Pythons can eat their prey whole. They start with a quick attack, wrap themselves around their victim, and begin the slow but effective process of crushing their prey. As their prey exhales, the python squeezes tighter to suffocate and crush it until its bitter end.
Fun times, right?
Sometimes, this crushing motion results in cardiac arrest and sometimes it’s ultimately suffocation that kills their chosen prey.
They are capable of keeping wrapping their jaws around their prey as they work to swallow it whole. Pythons don’t need to dislocate their jaws to consume large prey, it’s just that their jaw joints are a lot more complex and able to handle eating their chosen meal whole.
In this clip, you can watch how a python eats an alligator head first—all the way through its tail.
What makes this video so fascinating is knowing that alligators can hold their breath for one to 24 hours underwater. That means the alligator, because it’s not being chewed up, stays aware and kicking as it’s being eaten alive.
Not a video for the squeamish, this video opens with the scene in full effect. The python has already grabbed a hold of the alligator’s head and has started twisting its body around the gator in a crushing motion.
The gator can be seen taking breaths as its body gets crushed and its head gets swallowed up in the python’s mouth.
The python’s strong jaw and muscles begin to engulf the gator’s head completely, as it continues holding the gator’s body. However, the gator has not gone limp.
It takes quite a while—more than several minutes—for the python to continue its attack, wrapping its body again and again on the gator as it works tirelessly to swallow its prey.
At one point, you can see the gator’s front legs get pulled into the python’s mouth and as the python slithers and writhes around on the floor, the gator’s back legs move, signaling that it is still alive.
It’s a slow, arduous process that is captured in this video at a time-lapse speed of x6.
The python’s jaws seem to open as wide as needed in the final scene showing the gator’s tail disappearing completely into the python’s mouth.
Completely satisfied, the python’s tongue flicks in and out of its mouth, as flies swarm about its head. There are some traces of blood in its mouth just before it consumes its prey, and the final moments of the video show the python still processing the meal it just had.
Nature is unforgiving. And sometimes, videos like these offer us this necessary reminder.
Next, check out these other shocking gator scenes: