The unusual sight of a snake devouring a much larger one has been captured on video in the United States.
Tom Slagle, an 82-year-old resident of Haddock in Georgia found the two reptiles entwined near his mailbox.
The meal was already underway as Slagle got out his phone and started filming.
The foogate shows an eastern kingsnake slowly moving its flexible jaw down the body of a much larger timber rattlesnake. The rattlesnake doesn’t move at all, likely indicating the kingsnake killed it before devouring it.
Sharing the video on its Facebook page, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources commented: ‘It’s a snake eat snake world out there.’
It’s hard to know eactly how the two snakes compared in terms of length, as the rattlesnake is almost half consumed at the start of the video. However, timber rattlesnakes can grow to be as much as 6 feet (1.8m) long while eastern kingsnakes reach a maximum length of just 3.9 feet (1.2m).
While many species of snakes are capable of eating prey larger than themselves, it’s very rare to find them eating bigger snakes. That’s because, quite simply when snakes eat other snakes it’s pretty much the big ones chomping down on the smaller ones.
‘Found throughout Georgia, Kingsnakes are renowned for their ability to overcome and eat venomous snakes,’ explained the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
‘They will strike and grasp prey near the head, coil around it and constrict before swallowing headfirst. If the snake being eaten is longer than the kingsnake, it will get folded before being swallowed.
‘Most of the time, you can easily identify this species by the chainlink fence-like pattern on its back. This dorsal pattern is usually white or yellow in color.’
Meanwhile, if you’re reading this happy in the knowledge that you’ll never stumble across something like this in Blighty, we’ve got something to tell you.
Last month, scientists announced that a type of snake that eats rats and can grow up to six-foot in length is breeding in the wild in the UK again.
The Aesculapian Rat Snake is now thought to have a stable population in the Colwyn Bay area of North Wales.
It was once a native species to Britain before the Ice Age and appears to be settling in the country again after a 10,000 year hiatus.