Wednesday, September 21, 2011


It's that time of year when yard work is actually enjoyable.  The weather is just perfect - perfect temperature, perfect humidity.  And the ground is both wet enough and dry enough to be workable.  Adam and I planned to head out and enjoy working the land for an hour or two the other day.

Adam opened the door to the front, which leads to a pleasant little walkway from the drive.  There, on the concrete, was "Nature".  And not the early scene that sets the mood.  No.  Not the one that focuses in on a zebra running and then pans out to show the high-grassed meadow and the spectacular sunset, and all the other beautiful zebras racing in the wind.

This was the close up shot of the lioness, pouncing on one of the smaller zebras and pulling the poor creature to the ground.

In this case it was a small garter snake with its jaws wide open, trying to devour a toad.  It was quite a site.  The snake was small, and its head even smaller.  I think the toad had warts bigger than that snake's head.  The whole scene reminded me of the Flinstones opening credits when Fred orders a dinosaur rib that tips over his stone-wheeled car.  For the toad's part, it seemed to be doing very little to resist being eaten.  Occasionally, it would hop, with its new snake attachment just clinging onto its rump.  There was no flailing of limbs or slaps to the snake's head.  Just a hop.  On one hand, we figured, nature should take its course.  If this toad was meant to be eaten today, then so be it.  On the other hand, it was so sad to see this guy get devoured alive.

Before making a definitive decision, of course, I decided to document the event.  I took my turn at nature photography and found that apparently one needs to be more discreet.  The snake took one look at the large human pointing a black box in its face, and it slithered away.  Somewhere in its little brain, it decided eating animals three times its size was good, but that it should run from animals 100 times its size.  I wondered where the cutoff would be.

After the snake slithered away, we went online to determine the type.  We wanted to check that the thing wouldn't strike out at our ankles if we proceeded to the yard.  After determining that it was harmless, we went to examine the toad, which was sitting in the same position, breathing heavily, and bleeding.

Unfortunately, when we opened the door, the cat took her opportunity to rush outside.  She looked at Mr. Toad, and suddenly he got a burst of energy and began hopping away.  The cat was nearly on top of him before Adam rescued the poor thing.  I am willing to let a snake eat a meal to stay alive, but believe me, our cat does not need food.  She would probably have tortured the thing, pulling off limbs and whatnot, then let him to die on our walkway.

We took the cat inside, and there was no further sign of Toad or Snake.


Tiffany said...

This sounds like a fable I may have heard once before. Toad and Snake. dunno the moral??? You tell me:-)

Danielle Mari said...

You probably saved that snake's life. If he'd somehow been able to ingest that softball-sized toad, he'd have been immobilized for a week and would certainly have become raccoon food.