A tourist stumbled across an unusual and gruesome sight in Kenya recently, when he discovered an enormous African rock python eating a hyena.
Jos Bakker, a Dutch web designer, came across the snake while on a tour of the Masai Mara National Reserve in the southwest of the country, according to National Geographic.
Bakker's tour guide informed local researchers at the nearby Fisi Camp, a field site of Michigan State University zoologists.
This kind of python behaviour has never been caught on camera before, with scientists skeptical that a python would be able to take down a mammal the size of a hyena.
Mike Kowalski, a research assistant at the Fisi Camp, told National Geographic via email. "To my knowledge there has been no precedent for this in terms of documentation.
"Large carnivores can certainly interact with large pythons, as their cubs are probably on the menu, but an adult lion or leopard or hyena would likely dispatch the python very quickly."
The African rock python is the largest snake found on the African continent and it is one of the six largest snake species in the world, reaching up to 20 ft in length. It kills its prey by constriction and is known to eat animals as large as antelope or crocodiles.
It is a common misconception that snakes can "dislocate" their jaws to consume huge meals. Their jaws are not connected in the same way as ours – they have ligaments that can easily stretch to allow the mouth to open wider.
The African rock python is feared among communities because of its tremendous size and aggressive reputation, although it rarely eats humans.