Why A Giant Python Regurgitated A Lizard Half Its Size

Video shows one way the massive snake responds to danger.

When it comes to animals biting off more than they can chew, pythons really do take the lead. 

Video of a python regurgitating a large monitor lizard made its rounds on the Internet this week, and it's easy to see why. A python in Thailand slowly regurgitates a fully intact lizard that's several feet long (it's very much dead).

Initially, the tail end of the lizard is visibly protruding from the expanded jaws of the python. Slowly moving backwards, the python releases the monitor lizard bit-by-bit. Left behind is the corpse of a lizard next to the snake sitting in the back of a truck.

According to local media, the python was being transported to a reserve where it was set to be released into the forest. It was found under a patio adjacent to a woman's house. A wildlife control team was called to remove the animal from the urban setting. The team broke concrete to extract the snake.

Watch a python regurgitate a huge monitor lizard. 

The video offers a look at a unique defence mechanism deployed by snakes.

When under duress, snakes need to be agile to either make a quick getaway or attack their opponents. After a large meal, however, is one of the worst times for a snake to be attacked. While snakes like pythons have fangs to grasp their prey, they don’t use these teeth to chew their food.

Instead, the reptiles swallow their prey whole and digestive enzymes slowly break the food down. The whole process can take weeks for large prey.

"When they swallow something relatively large, it can make them less mobile, so when they're harassed, it's common for them to regurgitate the meal," Max Nickerson, the herpetology curator at the Florida Museum of Natural History, said in a prior interview with National Geographic.

While the habit is common in a variety of snake species, pythons tend to regurgitate the most surprising meals because the snakes themselves are huge. On average, a Burmese python like the one seen in the video can reach 90 Kilograms and be as long as 7 metres.

They've previously been filmed regurgitating an antelope.

And while it didn't spit him back out, one python in Indonesia swallowed a human man whole.

Lead Image: A python regurgitates a huge monitor lizard.

Discuss this article


Never miss a Nat Geo moment

Your email address