There were no winners when a two-metre carpet snake slithered away with an empty stomach after spending four hours trying to swallow a possum whole.
Photographs of the epic battle were snapped by Ipswich truck painter Tim Sharman at his Bellbird Park house – west of Brisbane.
Mr Sharman and his cousin were enjoying a few beers on Saturday when they were interrupted by a loud bang.
‘We saw the snake and possum fall off the roof, the snake had the possum wrapped up tight,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘They made a lot of noise when they fell off the roof and then rolled around on the concrete for a bit fighting.
‘There was a big bang as they hit the hand rail [of the stairs] and the concrete.’
And it seems the possum did put up a bit of a fight as Mr Sharman said it took the snake 30 minutes to kill the marsupial before feasting.
‘The snake started eating the possum’s head first and he slowly worked his way up the body of the possum,’ he said.
While Mr Sharman snapped pictures of nature taking its course, he heard ‘a lot of grunting’ from the possum while it was still alive as the snake coiled itself around its prey.
‘The noise from the snake when eating was like heavy breathing,’ he said.
Mr Sharman said it took the snake four hours from about 8pm for it to reach the possum’s hind legs.
But it proved to be too big of a mouthful for the snake because it started regurgitating the possum – which was 40cm long – back up.
Australia’s leading snake expert, Raymond ‘Snake Man’ Hoser, said that by the standard of carpet snakes, this wasn’t actually large.
‘I’d say this was about 8 foot, and they can get up to 10 foot long,’ Mr Hoser said.
Carpet snakes are found all across Australia, with this particular variety, a Brisbane carpet snake, found all along the Queensland coast.
‘I catch these more than any other snake, because they’re obviously quite big and move slowly,’
‘They normally live up a tree, and people will come out into their yard and see one there and freak out.’
Mr Hoser has over 30 years experience with snakes and other reptiles, having discovered and named over 300 types of snakes all over the world.
He said that he often feeds roadkill to snakes, but that snakes in the wild have a harder time digesting animals.
‘A snake that eats something the size of that possum runs a good risk of dying, because if the food goes cold in it’s stomach it will start to rot before it’s digested properly,’ Snake Man said.
‘Septicemia will set in and the snake will die. If you feed a snake road kill in captivity, they have a much higher chance of survival, because they can keep warm and allow the food to digest.’
Mr Hoser said that this particular carpet snake probably regurgitated the possum because it got ‘nervous.’
‘It’s certainly big enough, it shouldn’t have had any trouble getting it down. I’d say it got a bit scared of the bloke taking the photos and vomited it up so it could leave.’