Man watches buck squeezed to death

2013-11-09 00:00

A BISHOPSTOWE man has described his astonishment as he watched a massive python squeeze the life out of a duiker.

Craig Bellars of Costalot Farm near Pietermaritzburg said he had stumbled across the unusual sight while “playing with my 4x4” on his land on Sunday last weekend.

“I saw two buck running away from the noise of the 4x4. One went down and fell to the ground, and the other ran off.” Bellars went to investigate why the buck had fallen and remained down. Near the stream where the buck usually drink, he was confronted by the dying throes of the buck as a “massive African Rock python” squeezed its last breath.

“It had grabbed the duiker around its neck and then coiled around its chest and neck. The buck was kicking its legs and battling to breathe as the snake tightened its grasp,” said an incredulous Bellars.

Bellars said he thought the python had either suffocated the buck or broken its neck.

He tried to film the struggle but, in his excitement, only managed to get eight seconds of footage. He did, however, get some good photos of the struggle on his cellphone.

After watching the tug of war for some time, Bellars left to take his children, who had been with him at the time, home. He returned to the spot the next day to find no trace of either the buck or the python.

He estimated the python to have been between five and six metres long.

“It was amazing. It’s a once in a lifetime thing. I didn’t interfere, because it’s nature. But it was hectic; unbelievable. That snake was very strong.”

Hillcrest snake expert Byron Zimmerman confirmed that it was indeed an African Rock python, and said the antelope was a Common Grey Duiker.

“The African Rock‎ Python is a fairly common species, protected by law in this country. They prey mainly on rodents, small antelope, fowl and monkeys,” said Zimmerman.

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