Top Ten News Photos of 2005

Whale Found in Egypt Desert
<< Previous   7 of 10   Next >>
4. Python Bursts After Eating Gator

Unfortunately for a 13-foot (4-meter) Burmese python in Florida's Everglades National Park, eating the enemy seems to have caused the voracious reptile to bust a gut—literally.

Wildlife researchers with the South Florida Natural Resources Center found the dead python in late September after it apparently tried to digest a 6-foot-long (2-meter-long) American alligator. The mostly intact dead gator was found sticking out of a hole in the midsection of the python, and wads of gator skin were found in the snake's gastrointestinal tract.

The gruesome discovery suggests that the python's feisty last meal might have been too much for it to handle.

Clashes between alligators and pythons have been on the rise in the Everglades for the past 20 years. Unwanted pet snakes dumped in the swamp have thrived, and the Asian reptile is now a major competitor in the alligator's native ecosystem. (See "Huge, Freed Pet Pythons Invade Florida Everglades.")

"Clearly if [pythons] can kill an alligator, they can kill other species," Frank Mazzotti, a University of Florida wildlife professor, told the Associated Press after the discovery. "There had been some hope that alligators can control Burmese pythons. … This [event] indicates to me it's going to be an even draw."

Originally published October 2005

Top Ten National Geographic News Stories of 2005
Top Ten Videos of 2005 From National Geographic News
Free E-Mail Newsletter: "Focus on Photography"
—Photograph courtesy South Florida NRC
 
NEWS FEEDS    After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed. After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed.

Get our news delivered directly to your desktop—free.
How to Use XML or RSS




 

50 Drives of a Lifetime

Listen to your favorite National Geographic news daily, anytime, anywhere from your mobile phone. No wires or syncing. Download Stitcher free today.