Bizarre Footage Captures Cow Chewing On A Large Python In Outback Australia

Posted by Sama in Bizarre On 15th November 2020
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A bizarre incident reported where a man going down the Sandover Highway in the Northern Territory, Australia encountered a crazy sighting. The man saw a cow chewing on the head of a python snake and then after sucking on the snakehead it left the half-chewed snake behind on the ground and walked away completely unharmed.

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We are currently going through a pandemic and honestly, anything strange and weird is no longer strange this year. It's the year 2020 and we are mentally prepared to accept anything except for normal but bet you didn't expect this one coming!

Andrew Gertz was driving down the Sandover Highway in the Northern Territory to work in Alice Springs. As he was passing by, he caught a rare and somewhat amusing sight.

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Gertz, a refrigeration mechanic from Camooweal in outback Queensland, was not sure if he was seeing it right and thought that maybe the cow was chewing on a bone or stick. 

But on speculating closely, Gertz found he was not imaging things and the cow really was chewing on the snake head as then dropped woma python and continued uninjured, leaving the half-chewed snake behind.

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There is certainly no way to explain this situation considering the fact that cows are herbivores but experts say it would appear that a phosphorus deficiency may have made the farm animal put the snake in its mouth.

Trying to make sense out of it, Gertz starts his story:

I saw something hanging out of its mouth and I didn’t really know what it was until I got closer and then I realized it’s a woma (python).

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Still confused by what he was witnessing:

I’ve seen cattle chew on cow hides and dried out bones, but I’ve never seen them chew on a snake, especially fresh too like that.

He did offer one possible explanation:

I’m not sure how the snake would have ended up in the cow’s mouth, there had been some rain ahead of us and I could see no tracks in the sand and road, so it wouldn’t be that the snake was hit by a car and picked up on the road by the cow.

It could have bitten the cow’s tongue, that could have been a possibility.

But, he still doesn’t know the answer:

I showed my boss and the locals where I was going to, and most of them have lived in the Territory for years around cattle, and they haven’t seen anything like it before.

 

Watching the footage, Twitter had a field day but no one had any sensible explanation of the incident witnessed. 

Even scientists are confused. They offer some explanations, but CQUniversity livestock researcher Dr. Diogo Costa says this is not normal behavior. For a cow, the poor snake didn’t seem to have a choice.

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Dr. Costa tried to rationalize the whole thing:

It’s not normal animal behavior but phosphorous deficiencies can turn a cow as mad as a cut snake.

He continues by explaining the importance of phosphorous:

Along with calcium, phosphorous is one of the most plentiful minerals in a cow’s body, and there are times in an animal’s life where it may need more than normal – for example, a cow in lactation will have a higher requirement because of the P going to the milk, or a growing animal will have a higher requirement in comparison to one not putting on weight.

 

So, the snake was acting like a supplement for the cow:

There are many areas in northern Australia with very low levels of P in the soil, and this is why P supplementation is usually recommended during the wet season in northern Australia when animals start putting on more weight, and their requirements increase.

Phosphorus is stored in the bones, and clinical P deficiency can result in health issues such as spontaneous fractures due to bones getting weaker or to reductions in fertility rate and weight gain.

The cow was acting on its primal instinct, but it’s still quite strange. As Dr. Costa concludes:

P deficiency can also lead to osteophagia (which can in turn lead to botulism) – osteophagia is the action of eating or chewing of bone, and one of the most common signs of acute P deficiency. This may well have been what that cow was doing when chewing on the snake.

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