This eagle and snake video shows nature at its cruelest.
Everyone knows mother nature is a harsh mistress. But sometimes it takes a video like this to really drive that point home. The video from this unique sighting was taken in South Africa's Kruger National Park, a place known for its abundance of wildlife.
This puff adder didn't have a chance and found itself suffering an extremely slow death in the talons and beak of a brown snake eagle.
The bird shows no mercy. The video zooms in as the eagle tears right through the skin and thick scales. It's eating the snake's innards while it is still alive, right before your eyes.
We know some of you might have a hard time feeling sorry for a snake suffering, but this is a brutal way to go, and shows just how vicious a bird of prey can be.
Prerequisite warning for graphic content on this one.
Absolutely brutal! This amazing footage was captured on H10 road in the park by Graeme Mitchley, a teacher at Hurlyvale Primary School. In the video's description, the educator says the eagle caught the puff adder off guard as it attempted to cross the road.
"Not many people like snakes but this was a painfully slow death," Mitchley said. "People have asked me why the snake didn't try and strike the bird. All I can think of is that the eagle had the snake well pinned down and had possibly broken the snakes back which limited its movements."
Puff adders do have venom glands, but it doesn't do them any good when the head of the puff adder (or puffadder, as it's sometimes spelled) is pinned to the ground. Later in the video, the head does start moving around, but we're guessing that part of the snake is now moving involuntarily due to the massive trauma in the tail end.
The bird would have been taking a serious risk with this kill. Puff adders are one of the deadliest snakes in South Africa. One bite would probably have been enough to kill it. But in nature there is always a chance of that. It is kill or be killed.
The snake eagle species is found throughout Africa, and what it does is just as the name and video suggests. They are prolific killers of snakes. In addition to puff adders, this species has been known to hunt and kill other deadly serpents like spitting cobras, boomslang and even the feared black mamba. Sounds like just the bird for anyone with a fear of snakes!
Mitchley is a regular visitor to Kruger Park and noted the part of the snake the eagle left behind was gone the next morning, likely eaten by another scavenger.
For future visitors to the park, Mitchley offered the following advice for having a sighting of this sort.
"My advice to anyone visiting the park is to drive slowly," Mitchley said in the video's description. "When you drive too fast you miss out on a lot. If I had been driving too fast in this instance the bird would have got a fright and flown off and the sighting would have been spoilt."
Based on the beautiful landscapes, abundant species and the chance for an extremely rare sighting of wildlife like this, Kruger National Park is a place we would love visiting one day. We're definitely putting it on our bucket list!