Onlookers at a lake in Queensland watched one olive python kill and swallow a 1m (3.2ft) crocodile. What happens next, asks Tom Geoghegan.

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Pythons in this area normally eat smaller animals - rats room their favourite. Crocodiles stand for a an ext unusual and riskier an option but with better returns - it will be 2 months prior to the line requires another meal.

"They have the right to swallow a crocodile, no problem, but it can safeguard itself, therefore it's a more risky an option than a rat," says snake professional Bryan Fry, a professor in ~ the university of Queensland. There are other risks too, that says. Witnesses claimed it took this snake around five hours to gulp down the crocodile. During that time the line is fragile to strike from a dingo.

As a python wraps itself about its prey, it's not squeezing the air the end of it but waiting because that it come exhale and then tightening the coil, gradually restricting that breath.

Image source, TNT Corlis via abc Northwest Queensland

Pythons have the right to sense the heartbeat for this reason they understand when their prey stops breathing and also they have the right to conserve their power for the following stage - the swallow. Swallowing live pets is risky. In 2005, a large Burmese python in Florida tried come swallow one alligator but then explosive spectacularly, possibly simply due to the fact that it was too huge or it cut an artery.

Once the animal is in a python's stomach, its digestive device - which shuts down in between meals - suddenly kicks into hyperdrive. This involves a sharp increase in your metabolic rate, their organs enlarging by 3 or four times their normal size and the release of enzyme to breakdown the food.

The python in Queensland will certainly bloat additional over the next few days as it digests, says Fry. In 2 weeks it will begin to slim down and in 3 weeks it will certainly defecate a calcium ball, having soaked up the fat and also protein, yet not the excess minerals.

Small ducklings and young wallabies are a an ext common meal than a crocodile. There space rare photos of little cows and deer together prey but humans, says the professor, are usually turn off limits because their shoulders space too wide.

Image source, Science photograph Library

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Image source, Science photo Library