Continuing with the theme of over-eager swallowing of large prey, I thought I’d share the following case, reported in the literature by Clark (1967). A Horned or Sand viper specimen belonging to the subspecies Vipera ammodytes meridionalis (sometimes called the Eastern sand viper) was caught on the Greek island of Euboia. It looked fat at the time of collecting, and died an hour later.
Dissection revealed what you see in the photo: this small snake had eaten, whole, a centipede 140 mm long. Wow, ambitious. While the possibility exists that handling and subsequent bagging somehow damaged the snake or hastened its demise (Clark 1967), the most likely explanation for its death is that its meal was too large. Let that be a lesson for the festive season ?
Ref – –
Clark, R. J. 1967. Centipede in stomach of young Vipera ammodytes meridionalis. Copeia 1967, 224.