Snake eats possum while hanging upside down from tree in Queensland

ONE minute a possum was settling in for an afternoon nap. The next it was staring head first down the belly of a 3m python.

Photographer Jasmine Kerr captured the moment a coastal carpet python digested a possum on her family’s horse property at Gunalda near Gympie on

Ms Kerr was moving horses with her family about 2pm when something caught her eye.

She’s no stranger to snakes, but this was something she’d never seen before.

 

“We were just coming out of our driveway. I own snakes so it wasn’t too horrifying for me, but my mum crapped herself,” she said.

“It would’ve taken him probably 25 to 30 minutes to eat the whole possum.”

“I never see wild snakes and you especially don’t see them eating.”

Sunshine Coast snake catcher Stuart McKenzie said while carpet pythons are common across the north coast he’s never come across one dining out.

Mr McKenzie said the python was as big as they come. “This is one of the bigger ones I’ve come across as a snake catcher,” he said.

“A lot of the time as snake catchers we’ll get to the property and the chicken or the guinea pig will already be in its belly, so it’s pretty awesome to see it halfway through.”

Carpet pythons have heat sensitive pits on their lips that detect body heat, which means mammals are vulnerable prey.

Mr McKenzie said the pythons are opportunistic feeders and this possum got a little too close.

He said the photos capture their incredible jaw strength, using jaw muscles alone for up to half an hour to constrict and devour a possum while hanging upside down.

“The strength in this carpet python to hold itself up by the tail and swallow its prey upside down it’s pretty amazing,” he said.

The tree-dwelling carpet python is known to grasp prey while suspended from their perch.

The prey’s weight and struggling meant the species developed stronger lobes in its head to ensure they can finish the job.

Coastal carpet pythons aren’t venomous and the snake remains on the Kerr’s property.

.

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