Skip to main content

Snake attacks frog!

A Blue Dasher, Pachydiplax longipennis, poses for the camera. While casing out sites for Mothapalooza field trips a few weeks back, I came across a beautiful pond in the depths of Shawnee State Forest. Its marshy verges were filled with dragonflies, and my attention was diverted to shooting images of the spectacular beasts. Blue Dashers are often about the most common dragonfly in such habitats, but I never tire of shooting them. The animal in the photo is "obelisking" - pointing the tip of its abdomen towards the sun to minimize heat absorption. Sometimes, on very hot days with the sun overhead, they'll stick their abdomen up until nearly vertical.

SNAKE ALERT: If you don't like serpents, AND somehow missed the title of this post, be aware. Snake photos to follow.

While shooting the dragons, I noticed that several interesting birds were close at hand, including a singing Yellow-throated Warbler. Wanting photos, I switched camera gear over to the 500mm lens, and put the whole affair on the tripod. As I stalked the warbler, I began to hear a strange call from the small creek that fed the pond. Certain it was an amphibian, but unsure as to what species, I wandered over to find the singer.

Well! Small wonder I didn't recognize the sound! A large Bullfrog had been seized by this Northern Watersnake, and was issuing soft plaintive bleats quite unlike its typical calls. I pivoted the big lens to this drama, and began snapping away.

The snake seemed to have a firm grip on its prey, but the frog was large and powerful enough to occasionally drag the snake about as it tried to escape. After about ten minutes of this (I'm not one to interfere in such affairs), the frog appeared to be tiring. Birds forgotten, I was determined to photo-document this tale to its end, whatever that might be. Although some snakes, apparently including this species, can dislocate their jaw and thus open the mouth to incredible proportions, I didn't see how the snake would ever manage to swallow such a large prey.

I never got the chance to find out. Finally, the frog lunged forward in a mighty burst, and shook free of its tormentor. It was gone in the blink of an eye, leaving behind a presumably hungry and frustrated snake. NOTE: When we came back to this spot the next day on the formal field trip, this snake (I would suppose) was in the same spot, hiding under streamside vegetation. It occasionally thrust out into the clear waters and grabbed minnows, so fear not, it wasn't going hungry.

Here's a short video of the frog-snake encounter. Turn up your audio and you'll hear the curious bleating sound given by the seemingly doomed frog.

Comments

Lisa Greenbow said…
This certainly isn't a noise that you would associate with a bullfrog. I bet he will be watching for that snake next time around that side of the pond.
You did the right thing man!!!

Popular posts from this blog

The Pinching Beetle, a rather brutish looking bug

The world is awash in beetles, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Few of them can match the intimidation factor of a Pinching Beetle, Lucanus capreolus, though. Those formidable looking mandibles look like they could slice off a finger.

Today was one of those coolly diverse days. I started off down in Fayette County, visiting the farm of a friend. He has restored about 25 acres of wetlands, and the response by the animal community has been nothing short of phenomenal. Blizzards of dragonflies of many species, amphibians galore, and nesting Blue-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebe, and Sora. Among MANY other things. And all in a short two years. Add water and they will come.

Then, working my way home, I ducked into a Madison County cemetery that has a thriving population of Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels, and shot images of our native prairie dog. Then, I stopped at a spot along Little Darby Creek, waded on in, and procured some pretty nice shots of various stream bluets and dancers. …

Calliope Hummingbird in central Ohio!

A hatch-year male Calliope Hummingbird strikes a pose. Small but tough, the hummingbird was feeding actively yesterday in 39 F temperatures. It frequents feeders and gardens at a home in Delaware County, Ohio, about a half-hour north of Columbus.

Fortunately, the wayward hummer appeared at the home of Tania and Corey Perry. Tania is a birder, and knew right away that the hummingbird was something special. For a while, the identification was up in the air, which isn't surprising. The Calliope Hummingbird used to be placed in its own genus, Stellula, but has recently been submerged into the genus Selasphorus, which includes Allen's, Broad-tailed, and Rufous hummingbirds. The latter two, especially, are quite similar to the Calliope in subadult plumage. Rufous is the default "vagrant" hummingbird here, with dozens of records and birds turning up annually. There is but one Ohio record of Allen's Hummingbird, from late fall/early winter 2009. Ditto the Calliope Hummi…

Ballooning spiders

Fear not, ye arachnophobes. The subject of this entry is indeed about spiders, but the star of the show is about as cute as a spider can get. And you'll want to know what we're about to learn...

On my recent West Virginia foray, we were strolling down a seldom-used lane, when a bright yellow object caught our eye. It was a goldenrod crab spider, Misumena vatia, on top of a post! Not only that, she - it is a girl - was acting extraordinarily goofy. The spider would stilt up as high as she could go on her legs, weave back and forth, jig side to side, and otherwise engage in what appeared to be spider break-dancing.

Click the pic for expansion, and you can see two columns of silk issuing from her spinnerets. This is an important point, as we set about determining what this non-web-making spider is doing.


So fixated was our spider on her task that she even rejected what would seem to me to be a perfectly scrumptious meal. This little caterpillar climbed rapidly up the post and dire…