Python Eating Alligator




Thanks to Attack Turtle for showing me this video. 

Related Post: Python Eats Alligator. . . And Other Possibilities


Edit: While we're looking at crocodilians as prey--Yahoo News had this image today. An African fish eagle takes a young Nile crocodile. 

15 comments:

  1. Poor thing being eaten alive D:

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    1. Also, the eagle photo, amazing! Birds of prey=underrated.

      Speaking of which I found a report on a sea eagle that snatched a little girl:
      "One June 5, 1932, Svanhild Hansen, a 4-year-old girl, was playing next to her parent's farm house in Norway when a White-tailed Eagle grabbed her by the back of her dress and flew with her to its eyrie. The eyrie was 800 m (2,600 ft) up the side of the nearby mountain and about 1.6 km (0.99 mi) away in flying distance. The eagle dropped the young girl onto a narrow ledge about 15.2 m (50 ft) below the nest. After being discovered by a quickly formed search party, the little girl survived with no major injuries, ultimately having kept her talon-pierced dress throughout her life."

      Ever read that before?

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    2. I have heard very similar stories, including one from Norway that varied in some details. Is this the one investigated by Doug Storer?

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    3. OK, here's a reference to something similar in Caras's Dangerous to Man. He pretty much says eagles taking children is impossible, but then, in a footnote, sort of grudgingly admits that Storer has good documentation of an eagle taking a SEVEN-year-old girl in Norway. He doesn't give a lot of details, which makes me think he received Storer's info too late to fully address it.

      I have also read other stories of eagles taking kids, including the one in which the child's bones are later found in the aerie. . . but I can't at the moment recall where I read those. As I probably said in Dangerous Animals, the evidence for eagles attacking kids is rock solid, but I'm not so sure about the evidence for actually carrying them off. I'd be interested to hear more about this one.

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    4. I remember reading that the largest recorded prey carried off by an eagle- as in, anywhere in the world- was a small deer weighing 14 kgs in a Philippine eagle's nest. Doesn´t sound like it would be much trouble for a large eagle to carry a child smaller than this D:

      I remember reading cases of Harpy eagles snatching small children too but as with most Amazonian critters there's very little info on this :/

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  3. In Man the Hunted, Hart and Sussman make the interesting point that eagles can actually kill and eat much bigger prey than they can lift, and that some African eagles, at least, have been witnessed taking down prey around 30kg.

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  4. When sitting for my neighbor's kids years ago (their oldest, now a senior in high school, was about 5) we watched the old-school Nat Geo show "Crocodiles: Here Be Dragons" on VHS. We arrived at a scene where a sea eagle takes a hatchling; the female bellows and hisses but of course, the eagle doesn't drop it and we pan up to the bird eating atop a branch...Anthony got extremely bent out of shape both on behalf of the baby and the mother croc. His sister, on the other hand, who was between 2 and 3, announced that she wanted me to rewind the movie so "we could watch the eagle ripping its head off again!"

    Talking of large prey--eagles are, of course, used to hunt wolves by the nomads of Mongolia and certain former Soviet states. While wolves are hardly normal prey and the eagle must be trained not only to attack them but to do so effectively, the fact remains that a fifteen-pound golden eagle can, under the right conditions, kill a wolf weighing probably seventy or eighty pounds (I'm estimating, but the wolves look about like our timber wolves, not the slim, coyotelike Indian wolves, so seventy seems like a good ballpark.) I've also heard in other places of wild goldens strafing swimming or snowbound coyotes until the animal gave up from exhaustion and the eagle could kill it. I'll see if I can get my hands on that latter account...

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  5. Also, regarding eagles taking children--I suspect that in times when it was common practice to expose unwanted babies, or even toddlers (and for that matter, fairly well-grown kids--remember Hansel and Gretel)that eagles, and in the context of Western Europe that most likely would mean golden, white-tailed or maybe Spanish imperial eagles, were among the creatures that killed and ate smaller children. Carrying off might be a stretch, but there are enough anecdotal stories from Scandinavia, Scotland and Ireland--all, interestingly, starring the white-tailed eagle as the villain, not the golden--to make you stop and consider if at least one or two might not have a factual basis. In the presence of a very powerful updraft and a hillside, it's conceivably possible that an eagle could struggle aloft with something heavier than standard issue.

    Then, of course, there's the oft-quoted Thunderbird legends. Topic for another post. :)

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  6. Oh, there is no doubt that eagles can and have killed children, but I was talking about them carrying children away, which is a bit more difficult. Eating your prey in the ground is risky especially if there are other predators around. Or other humans (the case of the African crowned eagle mauling a South African child comes to mind).

    I remember when I was a kid, my mother used to read me stories, one of which was by the Grimm brothers I think and started with a man finding a small child in the top of a tree, where he had been carried by an eagle after snatching the baby from a sleeping woman. Anyone remembers the name of the story? Now, I know the Grimm brothers wrote fantasy but I wonder if they had heard of similar cases that may have inspired this introduction...

    As for the Thunderbirds, everyone likes to link them to teratorns or some large extinct eagles like Woodward's eagle (which was about as big as the famous Haast's eagle from New Zealand, yet no one ever talks about it). Without knowing much on this subject I would lean towards the latter, since teratorns- although said to have been more active predators than modern vultures- had feet not designed to grasp and probably would carry large prey away, instead feeding on the ground.

    How did we end up talking about teratorns in a post about a python eating a gator? :P

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  7. We just jumped from one line of archosaurs to the other. And while we're on the kids' lit kick--I remember a book from when I was very small about a chicken who weasels out of getting eaten by a crocodile by pointing out to him that since chickens and crocodiles both lay eggs, they had to be related. (No reference to both being related to dinosaurs, however, as I suspect this book--which had seen some heavy wear even then--went to press before the idea of a dinosaur-bird connection really hit the non-scientific community.)

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    1. As to the instances of bodies being found in aeries--well, as I say, the right combination of wind conditions and geography could work out in favor of this. However, one also needs to take into account that at least some eagles, like the crowned, are known to butcher their prey and haul it to a safer spot in one or two trips; or an eagle could have come upon the remains of a child left substantially lighter thanks to a wolf or even a European lynx, and appropriated them. Since it's unlikely that a completely articulated skeleton would be left after the eagle was done even assuming it got a whole child to its aerie, I tend to assume that any remains found are partial rather than entire, and perhaps a touch of exaggeration supplied more bones--which would lend credence to the tales but explain how so many eagles appear to be Olympian weightlifters. :)

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  8. Great discussion, guys. I tossed the eagle picture in here just because of the coincidence of a crocodilian as prey item; but it strikes me that pythons and raptors, as predators of humans, make a good pair--formidable predators that might conceivably take humans, but for which the evidence is ambiguous. I like James's suggestion that scavenging would explain some of the stories of raptors taking humans. Scavenging is far more ecologically important than legends would lead us to believe. Croco, I don't know the Grimm story you mention but will try to find it.

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    1. Thanks! I'll try to find it too.

      PS- There may not be a need to involve lynxes or wolves... the eagle could just as easily kill and partially eat the child until it was light enough to carry to its nest. That's what they do with large prey sometimes.

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    2. *kill and partially eat on the ground, I mean.

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