This giant snake died after swallowing a 30lb porcupine – which punctured its insides with its razor-sharp quills.
The four-metre African rock python was found beneath a rocky ledge at Lake Eland Game Reserve in South Africa.
Its innards had been lacerated by dozens of quills from the porcupine while trying to digest its meal.
The last supper: A snake lies dead in a South African game reserve after swallowing a 30lb porcupine which stabbed it to death with its quills
Eating itself to death: The four-metre African rock python was found dead next to a cycle track at Lake Eland Game Reserve in South Africa
Bitten off more than it could chew: The 30lb porcupine after being cut out of the snake’s stomach by game reserve keepers
Stabbed to death: The porcupine quills that were found inside the snake’s stomach while the python was trying to digest its last meal
Reserve general manager Jennifer Fuller said: ‘The exact reasons for the snake’s death are not clear.
‘It is apparent that several porcupine quills were lodged inside the digestive tract. It had fallen off the rocky ledge.
‘We don’t know if it died beforehand or whether the fall drove some of the quills into its digestive tract.’
While some predators will be warned off by the visual threat displays of a porcupine, many snake species rely on thermal or chemical sensory mechanisms to ambush prey at night.
Reserve general manager Jennifer Fuller said the snake had fallen off a rocky ledge which may have driven the quills into its digestive tract
Animal autopsy: The snake’s stomach is cut by game keepers to get the dead porcupine out
While some predators are warned off by the visual threat displays of a porcupine, many snakes rely on thermal or chemical sensory to ambush prey at night