The truth behind the epic photo of a frog swallowing a snake

While this incredibly photo of a frog swallowing a snake was making its rounds all over the internet, the story behind the photo was hidden for a long time.

Now, thanks to National Geographic, we finally know the story that led to this amazing image!

Julie-Anne O’Neill was taking a walk in North Queensland, Australia before an oncoming storm when it happened.

According to National Geographic, the air outside the area before a storm begins to “teem with life.” In O’Neill’s own words, “Everything goes ballistic. It’s like a feeding and mating frenzy.”

Carrying a flashlight with her, O’Neill was hoping to capture some of the active wildlife on camera. Eventually, she heard an unmistakable screech that she knew came from a frog.

In front of her was the biggest Australian green tree frog that the native had ever seen.


“It opened its mouth, and I thought ‘Oh my gosh; what the heck!'” she recalled.

In the frog’s open mouth, a small snake was attempting to slither out as it slid down the other animal’s gullet.

O’Neill had seen many tree frogs around her property in the past, but never one attempting to eat anything other than insects. The Australian native had a digital camera at home nearby in order to document any of the odd animal encounters she had been seeing in the area.

“I would say something to someone and they would go ‘Oh that’s bullshit Jules,’ so I thought I’d get a camera and take photos.”

She quickly ran to retrieve the device, and came back to find the same frog perched on a wicker basket.

“I was still getting used to the Canon. My fingertips had gone numb from holding the shutter down,” she described. O’Neill had to hold her large flashlight at various angles before finally getting a clear view of the snake in the frog’s mouth. “When I finally cracked off the shot it felt like victory.”

The fortunate photographer sadly expected the worst for the amphibian in front of her, as its tongue was filled with small puncture from the snake, which was still wriggling in its throat.

However, when O’Neill came out of her home the next morning, she found the same frog outside. She knew it was the same animal from the night before because of its unusual size–when picked up, it filled both of her hands.

The Australian posted her photo to Google+ in 2011, expecting some popularity but not anywhere near the actual scale it reached. The picture was posted to a variety of sites and found much of its notoriety on Reddit.

According to National Geographic, O’Neill–while a bit overwhelmed by the unexpected attention–is happy that so many people have enjoyed her bizarre photo.

What do you think of the picture taken by O’Neill? Let us know in the comments below!