Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Reality Bites

This isn't the kind of photography everyone might appreciate, but it's the reality of the world of nature. Predation and parasitism are an integral part of the story of life and have been going on for millions of years, nor are we exempt from the cycle.

I've never seen anything like this! I've heard of large Bullfrogs eating small snakes and have seen them dispatch smaller frogs, including cannibalizing their own kind, but this is the only instance I've observed one eating a bird.

The fledgling flew into – or too close – to the water, and the Bullfrog had caught it headfirst and was sculling backwards with its webbed feet, dragging the bird underwater and drowning it like a crocodile would an antelope. And this wasn't a particularly large frog, only about four inches long.

Pushing with its front feet the frog eventually managed to force its victim half-way down its gullet, but couldn't "swallow" its prey and eventually disgorged it.

It's a good thing these distant cousins of frogs are extinct, because WE wouldn't be safe walking along the shore. Judging by the number of fossils Eryops megacephalus ("megacephalus" means big or large head) was a successful predator and quite common in its time. Of course there are still crocodiles, hippos, mosquitos, etc ... not to mention a top predator that has been responsible for more deaths than any other species ...