Florida is home to a wide variety of reptiles, including alligators, crocodiles, and over 40 species of native snakes (plus a few invasive ones). Conflicts between the two groups – crocodilians and snakes – are relatively common. Catching one of these fights on video, however, is a bit more unusual.
One Florida couple was lucky (or perhaps unlucky) enough to witness a brutal brawl between an alligator and a snake in their own backyard, capturing the entire battle before posting the footage to Facebook.
“Little gator vs big snake. Who do I root for?” Sean O’Malley, the Florida resident who filmed the fight, wrote in the caption.
The footage begins with an alligator making a beeline across a pond. It’s not immediately clear what it’s swimming toward, but it appears to have a target in mind. Arriving at the bank of the pond, the reptile pauses, staring at a patch in the grass a few feet away.
Without warning, the gator springs from the water, sprinting up the grassy hill before clamping its jaws around its prey: a large snake. The species of snake is impossible to tell from the video, but it looks to be around five feet in length.
Before the snake can react, the alligator is slinging it violently back and forth, beating it against the ground and dragging the scaly snack back to the water all the while.
Once there, the gator begins its death rolls. Somehow, the snake continues to fight, struggling against the iron grip of its attacker until the gator finally pulls it below the surface.
Florida’s alligators and snakes prey on each other
This time around, the victor was obvious: the alligator. Once the gator decided to have snake for lunch, the snake never really stood a chance.
The large reptilian predators can reach up to 35 mph on land in short bursts. Meanwhile, the fastest snake in Florida, the black racer, has a top speed of just 8-10 mph.
Don’t feel too bad for the snake, though. Florida’s snake population regularly preys on alligators as well.
Many species of snakes will eat eggs, including alligator eggs. Rat snakes, corn snakes, garter snakes, and king snakes, for instance, are all native to Florida and will all happily munch on reptile eggs when given the opportunity.
The most obvious of these serpentine predators, though, is the Burmese python. Though an invasive species in the state, there are thousands upon thousands of pythons in Southern Florida. And, fully grown, a python can easily gulp down more than an alligator egg. An adult python is more than capable of devouring a small gator.
Despite the introduction of these prolific predators, however, the true king of the swamp remains the adult male alligator.
The largest of these colossal carnivores are 15 feet long, tipping the scales at 1,000 pounds. Even the most enormous python in the Everglades wouldn’t attempt to eat something so massive. In a brawl between a large alligator and a large python, the gator wins every time.