Well, the combat becomes a cliffhanger, we say! In a video, recently uploaded to the Latest Sightings YouTube channel, a leopard is seen tussling with a hefty python and coming out on top.
The footage was captured by US tourist Suzie Moll while on a guided safari drive with her family in Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve. The group came across a leopard on the prowl and watched eagerly in the hopes of catching it on the hunt. The cat seemed focused on something lurking in the tall grass and the group looked on – with a decent measure of astonishment – as a massive African rock python slithered into view.
Initially caught off guard, the big cat leapt into the air and swiped with its enormous paws as the python tried to squeeze it into submission. Hᴏrrfied safari onlookers were certain the leopard would be on the menu as it lay helplessly trapped in the snake’s vice-like grip.
But the big cat managed to claw his way out and deliver a final killed bite. The photographer Mike Welton, 28, from Ontario, Canada, was present at the event, said: “We all had a moment thinking about how terrible it was that we were watching a beautiful leopard get killed. Python constriction is horrible and it was sickening to imagine death from that. The leopard wrested out and was able to claw, then bite the head of the snake.”
“We heard a very loud crunching sound which was likely the leopard biting the skull of the python. The python may have died or been terribly injured because it continued to flop around slowly. It was probably the closest scrape with death that the leopard has ever been through.”
Although adult pythons can weigh in at over 90 kilograms, leopards are bold predators that are more than capable of tackling larger prey.
“In the end, the python was defeated, with numerous puncture ᴡᴏᴜnds on its body, especially on its head area,” Saint, owner of Live Life African Safari Getaways who shared the clip with Latest Sightings, explained. “The leopard also had injuries with an obvious wound to the right front paw which could be clearly seen as it limped away from the scene.”