Explore Big Cypress is an eco-tour agency that shared a photo on Facebook showing the moment when Joel Jordan witnessed the bizarre encounter where an alligator was eating a very large python.
The photo was taken while Joel was exploring Shark Valley of the Everglades National Park and showed the alligator chewing on a lifeless python at the water’s edge.
Burmese Python are an unwelcomed and invasive species that Flordia wildlife officials have been battling for years, trying to remove them from its ecosystem. However, the serpents have fully taken over.
The National Park Service says, “The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wants the snakes eliminated, and has recommend they “be humanely killed.”
That’s why many people commenting on the photo cheered the gator on as it depicted the struggle for supremacy that top predators like the American Alligator and invasive Burmese Python have in the vast Everglades wilderness.
“This generally doesn’t happen. For a gator to eat prey this big he/she has to tear it into bite-sized pieces — and a python doesn’t tear easily,” the South Florida Wildlands Association said about the photo.
“Often the gator is hopelessly wrapped up by the python and in the process of being swallowed before it even knew what happened,” the association wrote. “We’re hoping that our native Florida gators have learned a trick or two and will become a first line of defense against this extremely destructive invasive species.”
Everglades National Park posted another photo of the same gator chewing on the snake. Park officials say it is unclear if this is an instance of a gator eating a python or if it was multiple gators taking turns eating the snake.
“Vying for similar resources, a contest of wit and brute force plays out daily — often, in favor of the python,” the park wrote. “However, here an alligator finds retribution and catharsis as it joins the ranks of our best python catchers.”