A dramatic battle for survival between a juvenile salt water crocodile and a large adult olive python in Queensland, Australia, ended with the snake swallowing the small croc whole. Tiffany Corlis, a local mother, photographed the entire meal.
“[The crocodile] was fighting at the start, so it was trying to keep its head out of water and survive, but as the morning sort of progressed, you could tell that both of them were getting a little weaker. 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,” Corlis told ABC North West Queensland Radio on Monday, March 3.
Scientist Jared Diamond has studied the digestive physiology of snakes in his research lab at UCLA Medical School, searching for applications to how the human intestine adapts to changes in the amount of food it’s given. In an article called “Dining with the Snakes” in Discover Magazine, he reported that some species of pythons can consume and digest a meal as large as 96% of it’s weight, or, in the extreme, up to 160% of its body weight. The snake’s jaws can open to an angle of 130 degrees, allowing it to pass large meals into it’s gullet. The process of swallowing prey can take hours. Once consuming such a large meal, the python can go for several months without eating again.