The Wants and Needs of a Snake

Whats appears to be a peaceful scene in the Wetlands is actually a struggle for dear life. This frog has a snake attached to its right leg (underwater).

Alerted by a chaparone from one of the many school groups present that day (May 4) that a snake was swimming along the banks of the Wetlands, I saw Big Momma, a large female Northern Water Snake, swim by just a few feet off the shore. Moments later the snake had a frog in her jaws. The grip was a tenuous one as only the frog’s foot was in the snake’s mouth.

Some ten minutes after being caught by the snake the frog’s right leg was completely within the snake. There was no turning back.
Two minutes later, the snake was working on the left leg.

Oddly, the frog didn’t struggle as much as I thought it would.

The snake getting a better grip on the frog. Notice in this (and above) photo how the snake’s throat is stretched to where the skin is visible between the scales.
Forty minutes into the drama and the frog is less than half within the snake.
As if it wasn’t difficult enough to swallow a frog more than three times the width of the snake’s mouth, now our female has to deal with a suitor, a male snake looking to mate.
The suitor gone, the female works at getting the frog into its digestive tract. Nearly there.

It’s now over an hour into the event.

For some reason that I don’t understand the snake partially regurgitated the frog. Perhaps one of the legs went down the wrong hole? Notice that the male is back on the scene.
The female made quick work of re-swallowing the frog. Eight minutes has elapsed from the previous photo.

The next day…

Twenty-three hours later and the male finally got what he wanted. Note the bulge midway down the larger female’s body (the frog).

12 responses to The Wants and Needs of a Snake

  1. Sherry says:

    Amazing Greg!
    When will we have water snake babies in the Wetland?

    • Greg Dodge says:

      There could be dozens of little babies out and about by late summer or early fall.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    (envision my jaw dropped the entire time I was reading this)

    • Greg Dodge says:

      Imagine, every day, every minute of every day, something like that is going on out the in the wild!

  3. Michele says:

    I was on the edge of my seat reading this one! Amazing photos!

    • Greg Dodge says:

      I was on the edge of my…while watching it!

    • Greg Dodge says:

      The camera is a Panasonic FZ40. It’s one of the superzoom point-and-shoots.

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