Animal Behaviour: All Other Animals - Winner
David Maitland (United Kingdom)
In this post I've presented the pctures that have been prized at the 2008 edition of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year. Now I want to focus a little bit more on one picture which is really an incredible mixture of beauty and drama.
It is "Deadlock" by David Maitland, a deadly kiss between a Morelet's treefrog and a Cat-eyed tree-snake entangled in an embrace which is a fight for survival.
David Maitlad describe it with his own words:
"A cat-eyed tree-snake was locked in an embrace with a Morelet's treefrog. The kicking frog showed no sign of weakening. And the stubborn snake wouldn't budge. It was a complete stalemate. Three hours later, I realised the first one to give in would, in fact, be me - and I went to bed."The Morelet's Tree Frog was abundant within its range and were kept as pets internationally. However it is currently listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List as of 2001 because of habitat destruction and disease. Small snakes, like the cat-eyed snake of the picture are also predators of the Morelet's Tree Frog.
"I would love to have seen them go their separate ways, but I was exhausted,"
"The frog was all the time trying to pull the snake off, but the snake just wouldn't let go. "
"This frog is actually incredibly rare, which lends to the bizarre nature of the whole encounter"
These snakes don't prey just the adult frogs but they also eat the eggs as you can see in this other picture which also was prized in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year, during the 2004 edition. This shot by Christian Ziegler shows another Cat-eyed tree-snake that seems almost "inebriated" by his meal of frog eggs.
Photograph: Christian Ziegler
(Natural History Museum/BBC Wildlife Magazine)