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[PICS/VID] 10-Foot-Long Python Devours A Crocodile In An Epic 5-Hour Battle

A snake has won a lengthy battle with a crocodile in northern Queensland, wrestling it, constricting it and then finally eating it.

Cover image via bbcimg.co.uk

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.

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An olive python has a Johnson's crocodile in a stranglehold, as seen in a mobile phone image from Queensland, Australia.

Image via nationalgeographic.com

The snake later brought the dead crocodile onto land and ate it.

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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.

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Image via bbcimg.co.uk

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 overmatched croc fought hard at the start

Image via guim.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.

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“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.

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The crocodile-shaped snake starts to digest its meal

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“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.

"It's not something that you see every day," she said.

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The outline of the crocodile seen inside the python at Lake Moondarra near Mount Isa on March 2, 2014 in Queensland, Australia.

Image via abcnews.com

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:

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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.

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Contrary to common belief, a snake’s jaws do not dislocate when swallowing prey. Unlike a mammalian jaw, a snake’s is fixed with tendons, muscles, and ligaments that give the jaw astounding flexibility.

Image via firsttoknow.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.

In 2005, a large Burmese python in Florida tried to swallow an alligator but then exploded spectacularly, perhaps simply because it was too big or it cut an artery.

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Nine years ago in Florida, a python burst trying to swallow an alligator

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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.

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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

An African rock python swallows a young impala

Image via bbcimg.co.uk

In Kenya, this waterbuck was attacked by a python

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ALSO READ: Human Remains Of A 12-Year-Old Found After Crocodile Attack

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