Alligator vs. Python

Alligator vs. Python


In South Florida in the United States, Burmese pythons (which are NOT native to the United States or even to the Americas) have invaded the territory of native American alligators. This has lead to some unprecedented encounters between gators and pythons.

In this situation, the python attempts to constrict the alligator so it can devour it. Yet, the alligator is far too large for the python to overpower, and the alligator is able to bite into the python. Eventually, the alligator’s crushing bite force causes the python to loosen its grip and flee. Both animals eventually relent and go their separate ways.

Burmese pythons may not be native to the Sunshine State, but they are dominating the ecosystem in a major way — killing off many of its smaller predatory species.

Burmese pythons are the third-largest snakes in the world and can grow to more than twenty feet in length. These semi-aquatic animals are native to tropical expanses of Southern and Southeast Asia and reside primarily in the trees and underbrush of areas near water. These powerful animals kill by striking and coiling their bodies around prey, essentially constricting them to suffocation.

The python’s attractive colors and usual docility towards humans have attributed to their popularity as pets. Many people underestimate the size and rigorous demands of these creatures, however, resulting in their eventual release back into the wild.

Since the 20th century, Burmese pythons have been considered an invasive species in South Florida due to their negative impacts on the surrounding ecosystem. Events of pythons eliminating prevalent native species have been well-documented across the state. Fox and rabbit populations are disappearing in high snake concentration areas and even larger animals, including alligators, have fallen prey to these dominating reptiles.

This was not the first incident of this magnitude, either. Back in 2006, a 13ft python was reported to have burst after attempting to consume a six-foot long American alligator. The python’s gut was found busted open with the rear end of the alligator hanging halfway out of its body.

Michael Barron of the National Park Service took this picture of a carcass of an alligator as it protrudes out from the body of a dead Burmese python in Everglades National Park, Florida.

Efforts to reduce the proliferating Burmese python population have been undertaken, including trapping and biocontrol, but are thus far ineffective due to the animal’s elusive nature and high reproductivity rate.