Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Snake v. croc

Over the weekend, a battle characterized as "epic" took place between an olive snake and a Johnson's crocodile in Queensland, Australia (PHOTOS HERE). Both animals are apex predators in their environment, and fought mightily as the drama played out. They were each relatively small – with the snake likely weighing 15 or 20 lbs (7 to 9 kg) and the crocodile weighing 5 to 7 lbs (2 to 3 kg) – but they were an equal match. Curator Terry Phillip of Reptile Gardens in Rapid City, South Dakota, U.S., points out that, despite the wide circulation the story got in the weird news, the event is both natural and typical. This time the snake won, but other times the crocodile is the victor or at least escapes: "The croc's teeth could razor right through that snake. If the croc could then shake its head, it could do real damage—but it probably wouldn't have that chance here. That's one reason snakes intentionally go for the neck and shoulder region when they attack, to try to avoid being bitten themselves. They'll grab on just behind the skull and coil up to hold the croc in place. But even if a snake is bitten, it has a phenomenal immune system and can fight off many infections. We see huge scars on wild snakes; they do get beaten up by their prey."

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