Snake Filmed Swallowing American Eel Whole: 'Mother Nature at Her Finest'


Snake Filmed Swallowing American Eel Whole: 'Mother Nature at Her Finest'

A snake has been spotted attempting to swallow down a long, slimy eel, but the fish did not go down without a fight.

A video of the strange wrestling match was posted to Facebook by the Wildlife Resources Division of Georgia Department Of Natural Resources (DNR), showing the dark-colored snake struggling to eat the eel, which appears to match it nearly in size.

"One of our biologists walked up on a predation event in a Liberty County swamp last week: A southern banded water snake wrestling an American eel," wrote Georgia DNR in the caption of the post. "The two were observed splashing around in the shallow water."

"Mother Nature at her finest," commented user Gettin' Outdoors With BDL under the post.

Southern banded water snakes are found throughout the south and south-eastern U.S. states, in "nearly all freshwater habitats including ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands, swamps and marshes," as stated by the Georgia DNR.

Banded water sneakers can grow to lengths of between 24 and 42 inches, with the longest-ever specimen measuring in at 62.5 inches long. The reptiles are so-named for their characteristic banded stripes on their backs, but these may not be obvious if the snake is darker in color or older, as the skin darkens with age.

These snakes usually eat fish and frogs, and can even use their vomeronasal organ, or Jacobson's organ, to recognize prey animals by detecting special proteins called parvalbumins that are present on the mucus of the skin of frogs and several fish.

American eels are one prey species of the southern banded water snake. The only species of freshwater eel found in North America, American eels have a complex life cycle, primarily living in rivers and estuaries, but migrating to the Sargasso Sea off the east coast of the U.S. to spawn.

Young eels hatch in the Sargasso Sea before being carried on ocean currents for up to a year. The fish reach the coast along the east side of the Americas, swimming up into rivers and estuaries to mature. When they reach spawning age, they migrate back and die in the Sargasso Sea.

American eels represent nearly all of an adult rainbow snake's diet. The frequency of southern banded water snakes feeding on the eels, however, is unknown.

Despite its large meal, the snake in the video eventually managed to scoff down its prey.

"The snake eventually overpowered the eel, dragged it to the shore and began the slow and steady process of devouring a meal half its body size, a common feat for water snakes," the Georgia DNR wrote in the Facebook post.
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