I would never have believed it, but for the source and the video. The Michigan State University students in the Holekamp Lab blog about their experiences researching spotted hyenas in the field in Kenya. Their most recent discovery: a rock python that killed and ate, whole, a spotted 68-kilo (150 pounds) Hyena.
Through cross-references of the video footage above, the discovery of a large rock python at the described location, and the condition of the snake – we concluded that this behemoth rock python did in fact kill and consume an adult spotted hyena. It took several nerve-racking hours of feverishly searching the binders of our three clans and recently missing hyenas, but we successfully established that this hyena was not one of our own and was likely an immigrant male looking for a new clan. This individual was likely ambushed and strangled to death as he or she wandered through the swampy culvert or neighboring drainage pipes looking for a cool place to sack out for the afternoon, as hyenas are wont to do. Nevertheless, it is an incredibly impressive kill for this python. This snake obviously knew what it was doing as it is one thing to successfully bite an adult hyena, and another to successfully bite, strangle, and come out of the fight unscathed. One false strike and that hyena could have easily turned around and crushed the python’s skull. Now that the rock python has successfully swallowed the hyena, it will likely lie motionless in a warm, safe place nearby for a couple of months. It will digest the hyena in totality and given a kill of this magnitude it will not need to eat for several months after.In South Africa, and in some other locations, Rock Python are hunted by men looking for meat or for an animal to display in small towns, where an impressive beast will bring onlookers to buy their medicinal snake oils.
How are these rock pythons caught? Our crack research team has the answer!
First you get your equipment in order - in this case a nice piece of Impala hide to protect your forearm.
Then you go head first into a small aardvark or warthog hole.
Always remember to bring a flashlight.
Once you have found the critter you are after, it's important to locate the head.
Ah -- there it is! Glad that's sorted out.
The next step is to present the snake with the impala-clad forearm so the snake has something to bite -- a bit like cuffing a fox, eh? Then, with your other hand, you grab the snake firmly by the neck.
Now is the time you really need a strong friend. Getting into this jamb may be a bit tougher than getting out of it!
A large rock python like this one will almost certainly snap a few coils around you. A small problem. Whatever you do, don't let go of the head!
At the end of the day, snake in hand, you head off to the local market. It's been a nice day in the field.
A true tip of the hat to these South African gentlemen who know a few things about going-to-ground the old-fashioned way.