Gator versus Python: FIGHT!

A 13-foot Burmese python recently burst after it apparently tried to swallow a live, six-foot alligator whole, authorities said.

The gory evidence of the latest gator-python encounter -- the fourth documented in the past three years -- was discovered and photographed last week by a helicopter pilot and wildlife researcher. The snake was found with the gator's hindquarters protruding from its midsection. Mazzotti said the alligator may have clawed at the python's stomach as the snake tried to digest it.

In previous incidents, the alligator won or the battle was an apparent draw.

"There had been some hope that alligators can control Burmese pythons," Mazzotti said. "This indicates to me it's going to be an even draw. Sometimes alligators are going to win and sometimes the python will win."

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20 Responses:

  1. I wouldn't call this a win for the python, it died!

    The story doesn't make clear whether or not the alligator survived, mind...

    • pauraque says:

      The picture makes it pretty clear, though. That is one dead gator. I'd guess he suffocated.

    • Were you reading the same article I was?

      It seemed readily apparent from the quotes that both animals died in this encounter...

      Oh, I see, Yahoo printed an abbreviated version of the AP article. Here's the whole thing.

    • from caption:

      "In this photo provided by the Everglades National Park, the carcass of a six-foot American alligator is shown protruding from the mid-section of a 13-foot Burmese python Monday, Sept. 26, 2005 in Everglades National Park, Fla., after the snake apparently swallowed the alligator resulting in the deaths of both animals. (AP Photo/Everglades National Park)"

  2. Like Mom always said, you should chew your food before you swallow.

  3. ammonoid says:

    I think I'd put my money on the pythons in the long run. They can get a lot bigger than 13 feet...tho I guess if the alligators can fight back even after being swallowed, it might end up a stalemate.

    I wonder if anyones set an anaconda loose in the Everglades yet.

  4. g_na says:

    Wow. What an excellent photo.

    Goes to prove, truth *is* stranger than fiction.

  5. doomkty says:

    awesome!

    other interesting death match (from 1997):
    killer whale vs great white shark...

  6. vxo says:

    And thusly, South Florida gained a reputation as not only a mecca for retirees, the filthy obnoxious rich, and the dysfunctional families of the world, but also as a REALLY good place to dump your only somewhat living victims...

  7. Pythons kill by constriction. So, the gator was dead before the python tried to eat it.

    • pauraque says:

      Not necessarily. Constrictors won't make a serious attempt to eat an animal until they're already squeezing it, but they may begin to swallow before the prey is quite dead. I've certainly seen small constrictors swallowing mice and rats that were still kicking (though they'd not be long for this world by then).

      I do agree, though, that it seems amazingly unlikely that the gator would have been still alive that far inside the snake.

  8. msjen says:

    Thank you. Thank you very much for that picture.

  9. spendocrat says:

    Some days you eat the gator, and some days the gator eats you.