Images of a determined mother possum bites snake saving its baby from the grasps of a hungry carpet python in a short struggle in a Queensland backyard have captured the attention of thousands, three years after they were taken.
The mother possum bit and clawed her way to victory.
Photos of the melee were shared by almost 2,000 people after being posted to Facebook on Thursday night by a prominent snake catcher on the Sunshine Coast.
They were snapped by Mackay woman Christine Birch Williams, who recalled stumbling across the backyard brawl late one night
The python was trying to strangle the baby possum.
“I grabbed my camera and started taking photos.”
The baby possum was well and truly in the python’s stranglehold when the mother possum intervened
Her six photos depict the baby possum well and truly wrapped up by the python, with the mother possum leaping into action, clawing and biting the reptile.
Eventually the python releases its prey.
The photos sparked discussion as to whether Ms Williams should have intervened.
“As hard as this would be to watch … this is all a part of nature,” snake catcher Stu McKenzie wrote.
“Would I interfere and save the baby if I was there at the time? Hard to say.
The fight was short, Ms Williams said.
“In one hand it would be horrible to watch, on the other hand the snake has earnt his meal.”
Opinions were divided among the comments.
“Leave it be, nature is what it is. Nature doesn’t do it to be cruel and malice its the natural instinct to survive,” Samii Lawson wrote.
“I could not of just watched without helping the possum,” Jill Patterson said.
Ms Williams said she did not even think of intervening.
Queensland Museum Mammals Collection Manager Heather Janetzki said it was not totally unusual to see the possum take on the python.
“While I’ve personally never seen a possum act like that before and attack a snake, possums can generally be quite feisty animals, so that doesn’t surprise me,” Ms Janetzki said.
“That said a mother’s instinct is very strong, so it’s not unusual for a mother to do whatever necessary to protect her young, which is what the possum is doing in this instance.”