Python Eats Porcupine: Did The Meal Cause The Snake To Die?

A python eats a porcupine for dinner, and it does not live to see its next meal. A 12-foot-long African Rock python was seen shortly after it swallowed the porcupine whole by a mountain biker, according to CNN. That biker snapped a photo of the snake with its full belly and shared it on social media. The photo caused some interest by the locals in the area.

Many trekked up to the Lake Eland Game Reserve to find the snake and see it for themselves. Officials at the reserve even started to speculate about the prey inside the python’s belly. On their Facebook page, a game reserve employee stated that it was likely “small warthog or an impala calf.” A large enough prey would make it so the snake would not have to eat again for several months.

However, this snake was found dead by the reserve staff less than a week after its porcupine meal. Staff performed a necropsy on the animal, and they found a porcupine inside.

It might not have killed the snake though. In fact, staff at the game preserve are not sure what actually killed the giant python. The staff is not putting the blame on the animal it swallowed for its final meal.

The quills on the porcupine might have eventually killed the snake, according to Tech Times. Jennifer Fuller, the Lake Eland Game Reserve general manager revealed to the news outlet that “it’s not actually unusual for pythons to dine on porcupines, despite the very obvious risks. And it’s not the only snake to take a liking to quilled animals. However, research has shown that quills cannot be digested. Had the python survived this meal, it would still have been in danger of dying because of the porcupine’s quills in the future.”

How big was the porcupine the python tried to swallow? The staff revealed that the creature was 32 inches long and weighed around 30 pounds. Pythons can swallow much larger animals, so it was not the size that was the cause of death here.

How are pythons able to eat large prey like deer and antelope? Tech Times revealed the secret behind this ability.

“Pythons, in particular, are able to eat larger prey because they have the ability to alter the size of their organs and their metabolism. As for how they are able to get sizable prey inside their bodies in the first place, pythons have two lower jaws that can independently move of each other and a quadrate bone at the back of their heads that loosely attach their jaws to their skulls. This is what allows their jaws to move around freely, not simple dislocation, to accommodate prey of any size.”

The staff at the Lake Eland Game Reserve speculated that it might have been the intense interest in the creature created by the first photo snapped by the mountain biker. People came to the game reserve just to see the python with the giant belly, according to Fuller.

“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.”

If that was the problem, the porcupine was stuck on its way up. However, Fuller said to the Huffington Post in an email that “the real cause of death” of the creature is not known. Staff at the reserve found the python near a ledge. It is believed that the snake fell off the ledge. The necropsy revealed that the porcupine’s quills did puncture the python’s digestive tract, but that could have happened in the fall.

Snakes have been in the news a lot lately. A previous Inquisitr report shared the story of one family who have seen their dream home overrun by snakes. Apparently, the building was built on top of a snake den, and the snakes have infested the entire structure. They are inside the walls, and the only way to get rid of the problem might be to burn the house to the ground.

Jody and Jeff Brooks filed a lawsuit against the real estate agent that sold them the home and the former homeowner because they were both aware of the infestation when the house was sold. The lawsuit asks for $2 million.

As for the python and its prey, the cause of death is still a mystery. What do you think? What killed the giant snake?

[Photo: Lake Eland Game Reserve Facebook]