Pythons swallow their prey whole, then take several days or even weeks to fully digest their meal. In fact, a python can typically go several weeks, if not months, without needing to feed again.
However, in the Baliavad Village near Gir Wildlife Sanctuary in the Indian state of Gujarat, a 20-foot python was seen rolling around with an abnormally large belly. It turns out this python’s eyes were much bigger than his belly because it strangled then swallowed a fully grown antelope: whole!
— Sibername (@sibername) October 2, 2016
The Daily Mail reported that villagers in Gujarat looked on as the desperate python tried to regurgitate its meal, but the prey was just too big and minutes later the python was dead.
Because of the size of its prey and the weight in its stomach, the huge snake could barely move and died a painful death just moments later. As the python writhed around in a desperate attempt to rid itself of its meal, a crowd of onlookers gathered. Obviously, the fully-grown antelope was too big for the 20-foot snake, and this rather frightening scene has sparked alarm among snake experts.
Sunil Kumar witnessed the entire episode.
“I found the python lying on the road. It was struggling to digest the animal it had swallowed. It was one of the most spectacular moments I have ever witnessed as the python was unbelievably huge.”
R. Senthilkumaran, the Deputy Conservator of Forests, commented on the unusual event.
“Forest officials were informed and they rushed to the site to ascertain its condition. It succumbed to the internal injuries caused by swallowing the antelope.”
In another unusual python story, a python found in Georgia is covered with markings that resemble smiley face emojis. SF Gate reported that this particular snake is a lavender albino piebald ball python, a snake which is usually found in sub-Saharan Africa.
— Oden (@Gjallarhornet) March 11, 2017
But this spoiled python lives with Justin Kolbyka, its owner, who describes himself as a “lifetime reptile lover and ball python breeder extraordinaire.” Kolbyka says he was very young when he started collecting snakes, eventually leaving his career in the medical field to focus on reptile breeding. Apparently, Piebald Pythons have been known to have intricate patterns, but it’s very rare to see three perfect faces.
“It is a dream come true to work with these amazing creatures as a career and serve reptile enthusiasts around the world.”
The Daily Mail reported that Kobylka lives with the python in Georgia, along with his wife Joy, son Graer, and daughter Aliya. Fortunately, Ball Pythons are nonvenomous constrictors and have become popular as household pets because of their temperament and their size. Other creatures that might display a piebald pattern include dogs, horses, cats, birds, and pigs.
In South Africa’s Kruger National Park, a visitor recorded rare footage of a battle to the death between a massive rock python and two jaguars. UPI reported that the video shows a mother leopard and her cub clawing at a bush, and in the video, the leopard’s behavior is not immediately clear. However, observers can be heard saying there’s a python in the bush.
— Odd News from @UPI (@OddNewsUPI) March 6, 2017
Then, the snake makes its presence known by lunging at the mother leopard. The python bit the leopard, without causing serious injury, and the snake was eventually taken out by the leopards.
The News & Observer reported that one of the most popular exhibits in the history of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences was a Burmese python from the jungles of Southeast Asia.
This python’s name was George, and she became a celebrity due to her story of being saved from being eaten by Cambodian mercenaries by a United States Special Forces soldier. George died in 1989, at which time it was discovered that “he” was actually a “she.” In 1964, the soldier brought George home with him to Fort Bragg.
The story of George is the subject of a new graphic novel titled An Unlikely Refugee: The Story of a Python Named George, by a husband and wife team. On Saturday, writer Morrow Dowdle and her illustrator husband, Max, appeared at the science museum’s Reptile and Amphibian Day, and with them was the Green Beret who was responsible for George’s amazing journey.
— NC Natural Sciences (@naturalsciences) March 10, 2017
Dewey Simpson is now 87-years-old and tells George’s story as if it happened just last year. Simpson admits that he’s still astonished at how well-known George became. He spoke from his home near Shallotte on the North Carolina coast.
“I was not only surprised, but a little frightened. Not much was said about how he got in there. I was afraid that they’d get me for smuggling.”
And yes, Simpson still regards George as a male snake, and everyone concerned refers to the snake as “him,” including Morrow and Max Dowdle.
Simpson was a sergeant in Vietnam and met George in 1963 while on patrol with Cambodian civilians. The Cambodians saw the 10-foot Burmese python in a tree and wanted to capture it with the intention of eating it. However, Simpson had other ideas and ordered the snake be brought back to camp, where it became a mascot and a pet. George lived in a teak wood enclosure and lived off chickens, rabbits, and rats brought to her by the soldiers.
“My troops enjoyed him. They liked to see George eat. That was a big occasion.”
When George was wounded by a piece of shrapnel during a Viet Cong attack, the soldiers were so concerned that they had Special Forces medics patch her up, after which she was awarded an Honorary Purple Heart. For the rest of her life the scar remained visible.
— Sambo Virak Touch (@samboviraktouch) May 28, 2016
When it was time for Simpson to go home, he didn’t want to leave George behind because the Cambodians still wanted to eat him, so Simpson brought George back to Bragg under the guise of a “training aid.”
Unfortunately, Simpson wasn’t able to keep George at his own home, but he found an eager taker in James Chambers, the Director of Raleigh’s Recreation Department. They decided George would live at the Science Museum. George grew in his new home to around 60-feet long, weighing in at 120 pounds; then in 1978, he was moved into a new glass-enclosed exhibit with a small pool, a climbing tree, and a radiant heated floor. She remained at the museum until 1989, after which time she became ill and was unable to eat. George was subsequently euthanized at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, and it’s here you’ll find her skeleton as part of the collection.
[Featured Image by mat.hak/Shutterstock]