Pythons are giant snakes that people and even animals avoid. They are predators that kill their prey by suffocating them and eating them whole. Now you know why they’re avoided.

But this python wasn’t so lucky because he chose the wrong prey. Who eats a porcupine whole and lives to tell the tale? Not even this python lived to tell the tale. But a passing cyclist snapped a photo of a massive and bloated python that quickly got the attention of the people.

Nobody knew what it ate, but its massive size was so appealing that people flocked to see the creature. But what happened to the python? Read on to find out.

12. Glutton

The rock python large, nonvenomous snake. It is Africa’s largest snake and one of the six largest snake species in the world. So you bet these reptiles can whip up an appetite. Just like this rock python spotted by a cyclist.

It was so engorged nearly to the point of immobility. We all know that snakes swallow their prey whole. But it’s not everyday you see an engorged python. So when photographer passing by saw the reptile, he got closer to investigate and what he found was beyond bizarre.

11. South Africa

South Africa is home to some of the largest pythons in the world. And this particular species was especially large, even by typical Python standards. As if it weren’t big enough, it was engorged in the middle by some huge prey animal. Obviously, the python had a large meal.


Lake Eland is located at the southeastern tip of South Africa. It is owned by Eric and Trevor Dunstone, two brothers. It’s filled with bushveld, coastal forest, grasslands, and wetland ecosystems.

The name Lake Eland was chosen in honor of the numerous antelope running around the reserve and, of course, large pythons.South Africa is home to a subspecies of python called African rock pythons. They are large, nonvenomous snakes feared by a lot of people especially the locals.

10. Rock Python

By African rock python standards, this one is enormous! And really by anyone else’s standards as well. So you know why this giant is feared.


Rock pythons are rumored to grow up to twenty feet long. Although such huge animals have never been scientifically confirmed. They max out at around sixteen feet. They can also live up to twenty-five years. Even so, it’s unbelievable how wide the python can expand when eating a large prey. That’s one fat snake! We’re sure you’ll freak out or be amazed as well when you see one in person.

9. Big Bulge

When you see a python this huge and bulky, it’s hard not to jump to the conclusion that it swallowed a person. But thankfully, that wasn’t the case. We know it’s a huge animal, we’re just not sure what kind.

Some guessed that it had swallowed a young impala (the animal, not the car). Others thought it could have been a warthog. When I first saw these images, the best thing I could come up with was a baby deer. We were all wrong, very wrong. It was something no one would have guessed.

8. The Last Meal

Sadly, the snake was later found dead, and researchers were excited to solve the mystery of what, exactly, was its last meal. The python had died even before it was able to digest its meal.

It was found dead under a rocky ledge. Chances are, it fell off the edge and was internally damaged by its last meal. They were eager to discover what kind of animal was inside its guts. Although it may seem that the snake bit off more than it could chew (or in its case, swallow).

And eating an animal, this large would have lasted the snake for months afterward. Too bad its post-dinner nap was forever.

7. Very Large Mouth

But that’s nothing compared to how large the mouth, snakes can get when its jaw is stretched fully open. It needs to accommodate the large meal.

It really could have been anything in this snake’s gut. It’s hard to guess. Rock pythons are opportunistic and diverse eaters. One was even seen swallowing a full-grown antelope. So how does an animal like a python expand its body so wide that 4-legged animals can fold up inside of it?

They first crush the bones of their prey so it would somehow decrease its size and fit in its mouth. They constrict their food and then swallow whole.

6. Vicious Teeth

Researchers then examined the first row of the python’s vicious backwards-curved teeth. Pythons have many rows of them, that sink into their prey and move them downwards into its esophagus.


Although it’s commonly believed that pythons temporarily disjoint their jaws to swallow their prey, it’s not the case. The snake’s jaws move almost completely independent of one another anyway. The lower jaw is loosely connected to the snake’s skull by a “quadrate bone.” Unfortunately, this python’s days of surprising megafauna are over.

5. Spiky Meal

When researchers sliced snake’s stomach open, they were surprised by this somewhat disturbing sight. The snake’s bulging flesh peels back to reveal the partially-digested prey of a very large porcupine. The brown objects appear to be vertebrae. Even at this stage, you really can’t tell what that thing is… To me, it still looks like a lump of flesh with thick fur.


It’s a brave snake that will eat a fully-grown porcupine that’s as big as a dog. The gamble obviously did not pay off for the snake, though. As it became his last meal.

4. 30 Pound Porcupine

The porcupine somehow came out of the snake looking less worse than the snake. It was huge compared to a typical porcupine, but not that huge in comparison to other members of its species.

Cape porcupines are the largest rodents in southern Africa and the largest species of porcupine in the world. Thirty pounds isn’t that unusually large for a Cape porcupine. The really big ones can grow up to 66 pounds!

Their spines are typically two inches long and are distributed with shorter defensive quills. Cape porcupines’ tail spines are hollow, and they shake them to make a warning noise, just like a rattlesnake.

3. Falling Off The Edge

The researchers who examined the python’s body believed that it likely would have survived had it not fallen off of the rock ledge under which they found it. Even with a stomach full of spines.

Even though the porcupine was so large and covered in quills, the Python is a remarkably tough animal. When they swallow large prey, they can not only alter their metabolism to help the digestive process; they can even make their organs smaller to make more room for their food.

Had the python not fallen off the edge, it would have been able to safely eliminate the indigestible spines after dissolving the porcupine’s flesh. Amazing, isn’t it?

2. Pythons Eat Porcupines

Though you would never have thought of it, porcupines are regular prey animals for pythons. Most pythons manage to eat porcupines, even large ones, without dying. Although it was possible that the undigested quills punctured its internal organs and killed it, the most likely scenario is that the force of the snake’s fall from the rocky ledge led to internal wounds. Who would have thought your meal would end up killing you?

Pythons have appetites as large as even larger than their bodies, which can lead them to make some interesting culinary choices. A snake was even seen eating a crocodile so you’ll never know.

1. In The Name of Research

After removing the porcupine from the snake’s gut, its skin was removed. Researchers were able to collect data that will help us better understand the snakes and their eating habits.

Rock pythons are not endangered, although they are threatened in some areas due to people killing them out of fear. They are particularly large and unpredictable kind of python, so the fear is understandable. African rock pythons are an invasive species in the Florida Everglades and pose a threat to native species there. It is legal to hunt them in Florida.

There you have it. Now that we know and have seen that snakes can eat a porcupine, we can say we’ve seen it all. Who knew that pythons were that tough?

Most animals in the animal kingdom avoid these animals because of their spines but this snake wasn’t worried about it. Unfortunately, because of it’s post meal condition it wasn’t able to save itself from falling off the edge and eventually being doomed to its death.