Tags: toad | swallows | bat | wing

Toad Swallows Bat on the Wing, But Then Spits It Out

Thursday, 26 Sep 2013 10:51 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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A park ranger in Peru got a strange sight last week when he stumbled upon a cane toad swallowing a bat.

It happened at the Cerros de Amotape National Park where Yufani Olaya works. He quickly snapped a picture of the predatory attack and later shared it with biologist Phil Torres.

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"Olaya described the toad's success as 'out of nowhere the bat just flew directly into the mouth of the toad, which almost seemed to be sitting with its mouth wide open,'" Torres, who works at the Tambopata Research Center in the Peruvian Amazon, wrote on his blog. "With toad-like reflexes, this cane toad was able to snatch the unsuspecting bat right out of the air as it flew too close to the ground, and apparently directly at the toad's awaiting mouth."

Cane toads are known for being opportunistic feeders, Rachel Page, a researcher at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, told LiveScience.com. But normally, the situation would be reversed.

"My guess is that it is much more common the other way around — lots of bats will hunt frogs, going for the rustling sounds the frogs make as they move through the leaf litter, and some bats even go for the calls male frogs make to attract mates," Page said.

So did the toad ever manage to get those giant bat wings in its mouth?

"According to Olaya, no," Torres wrote on his blog. "The toad finally gave up and spat it out. While Olaya at first thought the bat was dead, he said it slowly recovered and was able to fly away. I'm sure it won't make that mistake again."

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