I returned to the Mahoora Yala campsite after a successful morning safari in the Yala National Park around 11.00a.m. on 02/01/2016.It was a very busy time for all the staff members as we had so many guests with us. Meanwhile, our former camp manager Mr. Nandakumara and staff member Sagara informed us about an unusual struggle and ravings in the near by park area.
As the Mahoora camp is located so close to the Yala National Park, these sounds are not very uncommon. There were so many suggestions to describe the “noise” and finally Mr.Nande, senior naturalist Udaya and I decided to find the real situation behind the ravings around 1.30p.m.
I was the only one with a camera. We were ready for anythingand stepped very carefully. We were not required to go even 100 meters and we found the crime scene. It was a huge python who was trying to swallow his victim which was a poor female spotted deer. Grasses and other small bushes around showed us the deer’s attempt to escape. But the python was too strong to let it escape. The python was about 12 feet long and we were scared to go close.
It was just starting to swallow its prey from the head as every snake does. Then it makes it easy to swallow the limbs of the prey. Otherwise the snake will be in trouble. Strong jaws with fused mandibles have given a flexible mouth to the snake aiding its foraging habit. And there are more adaptations in snakes that have made them so unique in their way of eating.
The deer was at least 150 kilograms in weight and the python will not need any food for the next month. The python wanted to enjoy its meal in private and went away for a moment after our presence. After about three or four minutes we came back to the Mahoora campsite allowing it to enjoy its prey.
Story and Pictures By Dhanula Jayasinghe – Naturalist
Eco Team Pvt.Ltd