I would not like to be bitten by an African rock python Python sebae. Here’s why.
Had previously seen this photo on TV but only recently found a version on the web. Apparently, the 4-m-long snake – which had recently eaten a female impala – is dead and died after trying to pass through the electric fence it is ‘attacking’. This all happened on Silent Valley Ranch in the Waterberg mountains of South Africa. A few photos exist showing people touching the dead snake, and it was cut open to reveal the impala inside [go here], so despite my initial scepticism I currently think all of this is true. Sometimes the photo is accompanied by a story stating that the snake was eating someone’s sheep. Not true: snopes.com says so. Incidentally, rock pythons do sometimes swallow male impala, horns and all. What happens then? The antelope’s horns may fatally pierce the stomach and body wall (Mattison 1995), but such piercings are not always fatal: remarkably, the injuries may heal after the offending horns drop off as the prey’s body decomposes inside the snake (Isemonger 1962). These and other cases of remarkable python predation were discussed here at Tet Zoo ver 1.
Refs – –
Isemonger, R. M. 1962. Snakes of Africa: Southern, Central and East. Thomas Nelson and Sons (Africa), Johannesburg.
Mattison, C. 1995. The Encyclopedia of Snakes. Blandford, London.