It feels like snakes have no friends in the bush, even this small bird takes on a passing-by snake.
Gabriela Benavides, a wildlife vet, tells LatestSightings.com the story:
“We went to the Kruger National Park just for the weekend, in early August, as my husband and his family run the Skukuza half marathon every year and we take every opportunity to spend time in the park.”
“On Friday and Saturday we were lucky enough to spot the big 5, both days. The family, after being so lucky, decided they have had enough and didn’t want to go out on a game drive on Sunday and rather sleep-in and spend time together back at camp.
My husband and I never have enough of the bush, so we broke a deal to escape as early as the gates opened and be back around 9:30. We had an awesome sighting with 2 honey badgers and we were getting ready to head back when we decided to drive one more loop.”
“As we turned, my husband spotted a snake in a mud hole, which was quite unusual for winter time. A bird flew away as soon as we stopped and while we were trying to figure out what type of snake was it, the bird, a grey-headed bush-shrike, started tugging at something that also pulled the snake. Soon we realized they were the intestines of the snake, a Rufous Beaked snake. At a closer look it didn’t have eyes anymore and there was some blood on its face. The bird kept pulling and pecking on the snake, and the snake kept opening its mouth as a threat, but couldn’t do much else to defend itself in its weak state.
“At first, we got excited for the scene of a bright colored bird and a snake, but as we figured out what was going on, it became gruesome and sad. It was obvious the bird was winning so we just hoped it ended quickly for the snake. We knew it was nature, but took all our strength to stay on and be witnesses of how cruel sometimes the circle of life is.”
“The bird got a chunk out of the hole where the intestines were sticking out and flew away with it. The snake didn’t move after that, the head was in a hole in the mud, so we couldn’t see any movement of the tongue and we assumed it was dead. Since we arrived it took another 20 minutes for the fight to be over.”
“I have never seen a bird so small kill a snake for what looked like a meal. In fact, I never even thought a snake would on its menu. We first thought it was defending its nest, but at the end the bird took a big piece of some internal organ of the snake, which ultimately caused its death. It surely was a once in a lifetime sighting.”
“Never underestimate a sighting that is not as glamorous as the big 5, because you might end up being a witness of a unique experience that will make you have all emotions at once, from excitement, doubt, horror, sadness and even empathy for a snake which most of the times we fear. Every minute spent in the Kruger is worth it, as one never knows what might be around the next corner.”