God’s sake, did this prehistoric person eat a poisonous snake “with skin and hair.” Hungry? Or was it perhaps part of a ritual? Both options are possible.

Prehistoric peoples ate snakes when there was a lack of other food. But the snakes were first boiled and stripped of their scales and teeth. That did not happen with this copy.

What about a shamanic ritual? That can also be an explanation. After all, snakes were regarded during the prehistory in South and Central America as gatekeepers of supernatural worlds. Eat one, provoke visions or dream images.

A third option is boasting. In addition, the man would have wanted to make an impression, after which he devoured the poisonous snake: a particularly dangerous attempt to stand out.

Journal of Archaeological Science
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