Pythons asphyxiate their prey before devouring it, a method of basically choking the animal to death before serving it for supper. This ensures that the snake can enjoy a struggle-free meal.
After a South African bicyclist discovered a fat and happy 12-and-a-half-foot python that had just devoured a big snack and shared a few pictures of it on the Internet, the snake went viral, but it wasn't long before park rangers found the same python lying dead near the bike trail with an unknown cause of death.
The carcass still had the huge lump in its belly, and the park rangers that discovered the snake wanted to know what was inside of it, as well as the cause of death, so investigations began.
The rangers' decision was to cut the python open with a sharp blade to find out what it had eaten, and what they found was a huge 30-pound porcupine. As you can imagine, the porcupine did a number on the snake's digestive tract with its sharp prickly quills.
Despite the injuries, it is likely that the porcupine was not the actual cause of death. It isn't unusual for pythons to eat porcupines and just about all of them live to tell the tale. Pythons have incredibly tough digestive systems that can handle this kind of abuse.
It still riddles the park rangers as to what exactly killed the python, but the snake was found under a rock ledge that it appeared to have fallen off of, and it's possible that the impact of the fall is what could have driven the porcupine's quills deep into the digestive tract of the snake, causing internal organ damage and bleeding as a result, and finally, leading to the snake's demise.
"The exact reasons for the snake's death are not clear," said reserve general manager Jennifer Fuller. "It is apparent that several porcupine quills were lodged inside the digestive tract. It had fallen off the rocky ledge. We don't know if it died beforehand, or whether the fall drove some of the quills into the digestive tract. With all the human interaction, this could have caused stress and the python would then regurgitate the meal up with all the quills causing a problem."
The poor guy was just hungry. Can you blame it for finding something that looked delicious and then eating it?