Friday, September 4, 2015

Centipede eats its way out of snake's stomach

Ecologica Montenegrina

Researchers on the Macedonian island of Golem Grad made a gruesome discovery after coming across a dead snake with the head of a giant centipede sticking out of its abdomen.

Scientists believe the two fierce predators ate each other, according to findings published last month in the journal Ecologica Montenegrina.

The researchers dissected the juvenile nose-horned viper and found that only the snake’s abdominal wall remained. They believe the centipede caused “chemical or mechanical damage” to the snake’s digestive organs, effectively eating its way through the reptile’s innards.

The scientists wrote that juvenile vipers have been previously observed eating centipedes, “but in this case we assume the young snake gravely underestimated the size and strength of the centipede, which itself is known as a ferocious predator.”

They further noted centipedes are “extremely tough” to kill.

“Therefore, we cannot dismiss the possibility that the snake had swallowed the centipede alive, and that, paradoxically, the prey has eaten its way through the snake, almost reaching its freedom,” the researchers concluded.

Contact Alex Wigglesworth at 215-854-2305 or Follow @phila_lex on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; Follow @phillynews on Twitter.
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