World’s Longest Snake Captured, Promptly Dies


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World’s Longest Snake Captured, Promptly Dies

4/11/16 9:53am

Construction workers and members of Malaysia’s civil defence force pose with the python. Image: Herme Herisyam, Malaysia’s Civil Defence Force

Late last week, an absolutely ginormous python was found caught under a tree that had fallen near a Malaysian construction site. Its length has been pegged at 26 feet (8 meters), which, if verified, would make it the longest snake ever captured.

The snake, a reticulated python, was spotted from the air during a flyover in Paya Terubong, a district of Penang. Malaysia’s civil defense force was called in to deal with it (yes, really), and it took them a half hour to trap it. Sadly, it died on Sunday after giving birth, three days after it was captured. Or at least that’s the story we’re being given.

Members of Malaysia’s civil defence force pose with the python. Image: Herme Herisyam, Malaysia’s Civil Defence Force

A member of the defense force told The Guardian that the python measures 26.2 feet (eight meters), which would be a world record. Currently, Guinness Records recognizes the longest snake ever in captivity as Medusa, another reticulated python, which currently lives in Missouri. This behemoth measures 25.1 feet (7.67 meters) and weighs 350 pounds (158 kg). That’s over 200 pounds (90 kg) lighter than the new Malaysian specimen.

It’s possible that larger snakes live in the wild. Back in 1912, a 32-foot-long (10 meter) python was reportedly discovered in Indonesia.

[Guardian, BBC]

George is a contributing editor at Gizmodo and io9.

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What Scientists Found Inside This Burmese Python’s Stomach Will Blow Your Mind


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What Scientists Found Inside This Burmese Python’s Stomach Will Blow Your Mind

Yesterday 10:05am

This photo was taken soon after the female Burmese python was euthanized. (Image: S. M. Boback et al., 2016)

After performing an autopsy on a bloated Burmese python, scientists in Florida were shocked to discover the remains of three white-tailed deer.

A new study published in the journal BioInvasion Records documents the bizarre and potentially record-breaking case of a Burmese python that consumed three white-tailed deer over the course of an estimated 87-day span. Native to Southeast Asia, this invasive snake was trapped and euthanized in the Florida Everglades in 2013.

The Burmese python carcass. (Image: S. M. Boback et al., 2016)

Snakes have managed to invade a number of ecosystems worldwide. In southern Florida, the Burmese python has slithered its way across thousands of square kilometers, including all of the Everglades National Park. Their presence in the Everglades has been linked to noticeable declines in mid- to large-sized animals, including deer, rabbits, bobcats, and raccoons.

When discovered, this particular python measured 14.2 feet (4.32 meters) in length and weighed a whopping 106 pounds (48.3 kg). The subsequent autopsy revealed a massive amount of fecal matter within the snake’s large intestine, which itself measured 31.1 inches (79 cm) long and weighed 14.33 pounds (6.5 kg). An examination of undigested bone, teeth, and hooves within the poop showed this snake had gobbled up three white-tailed deer.

Incredibly, these three deer represented 93 percent, 35 percent, and 27 percent, respectively, of the python’s mass. Two of the three deer consumed were fawns, approximately 14 to 30 days old. The python was likely hiding in water, snatching the deers up when they came in for a drink.

Fecal matter found inside the snake’s intenstines. (Image: S. M. Boback et al., 2016)

“This is the first report of an invasive Burmese python containing the remains of multiple white-tailed deer in its gut,” conclude the researchers in their study. “Because the largest snakes native to southern Florida are not capable of consuming even mid-sized mammals, pythons likely represent a novel predatory threat to white-tailed deer in these habitats.”

As extreme as this sounds, eating three deer over the span of nearly three months points to the impressive metabolic efficiency of snakes. A mammal of roughly the same mass would have a hard time subsisting on just three meals over the same time span. But even if Burmese pythons are light eaters for their size, these invasive snakes are still clearly disrupting the Floridian ecosystem.

Snakes are proving to be a particularly successful group of invasives, owing to their low energetic requirements, diverse diets, and high reproductive potential. And indeed, this specimen—with the three deer contained within its gut—was doing quite well for itself. As the authors write, the “substantial amount of energy clearly contributed to the large amount of fat and developing follicles found in this snake that would translate to high growth rates and reproductive success for this female—both critical components for a successful invasion.”

[BioInvasion Records]

George is a contributing editor at Gizmodo and io9.

This huge Brazilian snake just swallowed an entire pitbull

2/07/14 9:03am

A snake living near the Cuiabá region of Brazil was recently found with an unusually large distended belly. The locals who discovered it did the logical thing — they cut it open to see what was inside. A warning to dog (and snake lovers), this video is quite graphic.

You can skip to the 1:15 mark to watch the dog being extracted.

[H/t shockmansion]

Watching This Multi-Armed Feather Star Swimming Freaks Me Out


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Watching This Multi-Armed Feather Star Swimming Freaks Me Out

The ocean is chock full of incredibly weird creatures that couldn’t possibly exist anywhere but under the sea. Like the crinoid, more commonly known as the feather star, which uses countless flapping arms to propel itself through the water—but that’s not the weirdest part.

Apparently crinoids also use all of those arms to feed itself. But thanks to a U-shaped gut, everything it eats is eventually expelled out of its anus, which happens to be located right next to its mouth. So if you happen to come across a feather star while you’re diving off the coast of Bali, you might want to do everything possible to avoid it kissing you.

[YouTube via Geekologie]