There’s a reason the term “snake in the grass” is ubiquitous. And this footage shows why. In January, Iris López posted a video on Instagram showing a snake hunting a seagull. “Damn nature, you’re scary,” wrote López in the video’s description.
The beginning of the video is rather calm. A seagull walks on a small patch of sand next to a body of water. Then, a snake springs suddenly from a small patch of grass and latches its jaws down on the unfortunate bird. The seagull struggles briefly as the snake wraps its body around it before slowly constricting it. The video ends by showing the snake beginning to swallow the seagull whole. According to the video’s description, the incident took place in Australia.
Nature is Metal reshared the video on its Instagram page on March 7 and identified the bird as a black-billed gull. It’s not immediately clear what species of snake is shown in the video.
Regardless, the snake used a hunting tactic common to serpents—constriction. According to The Atlantic, some snakes have evolved to constrict and swallow prey—which is sometimes quite large—without suffocating by shifting their ribs to draw in air.
Australia is home to 140 species of land snakes and 32 species of sea snakes, according to the New South Wales Government. Around 100 of those snakes are venomous and 12 can dole out bites that have the potential to kill a person.