A common garter snake has a death grip on this American toad in this submission from photographer Dave Gomeau. Credit: Courtesy of Dave Gomeau

The realities of animal survival in nature can be harsh. Today’s outdoors photo offering is proof of that dynamic.

It’s not one of those Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom moments, where the cheetah chases down and mauls the antelope, but it is admittedly a bit unsettling to see.

Photographer Dave Gomeau Sr. of West Gardiner, who sent us this photo, was the first to point out it could be a little tough to, well, digest.

“Some may have trouble looking at these photos, so please just discard,” Gomeau offered. “The thing is that nature can be cruel at times even to us.”

Gomeau witnessed this encounter on his lawn, on a recent hot day, while a garter snake was having its lunch. The snake is in the process of slowly devouring a large American toad, which is inextricably ensnared in the reptile’s jaws.

“This garter snake latched on to this American toad and over a period of two and half hours devoured the toad completely,” Gomeau said. “He slowly ingested the toad and we could see the bulge slowly move down through the snake’s body.”

OK, sorry. Maybe that’s TMI — too much information — as they say.

That’s not to say efforts weren’t made to prevent the snake from finishing its substantial meal.

“I did try removing him from the snake’s mouth but it was completely impossible without tearing the toad apart,” Gomeau said of his attempt to save the amphibian.

Thanks for the photo, Dave!

Do you have a trail camera photo or video to share? Send it to pwarner@bangordailynews.com and tell us, “I consent to the BDN using my photo.” In order to prevent neighbors from stopping by to try to tag particularly large bucks, moose or bears, some identities and towns of origin may be omitted. If you are unable to view the photo or video mentioned in this story, go to bangordailynews.com.

Pete Warner

Pete graduated from Bangor High School in 1980 and earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He grew up fishing at his family's camp on Sebago Lake but didn't take...