Snake vs Frog – who is your money on?

Snake vs Frog – who is your money on?

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After a throughly enjoyable yet unproductive day on the slopes of Mount Merapi in search of the Javan Hawk eagle, Panji, my Indonesian guide decided to show me a small park in Yogyakarta that is a hotspot for kingfishers. Situated near the university, we found a small lake surrounded by some trees of substantial age. Despite its proximity to a football stadium we recorded 6 species, however light  conditions and uncooperative subjects resulted in poor photos not suitable for sharing.

  • Yellow-vented Bulbul
  • Blue-eared Kingfisher
  • Olive-backed Sunbird
  • White-breasted Waterhen
  • Common Iora
  • Barred Buttonquail

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We had just decided to do one more circuit of the lake when we heard an animal call.Panji has a gifted ear for local bird calls and declared that this was a new call to him. He thought it was a cat, but I was unsure – it just didn’t seem mammalian to me. So a quick hunt resulted in us discovering a Common Tree Frog (Polypedates leucomystax) locked in the jaws of a Painted Bronzeback snake (Dendralaphis pinctus).

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The frog was quite large and he was giving quite a fight by grabbing on to anything that he could to prevent the snake from pulling him away into the tree. Unfortunately, the snake was proving too worthy a competitor and the frog was clearly loosing.

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It is difficult observing this type of behaviour, it’s instinctive to want to help the prey, who’s piercing alarm call was still being repeated. But the rule of not interfering is a well placed one, who am I to judge that the frogs survival is more important than the snake?

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1 Comment

  1. Your photographs are fantastic… I feel as if the snake could bite me next! I appreciate your comment about wanting to help the frog escape the jaws of the snake! I always think that while watching Discovery Channel Wildlife Documentaries, “Why can’t that photographer go and help that poor gazelle?” Darwinism

    Reply

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