Better than Pay-Per-View.
Well, folks, thanks to morons that release exotic pets into the wild, and the brave (yet somehow foolhardy) Rangers of the National Park Service, we now have an answer to at least one of those great riddles: who would win in a fight- a gator, or a python?
In this case, we have pictures of just such a clash of the titans, involving a seven foot gator, and an eight foot Burmese python. These photos were taken in the Everglades National Park, just north of the Main Park Road about one mile to the west of the Main Entrance Station. For those who are curious, events like this happen often enough that they are euphemistically referred to as "interactions." Much in the same sense as our government is currently "interacting" with Iraq.
So, without further ado, let's begin:
To start with, the gator seems to be getting the bad end of it, as the python is wrapped around its body, and seems to be holding the gator's jaw shut.
Unfortunately for our python, though, gators are not without their own substantial advantages. A primary one here is that alligators can hold their breath for a considerable period, meaning that the python's primary weapon, its ability to constrict and suffocate its prey, is less useful.
This gives the alligator more time to bring its primary weapon to bear: its powerful jaws and sharp teeth. It is commonly known in Florida that a gator's jaw is built in such a way that all the muscle power is used for closing, but hardly any for opening. So, it is indeed possible for a grown human to hold a gator's jaw shut. This gives rise to the rather odd sport of "gator wrestling" which is demonstrated on a regular basis at the quirkly Florida amusement center Gatorland. In any case, it isn't wise to attempt to use this strategy against a gator, as their claws and tail remain extremely dangerous.
Things are really starting to heat up now as the python realizes it's in trouble. Both combatants are thrashing around in an effort to dispatch the other. I can't really explain what kind of power a gator actually has, so let me just say that a thrashing gator of this size could easily break multiple ribs, arms, etc., with the impact of its head. Capsizing a boat is not impossible.
In this shot you can clearly see the alligator's shearing teeth as it adjusts its grip on the python. Things are looking grim for our Burmese visitor.
Things are beginning to wind down now- we seem to have a winner.
And, indeed, it is the hometown favorite, the alligator, that emerges victorious from this particular "interaction," rather than the invader from Burma.
Now, for all of my joking, gators are not as dangerous as you might think. They are huge, have formidable natural weapons, and can strike with lightning speed, but for the most post, they're placid and uninterested in humans. Major exceptions, for the males, are during mating season when they grow territorial and, for the females, when they are sitting on a nest. Under those circumstances gators are often dangerously aggressive. The remainder of the time, however, gators are not substantially more dangerous than bears or any other wild animal that mostly avoids humans.
Well, I hope you've enjoyed our little show today. And if you didn't, hey, that's your problem.