Paul Mock was out lowering his dam's spillway when he happened upon the most unusual sight.
A farmer in Kununurra, near Australia’s Northern Territory, was out checking a dam on his farm during a downpour when he witnessed a very strange scene. A bunch of invasive cane toads (Rhinella marina) on the back of an olive python (Liasis olivaceus) that was slithering the rain soaked ground.
68mm just fell in the last hour at Kununurra. Flushed all the cane toads out of my brothers dam. Some of them took the easy way out – hitching a ride on the back of a 3.5m python. pic.twitter.com/P6mPc2cVS5
— Andrew Mock (@MrMeMock) December 30, 2018
The area in which farmer Paul Mock lives experienced so much rain that he had to lower his dam’s spillway to release water. The deluge also forced thousands of cane toads to seek higher ground, some of which ended up on the back of the python.
"I noticed because the water was so high, that it had flooded all the burrows of the cane toads which live around the edge of the lake underneath the lawn. So they were all on top of the lawn, thousands of them," Mock told ABC News Australia. Upon inspection of the other side of the dam, Mock saw the unusual sight; several frogs on the back of the slithering snake.
"So I thought I better get a photo of this, and got a video of it, posted that to my brother who's in New Zealand at the moment. With his time zone he was already up. He started tweeting it and things like that."
Mock’s brother, Andrew, posted the photo of the herps on his Twitter account and it has received more than 12,000 likes, more than 4,500 retweets and 380 comments as of December 31. While some folks think the image was staged, it certainly makes you wonder how it could be staged with so many frogs on the back of the reptile.
Cane toads are an invasive species in Australia. They were introduced to control the cane beetle in 1935, but the outcome has been disastrous. The species is now widespread throughout northeast NSW and are nearing the border in north west NSW. The poisonous toads have been linked to the decline of several native species, including quolls, certain snake species and goannas.
The olive python can grow to more than 12 feet in length and are olive, greenish brown in coloration with a white belly. They are popular with reptile keepers in Australia.