The American alligator is a species success story. For millions of years, their kind has survived and evolved with the planet. And while the American alligator was once endangered, they now thrive in their native range, growing up to 15 feet in length. These giant reptiles are opportunistic hunters, lurking in waters until quarry comes within strike range. They can launch from the water at speeds of 50 miles per hour. Small prey is swallowed whole, while larger victims are shaken and drowned before consumption.
But the Burmese python is an equally formidable predator. It’s one of the biggest snake species in the world, growing up to 23 feet in length and as thick as a telephone pole. They constrict their prey to death, opening their mouth almost 180 degrees and swallowing victims whole. And Burmese pythons are survivors – they’re comfortable on land, in trees and can hold their breath in water for up to 30 minutes.
Burmese pythons are native to southeast Asia and were imported to the United States as pets. And since that time, they’ve invaded the Everglades in record numbers. Nature never intended for the Burmese python to meet an American alligator in South Florida– but what happens when these two powerful, apex predators come face-to-face?
Follow this fascinating Nat Geo WILD story about a monstrous 13-foot Burmese python and a six-foot Florida gator encounter – who attacked whom, and why?
Tune in to Python vs. Gator Saturday 1/29 at 6 PM et/pt on Nat Geo Wild!
Video Preview: “Pet Python Attack” — Rescue firefighters respond to a 911 emergency call where a snake’s owner is being suffocated by his 11-foot python.