Survival of the (frog) fittest…

Location: Hongonyi Game Lodge, February 2010, 10am

Sometimes it’s hard to know who to root for in the survival game… I know every creature needs to eat, but when it’s one of your ‘friends’ that’s going down, what do you do? This particular incident happened right outside the reception about 10 days ago.

This competition involved a Spotted Bush Snake and a Foam Nest Frog:

The frog (who lives in the ladies room), was going to refresh himself in the bird-bath as is his daily routine. The snake was hovering in the tree above the bath and silently slipped down and grabbed the frog on the thigh. They fell to the ground, where the snake quickly adjusted its hold to the frog’s head and throat. The frog immediately inflated himself to epic proportions – imagine a tennis ball with legs – and there they lay, grappling on the path while I held my breath, interested to see what would happen, but at the same time sorry for the frog whom I have grown very accustomed to.

The snake tried various readjustments on his hold, and the frog endured several manoeuvres that would have earned the snake big points in a WWF competition… and so it continued for quite a while.

Suddenly the snake let go, and rushed up the tree, where it sat for the next few minutes, obviously trying to re-locate its jaw. The frog lay upside down on the path, apparently dying, while the snake watched from its lofty perch. Next, the snake descended again, and took one last experimental nibble at the now deflating and blackened frog, and just as I thought it was all over, the snake deserted the scene of the crime, retiring now to the palm tree, where it again sat adjusting its jaw.

To my surprise (and delight), the bloodied and discoloured frog promptly rolled over onto his belly, then turned and hopped a bit groggily over to the wall where he proceeded to climb up the wall and onto the luggage trolley where he sat for the next hour… while I kept an eye on him, really expecting him to conk out at any moment. Slowly the frog changed from mottled black and dark grey to his normal pale whitish grey, until there was almost no sign of any trauma, apart from some tiny blood spots on his thigh and neck.

During the course of the day, the snake vanished, and the frog slowly made his way back to his favourite perch under the sink in the ladies’ bathroom. As I finish writing this, so many days later, he is chirping happily from a new position – this time inside the loo roll – proclaiming his victory to all who would listen!

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