Just because you can eat it, it doesn't mean that you should eat it. This 12-foot-long python sure learned that lesson the hard way.
Earlier this month, a cyclist named Jean-Claude Chanu was riding along a mountain bike trail at the Lake Eland Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, when he found an engorged African Rock python that obviously ate something huge. Chanu snapped a few photos that went viral on social media.
"We’ve been keeping an eye on the snake since we got word from the rider; it’s moved about a metre from where the rider found it," Shona Lawson of the Lake Eland Game Reserve told eHowzit. "These snakes move away from trails as soon as it hears cyclists or cars approaching. In this case, it essentially couldn’t move due to the weight of the animal in its stomach."
Park rangers were speculating what the snake had swallowed for dinner, with guesses including a small warthog to baby impala. Meanwhile, the snake had become somewhat of a celebrity for the wildlife sanctuary - people were visiting in hope of catching a glimpse of the swollen snake.
Days later, park rangers found the python dead near the bike trail and decided to cut it open to see what it ate. They found a whopper of a snack inside the belly of the snake: a 30-lb (13.8 kg) porcupine, quills and all!
General manager Jennifer Fuller told LiveScience that pythons actually eat porcupines all the time in the wild. They also ate much larger animals, including a 50-lb adult oribi antelope. She suspected that the python was killed when it fell off a rocky ledge, and the porcupine's quills pierced the snake's digestive tract and killed it.