A video of an African python attempting to eat an entire wildebeest is highly rare.
When the gigantic snake was observed in the South African desert devouring the massive meal, it seemed as if its eyes were bigger than its stomach.
The python, which can grow up to 16 feet long, was previously thought to pursue much smaller prey, and this is the first time this behavior has been seen on camera. The horrific incident was recorded on tape by Rudi Hulshof, the manager of the Welgevonden Game Reserve in South Africa.
‘This was the first time I’d ever seen something like this,’ Rudi, 35, said, despite working as a game warden for 15 years in South Africa and traveling to other African nations. This is an exceedingly rare sighting, and to my knowledge, it is the first time a Southern African python has grabbed a blue wildebeest, albeit a wildebeest calf. The images have left everyone of the herpetologists I’ve contacted amazed and surprised.’
‘Live animal prey is uncommon for pythons, although it would largely consist of smaller species such as hares, rabbits, impala lambs, duiker antelope, squirrels, birds, rats, cane rats and mice, and so on.’ But it’s mind-boggling to have done something so significant. The python’s need to expand its mouth to its maximum length in order to swallow the prey demonstrates this. For the past 15 years, I’ve been photographing wildlife while working in the industry at various lodges and game reserves in South Africa.’
Rudi stated that he landed onto the unexpected encounter while looking for lions and leopards by chance. ‘In the afternoon, I proceeded to inspect the location, arriving at the place where the alarm noises had been heard hours before, I stopped and surveyed the area with my binoculars, seeing just a few scattered Wildebeest and an Impala herd,’ he recounted. I assumed a leopard or pride of lions was eating on something just out of sight since the impala was staring down the back of a ridge drop off around 150 meters away.’
‘I took my revolver and stepped in, leaving the guests in the truck, to see whether it was what I thought it was and if I could safely take clients in to observe the action.’ ‘However, I found nothing, and as I went back to face my visitors, I noticed this snake resting on the ground,’ he added. I observed it was consuming a two-month-old Wildebeest calf as I drew closer. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, and my visitors must have expected the worst since I ran back to the road as quickly as my legs would allow.’
‘All I had to do was whip out my camera and shoot shots, as well as let my visitors to do so, before the sunset, which was just a few minutes away.’ I just told the tourists to accompany me with their own cameras and led them to the sighting, without revealing the secret. We stayed there for perhaps 30 minutes before being forced to leave and return to our car, stunned by what we had witnessed. We went back first thing the next morning, but there was nothing there. No footprints, scuff marks, pythons, or prey were found. Everything had disappeared, and we couldn’t read any evidence to figure out which way the snake had slithered because it had rained.’