Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Incredible photos from Australia show olive python swallowing a crocodile – via Herp Digest




BY EARTH TOUCH NEWS JULY 05 2019

We've seen pythons gobble down everything from kangaroos to possums and even porcupines (although that can end badly), but the latest sighting is a reptilian showdown of epic proportions. Kayaker Martin Muller was exploring the swamps of Mount Isa in Queensland recently when he captured this remarkable set of images of an olive python (Liasis olivaceus) devouring an Australian freshwater crocodile (Crocodylus johnstoni). GG Wildlife Rescue Inc uploaded the photos on their Facebook page last month and they have since been shared over 37,000 times.

Olive pythons typically stick to a diet of birds, bats, rats and small mammals, but it's not out of the ordinary for a sizeable one to take on a croc (this is not the first time that Queensland has played host to a snake-vs-croc matchup). The snakes are among the largest species in Australia and can grow up to four metres (13 feet) in length. Australian freshwater crocodiles, meanwhile, usually grow to an average length of about 1.5 metres (4.9 feet) from snout to tail.

Contrary to popular belief, snakes do not unhinge or dislocate their jaws in order to swallow large prey, but rather their mouths are built for the job. Snakes have two separate lower jaws that are connected via elastic ligaments. This allows them to stretch their mouths open wider than most animals and effectively "walk" their jaws over their prey in order to consume it. It can take some time for a snake to swallow a large meal and even longer for it to digest one. Prey like this hefty croc will likely take several months to be digested.

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