When wildlife drama comes to the garden

Homes for Wildlife

Homes for Wildlife
If you love the creatures in your garden, you'll love our Homes for Wildlife project. This is the place to ask and answer questions about making your backyard wildlife-friendly.

Gardening for wildlife

Follow the adventures of Adrian Thomas, our wildlife gardening expert, and be inspired to create your own wildlife haven on your doorstep. Adrian posts here every Monday and Friday without fail, so make it a date and drop by!

When wildlife drama comes to the garden

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I always say that the garden can throw up some of the most powerful encounters with wildlife you can have.

So it was last Thursday, when I peered out of the bedroom window to see something writhing on the edge of the pond, attracting the attention of a Crow.

Going down to investigate, I found this - a Grass Snake swallowing a full-grown Frog.

I admit I had mixed emotions. I work hard to make my garden a home for Frogs, and to see one being predated like this elicits considerable sympathy for the Frog's demise.

But this is Nature, the battle to survive, and to have a top predator like a Grass Snake in the garden is also a wonder and a privilege.

It took over ten minutes for the Grass Snake, jaw totally dislocated, to complete its meal.

And with one last gulp, the deed was done.

Indeed, it was astonishing to see how little there was to show that such a feat of swallowing had just occurred - by now, the only sign was a rather fat belly.

(You can clearly see, by the way, the tell-tale yellow and black collar that instantly distinguishes the Grass Snake from our other snakes, the Adder (with its zigzag stripe down its back) and the very rare Smooth Snake.)

And then the snake was off, swimming across the pond, slithering over a log and disappearing into the long grass. And I just sat there awhile in the stillness and silence.

  • terrific series of photos Adrian, shows how varied the wildlife is in some gardens and having a pond or water feature just adds even more visitors.  

  • Wow!  How lucky are you!  I agree that the garden is as good as any wild place to watch nature in the raw.  Sad to lose one of your frogs but at least the snake won't need another meal for quite a while so the others will be (fairly) safe for the time being.

  • Fantastic shots. I still find it difficult not to rescue victims. I still can't stand and watch but I can tell myself "survival of the fittest" and turn my back.

  • Cracking sequence of photos Adrian