What hangs upside down from a tree and eats possums? This guy ... 

In this incredible photo series captured by snake and bird specialist Lana Field, a coastal carpet python (Morelia spilota mcdowelli) can be seen constricting and then devouring a possum, all while dangling upside down from a tree. 

Field responded to a callout last week from a family in Brisbane, Australia, who were enjoying a few drinks around the pool when a commotion alerted them to the python.

“Because of the awkward hanging position, it was taking the snake a while to consume it [the possum], which meant I was able to take these photos of the progress. This is an extremely common occurrence here is SE Queensland, but it’s not often that people get to witness it,” Field told us via email.

Although rarely seen, this is not the first time a carpet python has been spotted feeding on a possum while dangling from a tree – one was photographed earlier this year.

It took the snake over half an hour to swallow its meal, and it would probably have retreated to a safe spot afterwards to digest in peace. Coastal carpet pythons can reach lengths of up to three metres (ten feet) and are widespread throughout Queensland and New South Wales in eastern Australia.

The white-tipped tail of the possum suggests that it is more than likely a common ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus). These marsupials are nocturnal and spend much of their time in trees foraging for foliage, flowers and fruits (which are eaten, partially digested, pooped out and re-ingested later during the day ... nice). The nocturnal habits of possums may explain why sightings such as these are rarely caught on camera.


Header image: Golgarth