By Ted Scouten

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – When you hear noise nearby while riding your bike on a path through the Everglades, it really gets your attention.

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“I hear ‘splash! Splash, splash, splash, splash,'” recalls Joe Capozzi, a reporter for the Palm Beach Post.

He was riding his bike in the Big Cypress Preserve when he was suddenly front row to a show only Mother Nature can put on.

It didn’t take long before Joe realized the stars in this show were a 6-foot alligator and an enormous snake that finally appeared in the murky water.

“It was just this giant snake, the Burmese Python, it was having this wrestling match, I guess you would call it, with the alligator,” he said.  “You would see the snake coiled up then you would see the alligator’s tail moving out of the water, then it would flap over the water, trying to hit the python, the snake in the head with hit’s tail and it always missed and you would hear another splash.”

 

“These are two top of the line apex predators,” explains Ron Magill from Zoo Miami. “It’s kind of like a modern version of Godzilla versus King Kong,” he said.

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Magill explains what was happening below the surface of the water.

“What that python was doing, from the mid down to the tail, wrapped around that alligator, keeping him under the water and waiting for it to succumb to asphyxiation basically,” he said.

There are no reliable estimates as to how many pythons are slithering around the Everglades, but Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says nearly 1,800 have been captured between 2000 and 2011.

Joe said this fight of the fittest looked more like a water ballet – as the snake coiled around the gator moved together.

“This was kind of like Mother Nature in action and the alligator was not winning the fight, it was not having a good day,” he said.

Magill said he’s pretty certain the gator did not survive the attack.

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For the full first-person account, go here.

Ted Scouten