Last May, I was witness to great drama in my pond as a Grass Snake caught and consumed a large Common Frog.
Although not quite a Crocodile attacking a Hippopotamus, it was nevertheless in a back garden context quite a sight, and something I've never seen before in many, many years of nature watching.
So when this week, almost a year to the day, I saw a commotion in the pond, I wasn't surprised to go out and find a repeat underway, with a luckless Frog firmly grasped by its head as the snake began to dislocate its jaws to swallow it.
However, what I wasn't expecting was a sudden thrashing in the water and a second large Grass Snake to emerge and grab the Frog from the other end.
A terrible tug of war ensued, with the noses of both snakes getting closer and closer as they swallowed the Frog from their respective ends, before eventually one snake won the tussle and was left to finish its meal in peace.
It was a potent reminder that the battle for life - and death - goes on right outside our back doors. My Crows are currently picking out dozens of pond snails from my pond and winkling them out of their shells; my Blackbirds come to the pond at dawn to pick off Emperor Dragonflies that emerged overnight but haven't yet fully hardened their bodies. Smooth Newts grab the dragonflies, too, but later in the summer I expect repeat visits from Little Egrets to pick off the Newts, and those Emperor dragonflies that survive will be back to lay their eggs but also feed on smaller insects around the pond.
It is of course how nature works, an endless battle for survival, no matter how difficult it may be to watch at times.
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