Monday, 28 October 2013

Patient hunter

We are having extremely hot and dry weather with little rainfall in the past four months and our bird baths are getting well used. Over the past week and a bit we have had a large Diamond Python located on the top of a fallen log that is part of the garden not far from our front door and for most of the day it is just curled up inconspicuously on top of the log.
However there is a bird bath located on the ground just below the log and the python had worked out that this was a likely location to catch its next meal. (I do not believe in intervening in the natural way of things, so life and death is part of everyday)
In the morning and late afternoon the python would position itself poised ready to strike and stay without moving for a number of hours. 
Birds are generally at this bird bath most mornings and afternoons but they had obviously worked out that the python was there as they gave it a wide berth and used our other bird baths.
I did think that it was only a matter of time before one arrived without knowing about the snake, however I was surprised yesterday morning to hear a scuffle and look out to see an unexpected result.
The water had brought a Red-necked Wallaby and her youngster in for a drink and the python had the youngster in its deadly coils.
Death came relatively quickly through suffocation, as you will note a coil around the mouth and the many coils tightening around the chest.
As soon as the struggling ceased the python arranged itself at the head and through the expansion of elasticised ligaments holding the jaws and then dislocation of the jaws it commenced to swallow the wallaby.
Throughout, the mother wallaby was nearby not able to do anything and it appeared not all that certain of what was happening and where the youngster had gone.
With the wallaby completely swallowed the python put its jaws back in place and moved off to find a secluded place to spend time digesting the large meal and it will be unlikely to need to hunt for sometime.
 Mother wallaby stayed around for awhile looking around and givimg little calls before moving to feed.
You feel a sense of loss at seeing the death of a cute furry little critter but the python has to exist as well and they are quite beautiful in their own way.



  1. Excellent series of photos Ian. How long did it take to swallow the wallaby?

    1. Hi Boobook, thank you for your comment and the time taken was 1hour 36 minutes from the first photo after capture to the last, with the wallaby just a bulge.
      As I type this the python is in the sun on the rocks outside my office where it is mornings and afternoons since the capture. During the heat of the day and in the evening it spends the time resting under our wooden walkway to our entrance. Digesting such a meal is obviously quite a lengthy process and some warmth from the sun is likely to aid the process.