A Hyena Tries To Steal This Python’s Dinner, and Accidentally Frees It Instead

Written by Kirstin Harrington
Published: September 20, 2022
© gualtiero boffi/Shutterstock.com
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There’s no denying that wild animals can have incredible senses. The hyena is a highly misinterpreted animal. They can tenderly mother an infant one second, and break a rhinoceros bone the next. The animal’s excellent senses of sight, hearing, and scent facilitate hunting.

But it’s very clever to combine these senses. It may identify carrion through smell, sounds made by other predators feasting on the carcass, and even by watching vultures circle a dead animal. Because of their keen hearing, hyenas can detect sounds from other predators feasting or killing prey up to six miles away.

In the famous Kruger National Park, there’s a sighting of a hyena walking toward an injured impala. Video footage of this interaction shows just how incredible the animal kingdom can be. As the hyena gets involved, we see a python attacking the poor impala. 

Pythons ambush their prey and attack, encircling it and crushing it while getting tighter as the victim exhales. Within minutes, they are dead from cardiac arrest or suffocation. Pythons consume their meals whole, even if it’s as large as an impala. They can maneuver around enormous prey because the ligaments holding their mouths together are extremely flexible.

These snakes are fuss-free feeders and can reach lengths of over three feet long. They will prey on tiny mammals like the baby impala in Joubert’s video as well as warthogs, birds, and even an adult hyena once, according to a report from Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve. Observing a python in the middle of a meal is uncommon. 

This was the first time the person filming had encountered one of these large snakes carrying an impala capture in more than ten years of leading safaris. In what seems like something only out of a nature documentary, the hyena can be seen peeling the python off of the impala. 

Escaping Death

It doesn’t stop until the poor prey animal is loose from the serpent’s chokehold and instantly runs away. The hyena looks at the snake, almost to say, “Don’t even think about trying that again!” It slithers off into the grassy meadow as the hyena follows the impala. 

It’s not easy to catch an impala; there’s a car with the same name for a reason. They can run nearly 60 miles an hour. That’s a lot faster than any snake. We think it’s safe to assume the serpent was impressed with its catch until the sneaky hyena saved the day! 

Some comments under the video mention that viewers believe the hyena was initially going after the injured impala and was surprised to see the snake. In the fight or flight moment, the spotted critter decided to fight and spooked off the snake. 

Up Next…

The Featured Image

Are Hyenas Dogs
A spotted hyena in Luangwa national park Zambia. Hyenas are more cat-like than is apararent.
© gualtiero boffi/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

When she's not busy playing with her several guinea pigs or her cat Finlay Kirstin is writing articles to help other pet owners. She's also a REALTOR® in the Twin Cities and is passionate about social justice. There's nothing that beats a rainy day with a warm cup of tea and Frank Sinatra on vinyl for this millennial.

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