Scientists have found that not only the size of the head allows the python to swallow a whole deer

(ORDO NEWS) — Pythons are real “master swallowers” ​​among snakes, capable of sending a whole deer into their stomach in a couple of hours. However, not only the size of the head allows these animals to open their mouths to impossible sizes.

The dark tiger python ( Python molorus bivittatus ) is a very large non-venomous snake that grows up to five meters in the wild and weighs about 75 kilograms. On average, representatives of this species reach four meters in length, while females are larger and more massive than males.

Although this species of snake was originally found only in Southeast Asia, including some of the Indonesian islands, as a result of the exotic animal trade, dark tiger pythons ended up in the United States in the 1980s.

There they either escaped from negligent owners, or they released them themselves, but the result is the same: today these predators of impressive size literally terrorize the Florida swamps, destroying local alligators, deer and raccoons.

Previously, scientists believed that the main feature of the python, which allows it to hunt even very large prey, is its movable jaws with flexible joints.

However, they have now discovered that, in addition, pythons also have very elastic skin between the halves of the lower jaw (they are not interconnected in snakes), and this allows them to swallow prey even larger than a non-python of the same size.

On average, in a python that has opened its mouth to the maximum, a little more than 40 percent of the pharynx falls on elastic skin, so even without taking into account the huge head, the mouth will still be impressive.

Comparing the abilities of a python with that of a brown boiga (a snake related to the snake that grows up to three meters in length), the scientists found that the mouth of a python cub opened four to six times wider than that of a boiga of the same size.

Now that they know just how big a prey pythons can actually swallow, the researchers plan to reassess the danger of this invasive species to Florida’s ecosystems.

Apparently, an adult dark tiger python is capable of swallowing almost any animal, from a deer to an alligator, and in the case of a female guarding her clutch, we can even talk about an attack on a person.


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