by Kathy Ruff
This picture and video were taken in a pond at my sister and brother-in-law’s back yard in Tioga, Pennsylvania. I must warn you — this is life and death in action. If you are a frog lover or have no appetite for the realities of life and death in nature, you may not want to watch this video of a snake eating a frog.
Suzi was upset with me for a little while, but I told her it was going to happen whether we taped it or not. Maybe not that day, but it was part of the natural cycle of life.
The day before this picture and video were taken, the snake and the frog were playing a patience game with neither moving for quite some time before the frog jumped into the pond and away from the snake. Note the size of both. Perhaps upset with his lack of progress, and due to hunger, the next day was not so great for the frog.
All the more reason to learn from this…you never know when it’ll be your time so live for the day.
During the early 1980s, I had a little rowboat that my young sons, Andy and David, and I would take to a small lake near Selinsgrove, Pa. As I loaded the boat atop my station wagon one summer evening, Andy, who was about 10, and David, who was 7, caught a frog. Excited and pleased, they took it home, kept it as a pet and named it Lester. All the neighborhood kids came to play with it, and by the weekend, poor Lester wasn’t adapting very well to life in a grassy backyard and a shallow metal tub filled with tap water.
The following Saturday, as I loaded my boat on the car for another weekend at the lake, their mother convinced the boys to take Lester back to the cool water and lilly ponds of his natural habit. Jane easily persuaded them that Lester probably missed his home. Soon we arrived at the lake, and Andy and David reluctantly liberated their pet frog, which eagerly jumped into the water and out of our view.
We rowed around the lake for an hour or two, and returned to the shore just before sunset. As I pulled the boat onto land, the boys spotted a water snake attacking a frog. Horrified but fascinated, they watched the snake strike the frog repeatedly; presently, the snake began to swallow the frog, and soon all they could see of the frog were its back legs, which were still kicking.
The boys were a bit subdued when we began the ride home. As we pulled away from the lake, Andy asked, “Dad, was that Lester that the snake was eating?”
I told him that I didn’t know. I don’t think that I said what I was thinking – that Lester, weakened by a week in our grassy backyard, probably had been an easy prey for the hungry snake.
This dramatic incident taught the boys the cruelty of nature. I thought of it often during the next year when David, then a healthy and active 8-year-old, was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. As Lester had done, David struggled mightily, but in the end, the cancer killed him. More than a quarter-century later, I have come to regard Lester’s demise as an awful kind of foreshadowing.
John L. Moore
John: My deepest sorrows go to you and your family. Time heals the intensity of your loss but the scars always remain. May your memories focus on the innocent joy and love David and Andy shared during their time together. Thank you for sharing such a personal story.