These are the amazing scenes as a Southern African python ᴅᴇᴠᴏᴜʀs an unsuspecting impala who just happened to be ambling through the Kruger National Park in South Africa.
The helpless mammal was oblivious to the ᴛʜʀᴇᴀᴛ in the grass when the python sᴛʀᴜᴄᴋ and ᴡʀᴀᴘᴘᴇᴅ its powerful body around it. The snake sᴡᴀʟʟᴏᴡɪɴɢ the ᴅᴇᴀᴅ impala whole, moving its body over the ᴄᴀʀᴄᴀss slowly is it consumes the animal head-first. More of the impala disappears into the body of the snake as its jaws widen further to take in the wider parts of the carcass.
With only its hind legs still visible sticking out of the python’s mouth, the impala was sᴡᴀʟʟᴏᴡᴇᴅ in the 10 minute period that photographer Sheila Grobbelaar, 54, watched the startling ᴇɴᴄᴏᴜɴᴛᴇʀ. At three metres long, the python although may have bitten off more than it could chew as it wasn’t for a while afterwards that it made trails.
Sheila said: “At the first I had been hoping to get some good shots of four lions that were in the area when another tourist told me about the python. The python was massive – it was surprising just how much it could fit in its mouth. The entire impala ᴡᴀs ɢᴏɴᴇ in 10 minutes.” Sheila got excited watching the scene.
African rock pythons are the largest snakes found in Africa. They live in the grasslands of southern Africa and typically grow between 10 and 16 feet in length. Adult specimens can weigh 120 pounds, with reports of some growing even larger.
Pythons consume larger ᴄᴀʀᴄᴀssᴇs in this way owing to their particularly evolved jaws that, unlike mammals, are not connected in the skeleton but by ligaments that can stretch apart and greatly expand the area of the mouth.
African rock pythons are known to consume a variety of animals in the savannah habitats of southern Africa where they are found. Kruger National Park lists antelope, guinea fowl, fish, monitor lizards and crocodiles as well as domesticated animals among their diet.