Recent floods in Australia's far north have had a devastating impact on local agriculture. Rising waters have wiped out half a million cattle and created a humanitarian crisis. The flood is also affecting wildlife in the area – washing crocodiles downstream and flushing other animals out of hiding. Take this scrub python that was filmed gobbling up a wallaby in Queensland's Flying Fish Point last week:

Captured by John Boettcher, the footage shows a scrub python (Simalia kinghorni) finishing off its marsupial meal in a backyard in the north of the country. Recent monsoon floods may have swept the hefty reptile onto this residential property, although sightings of wallaby-munching pythons have been reported in the past. The scrub python – Australia's longest snake and possibly it's largest terrestrial predator – is indigenous to forests in the north of the continent. According to some reports, the snakes can grow up to eight metres in length. They are ambush predators preferring to conceal themselves in trees or long grass where they will strike at unsuspecting prey. 

In typical python fashion, they dispatch their quarry by coiling around it and crushing it with their muscular bodies before swallowing their prey whole. Humans are not on the menu, but there have been a handful of unfortunate encounters – the latest involving a 14-year-old boy in Far North Queensland who woke up with a python wrapped around his arm. And then there was that time, a particularly confused snake had to be rushed to surgery after accidentally ingesting a stuffed animal.

For the most part, scrub pythons shy away from human habitation, but recent weather events may have played a role here. It's been a particularly hostile summer (even by Australian standards). The climate Down Under is characterised by blistering heatwaves, raging bushfires and severe flooding, however, recent weather events have been especially extreme, sparking concern among some residents that climate change is beginning to take its toll.


Header image: Cannibal Holiday/Flickr