Mother Can Only Look On As Baby Impala Is Swallowed Whole By A Giant Python
This is the moment a giant African rock python devours a baby impala in front of its helpless mother in South Africa. The python can be seen squeezing the last light of life out of the calf before unlocking its jaws and swallowing it whole, while its mother cries out in distress.
The incredible footage was captured by wildlife guide Michelle Sole at the Marakele National Park in South Africa last month. Ms. Sole said she heard the cries of the mother impala and her herd, and came across the rare sight of the python enjoying its meal.
Ms. Sole said: ‘We noticed the herd were staring at the ground and when we got closer we found a small, motionless impala with a four-meter rock python wrapped around its fragile body. ‘A few minutes later the herd moved away leaving the snake with her prize, but we looked on fascinated as she continued to squeeze despite the lack of life left in the poor lamb’s body.
‘The mother impala returned and came close to her baby, distraught and calling in alarm but there was nothing she could do. ‘When the snake was confident the lamb was dead it released its grip and then locked its jaws around the lamb’s nose and moved it into the undergrowth to swallow it whole.’
The African Rock Python is Africa’s largest snake capable of reaching up to 23ft in length and weights of 200lbs. While they are not venomous they are capable of delivering a nasty bite and constricting their prey to kill it. Incredibly the snake can swallow prey three times wider than its own head.
Elastic ligaments allow the jaws to stretch apart and the two sides of the lower jaw are not joined to each other. If it needs to it is able to divide its upper jaws as well, giving it’s head four sections that can move independently.
The acid in the python’s stomach will break everything from this impala down, including hooves and horns. Digestion of such a big meal may take weeks, during which the snake will be more vulnerable to predators. But after such a meal this snake might not need to feed again for up to a year.
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