How Does a Python Kill Its Prey?

Pythons kill their prey by squeezing the breath out of them. They coil themselves about the victim, tightening slightly with each breath the prey takes, until breath stops. When the python senses that the prey has stopped breathing, it swallows the prey whole, digesting the food entirely in its stomach.

Pythons feed on animals as small as lizards and as large as antelope and alligator. Obviously, the larger the animal, the longer the digestion cycle lasts. Pythons might only need to eat every couple of months if the prey they catch is large enough.

Green tree pythons are about 7 feet long, and they live in the trees. They wait for prey to happen by, falling on them and striking, or lashing out at birds.

Pythons are able to swallow their prey whole because of incredible flexibility in their jaws. Slowly and surely, pythons swallow and digest animals that are much wider around than their bodies. Their usual targets are easier to deal with than an alligator, as a rabbit is much more typical. Some of the most dramatic photographs taken of the natural world involve an encounter between a python and an unfortunate wildebeest, deer or other large mammal.