Some images of what appears to be a very large dead snake hanging on a electric fence have been making their way around the net lately. Given the profusion of utter crap, lies, and just plain nonsense, on the internet it can sometimes be hard to tell exactly what’s real and what’s not. And this is one of those times. At first glance anyways…
Those who are having a hard time telling whether the “dead snake on a fence” images are genuine or are photoshopped aren’t alone in that regard — at the very least, the images would appear to be of far higher editing-quality than those that typically accompany viral memes.
But in this case, the images are in fact quite real. Despite the various locations mentioned in various versions of the viral email, the images of the dead snake were actually taken at the Silent Valley Ranch in the Waterberg mountains of South Africa — not in Iraq, the UAE, Angola, or Illinois.
And the prey animal which was obviously consumed not long before being killed by the fence was apparently an impala, not a sheep as mentioned in the viral meme.
Here’s some of the original text accompanying the images:
How would you be finding this in your back paddock. The snake has tried to get through the electric fence and then become stuck at the fence when the electic fence has shocked him.
For once, some information accompanying a snake meme that’s not actually wrong/false, too bad the rest of the information is/was — it’s actually quite refreshing, hope it catches on.
A bit of background on the snake in the images:
The snake species in question is a Rock Python — a very large species of snake (as you can see), arguably the largest in Africa.
The rock Python generally feeds on small to mid-sized mammals and bird, but is fairly opportunistic and will eat other prey animals (people?) as well. They have actually been observed eating large crocodiles before.
The individual in question was very large — and measured over 13 feet in length. While that does constitute quite a large snake, rock pythons can actually grow to be around/over 20-feet in length — not on the same scale as the largest pythons (Reticulated pythons, etc) but quite large. The heaviest individual on record weighed a bit over 200 lbs.
The snakes are non-venomous, and kill by constriction.
Prey animals are usually swallowed head first. After this is accomplished the snake will then seek out a burrow, tree, shelter, etc, to lie low in while the meal digests — which can take quite some time when the meal is large.
While the species isn’t currently considered to be endangered, deforestation and other forms of habitat loss are causing population numbers to fall substantially.
Image Credits: Screen Capture