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Huge python spends hours devouring steenbok after catching young antelope

These awe-inspiring images show nature at its most brutal as a huge python spends hours devouring a steenbok after catching and suffocating the young antelope. Matto Barfuss, who snapped the scenes in Botswana, said: “It was such a dream to see. After 71 excursions to Africa, I came across a once in a lifetime experience”.

Strolling along in high grass by Botswana’s Kwando river, the unsuspecting antelope fell afoul of a large python, who had been eyeing it up for dinner. When the steenbok brushed past, the snake made its move, latching on to the deer’s hind legs.

The struggle was captured by Matto Barfuss, 44, who only realized what was going on when he spotted the commotion the steenbok and python were causing. Matto, a Dutch filmmaker living in Germany, said: “At the time I was filming a documentary on African wild dogs and only knew that something great was going on at a distance.

“I immediately stopped filming and rushed to the spot. “By that point, the body of the steenbok was already surrounded by the snake and she had started to constrict her prey. But far from dinner being served, it took more than 24 hours for the snake to swallow the animal and was nearly lost by several cheeky hyenas.

Matto said: “It seemed to be a big deal for the snake to swallow the whole thing. “At first, the snake was too exhausted and disappeared for a while. It risked losing its prey to hyenas in the night after it went away down a hole. “After more than 24 hours, the python came back out and gave it another go.

“It took almost four hours to get the whole carrion in the body. It was amazing to see the hard work and it looked very painful. “Afterwards the body of the snake became much slimmer and slithered back down her hole. “It was such a dream to see. After 71 excursions to Africa and more than 10 years, I came across a once in a lifetime experience.”

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