Every summer, intense life and death struggles play out between predators and their prey in the shallow pools of water dotting the meadows of Yosemite National Park. For the prey, capture means death. For the predator, failure to capture prey can lead to starvation. The struggles are intense, yet these battles are easily overlooked by park visitors. This is because the opposing players are tiny; the predator, the mountain garter snake (Thamnophis elegans) may be less than two feet long, while the prey, the pacific treefrog (Pseudacris regilla) is smaller still.
While walking through one of the meadows in early August 2007, I had the chance to observe one such struggle.
This photo shows a garter snake in the middle of a small meadow pool. This snake has been hunting tadpoles. On the right side of the photo you can see a pacific chorus frog tadpole. See the whole photo story.