A carpet python devours a cat at Sunnybank Hills on Brisbane’s south side – Qld Australia.
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES.
A Brisbane snake catcher has captured the moment a carpet python performed its “magic disappearing act” of a neighbourhood cat on Tuesday morning.
Snake Out Brisbane owner and operator Janne Torkkola, a zoologist who has been operating for three years, said he got the call about 6.30am from some slightly “flustered” Sunnybank Hills residents after they found a python eating his breakfast.
“We got a call around 6.30am, we woke up and got told there was a python eating something in a backyard. By the time we got there, the cat was long dead,” he said.
It took the python about an hour to eat the cat. Photo: Snake Out Brisbane/Youtube
“They were obviously surprised and a little bit frightened. We did explain that it was probably a non-venomous carpet python but because it was out in the back yard eating a large item they were quite concerned and flustered by the situation.
“We got there and reassured everyone that it was non-venomous and it was not really dangerous to people so they were happy to sit there with us for a lot of the time while they were getting ready to go off to work.
“By the time we got there he had already constricted the cat and was starting to swallow from the head first so there was nothing we could do for the cat so we thought we would just sit there and wait.
A snake catcher filmed a python consuming a pet cat at Sunnybank Hills. Photo: Snake Out Brisbane/Youtube
“We thought we should at least let the python get a meal out of it because it does take them a lot of energy to get something down of that size.
“We sat there and had a coffee and filmed the python do its magic disappearing act of a cat.”
The unfortunate adult cat was believed to be a neighbour’s pet.
Mr Torkkola said the whole process took roughly an hour and said the most difficult part for the python was the shoulders.
“It was a decent sized cat you could see it struggle a little bit when he got to the shoulders, which is the most difficult part when it comes to swallowing a large prey item, but once he gets over those shoulders things start to go a bit smoother for him,” he said.
“Generally their feeding behaviour is to capture and constrict it and when they are done constricting they will release from where they have bitten it and position themselves to be able to swallow, head first.
“Then they will use the coils of their body to help push it along and they will walk their top jaw along and use their upper neck as well to form little S loops, which they will then kind use to push their mouth over the prey with and will keep on doing that until it is slowly swallowed.”
Mr Torkkola said they were “very well designed” to consume such large prey items.
“Sometimes they take such big prey items that they cause a small puncture on themselves, they pop a little bit, but if it is not a major tear they will deal with it fine, they will curl up in the bush for a couple of weeks and heal up and go and do it again,” he said.
Most calls out to Sunnybank Hills were in relation to pythons or tree snakes, Mr Torkkola said, with only the “occasional” venomous snake sightings.
“We ask people to remember these are native and protected animals and to not attempt to approach or handle them without being in the presence of a trained professional who is licenced for wildlife handling,” Mr Tokkola said.