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The garter snake pounces

While descending Hurricane Mountain a week or so ago, I spooked a large garter snake (probably 28-30″ long with a inch-and-a-half diameter). I stopped stock still and watched as he was obviously hunting—his tongue darting as he poked under a fallen tree and in the leaf litter. Without warning, he struck at something I didn’t see—a toad hidden under a layer of leaves. The battle ensued. Robin and I watched for a good 10 minutes as the struggle between snake and rather large toad played out…

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The snake gets the toad out of the leaf litter
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The toad holds on to a stick
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The toad manages to get its head out of the snake’s mouth
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The toad struggles to pull away
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The snake manages to grap the toad’s head again…

Moments after this last shot, the snake righted itself, lifted the toad a good 6″ off the forest floor, and sped out of sight into cover to finish the job. We could only stand in awe at the power, strength, and persistence of the snake—and yes, we had some remorse for the toad. Such is life in the forest.

Photos taken with a Panasonic GM5 and Lumix 12-32mm lens.

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