Sungei Buloh visitors witness python hunting fruit bats & squeezing the life out of one

Nature is wild.

Nigel Chua | August 03, 2022, 03:52 PM

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A group of visitors to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on Aug. 1 were witnesses to a literal cold-blooded killing.

The killer, a reticulated python, had been hunting for its meal and managed to catch two fruit bats.

The python proceeded to wrap itself around the bats, tightening its coils around the bats to subdue them — as pythons are known to do.

GIF from video by Robbin Tan.

The snake eventually released its prey, but the smaller of the two bats did not survive.

The bats' ordeal was captured by nature photographer Robbin Tan, who posted photos and videos on the Singapore Wildlife Sightings group on Facebook.

Ambush from the ceiling

Tan shared that the python had climbed up into the roof of a building where the bats were sleeping.

Photo courtesy of Robbin Tan.

The python crept slowly toward the bats before lunging and grabbing them.

GIF from video by @yan_wildlife_adventures on Instagram

Tan said the python then dropped from the roof while holding onto its captive prey, and fell onto a metal signboard below.

It then proceeded to constrict the bats, remaining on the signboard as the group of visitors watched some distance away.

Tan captured a photo of one of the bats writhing and screaming while in its predator's clutches:

Photo courtesy of Robbin Tan.

Snake abandons meal

After about seven minutes, Tan said, the snake eventually abandoned its prey.

GIF from video by Robbin Tan.

The larger of the two bats appeared to be alive as the snake slithered away, but the smaller bat did not survive the encounter.

Photo courtesy of Robbin Tan.

Tan suspects the snake could have abandoned its prey for a few reasons.

Tan recalls that a group of around six people had gathered to watch the scene unfold, and does not rule out the possibility that the snake bolted out of fear.

Nonetheless, he says the group "kept their distance throughout", and felt that the group's behaviour in watching from a distance was not "out of line".

"No one made an attempt to get any closer to the snake," he said.

Thus, he speculates that the bats' struggle could have caused the snake to give up, that the snake could have been hurt by its fall of about three metres from the roof, or that the snake's position on the signboard was too awkward for it to consume the bat.

"Who are we to control these animals?"

"It's important that we do not try to interfere with such natural processes, despite how much we might sympathise with the pitiful sight of the prey," wrote Tan in his post.

He added: "Who are we to control what these animals can consume and what they cannot?"

Top photo courtesy of Robbin Tan