Leopard Hunts Python, Python Hunts Leopard, Then Back Again

Written by Kirstin Harrington
Published: October 20, 2022
© Alta Oosthuizen/Shutterstock.com
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In today’s video, we’re going to take a look at two beautiful wild animals: pythons and leopards. While they’re normally able to coexist, sometimes two animals cross paths and fight to the death. Let’s take a look at the hunting tactics of both the serpent and the wild cat. 

The leopard stalks or ambushes its prey in order to catch it. It makes an effort to approach its aim as closely as feasible in either situation. After that, it accelerates quickly, pounces on its target, and bites it in the neck to finish it off. Leopards are incapable of pursuing their prey over great distances and will give up if the immediate element of surprise is gone and the targeted prey escapes.

Leopards are extremely adaptive animals, able to survive in both dense subtropical vegetation and semi-desert environments. Additionally, the size of their domains can range from three square miles to several hundred square miles. Leopards use their urine and claws to mark their territory. While sharing territory with females, a male leopard would protect his against other males.

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Sneaky Snakes

Pythons use a combination of their senses of smell and eyesight to find their next food. Instead of pursuing their prey, they always choose to ambush them. When ready, they rush in on the unaware target after secretly lurking. Pythons have a useful adaption that allows them to sense the body heat of close prey through pits near their jaws as well. These pits come in helpful for pythons trying to locate warm-blooded critters in less-than-optimum lighting.

The python in this video doesn’t need to use any of these tools when the leopard accidentally walks right up next to it. It seems these two have a history and neither is holding back in this fight. 

When a python gets close to his target victim, he quickly grabs it with his jaws. He then starts to encircle the prey with his body, stopping its respiration and causing it to suffocate. The animal quickly dies due to this compression. 

Borneo short-tailed blood python snake (Python curtus breitensteini)
Unlike most snakes, pythons kill their prey by strangulation.

©dwi putra stock/Shutterstock.com

The python’s hold tightens more and more as the animal exhales. The act of squeezing only pauses respiration; it does not break the bones. It’s time to eat when the python finally releases his tight grip and the prey animal’s heartbeat disappears. He begins by swallowing the head of his prey before moving down the body.

A guest on a safari in Kruger National Park recorded this incredible interaction between two species. The others aboard the safari vehicle can be heard watching in awe, wondering which animal was going to kill the other. While they may have expected to see some wild animals on their tour, they never expected to capture something so naturally wild in their life. 

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Python vs Leopard
Leopards are versatile hunters
© Alta Oosthuizen/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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