Snake Devours Smaller Snake Alive As Its Tongue Twitches in Weird Video

A snake handler attending a callout in Ormeau, Australia, came across an unusual sight. Mitchell Thorburn, of Gold Coast Snake Catchers, found one of the deadliest snake species in the country, an eastern brown snake—protruding from the mouth of a second snake.

"I've never picked up a venomous snake and had another snake pop out," Thorburn told "I was quite surprised."

Thorburn shared the footage of the unusual encounter to Facebook. "The larger individual is a red-bellied black snake and the smaller fello sticking his head out of the red belly's mouth is a juvenile eastern brown snake, which was likely gobbled up just prior to me arriving," the post said.

"The eastern brown snake was still alive and flickering its tongue at the time. The things you see on the job..."

Hundreds of users flocked to the post to comment on the unusual sighting. "Great footage mate. Never seen that in my 8 years of catching," said one commenter.

Red-bellied black snake and eastern brown snake
Photo of a red-bellied black snake (left) and an eastern brown snake (right). Ken Griffiths/Getty

Red-bellied black snakes usually measure around 5 to 6.5 feet and are one of the most frequently encountered snakes on the east coast of Australia. The Australian Museum has described them as one of Australia's least deadly venomous snakes.

Eastern brown snakes, on the other hand, are responsible for more fatalities in Australia than any other species. The two species are roughly the same size when they are fully grown, but the eastern brown snake in Thorburn's footage was only a baby.

Red-bellied snakes are not fussy eaters and feed on a variety of vertebrates, including fish, tadpoles, frogs, lizards and snakes. But how do they resist the venom of their deadly prey?

"Venom needs to access the blood via a bite rather than consumption," Thorburn said in response to a comment on his Facebook post asking the same question. "The red-belly is known to be cannibalistic and I dare say likely has an immunity to a degree against other snakes' venom."

However, this predation works both ways, and eastern brown snakes have been known to feed on red-bellied black snakes. Just last month, a woman in Adelaide filmed a fight to the death between an eastern brown snake and a red belly. In this case the brown snake won.

In some parts of the animal kingdom, size does matter.

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