African Rock Python

The African Rock Python is one of the largest species of snakes in the world, some even getting up to about 7m in length! Despite being non-venomous, these snakes still cause fatalities amongst humans. Attacks on humans are limited mainly to children since they are also small enough to digest. Pythons are able to consume prey that is three times the diameter of their body. Their jaws are flexible and will open wider than one would expect, while their bodies expand too, their skin stretching to the size of the prey. Sometimes when swallowing a male impala whole, the horns of the prey moving down the body penetrate the skin of the snake which prevents the prey being moved further. The snake then digests the impala where it is – a process lasting a few months. Once digestion is complete, the snake regurgitates the skull and horns of the animal and allows the wounds to heal. This sort of injury can occur multiple times to the snake if it kills many impala during its lifetime. And interestingly enough, if their prey is large enough, these snakes won’t have to eat for a whole year again! Thank you to guest Sally Rickhaus for these exciting shots of a great and rare sighting!