A huge snake that had recently swallowed a cat or opossum whole was found digesting its prey under a car in Australia.
The carpet python was found on January 24 in a home in Burpengary, a town in Queensland’s Moreton Bay region, with a massively swollen stomach.
Officers from the snake rescue service, Josh’s Snake Catching and Relocation, took a picture of the snake when they arrived to remove it.
The carpet python was photographed under a car, resting after its recent meal. In the photo, the python’s stomach appears to be double its normal size.
Josh Castle, founder of Josh’s Snake Catching and Relocation, who attended the call, said Newsweek“Carpet pythons often eat things that seem way too big to them, the snake could easily go six months without any other food if needed.
“[I’m] pretty sure he ate a big possum, I originally thought a cat, but the customer said he had possums nearby, so either or. [The snake] was probably slightly larger than an average size, which explains his big appetite.”
Carpet pythons can grow up to 13 feet long, although the average size is around seven feet. They hunt in ambush, waiting for their prey to pass. As carpet pythons are non-venomous, they kill their prey by constricting and choking it, before swallowing it whole.
These pythons feed mainly after dark and usually eat smaller animals such as rats and birds, but occasionally target larger animals such as cats, dogs, and opossums.
If the prey is too large for a carpet python, it will usually not swallow it and spit it out. If the snake manages to swallow too large a prey, it will try to regurgitate it or it could die.
Carpet pythons are found almost everywhere in Australia except Tasmania. They live in a wide range of habitats ranging from the humid tropics to the almost arid desert. The expansion of housing estates means that they often come into contact with humans and may be attracted to properties by the presence of small pets such as birds and guinea pigs.
Australians typically find carpet pythons in and around homes, particularly during “snake season”, which lasts from October to April.
Another carpet python was recently found hiding in an old car factory in Queensland.
Snake catcher Stuart McKenzie arrived to remove the snake which had been hiding in the bushes outside the facility. Frightened workers gathered around the snake catcher as he pulled the huge snake from its hiding place.
Carpet pythons are inconspicuous and usually well camouflaged with olive to brown skin. The cream stains on its skin allow them to hide among leaf litter in tree hollows, logs and rock crevices.
Update 1/27/22, 3:54 AM ET: This article has been updated to change the company name to Josh’s Snake Catching and Relocation.