Enormous Python Swallows, Vomits Up Even Bigger Python

A gigantic python was recently captured in photos vomiting up another, bigger python.

This snake regurgitation happened in East Kimberley, Western Australia, according to local news site The New Daily. Kurt Jongedyk, the manager at Parry Creek Farm Tourist Resort and Caravan Park in the area, reportedly came across a 11.5- to 13-foot (3.5 to 4 meters) python and "relocated" it away from his house. At that point, the python began to "bring up its meal" — "an even fatter python of about the same length."

Amanda Jongedyk took the photos, which were posted to the park’s Facebook page. [Photos: Python Chows Down on 3 Deer]

Accounts of pythons eating other pythons turn out not to be that rare. Here's a National Geographic video of exactly this sort of snake cannibalism in action. And pythons are more than capable of swallowing larger animals, and even, in some awful cases, humans.

Contrary to popular belief, snakes don't unhinge their jaws to swallow bigger critters.

"One of the enduring myths about snake feeding mechanisms is the idea that the jaws detach," Patrick T. Gregory, a biology professor at the University of Victoria in Canada, previously told Live Science. "In fact, they stay connected all the time."

But the two jaws move independently of one another, without the bony restrictions that you have with human jaw hinges.

"The two mandibles are not joined at the front by a rigid [joint], as ours are, but by an elastic ligament that allows them to spread apart," Gregory said.

In order to swallow snakes larger than themselves, Live Science previously reported, smaller snakes force their prey's spinal columns to bend in waves. That shrinks the swallowed snake's overall length, "packaging" it to fit in the predator snake's stomach.

Originally published on Live Science.

Rafi Letzter
Staff Writer
Rafi joined Live Science in 2017. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of journalism. You can find his past science reporting at Inverse, Business Insider and Popular Science, and his past photojournalism on the Flash90 wire service and in the pages of The Courier Post of southern New Jersey.