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Annalee Newitz



We all eat the wrong thing sometimes, but this 12-foot-long South African python made a major error. It swallowed a porcupine whole. Spoilers: No, it did not survive.

LiveScience reports that a bicyclist captured these photos of the snake right after it had gulped down its meal. At the time, park rangers speculated that it had eaten something like a small warthog.



But then the snake appears to have suffered a setback. A week after these photos were taken, park rangers found it dead. Apparently, it had fallen off a ledge. But why would that kill a snake? When the rangers opened the snake up, they discovered the answer.



It had eaten a 30 pound porcupine, whose quills probably pierced its digestive tract in the fall, and killed it. In this image, you can see the mostly-undigested porcupine, whose quills lodged in the snake’s stomach, at right.

Now we know who wins when a snake fights a porcupine. Nobody.
 

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