In incredible footage, an African rock python swallows a springbok antelope. It has jaws designed to engulf meals three times bigger than its head.
The jaws of the rock python seem small—but their power speaks volumes.
Growing more than twenty feet long, it's one of the largest snakes in the world.
Watch where you step, because the rock python will bite if bothered.
It eats almost anything it can swallow.
Like many predators, it hunts from hiding.
Sensors on its snout can detect whether prey is nearby.
In a two-pronged attack, the python grips prey in its teeth.
Then it deploys another weapon: bondage.
Each time the springbok exhales, the python squeezes tighter.
Every breath becomes shallower as the python tightens its grip.
Until death-by strangulation.
Now the jaws really perform.
Pythons don't chew prey.
They don't even dismember it.
They swallow it whole—starting from the head.
Jaw power makes it possible.
Both jaws are divided in two. A total of four moving parts.
All of them flexibly attached to the skull by tendons and ligaments.
Each moves separately from each other—allowing the python to inhale prey three times wider than its mouth.
Its teeth curve inward to keep prey from slipping out.
Thanks to such flexible jaws, the python glides over its meal like a sock over a leg.
Washboard muscles move prey through the stomach.
Its stomach acid is so powerful it will dissolve bone.
The python goes through one of the longest digestions on record.
And it may not eat again for a year.