A roadside sighting of a snake in Texas yielded a jaw-dropping surprise for Christopher Reynolds and his wife. Nestled under some leaves, the sizeable snake seemed to have something poking out of its mouth.
Indeed, not long after Reynolds turned on his camera to capture the scene, the snake regurgitated another snake of comparable size. Even more shocking, the eaten snake emerged alive.
Theorizing that the presence of humans spooked the black snake into giving up its meal and retreating, Reynolds noted it was the prey snake’s “super, ultra, lottery-lucky day.”
While it isn’t yet confirmed what types of snakes are seen in the video, this isn’t the first time such behavior among serpents has been caught on film. In January, an eastern brown snake, one of the world’s most venomous, startled a woman in Australia by devouring an entire carpet python on her patio. And a python in India was filmed regurgitating a recently eaten antelope.
Reynolds may be right that his presence caused the snake to eject its meal. Snakes will do that as a defense mechanism, according to Kenney Krysko, a herpetologist and collection manager at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville who talked to National Geographic about the antelope footage last year.
Snakes don’t chew and instead need time to digest their swallowed meals. But the extra weight and bulk can then slow them down.
"Anyone who keeps snakes knows you should leave them alone after they eat, because you can make them regurgitate," Krysko said.
Reynolds confirmed the video was shot in Newton, about 150 miles from Houston. He says on YouTube that when they spotted the snake on the way back from visiting his mother, his wife suggested he shoot some video: “I am happy I did.”