A story from my friend Genya:
MIAMI -- The alligator has some foreign competition at the top of the Everglades food chain, and the results of the struggle are horror-movie messy.
A 13-foot Burmese python recently burst after it apparently tried to swallow a live 6-foot alligator, authorities said.
"It means nothing in the Everglades is safe from pythons, a top-down predator," said Frank Mazzotti, a University of Florida wildlife professor.
At least 150 pythons -- abandoned by pet owners, or possibly the pets' offspring -- have been captured in the Everglades in the past two years, said Joe Wasilewski, a wildlife biologist and alligator tracker.
The gory remains of the latest gator-python encounter -- the fourth documented in the past three years -- were discovered and photographed last week by a helicopter pilot and wildlife researcher.
The dead snake was found with the dead gator's hindquarters protruding from its midsection. Mazzotti said the alligator may have clawed at the python's stomach as the snake tried to digest it.
In previous incidents, the alligators won or battled to an apparent draw.
Pythons could threaten many smaller species that conservationists are trying to protect in the Everglades, including other reptiles, otters, squirrels and wood storks, Mazzotti said.
- Associated Press
"Some people think the scariest animal is the lion. Other people thing the scariest animal is the snake. I think the scariest animal is a shark, riding around on the back of an elephant, just trampling and eating everything in sight."
- Jack Handey