Behind the Toad-Bat War: Some Hungry Toads Are Successful Species on Earth [Photo]
A park ranger in a Peruvian rainforest snapped a photo of a cane toad attempting to swallow a bat-completely. The toad eventually gave up and spat out the bat, which flew away.
When the toad was chomping the bat, the Ranger Yufani Olaya snapped a photograph. The whole drama took place in Cerros de Amotape national park with a happy conclusion, at least for the bat. After failing to swallow the bat whole, the toad gave up, and the bat - still alive - flew away, according to Olaya.
Like Us on Facebook
Olaya shared the photograph with biologist Phil Torres, who works at the Tambopata Research Center, a scientific outpost in the Peruvian Amazon. Torres was shocked: this is probably the first photographed record of a cane toad eating a bat.
According to Olaya, this cane toad (Bufo marinus) was simply sitting on the ground with its mouth open, and "out of nowhere the bat just flew directly into the mouth of the toad". The bat was likely hoping to find insects close to the ground.
The toad reportedly grabbed out and clamped its ample jaws down on the unfortunate mammal. The wings and tail, sticking out, sport a comic cast to the scene as Olaya snapped the picture.
Cane toads are unscrupulous feeders and well known for being avid eaters - that weird character has allowed them to be successful as an invasive species in places like Australia, Torres said. Since bats usually fly far from the ground where the toads hop, bat-chomping toad is a rare incident.
Rachel Page, a researcher at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama who was not involved in the present finding, wrote to LiveScience in an email: despite the oddity, some toads and frogs will systematically wait outside of caves and catch bats as they emerge from the roost at night.
This is common in Australia, she added.
"It could be this population of toads have developed a strategy for feeding on low flying bats and that this is more common, but never observed before now," Charles Linkem, postdoctoral fellow at UW's biology department reported NBC News.
"It's hard to know without more information,"Linkem speculated.