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Python Swallows Antelope Whole (VIDEO)

01/17/2014 10:42 am 10:42:47 | Updated Jan 25, 2014

No chewing is required for this dangerous snake.

As a film crew trekking through Botswana's Moremi Game Reserve recently saw firsthand, the African rock python is able to swallow its prey whole. In a video of the astonishing process posted on YouTube, a python swallows an antelope whole.

By the time the team arrived, the estimated 8-foot python had already devoured most of the animal, which appeared to be an impala antelope.

"We arrived when the snake was starting to dislocate its jaws around the antelope's waist and in 45 minutes it swallowed the last hooves," Fred von Winckelmann, of the Netherlands, said, according to The Telegraph.

Pythons are able to swallow their prey whole not by dislocating their jaw but by stretching it open extremely wide. As Live Science notes, snake jaws include tendons, muscles and ligaments that allow the jaw to stretch like a rubber band.

A non-venomous snake, the African rock python (Python sebae) uses constriction to squeeze the life out of its prey before swallowing it whole. After eating larger animals, like antelope, the snake will not need to hunt again for some time.

According to Encyclopedia of Life, African rock pythons can go long periods of time without food. In one reported case, a captive African python abstained from eating for two-and-a-half years.

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