Python bolting down a whole crocodile caught on camera

WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:

  • GG Wildlife Rescue Inc., an Australian nonprofit shared on its Facebook page a series of ghastly but stunning images that featured a python eating a freshwater crocodile whole.
  • Pythons are known to swallow up animals larger than themselves like deer and impalas and have also often clashed with crocodiles and alligators.
  • Aided by elastic jaws, pythons can overstretch their jaws around their prey and swallow them up whole.

An array of gruesome pictures shows an olive python (Liasis olivaceus) completely devouring an Australian freshwater crocodile (Crocodylus johnstoni).

Taken by kayaker Martin Muller near Mount Isa, Queensland, the images were shared by the Australian nonprofit GG Wildlife Rescue Inc. on its Facebook page on May 31.

Known for their ambitious diets, the bellies of pythons are often found with the remains of animals larger than themselves such as deer, impalas and porcupines. As seen in May in Western Australia, these snakes also eat one another and on rare occasions, some species have attacked and eaten humans.

The large snakes have also been observed to go one-on-one with crocodiles and alligators. Being an invasive species in Florida, Burmese pythons can grow as big as 18.8 feet (5.74 meters) long. A case in 2005 found the snake in Florida’s Everglades National Park burst open with an American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) protruding out of its gut.

On the other hand, the olive python is only found in Australia. Growing up to 13 feet (4 m) long, it normally grapples with freshwater crocodiles, also known as Australia’s “freshies”. In a 2014 video showing an olive python killing and gobbling up a freshwater crocodile at Lake Moondarra, near Mount Isa, it took 5 hours for the snake to slowly outstretch its jaws around its constricted prey.

Thanks to their elastic jaws, pythons can do amazing feats in swallowing. Their lower jawbones are divided into two parts and joined by an elastic ligament allowing the bones to spread apart. Once a python overpowers its prey, the snake “walks” over it first in a process called pterygoid walk, then uses its jaw to grip it while squeezing its muscles and slinking around the animal until the animal is swallowed up.

Pythons also have genetic adaptations that aid them in digesting large meals at one time. According to a 2013 published research in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Burmese pythons are discovered to rapidly alter their metabolism after meals and can also enlarge their internal organs such as the intestines, pancreas, heart and kidney to control the inflow of calories.

 

Source: Live Science

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