While snakes do try to eat themselves from time to time,it doesn't seem to be intentional.Odour from prey on its body,especially with constricting snakes could confuse the snake that it is swallowing prey.
since snakes are ectothermic(cold blooded reptiles).They need external heat source( the sun,heat lamps etc) to warm themselves.Here is one issue with being ectothermic when the snake gets too hot,it is unable to sweat to cool itself down.(infact,most snakes will for if exposed to temperatures above 104 degrees).
When snakes need to cool down,they go to a cool shady spot and the body temperature will drop to match their surroundings.
Now if they get too hot and a cool shady spot is not available in their habitat.The snake becomes confused and disoriented and their metabolism gets messed up,giving the snake a false sense of being extremely hungry to the point of wanting to eat the first they sense.Without adequate prey around, the disoriented snake may attack it own tail as prey.
When this happens,in regards to captive snakes,one should immediately reduce the temperature by turning off any heat lamps or heat pads.Spray the snake with cool water which can alleviate it's stress and the snake might let go.
Lastly,it can also happen when the snake is shedding it's skin off.Because its vision is clouded by the scale over its eye,it might end up biting itself.
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