An Africa python eats a porcupine as it learned a big lesson before it died, and the park rangers couldn’t believe what they saw. The porcupine feast turned out to be his a bad idea for the python since it was its last meal, according to Gizmodo.
Inside the 12-foot-long African Rock Python was a 30-pound porcupine, who basically had the last laugh. Its needle-sharp quills seem to have punctured the snake’s digestive tract and may have contributed to its death.
The engorged snake was first spotted by a mountain biker in the Lake Eland Game Reserve, about 100 miles south of Durban, two weeks ago. Visitors showed up at the park to observe the snake and to speculate what it had eaten.
A photo entitled “Python Eats Porcupine” first showed up on the Game Reserve’s Facebook page. People were stunned.
When the python died this week, curious park rangers performed a necropsy, or autopsy, on the animal. Though the exact cause of death is unknown, spectators and the porcupine may be to blame.
“With all the human interaction, this could have caused stress and the python would then regurgitate the meal up with all the quills causing a problem,” said game reserve manager Jennifer Fuller.
Pythons, which are some of the largest snakes in the world, kill their prey by constriction. Some species are known to eat animals as large as antelope or deer.
Their prey is swallowed whole and may take days or weeks to digest fully.
Believe it or not, pythons and other snakes do sometimes eat porcupines. However, many snakes end up regretting their choice of snack. A study published in 2003 in the Phyllomedusa Journal of Herpetology found that a porcupine’s quills can pierce all the way through a hungry snake’s body.
Pythons in the Lake Eland Game Reserve have been spotted consuming even larger prey than a porcupine. The owner of the reserve, Eric Dunstone, once saw a python swallow an adult oribi antelope whole.
Oribi bucks can weigh nearly 50 pounds. In this case, though, it likely wasn’t the size of the porcupine that damaged the python.
It still isn’t clear if this python’s spiky meal was actually responsible for its death. Rangers found the snake underneath a rocky ledge, where it had apparently fallen.
On impact, the quills inside its engorged belly may have pierced the python’s digestive tract, which could have killed it. Rangers at the reserve stripped off the python’s skin after removing the porcupine from its digestive track.
As a python eats a porcupine, it tries to rest, since it can’t move. It’s not unheard of, but the combination is a rare one.