[PICS/VID] 10-Foot-Long Python Devours A Crocodile In An Epic 5-Hour Battle
In an epic 5-hour battle in Australia, a 10-foot olive python got the best of a Johnson's crocodile
The incident at Lake Moondarra, near Mount Isa, was captured on camera by local residents on Sunday. The 10-ft snake, thought to be a python, coiled itself around the crocodile and the two struggled in the water.bbc.com
The snake later brought the dead crocodile onto land and ate it.go.com
A Mount Isa woman, Tiffany Corlis, was having breakfast nearby when canoeists racing on the lake alerted her about the endurance battle playing out nearby
She grabbed her camera and took a series of shots that documented the enormous snake’s assault on the much smaller croc, which was about a metre long.theguardian.com
By the time Corlis started watching, the python had already coiled its body around the crocodile and was beginning to strangle it.telegraph.co.uk
“[The crocodile] was fighting at the start, so it was trying to keep its head out of water and survive,” she told ABC North West Queensland Radio on Monday. But as the morning sort of progressed, you could tell that both of them were getting a little weaker.bbc.com
“Finally, the croc sort of gave in and the snake had uncoiled for a little while and had a brief break and then actually started to consume the crocodile.”metro.co.uk
Corlis said it was amazing to witness, adding that “It was just unbelievable”
Ms Corlis said it appeared to take the snake around 15 minutes to eat the crocodile. The snake was "definitely very full," when it finished, she said.bbc.com
“We were sort of thinking that the snake had bitten off a little more than it could chew. “But it did. It actually ate the crocodile.”theguardian.com
Another witness, Alyce Rosenthal, told local media that the two creatures fought for about five hours. By the end, they appeared exhausted, she said.
The aftermath showed the overstuffed snake lying still, where presumably it stayed for some time as it digested its meal. Here's a short video of the battle:
So how does a snake eat a crocodile?
"They can swallow a crocodile, no problem, but it can defend itself, so it's a more risky choice than a rat," says snake expert Bryan Fry, a professor at the University of Queensland. There are other risks too, he says.bbc.com
As a python wraps itself around its prey, it's not squeezing the air out of it but waiting for it to exhale and then tightening the coil, gradually restricting its breath.nationalgeographic.com
Pythons can sense the heartbeat so they know when their prey stops breathing and they can conserve their energy for the next stage - the swallow. Swallowing live animals is risky.
Once the animal is in a python's stomach, its digestive system suddenly kicks into hyperdrive. This involves a sharp increase in their metabolic rate, their organs enlarging by 3 or 4 times their normal size and the release of enzymes to break down the food.
The python in Queensland will bloat further over the next few days as it digests, says Fry. In two weeks it will start to slim down and in three weeks it will defecate a calcium ball, having absorbed the fat and protein, but not the excess minerals.bbc.com
Small ducklings and young wallabies are a more common meal than a crocodile. There are rare pictures of small cows and deer as prey but humans, says the professor, are usually off limits because their shoulders are too wide.nationalgeographic.com