Python has bitten off more than he could chew when he perished after swallowing a prickly porcupine
A mountain biker found a dead African rock python in a sanctuary, bloated from swallowing a hedgehog.
The python was discovered yesterday at the Eland Game Reserve in South Africa, about 120 km south of the city of Durban, South Africa.
In the belly of the python is a hedgehog weighing nearly 14 kg, its spikes pierce the digestive tract of the predator.
The rock python is one of the largest python species in the world. It kills its prey by crushing its victim to death. Pythons can swallow large prey such as boars or antelope.
“It fell off the ledge. We don’t know if it died before or after it fell because the fall caused the spikes to puncture the python’s digestive system,” said Jennifer Fuller, director of the sanctuary.
According to her, it is impossible to determine the exact cause of the python’s death.
Reserve general manager Jennifer Fuller said: “The exact reasons for the snake’s death are not clear.
“It is apparent that several porcupine quills were lodged inside the digestive tract.
“It had fallen off the rocky ledge.
“We don’t know if it died beforehand, or whether the fall drove some of the quills into its digestive tract.”
Whereas some predators will be warned off by the visual threat displays of a porcupine, many snake species rely on thermal or chemical sensory mechanisms to ambush prey at night.
Snake expert Johan Marais was surprised to learn that the python died from eating a porcupine.
“The pythons still eat the porcupines without any problems,” said Marais. “However, if disturbed after eating, the python’s natural response is to vomit its prey to make it light and easy to escape. In this case, the porcupine spines probably choked it. I’m sure It must have died because of that.”