If you’ve ever ordered way more food than your stomach can handle and ended up stuck in an ‘eyes greedier than your belly’ scenario, you can surely sympathise with this python.
The giant snake decided a leopard was the perfect prey recently and attempted to try its luck with the huge cat, despite the fact an unsuspecting impala stood nearby.
Initially caught off guard, the leopard – who was hunting the impala – jumped into the air and swiped at the python with its paws as the latter attempted to squeeze it in a death grip at the Maasai Mara Triangle Reserve in Kenya.
Horrified people looked on, certain the snake was about to devour the large cat as the animal lay helplessly in the snake’s powerful grip. However, the leopard eventually managed to claw its way out and killed its attacker with one fatal bite.
Photographer Mike Welton, 28, captured the moment after his safari group heard about a leopard sighting in the area and rushed over to witness it.
They got more than they bargained for though, with Mike stating:
We all had a moment thinking about how terrible it was that we were watching a beautiful leopard get killed. Python constriction is horrible and it was sickening to imagine death from that.
The leopard wrestled out and was able to claw, then bite the head of the snake. We heard a very loud crunching sound which was likely the leopard biting the skull of the python.
The python may have died or been terribly injured because it continued to flop around slowly. It was probably the closest scrape with death that the leopard has ever been through.
The photographer, from Ontario, Canada, has been photographing wildlife for seven years and described the moments leading up to the struggle as ‘thrilling’.
He said the group waited for 15 minutes for the leopard to hunt the impala, but the large cat was ‘seemingly too patient’. He added: ‘The distance grew between the two and I capped my lens thinking it was certainly over.’
It wasn’t though, with Mike describing it as a ‘huge shock’ when the group spotted the python making its way towards the large cat. From there, it wasn’t long before the leopard wrestled its way out and ‘bit the head off the snake’.
The 28-year-old said what makes these images so ‘unique’ is how rare the sighting is, with more than 40 guides at the Mara saying they had never seen something like this happen before.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).