All That’s Interesting’s 13 Best Animal News Stories Of 2018

Published December 31, 2018
Updated August 3, 2019

Animal News: Python And King Cobra Fight To The Death In Epic Snake Battle

Close Snake Fight

Facebook/Reptile HunterThe king cobra and python in the aftermath of their lethal battle.

Two bloodlusty snakes made animal news headlines with their lethal duel this past year.

King cobras and reticulated pythons are scary enough on their own, but what about when they engage in an epic battle to the death? A photo that surfaced on Facebook this year shows just what happens when the two serpents find themselves in a rare meeting.

The photo, posted on the Facebook page “Reptile Hunter,” shows the results of a lethal battle, thought to have taken place in Southeast Asia, the two reptiles’ shared habitat.

The cobra is seen stretched out on the ground, evidently strangled to death by its opponent, the python. Tightly curled around the cobra, the python seemed to have been equally as unlucky, apparently having been bitten by its hooded foe.

“It’s crazy, but it’s something I could easily see happening… it’s a dangerous world out there, to eat other big snakes and things that could kill you,” said Coleman Sheehy of the Florida Museum of Natural History.

“It looks real, it doesn’t look photoshopped or anything,” said Frank Burbrink of the American Museum of Natural History. “This is a weird encounter, but a lot of stuff that happens with snakes is never easily seen.”

According to most experts, it was likely the cobra that attacked the python. King cobras are the longest venomous snakes in the world and have a reputation for being particularly vicious. They also have a reputation for eating other snakes.

“We know cobras will eat other snakes, but you never know if people are doing goofy stuff to set things up,” Burbrink said. “People keep king cobras, and—hey let’s see what happens when you put these guys in a little ditch. You can see there’s a berm on both sides [in the photo], and they might’ve gone at it, but it could have happened in the wild as well.”

Trophy Hunter Fatally Gored In Groin By Herd Mate Of Buffalo He’d Just Killed

Claude Kleynhans With Buffalo

Claude Kleynhans/InstagramClaude Kleynhans poses with the body of an African buffalo.

For more than 30 years, this trophy hunter killed the wildlife of South Africa. But now one of the animals he’s long hunted has sent him to his grave.

On May 22, 54-year-old Claude Kleynhans and his hunting party shot and killed an African buffalo near the Levubu River in South Africa’s northern Limpopo Province. But as Kleynhans and his companions prepared to load the carcass onto their vehicle, another buffalo from the same herd charged the hunter and gored him in the groin with its horn. The attack hit his femoral artery, according to local news site the Bosveld Review, killing him almost instantly.

“They were working on the bushes to open the animal and did not see the other buffalo,” Karen Kuhne Kleynhans, the man’s sister-in-law, told the local Afrikaans-language news outlet Maroela Media. “The buffalo struck him and pronged him with its horn in his groin.”

“He loved what he did,” she added. “He died doing what he loved.”

Claude Kleynhans had been hunting big game in South Africa and neighboring countries like Botswana and Zambia for more than three decades. Since 1987, he’s been leading hunts as well as tours and photography trips with his company, Guwela Safaris, based in Hoedspruit near South Africa’s northern border. In addition to hunting, Guwela’s guests could also enjoy the firm’s “excellent accommodations” and “fine cuisine.”

Claude Kleynhans never stood a chance against a surprise attack from one of these creatures. Characterized by local animal news outlets as an ethical hunter, Kleynhans is survived by his widow and three children.

Bernadette Deron
Bernadette is a digital media producer, writer, and a proud native New Yorker.