Alligator Versus Python: Fierce Predators Battle on Florida Golf Course

An American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) swims in a cypress swamp in the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, Barataria, Louisiana, on April 22, 2017. Thomas Watkins/AFP/Getty Images

On Friday, golfers witnessed a battle of two fierce predators on a golf course in Florida: An American alligator and a Burmese python were seen wrapped in a struggle for life. No word yet on who won.

Burmese pythons and alligators are common sights in Florida, but the attack between two huge reptiles was surprising to onlookers. It's unclear which animal started the fight.

Richard Nadler, whose Facebook profile identifies him as a dentist, took pictures of the attack at The Golf Club at Fiddler's Creek in Naples, Florida. He posted the pictures on Facebook and wrote that the alligator "seems to have the upper hand."

A python's strong body can squeeze much larger animals to death, including dogs and deer. The snake's crushing grip can break ribs and choke their prey to death, making pythons formidable opponents.

But an alligator has the strongest bite force ever measured, crushing their prey with the strength of 3,700 pounds per square inch. When an alligator gets something in its mouth, it's nearly impossible to get it to let go.

From the picture, it appears that the alligator has some part of the snake in its mouth.

Alligators and crocodiles are native to Florida, and serve as the basis of many tourist attractions. However, the Burmese python is an invasive species of which Floridians are no fan.

According to the National Park Service, Burmese pythons have established themselves as a breeding population in Everglades National Park, which is on the southern end of Florida and less than an hour from Naples. The Park Service believes that the invasive population first came to Florida when pet owners released their unwanted pythons into nature. They are considered to be highly problematic because they grow big enough to eat all sorts of wildlife, including the occasional alligator. Even when they're not eating gators, they compete with native predators for space and food.

Countless attempts have been made to remove and control Burmese pythons, which represent something of a symbol of the havoc that an invasive species can cause. While several other species of snakes from around the world have been found in the Everglades, the Burmese python is notable because it's one of the largest snake species in the world.

In a fight between an alligator and a python, conservationists may be wise to root for the alligator.