January 16, 2014

Eight-foot python dislocates jaws to scoff young impala whole (VIDEO) - @NatGeo

An African rock python dislocates its jaws to gobble up a young impala in Moremi National Park
While many of Africa's big predators could be expected to take down an antelope - few could then swallow it whole.

But this is just what happens when the killer turns out to be an African rock python.

These photographs show an 8ft snake devouring a young impala in the Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana.

The images were captured by photographer Fred von Winckelmann, from Eindhoven in the Netherlands, whilst on a game drive.

He said: 'Seeing an African rock python swallowing a young impala is a once-in-a-lifetime sighting.'

He added: 'The snake was calmly swallowing his meal without giving us any attention, so I was allowed to go belly-down to get eye-level photos of the reptile.

'We arrived when the snake was starting to dislocate its jaws around the antelope's waist and in 45 minutes it swallowed the last hooves.

'That was when we let the python digest it in peace because they are so vulnerable when doing so.'

Pythons are able to swallow such large prey thanks to dislocatable jaws rigged with tendons, muscles and ligaments that can stretch to extraordinary lengths.

They first kill their prey by wrapping their bodies around them and crushing them using powerful body muscles.

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