PHOTOS: Python makes a meal out of flying fox

A PICNIC ended in surprise for one man when he realised he was not the only one enjoying a meal at the Riverheart Parklands.

Shane Stephensen was heading back to his car when he spotted a coastal carpet python that was devouring what looked to be an adult flying fox.

The 2m-long reptile was found on the footpath where it was feasting on the bat's head.

N&S Snake Catcher Norman Hill wasn't surprised by the find.

"It happens regularly enough; flying foxes and possums are regular food sources for carpet pythons," Mr Hill said.

"Carpet pythons are probably the most common species we are called out to. However, over the entire season, it probably evens out with other species such as eastern browns, tree snakes and keelbacks."
 

 

A coastal carpet python eating a flying fox spotted at Riverheart Parklands in Ipswich.
A coastal carpet python eating a flying fox spotted at Riverheart Parklands in Ipswich. Shane Stephensen

 



Mr Stephensen's python was average-sized, with larger specimens exceeding 3m. The largest reliable record was measured at 4.2m long.  

The carpet python is a non-venomous snake that wraps around its prey and kills it by asphyxiation. Like most pythons, the carpet python has heat-sensitive pits on its upper and lower lips that helps them detect the body heat of prey when hunting.  

The colours and patterns of the coastal python vary greatly, even within one location. The appearance of snakes are at their most vibrant immediately after skin sloughing, which is commonly known as shedding.  

 

A coastal carpet python eating a flying fox spotted at Riverheart Parklands in Ipswich.
A coastal carpet python eating a flying fox spotted at Riverheart Parklands in Ipswich. Shane Stephensen

Summer is python breeding time. After the female has laid up to about 20 eggs, she coils herself around them and shivers, vibrating her muscles to maintain the correct temperature. During the 60-day incubation period, the expectant mother won't eat.  

To reduce your chances of finding one of these scaly creatures at your home, you can reduce the attractiveness of your yard. Avoid creating a habitat for snakes by keeping a tidy, well-maintained yard and shed. Actively discourage rats and mice, and snake-proof your aviaries and poultry pens.  

A coastal carpet python eating a flying fox spotted at Riverheart Parklands in Ipswich.
A coastal carpet python eating a flying fox spotted at Riverheart Parklands in Ipswich. Shane Stephensen

"If you need to move a snake along from an unsafe area, don't do it yourself. It is unsafe and you will get bitten," Mr Hill said. "Keep an eye on the snake and ring up a snake catcher to catch the snake."

 "We are trained professionals and have 30 years' experience."     

N&S Snake Catchers are available 24/7, covering the Ipswich, Logan and Brisbane region and can be contacted on 0415136941.  

A coastal carpet python eating a flying fox spotted at Riverheart Parklands in Ipswich.
A coastal carpet python eating a flying fox spotted at Riverheart Parklands in Ipswich. Shane Stephensen


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