By Dan Howlett @DanHowlett85
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Videographer / director: Michelle Sole
Producer: Dan Howlett, Nick Johnson
Editor: Joshua Douglas
Wildlife guide Michelle Sole captured the incredible footage at the Marakele National Park in South Africa last month.
She was alerted to the presence of a predator by a herd of impalas’ cries and came across the rare sight of the python enjoying its meal.
Michelle said: “We noticed the herd were staring at the ground and when we got closer we found a small, motionless impala with a four metre rock python wrapped around its fragile body.
“A few minutes later the herd moved away leaving the snake with her prize, but we looked on fascinated as she continued to squeeze despite the lack of life left in the poor lamb’s body.
“The mother impala returned and came close to her baby, distraught and calling in alarm but there was nothing she could do.
“When the snake was confident the lamb was dead it released its grip and then locked its jaws around the lamb’s nose and moved it into the undergrowth to swallow it whole.”
The African Rock Python is Africa’s largest snake capable of reaching up to seven metres in length and weights of 90kg.
While they are not venomous they are capable of delivering a nasty bite and constrict their prey to kill it.
Incredibly the snake can swallow prey three times wider than its own head.
Elastic ligaments allow the jaws to stretch apart and the two sides of the lower jaw are not joined to each other.
If it needs to it is able to divide its upper jaws as well, giving its head four sections that can move independently.
The acid in the python’s stomach will break everything from this impala down, including hooves and horns. Digestion of such a big meal may take weeks, during which the snake will be more vulnerable to predators.
But after such a meal this snake might not need to feed again for up to a year.