Snake's 'very foolish' act on water's edge amuses Aussies

The snake repeatedly tries to use its body to pull the stingray onto the muddy bank.

The Australian Bockadam snake with its teeth sunk into the stingray in the water in the Northern Territory.
A snake was caught in a bizarre battle with a stingray in the Northern Territory earlier this week. Source: TikTok/@troopytrippinaus78

A snake with “eyes bigger than its belly” has left Aussies in awe after being caught on camera battling a stingray. The “bizarre” sight was captured earlier this week by Jason and Hollee, who document their adventures living in Arnhem Land, in the Northern Territory, on social media.

In their TikTok video, the grey snake can be seen on the water’s edge in a mangrove after sinking its teeth into the ray’s head. The snake repeatedly tries to use its body to pull its opponent onto the muddy bank, but does not appear to succeed.

“Nature doing its thing,” the couple captioned the clip, which was quickly re-posted on the Facebook pages Snake Identification Australia and Trapman Australia.

“This is definitely something different. This snake is biting this ray and paralysed it. Then it was trying to pull it out of the water,” the latter said. “The question is what was the snake going to do with it? No way was it going to get that down.”

Viewers have shared their shock over the snake’s optimism. “Classic case of biting off more than it can chew,” one Aussie commented. “When you rock up at all you can eat buffet,” another joked.

“That’s a bit strange. Maybe the sting ray scared it,” someone else pondered.

Left, the snake along on the muddy bank. Right, the snake trying to pull the stingray ashore.
The snake seen in the footage is an Australian Bockadam, experts have confirmed. Source: TikTok/@troopytrippinaus78

Approved snake identifiers confirmed online the reptile in the footage is an Australian Bockadam (Cerberus australis). “This rear-fanged aquatic snake is mildly venomous but not considered dangerous to humans,” Cameron Tuckett-McKeon said.

Another snake expert, Forrest He, said Bockadam “naturally feed on fish”, so their venom has evolved to specifically incapacitate them. “This ray will probably die from the venom but the snake won’t be able to eat it unless it somehow rolls up the ray like a burrito,” he said.

Speaking to Yahoo News, Professor Rick Shine described the species as mildly venomous, small mangrove-dwellers.

“They eat fish but the stingray is clearly way too large for the snake to be able to eat it,” he said. “My guess is that the snake saw something moved, and grabbed it, but then didn’t really know what to do.

“This isn’t unique, because snakes sometimes make very foolish (over-optimistic) choices about potential prey,” he added, pointing to a 2014 incident where a 4.6kg python was recorded trying to eat a 64kg human.

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