Outdoor-travel author’s photo shows that sometimes, a predator’s meals don’t give up all that easily.
Naturalist and author Bryan Snyder of Santa Barbara, California, captured the quirky images while out on an early morning stroll in Santa Ynez Valley, CA.
Bryan, 43, said: “A California kingsnake surprised an alligator lizard by grabbing its body, but before it could reorient the lizard to sᴡᴀʟʟᴏᴡ it head-first the lizard latched onto the snake’s body.”
Fɪɢʜᴛɪɴɢ back from the jaws of ᴅᴇᴀᴛʜ, this alligator lizard was nearly sᴡᴀʟʟᴏᴡᴇᴅ whole by a kingsnake — but it decided to ꜰɪɢʜᴛ back.
“Although almost the entire lizard had been sᴡᴀʟʟᴏᴡᴇᴅ, the wily critter was hanging on with its powerful jaws, refusing to accept the inevitable,” Snyder wrote on his site. “It wore the snake’s head over its own as if it were a hooded sweatshirt, and cracked an eye open to gaze nonchalantly in my direction. Its attitude seemed to say, “No big deal. I can keep this up all day if I have to.'” “The king snake had certainly bitten off more than it could chew!”
And it looks as though the defiant lizard’s actions sᴀᴠᴇᴅ its skin as Bryan revealed the snake regurgitated the reptile’s head and neck by the time he left.
“After a few minutes of my staring and not leaving, the kingsnake did indeed begin to withdraw,” he said in an email. “I was in a bit of a rush to begin a hike before the day grew too hot, and it was a slow process, so I did not stay until the end. But I’m an optimistic fellow.”
Did the lizard end up as dinner, or sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴇ to scrap another day? We’ll never know, but Snyder thinks it made it out.
According to the post of Reddit, the lizard later won the ʙᴀᴛᴛʟᴇ and ᴇsᴄᴀᴘᴇᴅ. Kingsnakes often ᴘʀᴇʏ upon alligator lizards in the wilderness of California, but seeing a sight like this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Wild!