Animal Dilemmas – Frog Owl
The Owl spend the entire night hunting mice. It grew tired and clumsy as the night progressed. From the countless attempts it only managed to catch one. One tiny, equally unexperienced mouse, soft and tender. The Owl shredded it to pieces and gulped it down. Only to be disgusted by the way it tasted. The bird was very hungry and tired and would eat anything but the taste of the mouse repulsed it.
It couldn’t help but wondering how could its kin eat those rodents that smelled like urine and fesses. Owls were solitary creatures so the young bird had long severed any connection with its kin. So it could not get an explanation why its ancestors chose this particular diet. The Owl didn’t know that those choices were not made by caprice. They were made based on availability. Survival was higher on the pyramid of life than the pleasure of good tasting meat.
The Owl also didn’t know or more likely didn’t remember the reason it was not accustomed to the blood of mice. In the year it was born it rained a lot. In fact it was the rainiest year in the past one hundred years. The rivers overflowed, swamps were formed in the low land and curves of the forests. Pools of moist stayed in the forest for months because the sun could not reach the lower layers and evaporate them.
These were the perfect conditions for mosquitos and water bugs to thrive. They multiplied by the millions daily and clouds of them hovered the forest floors. Bugs brought lizards and frogs. Especially frogs because frogs only ate bugs. The population of frogs exploded. There were more frogs in the forest than trees.
Owls didn’t eat frogs or think of eating them. But the frogs had made another enemy. Frogs get musical at night along with crickets. And on a soft summer evening join voices in a symphony of high pitches which was part of the wild life’s entertainment.
However, with so many frogs their voices became a nightly nightmare. The giants in the near by town were fed up with the bloodsucking mosquitos not letting them sleep and when the frogs started their serenade they’ve had enough. They launched a campaign against nature attempting to silence its creatures.
They put frog traps by every tree on the edge of the forest and within days managed to catch and eradicate thousands of frogs. Which increased the mosquito population to a staggering degree. To the point that when a giant child went missing it was rumored that a cloud of Mosquitos entered its room lifted it up and carried it into the forest.
At the edge of the forest where few animals resided was where the giants discarded the half alive frogs from the traps. They didn’t eat them, no. Well some of them did in that neighboring land where giants fermented grapes into wine, milk into cheese, they also ate frogs and snails. But not in this town. So hundreds of frogs just littered the open fields. And as all creatures of nature always seek the easiest way to get by, the owls were no different. They picked the frogs up to their nests and fed them to their new borns.
Frogs and mice tasted quite different so the Owl developed a sort of perversion about food. So when a very large Frog approached from the woods and stopped under the Owl’s branch a familiar scent reached the bird. The Frog just stood their looked up. The Owl looked at it still and hungry. After an hour of contemplating and staring the Owl dove down and attacked the Frog. The large bulky amphibian was however quicker than anticipated.
The Frog leaped sideway and avoided the Owl causing it to land its nose in the dirt. The Frog stopped close by and sang mocking the bird. The Owl walked to it the Frog evaded it once again. They were both standing in the dirt facing each other. The Owl mildly aggravated lusting for frog’s blood. The Frog still and composed.
What was the Frog up to? It was old and crazy. It had also witnessed its brothers and sisters falling in the traps and then being carried away by owls. It had troubled all its life over that tragic rainy year it was born in. And had finally decided to face an Owl. It was infected with the chytrid fungus, a highly contagious and deadly skin disease. The Frog knew it didn’t have much time and wanted to take down a Owl along with it.
Half way through its assault, however, it had changed its mind. Something in the Owl’s helplessness made it think that it could do better than its current agenda. So it stood there on the battlefield lost in thought. It thought about life and death and what it could do with its time left. It thought it useless to die even if it took the Owl with it.
The Owl was too tired and to ridiculed to continue its dance with the Frog, so it flew away in search of easier prey. The Frog stood there for a long time before it snapped back into reality and leaped into the forest.
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photograph from imcreator