A python catches and swallows a large bird right in front of a person drinking coffee

When Nicola Moore stepped onto the back veranda of her home in New South Wales, Australia last week she was hoping to enjoy a “peaceful morning cuppa”. Instead she found herself face to face with a two-metre carpet python that was in the midst of devouring a bird (did we mention that Moore lives in Australia?).

The snake, a coastal carpet python (Morelia spilota mcdowelli), was filmed dangling from the porch roof just a few feet from Moore’s head – its stretched jaws clasped over a tawny frogmouth. The carpet python seemed unfazed by the humans snapping photos and shooting videos nearby, however, it did later regurgitate its meal which can be a sign that it felt threatened (or perhaps those wings proved a bit too much to swallow!).

Tawny frogmouths are stocky, nocturnal birds often confused for owls due to their similar colouring and late-night lifestyles. They can reach lengths of over 50 centimetres (20 inches) and, according to the team at Australian Snake Catchers, the birds constitute normal prey for a snake of this size. It’s possible that the python was trying to gobble its meal in a hurry in order to escape the human onlookers, but the quarry proved a bit hefty.

Coastal carpet pythons can grow to three metres (ten feet) long and are widespread throughout Queensland and New South Wales in eastern Australia. They typically prey on birds and small mammals, including some non-native animals that have invaded Australia, like rabbits. They often take up residence in urban and suburban landscapes where their adaptable eating habits allow them to thrive. Fortunately, most Australians are accustomed to living alongside reptiles, so conflicts with people are minimal.

“Thank goodness this two-metre long snake had already caught it’s breakfast,” Moore quipped to Caters News. Although carpet pythons can get quite large, they are nonvenomous and are not considered a threat to humans. They can, however, deliver a nasty bite that, if directed at a human, may require a tetanus injection.

After falling to the ground and making a final attempt at swallowing its prey, the python eventually gave up and slithered off. 

This is not the first time that Moore has had to deal with unwanted visitors at her home in Crescent Head. Last month, a large goanna lizard broke in and tussled with her dog before seeking refuge behind a chair:

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