Viperine snake takes on large Water frog (and gives up)

June 22nd, 2014 | Written by Lucy Brzoska.

Written by Lucy Brzoska

Walking along a hot, dusty track in the Alt Emporda, a woodchat shrike singing in a nearby tree and bee eaters dipping and diving over the olive groves, we heard a piteous crying sound.   It was coming from the long trough-like irrigation channel at the side of the track: a strongly protesting Iberian water frog (Pelophylax perezi) was in the grip of a Viperine snake (Natrix maura).

viperine  snake (Natrix maura) captures Iberian water frog

The aquatic snake had seized the frog by the leg and was swimming vigorously up and down the channel, the belly of its helpless prisoner flashing white in all the whirling.

viperine snake swims with captive water frog

The non-venomous snake next tried tightly knotting itself around its resistant prey, its mouth still gripping the leg.

viperine snake knots itself around iberian water frog

Suddenly it seemed to tire, released its coils and swam to the side of the channel.  The frog waited a moment, and then tried to swim away.  But its movement immediately triggered a reaction in the snake, which this time seized the amphibian by the back.

viperine snake (Natrix maura) biting iberian water frog (Pelophylax perezi)

Despite the considerable gape of the Viperine, it was clear the frog was too big for it to swallow. Eventually the frog was allowed to make a getaway, but fatally weakened, it didn’t survive the attack.