Ever seen a python strangle an alligator? Following a 15-minute battle, the following video showcases a Burmese python emerging victor! Guess who’s the victim? A big alligator!
This video is an internet sensation. The footage captures a rare and fascinating encounter between two of Florida’s most iconic wildlife species. It’s not every day you see an alligator-python battle in real life.
Reporter Joe Capozzi was leisurely riding his bicycle through Big Cypress, a swamp trail in the Everglades. It was a quiet ride until there was a loud splash!
Stopping to investigate, he saw an alligator’s tail rising out of the water, followed by a large python wrapping itself around the alligator. Capozzi began filming and caught the entire event on video. While we don’t see the initial ambush, the footage still captures quite a scene!
Why Are Burmese Pythons in the Everglades?
The Burmese python is one of the world’s largest and most powerful snakes. They’re an invasive species in Florida with a range extending several thousand kilometers.
Burmese pythons are native to southern and southeastern Asia, where they are considered endangered due to being hunted for their skins and sold around the world as pets. However since they were first spotted in the Everglades in 1979, from either pet owners releasing them into the wild or the snakes escaping cages damaged by storms or hurricanes, the Burmese python population has grown to the hundreds of thousands.
This is a huge problem because they have become an apex predator in the Everglades and caused devastating effects on the ecosystem by overhunting native species such as foxes, bobcats, raccoons, and rabbits. And despite their size, the pythons’ prey also includes alligators.
The Video: Python Strangles an Alligator
The video starts with the alligator being pulled underwater. Seeing the alligator thrashing and struggling against a seemingly invisible force is eerie. This powerful snake is an ambush hunter, waiting for its prey to come within range before striking with lightning speed. Its sharp teeth curve backward, so whatever it grabs hold of won’t escape easily.
When you look closely, you see the reptile’s entire body beneath the python’s coils. Eventually, you’ll see that the python’s body is covered in giraffe-like patterning.
Watch how the snake behaves. Midway into the footage, you’ll see the python stick its head out of the water and stretch forward. It’s using all of its strength to squeeze the life out of the alligator. The python’s body tightens around its prey until, finally, the alligator stops moving. This effective hunting technique makes the Burmese python one of the top predators in its natural habitat.
Alligators aren’t the only prey this snake hunts. Reports exist of pythons consuming rodents, possums, birds, monkeys, wallabies, pigs, turtles, fish, and even porcupines. It is not unheard of for a python to take on prey much larger than itself, including leopards and antelopes. Even the elusive bobcat is on the menu.
Alligators are eating machines too. They use their powerful jaws to catch prey in seconds. They even ambush animals that come too close. However, despite being an excellent hunter, the alligator in this video couldn’t match the python’s strength.
It’s not every day that you get to witness an alligator-python battle. Thanks to the quick thinking of an Everglades bicyclist, we have a rare look at the natural drama between these two amazing species. Watch the video below now!
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- Palm Beach Post, Available here: https://www.palmbeachpost.com/story/news/2017/01/05/video-python-battles-gator-post/7904924007/
- National Zoo, Available here: https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/american-alligator#:~:text=Male%20alligators%20are%20larger%20than,1%2C000%20pounds%20(454%20kilograms)
- San Diego Zoo, Available here: https://sdzwildlifeexplorers.org/animals/python#:~:text=Pythons%20are%20some%20of%20the,7%20ounces%20to%20250%20pounds