Supersize me: The terrifying giant toad who swallowed a bat WHOLE
- A ranger captured the moment a cane toad attacked an airborne bat in the Peruvian rainforest
- The photograph shows the toad’s discomfort as it battles to swallow the mammal despite the bat’s wings and tail sticking out of its mouth
- While scientists have not seen the toad behave in this way before, the amphibian is not a picky eater and has a diet of both dead and living matter
It’s not just humans who get carried away in preparing a meal that is far too large for them to enjoy.
A greedy toad found deep in the Peruvian rainforest tried to swallow a hapless bat whole but only succeeded in making itself look like a bizarre mutant animal as it failed to eat its super-sized meal.
A quick-witted ranger captured the macabre but comic scene, which saw both animals suffer some discomfort but survive.
Park ranger Yufani Olaya spotted the strange behaviour in the Cerros de Amotape national park, the Rainforest Expeditions blog reported.
He said the cane toad was sitting on the ground with its mouth open as it optimistically waited for its lunch to appear and seemed to get lucky as a low-flying bat entered its area.
Experts believe bats fly close to the ground despite the rick of predators to pick up insects and Mr Olaya said the bat passed incredibly close to the toad, almost flying into its mouth.
The toad reportedly snatched at the bat, but it is not clear whether this was a refex action or a deliberate move to snare a large dinner.
Whatever the case, the creature clamped its powerful jaws around the furry critter, cramming it into its mouth.
The photograph captures the toad’s discomfort as it battles to swallow the mammal whole, despite the bat’s wings and tail sticking out of its mouth.
Adam Leaché, assistant professor of herpetology at the University of Washington, told NBC News: ‘Toads are voracious and will eat pretty much anything that moves and can fit in their mouth.’
However, he said he had not seen another toad attempt the same move before.
While the creatures can swallow large beetles and centipedes with ease, the bat was either too large or too furry for the hungry amphibian as it spat out its dinner.
Charles Linkem, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington, explained that as cane toads do not have teeth, the animal tried to crush and swallow the bat.
He told NBC News: ‘The bat was a little big for that. The toad may have tried to reposition its mouth to swallow and that was when the bat was able to escape.’
Amazingly, despite the ordeal the bat escaped unscathed and flew away quickly after its incarceration.
The amphibians are known to eat almost anything, which perhaps accounts why they have invaded so many habitats.
Dr Linkem said: ‘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.’