Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Python dies after swallowing nilgai

Biting off more than it could chew cost a 20-foot python its life in Junagadh district. The python died on Tuesday after swallowing a blue bull ('nilgai') at Baliavad village near Gir wildlife sanctuary, a Gujarat forest department official said. Villagers found the python lying on the road, its belly distended beyond normal capacity, and apparently struggling to digest the animal it had swallowed.

"Forest officials were informed and they rushed to the site to ascertain its condition," Deputy Conservator of Forest R Senthilkumaran said on Wednesday. "It succumbed to the internal injuries caused by the (swallowing of) blue bull," he said. Pythons swallow their prey whole, and take several days or even weeks to fully digest it. They are known to prey on animals much larger in size. After eating, a python can go several weeks, if not months, without needing to feed again. Herpetologist and retired Vadodara Zoo Inspector, Raju Vyas said, "The python must have swallowed the juvenile Blue bull whole.

Usually a python can easily consume such prey, but they take around 24 to 48 hours to digest it. If it is disturbed during this period by other predators or humans, the python will vomit its prey. In the process of the python may get injured by the hooves of its prey. Many times it has been observed that after the python or any other snake, swallows it prey, it becomes inactive for a while. They resort to vomiting the prey out only to escape any possible threat." Vyas remembers an incident in Chhota Udaipur where a python had swallowed a goat, "The python was disturbed after it swallowed the goat, so it tried to vomit it out.

However, while vomiting the python ended up tearing its belly. The same python was treated at our zoo and it survived after treatments. Sometimes people out of curiosity go very close to the reptile to see how it feeds on such large prey and end up disturbing it." Environmentalists confirm that Gir forest houses many large pythons which are not commonly found in urban areas. AP Singh, chief conservator of Forest, wildlife circle, Sardar Baug, Junagadh said, "It was dead when our team brought the python. The python's prey weighed around 15-20 kgs. It looked like the python had swallowed baby Bluebull (nilgai) and it could not digest it. Pythons of this size are a rare find. It was certainly a very large reptile. It is unfortunate that it died like this."

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