Snakes have been found to eat prey's organs while their victims are still alive – with horrifying footage showing the process.
Three species of kukri snakes in Asia were discovered to cut open the stomachs of frogs and toads while their meal remains fully conscious to devour its kidneys, spleen and heart.
They can even keep prey alive for "up to a few hours", according to three new studies on the disturbing eating habits of the closely-related Taiwanese, ocellated and small-banded kukris.
Researchers found the time it takes the animals, which belong to the genus Oligodon, to finish their meal depended on which organ they chose to eat first.
Gory footage of an attack by a Taiwanese kukri snake on a banded bullfrog shows the reptile's head inside the frog's abdomen.
The snake can be seen twisting its body in what is known as a "death roll".
Danish herpetologist Henrik Bringsoe, who authored two of the studies published last month, said: "We believe that the purpose of these death rolls was to tear out organs to be subsequently swallowed."
The unique feeding behaviour is thought to have evolved to tackle larger animals.
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However, all three species are also known to swallow smaller prey whole like most other snakes.
Bringsoe added: "We hope that future observations may uncover additional aspects of the fascinating feeding habits of kukri snakes though we may indeed call them gruesome."
There are believed to be up to 60 species of kukri snakes living in East and South Asia.
Growing to up 90cm long, most feed on bird and reptile eggs.
The studies were published in Herpetozoa.
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Earlier this month, police were called in to capture a 14ft snake after it was spotted on the loose at a construction site in Scotland.
The shocking discovery came shortly after officers received multiple reports of massive constrictor-type reptiles on the streets of the Inverclyde town in Renfrewshire.
Video shared on social media showed the heavy-bodied serpent lying on the grass near a pub on the Drumfrochar Road in Greenock.
A worker is heard saying: "F***ing hell man, look at the size of it."
Another picture showed the snake being placed alongside a mini van before the animal welfare officers took it away.
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