Reptiles whether big or small give us the creeps. They’re the least favorite animals of a lot of people. They’re not like the warm and fuzzy animals we love petting. They have hard scales which are rough and just not inviting.
Australia is not just known for the Sydney Opera House but also for its great outback and exotic animals. From deadly bees to creepy spiders, it seems that insects would top the list of hair-raising creatures in the land down under. But there’s one snake that might just make you think twice on which creatures pose the biggest threat.
There are huge snake species thriving in Australia that can grow up to several meters. Just like this python who ate a whole crocodile! They’re not venomous but their huge size can crush and swallow an animal larger than their size. If that doesn’t send chills down your spine, I don’t know what else does. Let’s see this amazing snake in action.
1. Scouting For Food
This is an olive python. It is Australia’s second largest snake species with the adults reaching over four meters in length. The olive python is a non-venomous snake but is a powerful constrictor. Meaning, they squeeze their prey to death. They are so strong that the tightness cuts off blood supply to the vital organs which would lead to unconsciousness and death very quickly.
This ten-foot long olive python was enjoying the shallow waters of Lake Moondarra on a Sunday afternoon as it hunts for its dinner which most often consists of small animals that should be paying attention to their surroundings if they don’t want to be choked to death.
2. Patience Is A Virtue
Sometimes looking for food is easy, sometimes not. Although snakes are known to be voracious eaters, they are patient too when it comes to hunting for their tasty prey. And for this olive python, he spotted a sumptuous juvenile saltwater crocodile.
Saltwater crocodiles are actually the largest of all living reptiles, as well as the largest riparian predator in the world. Most of their prey are ambushed and then drowned or swallowed whole. It is capable of prevailing over almost any animal that enters its territory. But this crocodile is still a juvenile so, the grown python can easily win over him.
3. Battle Royale
Then the battle begins. Just like any prey who is soon to be eaten no matter how powerful the predator is, it won’t give up without a fight. After all, who wants to be eaten right? Especially if your prey is also a natural predator.
According to eye witnesses, the epic battle started and ended in the water and lasted an exhausting five hours. They also said it looked like that the crocodile was attempting to keep his head above water at one point in the battle but was not successful. Here, the python proves that he is the boss.
4. Size Doesn’t Matter?
Snakes are known to eat much larger prey than their own size. Their jaws can incredibly stretch until it is double or even triple its actual size. Their slender bodies are also capable of stretching to unbelievable sizes so it’s not impossible for them to eat a much larger prey.
Pythons are non-venomous but they kill their prey by constricting them to death. Constricting also crushes its prey’s body so it can better swallow them whole.
5. The Champion
The python is obviously the winner. Too bad for the saltwater crocodile his momma wasn’t there to protect him. I bet the python would think twice of eating him.
After sensing that the crocodile is dead, he uncoiled himself and dragged his well-earned meal to land. Pythons are able to sense its prey’s heartbeat, which gives them the ability to know when their meal is dead so they can stop constricting and conserve as much energy as possible. They will need it for the digestion process. After all, pythons are not a fan of small meals. If you know what I mean.
6. Meal At Last
After five grueling hours, the python can finally have its meal and it’s definitely fit for a king. After dragging his lifeless prey on land, the best part is coming next. The fun can begin.
The python has already prepared the crocodile for consumption for the most part. It has crushed its body so it’s easier to swallow. Just look at how the python’s mouth almost tripled its size. After hours and hours of wrestling, it sure has worked up an appetite and it’s more than happy to swallow the crocodile whole.
7. All Mine
Seeing this python in action is a sight to behold. The eyewitnesses were amazed as they don’t get to see this sight in their everyday life. The python displayed in full view its power and greed.
It’s hard to figure out this point in the engulfing process, but we can tell you that the snake has the crocodile’s entire head down its gullet and it’s steadily working its way to the mid-body. You may wonder how on earth a snake has room for its organs and a meal this big. Surely it will kill itself, right?
8. Made For This
The python will be fine. Amazingly, the python’s internal organs will readjust themselves to make way for the huge meal. His heart will actually elongate so that there’s more room for this spiny feast.
Even after its prey has died the snake continues to coil its prey because it helps with the digestive work outside of the body, crushing and compacting bulky parts of the prey so that the digestion system has an easier time of it. It also helps shove his meal forward.
9. Piece Of Cake
Since most of the hard part has already been done in the water, swallowing the crocodile whole is much easier compared to five hours of wrestling. It’s stretchy jaw and body was able to easily accommodate the large crocodile. The python needed only 15 minutes to swallow its prey whole and that large meal is going to keep him full for days.
10. Satisfying Meal
The python has officially swallowed the entire crocodile with all its teeth and claws. But, how? Thankfully, the streamlined body of the crocodile made for gliding through the water, their legs fold naturally up against the body. The python had nothing to worry about the snag or scratch of claws, the meal goes down much more easily.
Snakes do not have a full set of teeth, so they cannot tear off bite-size chunks of their dinner. It’s all or nothing and this snake wasn’t going to let a crocodile get the better of him, alive or dead. This last little bit appears to be more labor-intensive than the huge majority of the body.
11. Inside Look
Now that the python is fully satisfied, he will be more vulnerable to other predators as he will become sluggish and unable to defend himself. But he doesn’t mind at all as long as his belly is full.
In this X-ray image, we see how the crocodile looks like inside his tummy. The entire body of the prey is sitting nice and tight with everything still intact. The entire process of breaking it down will only take about 7 days.
It’s day seven and the process is finally done! All of the crocodile’s internal organs and flesh have already been digested. During the digestion process, the olive python’s intestines will go into a hypertrophic state, swelling up many times their normal size as they produce enough digestive enzymes to liquefy the hard-skinned reptile inside. This is an important process to extract the nutrients in the meal.
Devouring a huge meal such as this, he will not need to eat again for several days due to the bulk of the meal. Eventually, he will pass the parts of the crocodile that offer him no nutrient value, such as the claws and teeth. Ouch!
We just saw a predator take on another predator. This python is definitely smart as he chose a prey big enough to satisfy him for days, but still small enough that he can defeat. The eyewitnesses probably watched in awe and horror as everything unfolded right in front of them.
This is another side of Australia we rarely see, but it sure is amazing. But the next time we go on an outback adventure in the land down under we’ll see to it that no python is around or else we could be the next meal on the list.