Python Tries and Fails To Eat Possum With Pouch Full of Babies: 'Too Big'


Acarpet python was found attempting to eat a possum that had three babies in its pouch.

The snake and possum's embrace was discovered in Australia's Gold Coast, and pictures of the python and its unfortunate prey were shared to Facebook by Harrison's Gold Coast and Brisbane Snake Catcher.

"When we arrived the possums were already dead. The snake is fine. But the possum was too big for the snake to eat even [after] we waited the next 4 hours for it to try," they wrote in the caption of the post.

Possums, also known as common brushtail possums, are marsupials native to Australia. They mostly eat plants and other foliage but will generally eat anything they can obtain, especially in urban areas. They tend to grow to body lengths of up to 23 inches long, with their long tails measuring a further foot, and weigh up to 10 lbs.

As with other marsupial species, possums raise their very underdeveloped young in specialized pouches on their abdomens. They are born and transferred to the pouch after only 16–18 days of gestation. At this point, a young is only around an inch long, and crawls from the female's reproductive tract to the pouch on its own, attaching to a teat. The young will then spend four to five months inside the pouch, and then a further few months under its mother's care in the den or riding on her back.

The snake in this situation seemingly realized it had quite literally bitten off more than it could chew and gave up trying to eat the possum and its pouch-bound young. Pythons do usually have incredibly flexible jaws thanks to stretchy ligaments allowing their mandibles to spread laterally as well as vertically. This enables the snakes to eat prey much larger than their own heads. However, in this case, the possum was just too large for the snake.

"[The snake] survived... It spat it out because the feed was too big," Harrison's Gold Coast and Brisbane Snake Catcher told Newsweek.

Carpet pythons are found throughout Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, and are non-venomous, feeding mostly on small animals including frogs, lizards, birds and mammals. Adults usually grow to between 6.5 and 12 ft long, meaning that this specimen was possibly a juvenile, or an unusually small individual. The snake was 4.3 feet long and thinner than a human wrist, Harrison's Gold Coast and Brisbane Snake Catcher said, which led to the snake struggling to eat its furry meal.

The possum's young were removed from the pouch to check if they had survived, to no avail.

"The possums were taken to the bush for another animal to eat so they were not wasted," Harrison's Gold Coast and Brisbane Snake Catcher said in the caption of the Facebook post.

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