A park ranger in Australia's Nitmiluk national park recently stumbled upon an extraordinary scene: an 8-foot long olive python swallowing an entire agile wallaby joey.
All images: Paul O'Neill/Parks and Wildlife Commission NT.
As reported in The Guardian, Ranger Paul O'Neill arrived at the scene shortly after the python killed the wallaby. The snake was likely waiting for the wallaby after picking up its scent on a regularly used trail.
"It would have sat on the trail and then lashed out, it would have been very fast and very aggressive," said reptile expert Greg Smith to The Guardian. "It would strike the wallaby in the middle part of its body and then coiled around it straight away. It would have been over very quickly. They are amazing animals, very strong indeed."
The python then began the process of devouring the wallaby, which took about 30 minutes. O'Neill says that the snake was fully expanded and probably near its maximum.
He told The Guardian: "After eating this, the python would go somewhere to hide because it would be very vulnerable if a dingo came along. It would move quite sluggishly though, given it has had a big meal. With a meal like that, it would sit in a cave to digest for about a week and then not need to eat for four to six weeks. It would certainly take a chill pill for the next fortnight, unless it needed a drink."