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Cow caught chewing on a large python in outback northern Australia

A gobsmacked outback worker has captured photos of a cow apparently trying to swallow a snake in a bizarre roadside scene in remote northern Australia. Refrigeration mechanic Andrew Gertz came across the bovine snake catcher as he drove on the deserted Sandover Highway about 300 kilometers from Lake Nash Station in the Northern Territory.

“When I got closer I could see it was a sand python hanging out of its mouth,” said Mr. Gertz, from Camooweal, northern Queensland. “It’s kind of sucked it’s head off back to the b one. “I’ve seen cows with bone and hides … I thought it might have been a bone.”

He stopped to snap these photos. Mr. Gertz said he couldn’t figure out how the non-venomous snake’s head came to be in the cow’s mouth, speculating the cow might have stepped on or disturbed the snake that then “latched onto its tongue”.

Western Queensland cattle grazier and natural historian Angus Emmott said cattle were known to scavenge on dead kangaroos and cattle to supplement their diets, especially in the red dust of outback Queensland, but he had no doubt python sucking was unusual. “I have never seen one chew a snake,” Mr. Emmott said.

He said the cow might have been “chewing it for both protein and trace elements”. “Their body tells them what they need and they’ll go and chase it down if it’s available,” he said. Mr. Gertz said the cow seemed unfazed by its unusual meal and his interest, dropped the dead snake, and wandered off.

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