A group of scientists in Florida cut open a Burmese python to find an intact 5-foot (1.5 meter) alligator that had been swallowed whole.
Rosie Moore, a geoscientist based in Florida, said in a November 1 Instagram post the euthanized python with a bulging stomach was turned over to a research lab for a necropsy, to collect scientific samples, and to investigate its diet.
She shared a video in which the alligator was pulled out of the 18-foot-long python’s digestive tract.
“I actually thought it was pretty gross too and I’m used to necropsies and things,” Moore told CNN, adding the scientists were taking breaks to leave the room just to get away from the smell.
The video, curiously set to the slow jam “Hot” by the artist Liili, shows the scientists feeling the snake’s enlarged, lumpy body before slicing open its underside to reveal the form of a full alligator beneath another layer of tissue.
The scientists then slice that open and slide the alligator out in an almost birth-like sequence.
The python was found and killed by employees at Everglades National Park. The invasive snakes run rampant in Florida, wreaking havoc on the ecosystem and decimating native species.
“These snakes have successfully invaded ecologically sensitive areas such as Everglades National Park,” Moore said in her post.
“This poses a threat to a variety of wildlife, due to the pythons’ wide dietary preferences.”
“They are eating our native wildlife,” Mike Kirkland, an invasive-species biologist who manages the South Florida Water Management District’s python-elimination program, previously told Insider.
“They’re also outcompeting native animals for food.”
Burmese pythons, which are among the largest snakes in the world, may have ended up in the wild in the state as a result of people releasing their pets once they got too big.
But thanks to a lack of predators and a subtropical climate that resembles their native lands of Southeast Asia, the pythons have thrived in Florida.
The state now has 100 licensed python hunters that are paid to catch and kill the snakes.
The pythons have a broad diet and are known to eat small mammals in Florida, but have previously been documented feasting on animals as large as white-tailed deer, as well as alligators.
Pythons typically swallow their food whole, with their unique anatomy allowing their jaws to expand wide enough to encapsulate objects much larger than the circumference of their own bodies.
On rare occasions, pythons have also been documented swallowing humans whole.
Last month, a missing 54-year-old woman in Indonesia had been swallowed whole by a python, according to police.
A scientist in Indonesia said the woman was likely swallowed by a reticulated python, which can grow up to well over 20 feet long.
This article was originally published by Business Insider.
More from Business Insider:
Source: Science Alert