In the global battle between pythons and crocodiles, chalk up the snakes. A grisly new series of images shows an olive python (19459006) Liasis olivaceus ) scarfing down an Australian freshwater crocodile ( Crocodylus Johnstoni ).
Images are courtesy of GG Wildlife Rescue Inc., a nonprofit in Australia that shared them on its Facebook page on May 31
Pythons are known for their dietary needs. The big snakes have been found with the remnants of everything – from deer bigger than themselves and impaled to prickly porcupines – in their bellies. These snakes also happily eat each other, as seen in May in Western Australia. In some rare cases, some python species will even attack and eat humans.
Pythons have also been known to go from head to head with crocodiles and alligators. In a notorious case in 2005, a Burmese python in the Florida Everglades National Park was found burst open and dead with an American alligator ( Alligator mississippiensis ) sticking out of the intestines. Burmese pythons ( Python bivittatus ), which can grow as far as 18.8 feet (5.74 meters) long, are an invasive species in Florida.
Olive python, on the other hand, is native to Australia and only exists there. This species can grow up to 13 feet (4 m) long. Collisions with Australia's "freshies" (the local freshwater crocodile nickname) are common. In 2014, an olive python was recorded and killed a freshwater crocodile at Lake Moondarra, near Mount Isa. In that case, it took five hours for the snake to slowly stretch its jaws around the narrowed hook.
Pythons can do amazing blurs thanks to their elastic jaws. The lower jaws of the tubes are divided into two parts, connected by an elastic ligament which allows the bones to spread. When a python has a prey, the snake is first "over" it, a process called the pterygoid passage. Then the hose uses its jaw to hang on the prey while compressing its muscles and slipping around the muted animal until the meal is swallowed.
Pythons also have a number of genetic adaptations that help them digest large meals at once. Research published in 2013 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that Burmese pythons quickly change their metabolism after they have eaten and even increase the size of their internal organs (including the intestines, pancreas, heart and kidneys) to handle the influx of calories.
Originally published on Live Science .