Centipede Bursts Out Of Snake's Stomach After Being Eaten, Researchers Astonished

Centipede Bursts from Snake's Stomach

A dead nose-horned viper was found by a group of researchers during a field study in Macedonia last year, with a centipede's head sticking out of its ruptured abdomen, Live Science reported.

The centipede might have quite literally eviscerated the snake from the inside out, the scientists concluded after doing a post-mortem.
"All of us were astonished, as nobody has ever seen something like this," Ljiljana Tomovic, a herpetologist at the University of Belgrade, told Live Science in an email.
On May 14, 2013, Tomovic and colleagues were tagging reptiles on Macedonia's Golem Grad, a 44-acre (18 hectares) island in Lake Prespa that's crowded with thousands of tortoises, tens of thousands of dice snakes and hundreds of vipers, according to Live Science.
When one researcher, Dragan Arsovki, turned over a stone, he discovered the remnants of the snake, Tomovic said.
"The unfortunate nose-horned viper (Vipera ammodytes) was a young female that stretched about 2 inches longer than the centipede (7.9 vs. 6 inches, or 20.3 vs. 15.4 centimeters), the researchers wrote last month in a brief report published in the journal Ecologica Montenegrina," Live Science reported. "But the centipede (Scolopendra cingulate) was actually heavier than the snake, tipping the scales at 114 percent of the snake's body weight (4.8 vs. 4.2 grams, or 0.17 vs. 0.14 ounces)."
After a dissection, it was verified that the snake's visceral organs were missing and that "the entire volume of its body was occupied by the centipede," the scientists wrote.
While clawing its way out of the snake, the centipede might have destroyed the viper's internal organs along the way, before eventually dying, the researchers reasoned.
"In general, this invertebrate is extremely tough: It is very hard to kill a full-grown Scolopendra (personal observation)," the authors of the study wrote of the centipede.
"Therefore, we cannot dismiss the possibility that the snake had swallowed the centipede alive, and that, paradoxically, the prey has eaten its way through the snake, almost reaching its freedom."


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