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Burmese python lacerated its stomach while devouring 2-meter short-snouted crocodile

 

It seems that the 4-meter-long Burmese python was too big for its prey and broke its stomach before it could finish its meal. However, the crocodile fooled the python into thinking it was dead by lowering its heart rate to 2-3 beats per minute. “The crocodile’s heart doesn’t vibrate no matter what we do. They are very resilient,” said Flavio Fenton, a professor in the School of Physics at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Burmese pythons hunt by relying on their prey’s heartbeat, so the crocodile can trick the python into thinking its target is lying motionless. It appears that the crocodile attacked the opponent from the inside after having its head, shoulders, and front legs swallowed. The counterattack was so strong that the python burst its stomach and both animals died in the water.

The outcome of the battle between the two reptiles was surprising, said Frank Mazzoti, a wildlife professor at the University of Florida. “Obviously if pythons can kill crocodiles, they can kill other species. This shows that this is a draw,” Mazzoni said. Wildlife experts then discovered crocodile skin in the python’s intestinal tract. They believe the python accidentally crawled into dangerous territory because the American alligator is native to the Everglade but the Burmese python is not.

The increase in invasive python populations is linked to the international pet trade, with owners often releasing pythons into the wild if they are large enough.

Crocodiles have a 4-chambered heart that allows them to push out the air so they can sink into the water, reducing oxygen consumption. A small opening called the Foramen of Panizza in the center of the left and right aorta allows air to be pushed through while submerged and helps lower the heart rate.

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