Python regurgitates dog

JAC Warning: This stuff is graphic, so if you are a d*g lover you may not want to watch.

by Greg Mayer

A video of a python disgorging a dog on a street in Bangkok is making the rounds, and has been the subject of an article in the Daily Mail.

The python appears to be a reticulated python (Python reticulatus). The video dramatically illustrates the flexibility and movability of snakes’ jaws. In most reptiles, the lower jaw articulates with the quadrate bone (q in the picture below), a firm part of the upper jaw. In snakes, the quadrate is only loosely attached to the skull, and there are other points of mobility in the skull. In the lower jaw, the anterior tooth bearing bone on each side, the dentary (d in the picture below), does not have a bony suture with its contralateral partner (as you do– feel your chin just below your lower incisors)– but only a soft tissue connection which is quite stretchable, allowing the two sides of the lower jaw to be widely separated.

Snake jaw. The blue ellipses indicate regions of mobility (and note that the lower jaw connection to the other side is only ligamentous. (From http://borbl426-526.blogspot.com/2012/03/lab-6-serpentes-ophidia-dan-paluh-and.html)

Snake skull. The blue ellipses indicate regions of mobility (and note that the lower jaw connection to the other side is only ligamentous. (From http://borbl426-526.blogspot.com/2012/03/lab-6-serpentes-ophidia-dan-paluh-and.html)

The dog, of course, is quite dead, having been constricted before being swallowed. Constriction compresses the thoracic cavity, and leads to cessation of blood flow, killing the prey even before suffocation occurs. The saliva coating and compression of the dog’s body help it slide out backwards, instead of having the limbs get “stuck” somewhere in the snake’s alimentary canal.

 My guess would be that the snake disgorged the prey because it was being harassed or bothered by people in the street. If it had been in the forest, it would have found a quiet nook in which to digest.

For more on snake feeding, see the refs below.

____________________________________________________________________

Ernst, C.H. & G.R. Zug. 2004. Snakes in Question. 2nd ed. Random House, New York.

Greene, H.W. 1997. Snakes: The Evolution of Mystery in Nature. University of California Press, Berkeley.

16 Comments

  1. Tom
    Posted September 30, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Fascinating.. Going down would have been pretty interesting too. Notice how after it was about 1/3 out, he used the weight of the dog to finish the job pretty quickly?

  2. Elie
    Posted September 30, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Ok, did I really see a snake regurgitate A FULLY GROWN DOG?

    I think I’m about to pass out now…

  3. Posted September 30, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Yep. Reticulated python. One of the few snakes I feel should require some type of license to own – one of the few snakes capable of killing and eating children. You can buy yellow and green anacondas, burmese and reticulated pythons (I believe reticulated are larger bodied than even anacondas in all but a few extreme specimens.) without nary an inquiry into the prospective owner’s knowledge and capabilities to care for such animals. Danger to others aside these large snakes can actually suffocate under their own weight if not properly maintained. As many snakes as I owned, I never found the allure of owning venomous or obscenely large snakes. Still, mild regulation for a few bizarre freak accidents pales in comparison to the pit-bull-esque maulings that took the lives of at least 2 toddlers last week. Every fucking time we are burying yet another mauled child due to pitt/rott breeds we have to stomach the ineffectual pleas of “She (the dog) never bit anyone before!!!”. Yeah, that’s the problem – when they “snap” it is unprovoked, vicious, and deadly – especially for smaller-built humans like children and petite females. Yeah, I kinda went off on a tangent there…but I have little fear that my child is going to be mauled to death by a snake – I DO have EVERY reason to fear my child might be suddenly attacked by dogs and there’s little I can do about it except most likely die trying to save my child. So people freak out when seeing photos/videos of the type above – it just affirms that all snakes are evil, greedy monsters that are lurking in dark corners to “git us”. The real danger probably lies right there in your neighborhood as dogs are elevated to human-ish status.
    That all being said, this is pretty cool. The worst I had to deal with was regurgitated rats from the oh-so-picky ball pythons. Geebus…I had to gently dethaw frozen rats, somehow get them to “body” temp (Tip: Do NOT microwave), then dip them in chicken broth and hope to god everything was just right – I had a ball python go on a hunger strike of 9 months – he was healthy and in a well-vented, large enclosure with lots of logs and tunnels for him to hide in and feel secure – he had warm and cool areas and plenty of humidity…grrrr…

    • Posted September 30, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      I bet your snakes never crapped on my lawn, either.

