Python bites off more than it can chew as it 'pushes its limits' with big feast

A Queensland snake catcher arrived to find a scrub python had half consumed a wallaby. He sat back and watched, not wanting to interrupt its meal.

A scrub python was caught biting off more than it could chew after taking down an agile wallaby on a property in north Queensland. In a series of incredible images, the reptile can be seen attempting to demolish the marsupial, with its jaw stretched wide over the animal’s body.

“I got a message on my Facebook page, just saying there’s a big, big snake eating a wallaby,” Jeremy De Haan from Jeremy’s Reptile Relocations Townsville told Yahoo News Australia. “They were a fair way out of town, around Crystal Creek, the Paluma region, so I made the 50-minute drive, and by the time I got there it had only half consumed the wallaby.”

At that point, Jeremy decided to let the snake finish its meal. “If I even touched that snake in any form, it would have just released the grip on the wallaby, resulting in essentially a waste of a meal and a waste of a life,” he explained. “So I did attempt to just sit back and watch, but unfortunately the snake’s eyes were too big for its stomach.”

Three pictures show a scrub python wrapped around a wallaby.
The scrub python was pictured trying to eat the agile wallaby. Source: Facebook

While it was only halfway into the feed, the python still hadn’t got through “the bulk of the thickness of the wallaby yet”.

“So it essentially just gave up when it realised it was too big of a prey item,” Jeremy said. “Because if it did manage to successfully get it down, there is a chance that that prey item was just too big to digest and it could have resulted in the death of the python.”

From the get go, the experienced snake catcher didn’t think it was going to happen because while 3.3 metres long and eight to 10 kilos in weight, the snake wasn’t “a big scrub python by any means”.

“I’ve seen big carpet pythons eat possums and things like that, but they’re a bigger sake,” he said. “To even subdue an agile wallaby of that size — that would have been just as heavy as itself — was quite impressive. Like that was really pushing the limits.”

“I've been doing this for a while and that's definitely the largest prey item that I’ve seen attempted to be consumed. So even for me as a snake catcher, dealing with snakes every day, it was very fascinating to watch.”

After rejecting the free meal, the snake detached itself from the wallaby, and that’s when Jeremy stepped in to catch the python before it took off into the shrub.

Jeremy pointing to the python (left) and holding it up (right).
Snake catcher Jeremy was able to relocate the snake to a cane field a few kilometres away. Source: Facebook

“The property that it actually came from, they had chickens, ducks and small dogs easily the same size as the wallaby,” he said. “So the snake needed to be relocated because if he was just left there then, unfortunately, it could have been a pet that was taken next.”

Jeremy added that he released the python a few kilometres away on a cane field, after receiving permission, and the snake slid away, searching for its next feed.

Are scrub pythons dangerous to humans?

They may be the largest growing snake we have in Australia - and one of the longest in the world - with records revealing some grow up to six metres in length, but if left alone, there’s no risk to humans, Jeremy said.

You don’t, however, want to get bitten by one.

“Their bites can be quite painful,” the snake catcher expected. “They have over 100 teeth in their mouth so it can be quite a serious wound, but they are non venomous so it wouldn’t be a life threatening bite.”

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