A MASSIVE python ‘exploded’ after swallowing an apparently dead 6ft alligator – that later attempted to thrash its way out.
The beast had began chowing down on the carcass of the American alligator and had almost swallowed it whole before it burst.
The massive Burmese python bit off more than it could chew as the 6ft alligator burst its stomach[/caption]
Stunned park officials spotted the unbelievable display in a remote area of the Everglades National Park in Florida.
It seems the giant 13ft Burmese python had eyes bigger than its belly, as the snake’s stomach ruptured before it could finish its feast.
But it seems the American alligator didn’t go down without a fight either.
The caiman reportedly fooled the python into thinking it was dead and let the snake tuck in – before ‘thrashing’ its way out.
The clever creature is said to have slowed its heart rate to just two to three beats per minute, fooling the constrictor into thinking it was dead.
“Alligator hearts don’t fibrillate — no matter what we do. They’re very resilient,” Flavio Fenton, a professor in the School of Physics at the Georgia Institute of Technology, said.
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Burmese pythons work out their snacking strategy by evaluating their prey’s heartbeat – allowing them to be tricked by alligators into thinking their target is already lifeless.
The largely intact dead gator seems to have then struck back after the python had swallowed its head, shoulders and forelimbs, by mercilessly attacking its opponent from the inside out.
The sheer force of the assault proved enough to explode the snake’s stomach after it bit off more than it could chew – leaving both of the animals dead in the water.
University of Florida wildlife professor, Frank Mazzoti, said of the unbelievable battle of the reptiles: “Clearly if [pythons] can kill an alligator, they can kill other species.
“There had been some hope that alligators can control Burmese pythons. … This [event] indicates to me it’s going to be an even draw.”
Wildlife experts later found masses of the alligator’s skin in the snake’s gastrointestinal tract.
The python is thought to have stumbled into the dangerous territory, as American alligators are native to the Everglades while the snake is not.
The rise of the invasive snakes is credited to the expansion of the international pet trade, as owners often release them into the wild when they swell in size.
Michael Barron of the National Park Service took the extraordinary snap of the pair mangled together back in September 2005.
The image was unearthed in a Reddit thread that left users baffled by the alligator’s marvellous survival mechanism and the snake’s daring attempt at dinner.
Gators have four-chambered hearts can allow them to expel the air usually being sent to their lungs so that they can sink underwater, reducing oxygen consumption.
A small opening called the Foramen of Panizza between their left and right aorta allows this air to flow elsewhere while they are submerged, allowing their heart rates to plummet.