A group of researchers stumbled upon a grisly scene during a field study in Macedonia last year: a dead nose-horned viper with a centipede's head sticking out of its ruptured abdomen.
After a post-mortem, the scientists think it's possible that the centipede quite literally eviscerated the snake from the inside out.
The remnants of the death match were discovered on May 14, 2013, on Golem Grad, an island in Lake Prespa, and described last month in a brief report published in the journal Ecologica Montenegrina. [Amazing Images of Snakes Around the World]
The unfortunate nose-horned viper (Vipera ammodytes) was a young female that stretched about 2 inches longer than the centipede (7.9 vs. 6 inches, or 20.3 vs. 15.4 centimeters). But the centipede (Scolopendra cingulate) was actually heavier than the snake, tipping the scales at 114 percent of the snake's body weight (4.8 vs. 4.2 grams, or 0.17 vs. 0.14 ounces).
Nose-horned vipers regularly take on small mammals, lizards and birds, and they've been known to eat centipedes successfully, too. But in this particular case, the snake "gravely underestimated" the size and strength of its prey, the scientist wrote.