WATCH: Researchers Discover Entire Alligator Inside of 18-Foot Burmese Python

by Sean Griffin
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Researchers in the Florida Everglades recently found a completely intact, five-foot-long alligator inside a Burmese python.

Geoscientist Rosie Moore shared video footage of the discovery to Instagram last Tuesday, and it’s safe to say people are intrigued. The video has been viewed more than 10 million times since being posted.

Moore was working with scientists when she recorded the footage. She explained in her post that the 18-foot-long Burmese python had been euthanized. It was then brought into the research lab, where they cut open the snake to look inside its stomach contents.

“This is called a necropsy,” Moore wrote in a comment. “Scientists will collect weight, length, morphometric data, and take gut contents. This helps us learn more about how they impact their ecosystem.”

These impacts are well-known to Florida researchers. These Burmese pythons have wreaked havoc on local ecosystems in Florida. Researchers have published multiple studies showing the damage that the massive, invasive snakes have done to the native ecosystem. Since pythons have natural predators in the Everglades, pythons are free to prey on everything from birds and raccoons to even large reptiles and deer.

Burmese Python Researcher Speaks About Invasive Predators in Everglades

Python researcher Ian Bartoszek spoke about this pressing problem. He said that people often don’t realize the massive damage these snakes are doing and what they are capable of. Bartoszek pointed to one example. His team once captured a 31-and-a-half-pound snake that had swallowed a 35-pound deer.

“It was the largest prey-python size ratio ever recorded,” Bartoszek said. “That’s what we’re up against. It’s not just rabbits and mice they’re eating. They might start off that way, but early on they become big-game hunters.”

And as shocking as Moore’s video may be, pythons eating alligators in Florida isn’t uncommon. Mike Kimmel, better known as the Python Cowboy, commented on the post and said he’s found several pythons with gators inside them. Moore also shared a link to a PBS story that shows x-ray images of a python digesting a whole alligator over the course of seven days.

new study conducted by the University of Cincinnati examines how pythons can swallow such large prey.

According to the study, the snakes have super stretchy skin between their jaws. This skin allows them to ingest prey that is four to six times larger than what a snake of similar size could swallow. While it’s extremely rare, pythons are also capable of swallowing humans whole, and have done so. Tragically, just two weeks ago, the body of a 54-year-old Indonesian woman was found inside the stomach of a roughly 22-foot-long reticulated python, a species that is closely related to Burmese pythons.