A paper just published in Herpetology Notes journal describes a very unusual observation – a blindsnake was eaten by a toad and passed through ALIVE!
Here is the abstract.
We report an unusual predator-prey interaction between the Common Asian toad, Duttaphrynus melanostictus, and the Brahminy blindsnake, Ramphotyphlops braminus, as observed in Manufahi District, Timor-Leste. The live blindsnake was found emerging headfirst from the cloaca of the toad, with about one-third of its body length still inside. This interaction may indicate that indiscriminate foraging by invasive toads could endanger small vertebrate prey, while it appears that the physiology and habits of blindsnakes may allow them on occasion to elude predation in an unexpected manner.
Yep, you can avoid dying by NOT being digested. That is weird. This was published in Herpetology Notes, Volume 6: 467-470 (201)
This was observed in Timor. Both species are non natives to the island. When the toad was spotted in this situation, it struggled for a bit after which it completely expelled the blindsnake. They do not know if the lizard had a role to play in the emergence from the body or the toad just wanted it out. The snake was injured but alive. Sadly, it was found dead the next day after a fantastic journey NONE of us would like to endure. The authors suggest that some may be more lucky than this one. Was the toad a careless consumer of this prey item? Or has the snake evolved a nifty survival maneuver? The other questions this raises is if perhaps the toad thought it was a worm. They do not normally consume vertebrate prey. It also suggests an alternative explanation for blindsnakes found in owls’ nests. Perhaps the snakes were not brought there as prey but emerged alive from the digestive tract. Far fetched but now we have this new and impressive view of the durability of blindsnakes! Fascinating!
Tip: Darren Naish @TetZoo on Twitter