Jan
07
2008

The stupid things pythons do: Another short story about animals in pain

The golf ball-eating snake prepares to strike again: Unusual markings for a python, but I'm no herpetologist.
The golf ball-eating snake prepares to strike again: Unusual markings for a python, but I'm no herpetologist.Courtesy Brent and MariLynn
When I was little (and, um, still) I had this totally irrational fear of getting a bowling ball stuck in my throat.

How could this be? I don’t know. I seem to remember someone telling me once that a man in Russia got into the Guinsess Book of Records for swallowing a bowling ball, which is obviously untrue. There’s not a human mouth on the planet large enough to allow a bowling ball into the throat, not to mention the fact that my neck is about half the thickness of a bowling ball anyway. And yet… The horrible image of a Russian man with a bowling ball lodged behind his Adam’s apple returns to me every so often and just about throws me into a cold sweat. What would you do if you got a bowling ball stuck in your throat? You couldn’t spit it back up (because your mouth is too small), and obviously you couldn’t swallow it, because then it would just be stuck in your stomach, which might even be worse. Oh my.

Why was I even thinking about that? Again, I don’t know.

Hey, look at this interesting story about a python that swallowed four golf balls, and got them stuck in its stomach.

Apparently, a couple in New South Wales had put the balls in their chicken coop to coax a hen into nesting in a particular spot, and were surprised to find, not long after, a very lumpy looking python and no golf balls. They then “rushed the reptile to nearby Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary,” where the balls were surgically removed by a veterinarian. Maybe there’s a serious golf ball shortage in Australia.

The article also helpfully provides links to several recent stories about pythons swallowing such indigestible objects as pregnant sheep, alligators and queen-sized electric blankets (a nice warm meal, I suppose).

It looks like pythons are ready for the remedial class of life.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

George's picture
George says:

According to Koolstra (2002), the maximum jaw can open closer to 6 cm.
Ten-pin bowling balls have a diameter of 21.6 cm.
Five-pin bowling balls have a diameter of 12.1–12.7 cm.
Even if the jaw was to open 8 cm, I can't imagine how a bowling ball 12-21 cm in diameter could fit.
Not to mention that the human esophagus, which passes food from the pharynx to the stomach, is anywhere from 1.5 to 2 cm.
Did you ever confirm the story about the Russian?

posted on Fri, 01/18/2008 - 2:01am
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

Oh, no, that's sort of what I was saying - it's horrifying to me despite its impossibility. Oh my God, just thinking about it...

As far as the Russian goes, I'm pretty sure that was a case of some dumb little kid making something up, and some other dumb little kid (me) believing him.

posted on Fri, 01/18/2008 - 3:00pm

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