As the mother of two boys I learn all sorts of facts I never thought I needed to know and one of them is that a python’s jaw is hinged so it can open way wider than a human’s. Why? Well, these pictures from the far north of Western Australia tell you why. For overseas visitors to the blog, a Goanna is a Really BIG reptile but pythons are not fussed by that!
The python wraps itself around the goanna crushing it and then and proceeds the very long task of swallowing it.
The dark bit against the goanna is the python's head and top jaw. Unlike a human jaw the python's upper jaw is not fused to the skull. It's only attached by tendons, ligaments and muscles. Also, the python's jaw is hinged back behind the cranium so that the lower jaw hinges with the upper jaw rather than with the cranium. The jaw bones are only loosely joined and the bottom jaw has another hinge about half way along. Pythons spread their bones apart and their prey slides in. Python teeth are sharp and backward curving - once inside, nothing's going to get back out.
At the three hour mark of digestion
It's a tough job but almost there
Done! I bet the python is feeling like he's just eaten five christmas dinners! It took Five hours for the python to consume the goanna. He won't need to eat for a few weeks now