      • Posted September 30, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

        LOL…I hope not. Nor did they keep you up by hissing all night nor are they fascinated with anyone’s crotch region.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 30, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      No it is other people who are greedy monsters out to get you, not snakes. Much more afraid of people than I am snakes.

  4. Diana MacPherson
    Posted September 30, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    I can’t watch this because of my love of dogs and in particular my dog but I’m not at all surprised given that two boys were suffocated earlier this year in New Brunswick, Canada by a python. I thought it was unfair to the snake that it was killed afterwards as it was only being a snake. Surely it could have been relocated to a zoo.

    • Posted September 30, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      Aww :( Yeah – proper enclosures would ensure that no future people were harmed. I read about those stories and was heartbroken. But again, the two toddlers killed this week by beloved family “pets” got almost no press in comparison.
      The problem in Florida and the random deaths all speak to a need for better regulation. These snakes are not for the inexperienced – they are not appropriate for “shock value” stints. They deserve better protection from a-holes who think it’s “cool” to own a large snake – until it gets too time-consuming and expensive. To maintain a snake over 10′ you are looking at a minimum of $200/mo in food, proper humidity, and utilities. Making sure they are eating and properly digesting their food, making sure proper heat, lighting, and humidity is perfect, and cleaning up shit, regurgitated monstrosities, shed skin, wood mites, cleaning the enclosure and water bowls – adds up to hours and hours a month.
      Btw, I felt bad for the doggie too – it’s one of the reasons I no longer have reptiles. I never found it fascinating to watch snakes eat live rodents/rabbits – it’s why I either pre-killed or ordered frozen. I hated having to kill rats – I LOVE rats. So yeah…big moral dilemma for me.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted September 30, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

        Yeah I think there are regulations against large snaked like that. I like snakes and think they are misunderstood but I didn’t want to keep them because of the feeding requirements because I too don’t want to feed them live mammals because I’d feel all bad and conflicted.

  5. gravityfly
    Posted September 30, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    This is pretty cool, Greg!

    And thanks for the great explanation.

  6. Diane G.
    Posted September 30, 2013 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    sub

  7. Steven Obrebski
    Posted September 30, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Once the python has swallowed its meal its intestinal epithelium expands to three times its size, not due to cell multiplication but to cell growth. It then shrinks to “starvation” size. I wish that happened with my intestines. Even though I have recently lost some weight I miss my less globular former silhouette. Of course part of that is fat storage and intestine shrinkage might have no visible effect.

    In a moment of paranoid clarity it once occurred to me at one point that we should eat often, since the famine might start at anytime. The python approach is an alternative solution to this problem.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 30, 2013 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      Intestine shrinkage *must* make you look thinner. It has to play an effect from when I get bloaty & look about 6 months pregnant to when I’m all normal.

  8. BilBy
    Posted September 30, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    I once helped move a rock python that had foolishly decided to digest a meal in a ditch near a village in South Africa and had been getting some unwanted attention from small boys with stones and sticks. As we slid it from the bag into its new location it disgorged a semi-digested springhare (I think): the smell still haunts me.

    • Diane G.
      Posted September 30, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      Whoa, no good deed goes unpunished, eh?

  9. Ben Aoufa
    Posted September 30, 2013 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Made the mistake of watching this right before dinner was about to be served!… Can’t get this image out of my head.


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